Grant Morrison and the Superhero Renaissance

Critical Essays


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About the Book

Superheroes are enjoying a cultural resurgence, dominating the box office and breaking out of specialty comics stores onto the shelves of mainstream retailers. A leading figure behind the superhero Renaissance is Grant Morrison, long-time architect of the DC Comics’ universe and author of many of the most successful comic books in recent years. Renowned for his anarchic original creations—Zenith, The Invisibles, The Filth, We3—as well as for his acclaimed serialized comics—JLA, Superman, Batman, New X-Men—Grant Morrison has radically redefined the superhero archetype. Known for his eccentric lifestyle and as a practitioner of “pop magic,” Morrison sees the superhero as not merely fantasy but a medium for imagining a better humanity. Drawing on a variety of analytical approaches, this first-ever collection of critical essays on his work explores his rejuvenation of the figure of the superhero as a means to address the challenges of modern life.

About the Author(s)

Darragh Greene lectures in Medieval Studies at University College Dublin. He has published essays on medieval English literature, Chaucer, Shakespeare, James Joyce, and comics author Grant Morrison.

Kate Roddy is an occasional lecturer and seminar leader at Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin. She has published on sixteenth-century literature and gender and sexuality in comic book fandom.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Darragh Greene and Kate Roddy

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 252
Bibliographic Info: 10 illustrations, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7810-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2233-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v

Introduction (Darragh Greene and Kate Roddy) 1

Part I: Formal Analysis

“And so we return and begin again”: The Immersive/Recursive Strategies of Morrison’s Puzzle Narratives (Chris Murray) 17

“Screw symbolism and let’s go home”: Morrison and Bathos (Kate Roddy) 43

The Writer and “the Writer”: The Death of the Author in Suicide Squad #58 (Roy T. Cook) 64

“Let me slip into someone more comfortable”: The Imaginary Adolescence of the Superhero (Keith Scott) 82

Parasitic Signifiers: The Invasiveness of Language in Grant Morrison’s Comics (Clare Pitkethly) 100

Part II: Thematic Analysis

From Shame into Glory in The Filth (David Coughlan) 115

“The Jungian Stuff”: Symbols of Transformation in All-Star Superman (Darragh Greene) 131

The Dark Knight and the Devil: Demons and Demonology in Batman, 2005–2013 (Schedel Luitjen) 150

“Our Father, Who Art in Gotham”: The Life, Death and Rebirth of Batman (Nicholas Galante) 166

Fallout Boys: Paranoia, Power and Control in Morrison’s Cold War Superheroes (Muireann ­O’Sullivan) 183

“Morrison Inc.” and Themes of Benevolent Capitalism (Emmet ­O’Cuana) 205

Bibliography 223

About the Contributors 235

Index 237

Book Reviews & Awards

“Long known for his innovative and groundbreaking comic book stories, Morrison’s long and impressive list of works are analyzed and taken apart piece by piece…Morrison’s ‘unique’ take on the world of comic books and the characters that inhabit them has successfully transformed and changed the industry for good…Morrison has brought out more maturity and richer stories to the medium of comic books”—Collectors’ Corner.