Thwip!’s Retro Tuesday – Zenith

Tuesday means that Thwip! goes “retro” and talks about collections/storylines that we think were awesome (and still are) – today we talk about Grant Morrison’s Zenith

Grant Morrison’s work is known for a lot of things, but I think the biggest word that one would attribute to his style of comics is “metatextual.”

That is, he likes to poke around and see what makes a hero tick.

Now this is a trope of Morrison’s that many are familiar with, thanks to his rise in prominence over the past twenty years or so, but to truly appreciate his meta-textual look at superheroes, it is best to go one of his earliest (actually, I guess I should say “earlier” ’cause when Zenith was being printed, 2000AD were fully committed to letting Morrison tell the story, as compared to when he first started with the company, but I digress) works – Zenith.

After quite a few long years mired in creator-rights controversy, now Zenith can be picked up pretty easily.

Let me tell you, it is worth the read.

Zenith is a second-generation superhero…who first tries to make his celebrity life more of a priority than his superheroics. Over the course of four (published) volumes, the story takes twists and turns, all the while being a larger commentary both on the idea of heroes and superheroics, as well as the generational gap (this comic was published in the late 80s afterall) and conservatives.

Even if you don’t get all the social commentary, the stories itself are great fun to read as Zenith gets dragged into dealing with the messes left behind by the previous generation of heroes – and all the while the reader gets to enjoy the adventure and the great Steve Yeowell art, which has a nice classic quality to it that one does not normally associate with 2000AD (which goes towards the more grotestque or hyper-exaggerated).

This is a good series that is both off the beaten path, while firmly all about the mainstream – definitely worth your time and effort to find and read.


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