I consider myself a comics newbie. In 2003 I wandered into Comix Connection on my lunch break, and walked out with Planetary/Batman. This was a baffling place to start– the book is a sort of riff on comic book history, of which I was (and by some measures am still) pretty ignorant. Planetary is Warren Ellis‘ “archaeologists of the impossible” story, which (to me) plays out a bit like the X-Files in a truly fantastic version earth: a world where much of the past 200 years of popular fiction (including comics) was true (or had some basis in fact). In Planetary/Batman the team finds themselves tripping between alternate versions of Gotham City, each with it’s own Batman incarnation to deal with– only some of which were familiar to me.
I soon caught up with Planetary, and then moved on to other books– sticking mostly with Ellis for a while (Transmetropolitan, The Authority), but gradually branching out. Now I count Ellis, Mike Carey, John Hickman, and Brian Wood as favorite authors.
Besides The Authority and the occasional Batman book, I’ve mostly avoided super hero stuff. Also, Grant Morrison.
I knew there was this thing called a “Grant Morrison” that a lot of people seemed to like– it just never occurred to me to take a look, until this Grinding.be article on (among other things) Batman, Inc convinced me to give it a read. That led me to some of Morrison’s other Batman stuff, and more recently to start working through (and really enjoying) The Invisibles.
It was entirely a coincidence that I saw Morrison’s Supergods on Audible, and it’s a great listen. About half the book is a straightforward history of superheroes, from Superman and Batman’s first appearance in comics to the current rash of TV and movies, to the costumed vigilantes who have started appearing in American cities. The other half is a deep-dive into Morrison’s life story and psyche– which is more interesting than you might think. Consider that he was simultaneously experimenting with psychedelic drugs, shamanism, and cross-dressing, while writing The Invisibles.
Actually, if you’ve read The Invisibles, that isn’t much of a shock.