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Superhero Storytelling Supergods

Today’s a good day to brush the moths out of your wallet/purse and add some goodness to your bookshelf: July 19 marks the U.S. release of two separate books which touch on the work of two magical (literally) comic book storytellers.

Gary Spencer Millidge’s authorised “visual biography” of Alan Moore, Storyteller (released August 1 in the UK), is definitely a must-have for any comics afficionado:

The definitive book on Alan Moore, renowned as one of the most important talents in contemporary comics and graphic novels, and his trailblazing works of visual storytelling. Alan Moore is one of the most important creative forces in the history of comics. His innovative works, which include V for Vendetta, Watchmen, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, have become enduring features of the modern cultural landscape, inspiring countless artists, from writers and illustrators to graphic novelists and filmmakers. Moore has won more awards and prizes than can be named — including nine Eisners, seven Harveys, multiple Jack Kirby awards, and the only Hugo ever awarded for work on a comic.

Drawing on new and unpublished interviews, as well as rarely seen art and photos, this is the first book on his work to have Moore’s cooperation and support, making it a must-have for his many fans and for anyone interested in the art of visual storytelling. Alan Moore: Storyteller is a survey of his expansive work, from his high-profile best sellers to rarely seen experimental projects, such as spoken word and performance art. Individual works are richly illustrated from Moore’s personal archives and paired with critical context. An audio CD will feature excerpts from some of Moore’s multimedia performances and songs, making this the Alan Moore handbook: a must-have for his many comic-book fans and anyone interested in the art of visual storytelling.

Plenty more information about the book available via the links in this blog entry over at the Ilex Press website. (On a sidenote, make sure you check out the latest instalment of Erik Davis’s “Expanding Mind” podcast, in which he talks to Alan Moore about “psychogeography, John Dee, comic gods, and the art of magic”.)

The other book release is Grant Morrison’s Supergods (Amazon US or Amazon UK) in which the enigmatic Glaswegian writer explores the modern mythology of the comic book superhero:

The first superhero comic ever published, Action Comics no. 1 in 1938, introduced the world to something both unprecedented and timeless: Superman, a caped god for the modern age. Grant Morrison's Supergods book coverIn a matter of years, the skies of the imaginary world were filled with strange mutants, aliens, and vigilantes: Batman, Wonder Woman, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and the X-Men—the list of names as familiar as our own. In less than a century, they’ve gone from not existing at all to being everywhere we look: on our movie and television screens, in our videogames and dreams. But what are they trying to tell us?

For Grant Morrison, arguably the greatest of contemporary chroniclers of the “superworld,” these heroes are powerful archetypes whose ongoing, decades-spanning story arcs reflect and predict the course of human existence: Through them we tell the story of ourselves, our troubled history, and our starry aspirations. In this exhilarating work of a lifetime, Morrison draws on art, science, mythology, and his own astonishing journeys through this shadow universe to provide the first true history of the superhero—why they matter, why they will always be with us, and what they tell us about who we are…and what we may yet become.

If you enjoy Morrison’s book, you might also want to check out Chris Knowles’ Our Gods Wear Spandex (2007) and Jeff Kripal’s recent Boing Boing article, “Psi-Fi: Popular Culture and the Paranormal“.

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