Download Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God From Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human PDF

TitleSupergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God From Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human
Author
TagsDc Comics Star Wars Comics Batman Comics Captain America Comics Marvel Comics Adult Comics
LanguageEnglish
File Size3.7 MB
Total Pages373
Table of Contents
                            Cover
Title Page
Copyright
Dedication
Epigraph
INTRODUCTION
PART 1: THE GOLDEN AGE
CHAPTER 1: THE SUN GOD AND THE DARK KNIGHT
CHAPTER 2: LIGHTNING’S CHILD
CHAPTER 3: THE SUPERWARRIOR AND THE AMAZON PRINCESS
CHAPTER 4: THE EXPLOSION AND THE EXTINCTION
PART 2: THE SILVER AGE
CHAPTER 5: SUPERMAN ON THE COUCH
CHAPTER 6: CHEMICALS AND LIGHTNING
CHAPTER 7: THE FAB FOUR AND THE BIRTH OF THE MARVELOUS
CHAPTER 8: SUPERPOP
CHAPTER 9: INFINITE EARTHS
CHAPTER 10: SHAMANS OF MADISON AVENUE
PART 3: THE DARK AGE
CHAPTER 11: BRIGHTEST DAY, BLACKEST NIGHT
CHAPTER 12: FEARED AND MISUNDERSTOOD
CHAPTER 13: FEARFUL SYMMETRY
CHAPTER 14: ZENITH
CHAPTER 15: THE HATEFUL DEAD
CHAPTER 16: IMAGE VERSUS SUBSTANCE
CHAPTER 17: KING MOB—MY LIFE AS A SUPERHERO
PART 4: THE RENAISSANCE
CHAPTER 18: MAN OF MUSCLE MYSTERY
CHAPTER 19: WHAT’S SO FUNNY ABOUT TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND THE AMERICAN WAY?
CHAPTER 20: RESPECTING AUTHORITY
CHAPTER 21: HOLLYWOOD SNIFFS BLOOD
CHAPTER 22: NU MARVEL 9/11
CHAPTER 23: THE DAY EVIL WON
CHAPTER 24: IRON MEN AND INCREDIBLES
CHAPTER 25: OVER THE EVENT HORIZON
CHAPTER 26: STAR, LEGEND, SUPERHERO, SUPERGOD?
OUTRO: ’NUFF SAID
	ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
	SUGGESTED FURTHER READING
	Illustration Credits
	About the Author
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 186

own achievements seemed to count as nothing by comparison. The Mixers,
meanwhile, were spinning in multicolored circles, devolving to nothing more
than posters, threats, and endless vague rehearsals with a carousel of drummers
who never stuck around, smelling our lack of commitment to actually playing
live. I was still on the dole and living at home, a sitcom character disturbing the
fragile peace between my mum and my increasingly depressed stepdad, a sea
captain.
Eventually with a recommendation from founder, fellow Scot, and

future writer Alan Grant, Fleetway hired me to write a trial
twist-ending story with the promise of more. It meant that I could afford

to be self-employed and say farewell to the Department of Social Services. My
first deadline, the next big step up toward the US superhero universes,
coincided with the epochal eruption of the sea captain’s by-now-volcanic inner
demons. My stepfather needed a small, soft scapegoat and chose the innocent
feral kittens I’d rescued from the garbage bins outside. He lost all patience when
he realized that the tiny orphans were behind the infestation of ringworm that
explained the stink of disinfectant and why Mum was wearing polo neck
sweaters that hid her neck in the hot middle of August. I was told to have those
kittens “put down” several times, but I persevered with them, and they got over
the ringworm and the diarrhea and vomiting, growing to fine cathood, even
appearing on the cover and in the pages of DC Comics’ title,
thereby securing themselves some little immortality.
In exile at my dad’s place, I wrote the first of seventeen stories

as my apprenticeship with . These were short, done-in-one science
fiction stories—anything from a single page to five pages long—with O. Henry
twists or shock endings. Like so many others, I honed my skills on these odd
little haiku-like pieces, for which I’d developed a kind of English middle-class
sci-fi twang based on the writing of Douglas Adams of

fame, which seemed to fit with ’s brand of playground
rebellion. After working one’s way through a few years of , it was
customary to be offered a series to write, usually one devised by the editors. So I
was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time with the right subject
when it was announced that planned to take on the Americans at their
own game with a big, revisionist superhero story set in Britain and featuring all
new characters. All eyes were back on the superhero. What happened next?
What came post- ?
I’d waited all my life for this moment, and my offering was , which

used a few characters and concepts I’d created for an earlier and mercifully
unpublished strip about glum British superheroes. I rethought the entire concept

Page 187

to bring it into line with a sensibility I hoped could bridge the gap between
’s Saturnian heaviness and the breezy shallowness of eighties pop

culture. I saw it not as art but as a freelance gig, a step up the ladder toward the
American superheroes I wanted to get my hands on, so I constructed quite
carefully. I was resolutely straight edge, no drink, no drugs, no caffeine. In the
strictest sense of the coinage, my girlfriend Judy and I were Young Upwardly
Mobile People, doing uncommonly well under a prime minister who fronted a
political party I’d been raised to despise as my class duty, still identifying with
roots I’d long ago outgrown. I needed my own new direction away from leaden
politics and humorless social realism.
In 1986 I was invited to the Birmingham Comic Convention. There I met the

one-of-a-kind artist Brendan McCarthy, who complimented me on my
fringe and floppy cuffs. McCarthy was a styled and prickly

genius whose hand had and still has a direct line to his unconscious mind.
Imagine that you could take photographs of your dreams, and you will have
some idea what McCarthy is able to do with his art. I liked him immediately,
recognizing a far-flung überspecimen of my own odd and difficult breed,
immediately tracking down the three Day-Glo issues of McCarthy’s

comic-book series from 1982. In it, he and two other early exports to the
United States, Brett Ewins and writer Peter Milligan, had created something that
now opened my eyes to the horrible bargain I’d made: I’d been chasing the
dollar by aping the styles of popular writers, but took me back to
the days and reminded me of the pride that I took in the madcap,
personal comics I still wrote and drew in my free time.

superhero character Paradax was a pompadoured poser who
could walk through walls as long as he was wearing a banana-yellow skintight
one-piece that married the Kid Flash design to glam rock and Ziggy Stardust.
Paradax was a slacker superhero, interested only in fame and sex, manipulated
by his manager into aimless struggles with living abstractions like Jack Empty,
the Hollow Man, or “ … the madness of a warm toilet seat … and

… the heinous scab on the crotch of your dreams.” This was a comic
created by art students to be a sexy, funny, and clever deconstruction of
superhero and adventure tropes. McCarthy’s melting superpsychedelic visuals
could sprawl across pages in a trancelike pageant of phosphorescent dream
imagery, conjuring epic post-Kirby aboriginal visions of city-sized, floating,
three-eyed Kennedy heads and a runway parade of fabulous, ludicrous
supervillains as easily and lovingly as he captured the bustle and life of the East
Village arts scene. Imagine grown up androgynous on
mushrooms in the Dreamtime, and you may get some distant flavor of the

Page 372

Table of Contents
Cover
Title Page
Copyright
Dedication
Epigraph
INTRODUCTION
PART 1: THE GOLDEN AGE
CHAPTER 1: THE SUN GOD AND THE DARK KNIGHT
CHAPTER 2: LIGHTNING’S CHILD
CHAPTER 3: THE SUPERWARRIOR AND THE AMAZON PRINCESS
CHAPTER 4: THE EXPLOSION AND THE EXTINCTION
PART 2: THE SILVER AGE
CHAPTER 5: SUPERMAN ON THE COUCH
CHAPTER 6: CHEMICALS AND LIGHTNING
CHAPTER 7: THE FAB FOUR AND THE BIRTH OF THE MARVELOUS
CHAPTER 8: SUPERPOP
CHAPTER 9: INFINITE EARTHS
CHAPTER 10: SHAMANS OF MADISON AVENUE
PART 3: THE DARK AGE
CHAPTER 11: BRIGHTEST DAY, BLACKEST NIGHT
CHAPTER 12: FEARED AND MISUNDERSTOOD
CHAPTER 13: FEARFUL SYMMETRY
CHAPTER 14: ZENITH
CHAPTER 15: THE HATEFUL DEAD
CHAPTER 16: IMAGE VERSUS SUBSTANCE
CHAPTER 17: KING MOB—MY LIFE AS A SUPERHERO
PART 4: THE RENAISSANCE
CHAPTER 18: MAN OF MUSCLE MYSTERY
CHAPTER 19: WHAT’S SO FUNNY ABOUT TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND THE
AMERICAN WAY?

CHAPTER 20: RESPECTING AUTHORITY
CHAPTER 21: HOLLYWOOD SNIFFS BLOOD
CHAPTER 22: NU MARVEL 9/11
CHAPTER 23: THE DAY EVIL WON
CHAPTER 24: IRON MEN AND INCREDIBLES

Page 373

CHAPTER 25: OVER THE EVENT HORIZON
CHAPTER 26: STAR, LEGEND, SUPERHERO, SUPERGOD?
OUTRO: ’NUFF SAID

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING
Illustration Credits
About the Author

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