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  1. #1
    I'll be witty later.
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    Default Superhero Novels

    I'm new to the site and have been quite impressed by the openness of ideas and constructive criticism on the discussion boards. So here's my question(s) . . .

    Why aren't there many novels that follow superhero/mutant/supervillian storylines? Why have those genre of characters been isolated to comicbooks? With the growing successes of comic-to-movies, Heroes TV show, and the legitimizing of the comicbook storytelling style, do you think we could see good leaps to novels now?

    Would you read a novel centered around superhero/mutant/supervillian storylines?

    Thanks, all!

  2. #2
    dead student Jean Prouvaire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeverBurn2 View Post
    Why aren't there many novels that follow superhero/mutant/supervillian storylines? Why have those genre of characters been isolated to comicbooks?
    I guess it's because the genre (superheroes in spandex) is so indelibly identified with the format (comics).

    With the growing successes of comic-to-movies, Heroes TV show, and the legitimizing of the comicbook storytelling style, do you think we could see good leaps to novels now?
    Not sure ... traditional superhero stories are inherently visual so the move to TV and movies takes advantage of that heritage. Prose stories tend to be more internalised. (On the other hand I might not know what the hell I'm talking about. There's plenty of examples of prose fiction that's action-adventure based - from pulp to war stories and westerns.)

    Which is not to say that you can't write good superheroes novels. Elliot S Maggin's Last Son of Krypton (and, from what I can recall) Miracle Monday are both excellent reads.

    What might work are novels that utilise some of the trappings or perhaps actual historical settings of the comic book world to write ... err ... "real" books. Michael Chabon Kavalier & Clay is I guess the prime example of that.

  3. #3
    MXAAGVNIEETRO were right The Black Guardian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeverBurn2 View Post
    I'm new to the site and have been quite impressed by the openness of ideas and constructive criticism on the discussion boards. So here's my question(s) . . .

    Why aren't there many novels that follow superhero/mutant/supervillian storylines? Why have those genre of characters been isolated to comicbooks? With the growing successes of comic-to-movies, Heroes TV show, and the legitimizing of the comicbook storytelling style, do you think we could see good leaps to novels now?
    As said above, comics are such a visual media that it can be hard to translate into prose. Books, in general, are such hard sells these days though. I doubt we will ever see large leaps from comics to novels.
    Would you read a novel centered around superhero/mutant/supervillian storylines?
    Not only would I, but I have and do. One of my most favourite novel series of all time is the Wild Cards series. The 19th novel of the series was just released last month... have yet to pick it up though.
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  4. #4
    Suprmetrician Matthew E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeverBurn2 View Post
    I'm new to the site and have been quite impressed by the openness of ideas and constructive criticism on the discussion boards. So here's my question(s) . . .

    Why aren't there many novels that follow superhero/mutant/supervillian storylines? Why have those genre of characters been isolated to comicbooks? With the growing successes of comic-to-movies, Heroes TV show, and the legitimizing of the comicbook storytelling style, do you think we could see good leaps to novels now?

    Would you read a novel centered around superhero/mutant/supervillian storylines?

    Thanks, all!
    There are some. I've got quite a few. I second the recommendation for the Wild Cards series, and I always make a point of recommending Jim Munroe's Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gasmask. Minister Faust's From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain is also quite an interesting read.
    matthewe.com: updates on the superhero novel-in-progress Ded & Sac, the Superhero of the Day, and more.

  5. #5
    Duck Dude Donald M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeverBurn2 View Post
    I'm new to the site and have been quite impressed by the openness of ideas and constructive criticism on the discussion boards. So here's my question(s) . . .

    Why aren't there many novels that follow superhero/mutant/supervillian storylines? Why have those genre of characters been isolated to comicbooks? With the growing successes of comic-to-movies, Heroes TV show, and the legitimizing of the comicbook storytelling style, do you think we could see good leaps to novels now?
    There aren't as many as there are, say, Detective Thrillers, but there are probably more than you probably think. Not just adaptations of existing comic characters either, though there are plenty of those and some are actually pretty good.


    Would you read a novel centered around superhero/mutant/supervillian storylines?
    Would, have and will again.

    Thanks, all!
    You're welcome.
    Last edited by Donald M.; 01-09-2009 at 09:30 PM.
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  6. #6
    I'll be witty later.
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    Thanks for the suggestions so far! It's really hard to find these types of books on Amazon without recommendations. I searched everything and came up with mostly comics, collections, satires, and psychology/historical books. Weird. I'm not really in the mood for the satires and fake instructions for superhero books that abound - though they're great when looking for a chuckle. I'm looking more for a dramatic or literary read.

    I'll be looking into Wild Cards right away, the concept of it being a collection of short stories written on theme is interesting.

  7. #7
    Bowties are cool! a. non's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeverBurn2 View Post
    I'm new to the site and have been quite impressed by the openness of ideas and constructive criticism on the discussion boards. So here's my question(s) . . .

    Why aren't there many novels that follow superhero/mutant/supervillian storylines? Why have those genre of characters been isolated to comicbooks? With the growing successes of comic-to-movies, Heroes TV show, and the legitimizing of the comicbook storytelling style, do you think we could see good leaps to novels now?
    What they said; visual works better for it than text.

    Would you read a novel centered around superhero/mutant/supervillian storylines?

    Thanks, all!
    I have: Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman; Nobody Gets The Girl by James Maxey

  8. #8
    God Of Tokusatsu Guy1's Avatar
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    Spider-Man Darkest Hours is a good novel that goes deeper into the Ancients, for those comic fans, Morlun's people.
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  9. #9
    Duck Dude Donald M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a. non View Post
    What they said; visual works better for it than text.
    Nah. I think the general lack of superhero novels compared to other genres is more to do with how the genre is perceived than anything inherent in the genre.

    It really depends on how narrow your definition of superhero is though. The action adventure, fantasy and science fiction genres are full of characters with superhuman and/or magical abilities.
    "A true friend stabs you in the front." - Oscar Wilde

  10. #10
    I'll be witty later.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald M. View Post
    Nah. I think the general lack of superhero novels compared to other genres is more to do with how the genre is perceived than anything inherent in the genre.

    It really depends on how narrow your definition of superhero is though. The action adventure, fantasy and science fiction genres are full of characters with superhuman and/or magical abilities.

    Nailed it! My feelings 100%

  11. #11
    Older than Dirt Rik Levins's Avatar
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    I'm surprised that no one's mentioned Robert Mayer's Super Folks, the granddaddy of them all, and the inspiration for Watchmen and Marvelman (aka Miracleman).

  12. #12
    Older than Dirt Rik Levins's Avatar
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    Oh, yeah...I recommend Those Who Walk In Darkness and the sequel What Fire Cannot Burn, both by John Ridley.

    The main character is Soledad O'Roark, a special tactics and weapons cop who hunts down and kills superheroes (yes, heroes, as well as villains). She's quite the badass.

  13. #13
    Yeah, that's really us Greg Hatcher's Avatar
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    I actually did a column surveying a bunch of prose superhero books not too long ago. There are more than you think.
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  14. #14
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    Good and detailed article!

    It strikes me odd that so many of the superhero novels you mentioned are satirical or humorous. A few dramatic ones, but satire seems to dominate. Weird.

  15. #15
    BANNED robinson76's Avatar
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    Spider-Man Darkest Hours is really a good novel.

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