(Super)Hero with 1000 Faces
Mon 16 Jun 2014, 18.30-20.00
Conference Centre, British Library
£8, (£6 Over 60s) and £5
Heroes and superheroes have always been essential to comics: a major section of the Comics Unmasked exhibition charts the story from Dick Turpin, via Spider-Man and Modesty Blaise, to Kick Ass. But in recent decades our superheroes have become less clean-cut, darker and more complex. Meet writers Warren Ellis and Grant Morrison, and experts Will Brooker and Sarah Zaidan to find out why. Chaired by author and columnist Sam Leith.
- Will Brooker earned the title 'Dr Batman' for his PhD on the cultural history of the caped crusader. He is the author/editor of nine books, including Batman Unmasked (2000) and Hunting the Dark Knight (2012), and is acknowledged as an international academic expert, public speaker and media consultant on popular narratives and their audiences. In January 2013 he was appointed to Cinema Journal, the major publication in the discipline of film, television and media, as its first British Editor. He is writer of the feminist superhero comic series My So-Called Secret Identity illustrated by Suze Shore and Sarah Zaidan
- Warren Ellis is the award-winning writer of graphic novels like Transmetropolitan, Fell, Ministry Of Space And Planetary, and the author of the NYT-bestselling Gun Machine and the “underground classic” novel Crooked Little Vein. The movie Red is based on his graphic novel of the same name, its sequel having been released in summer 2013. His Gravel books are in development for film at Legendary Pictures, with Tim Miller attached to direct. Iron Man 3 is based on his Marvel Comics graphic novel Iron Man: Extremis. He’s also written extensively for Vice, Wired UK and Reuters on technological and cultural matters, and is co-writing a video project called Wastelanders with Joss Whedon. Warren is currently working on a non-fiction book about the future of the city for Farrar Giroux Straus. His newest publication is the digital short-story single Dead Pig Collector, from FSG Originals.A documentary about his work, Captured Ghosts, was released in 2012.
- Grant Morrison is highly regarded as one of the most original and inventive writers to work in the comic book industry. He is recognised as being one of the best-selling writers in the medium in the last 20 years. His revisionist Batman book Arkham Asylum (with artist Dave McKean) has sold over 600,000 copies worldwide and won numerous awards, making it the most successful original graphic novel to be published in America. Grant is renowned for his ability to revive and re-imagine established characters, and has been orchestral behind runs of popular stories for the major companies including DC Comics characters; Batman, Superman, Justice League Of America, Doom Patrol, Animal Man and for Marvel Comics the best-selling monthly, New X-Men, Marvel Boy and Fantastic Four. In 2008, Grant wrote the two top selling DC Comics titles Final Crisis, and Batman. The controversial Batman R.I.P. storyline which has revolutionised the character was caught in a worldwide press storm with reports of Grant ‘killing Batman’. In 2013, he completed a seven year run on the franchise having created the best-selling Batman & Robin. In 2014, work at DC Comics includes a revisionist take on Wonder Woman for the Earth One Graphic Novel, Wonder Woman: The Trial Of Diana Prince. The epic, long-awaited maxi series, Multiversity, is due for release in June 2014.
- Sarah Zaidan is both a scholar and practitioner of comics and holds a BFA in Sequential Art from the Savannah College of Art and History with a dissertation released in the form of an award winning video game that guides users through seventy years of superhero figures in American mass media and the ways they represent changing perceptions of masculinity in the corresponding decades. Her research interests include superheroes, narrative, interactive technology, gender, society and the junctions where they overlap. She is one of the creators and illustrators of the feminist superhero comic series My So-Called Secret Identity, written by Will Brooker.