Grant Morrison explains why superhero comics are awesome

A few months back while I was copyediting a big interview with Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison that eventually appeared in Wizard #216, when I stumbled upon a quote from Morrison I loved so much that I made a note to post it later on this blog.

I’ve always loved superhero comics and have never been one of those people who at a certain point decided they weren’t important or engaging enough for me to read anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think superhero books are the only ones out there, nor are they always my favorite, but I’ve never been able to forsake cape and cowl comics and not just because I have nostalgia for the books I read as a kid. However, every time I tried to explain why I still have such a great affinity for superhero books, I always ended up citing a bunch of different—and valid—reasons and used them to make numerous compelling arguments as to why superhero books are so great, but these pleas always seemed to have enough disparity between them to keep my overall point from seeming completely sound.

Morrison is currently writing <em>Batman & Robin</em> at DC Comics.
Morrison is currently writing Batman & Robin at DC Comics.

In the interview, Morrison is asked in the final question to muse on why comics are awesome. When I read his answer, I was overwhelmed by this feeling of, “Yes! That’s it! That is what I’ve been trying to explain to people for years!” I guess it’s no great surprise that a respected legend within the comic industry like Mr. Morrison would be able to put into words what often escaped me, and so, I’m posting it here for perusal and as a quick quote I think does a great job to explaining why we love superhero books and why they’re still relevant.

People love superheroes. We live in a world where we’ve been told that the ice caps are going to melt and the pedophiles are going get your kids, everything’s hell, if the [terrorists] don’t get us something else will get us. Comics are the one place that remains with this kind of utopian, hopeful, positive view of human evolution of where we might end up. I think that it’s beautiful. We need people like us to keep saying, “No, what if we become super-good? What if we go for the future? What if we stop pandering to the worst aspects of the human nature and start leaning toward the best aspects of human nature.” That’s what comics represent.

On top of being a simple and potent summation of superhero comics playing to the inner good of all humanity, I love that it almost implies that there’s this innocence and optimism we all have hidden within us that can sometimes only come out via a medium that many still think of as something for children. Maybe that’s why the comics community is chock-full of so many fantastically fun folks. You read enough comics and you’re just a bit more in touch with that inner child who sees the good in the world and wants to be hopeful and enjoy it. That’s how I’d like to think of it at least.

Now imagine if everyone in the world allowed themselves a bit more fun and fantasy each day by indulging in a superhero story or sci-fi comic? The world would probably be a better place if people could just let go and enjoy a bit more frequent fiction in the form of comics!

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2 thoughts on “Grant Morrison explains why superhero comics are awesome

  1. I bet Kim-Jong-il is a closet superman fan… Honestly, I don’t differeniate much between comics and any other art form– if it has great meaning, memorable stories/feelings/characters or is simply well executed it will find its audience. Comics were only bashed by people that weren’t making money on them or were too elitist to enjoy them for what they are = an escape.

  2. While I agree comics are the great escape, I think Morrison is also saying that they are more than that. They are our repressed optimism and eagerness to succeed in the world being fulfilled on the page. They are humankind’s subconscious setting goals for our society to try and accomplish. They do this through crazy imagination, but they help push us forward while providing a fanciful escape.

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