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Subject: Superhero Novels? rss

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Duke Of Lizards
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I've never really liked comic books. While the art is nice, when I'm reading, I like painting the pictures in my imagination. Because I've not really gotten into comics, it has taken me a while to realize that I'm really enamored with the mythology of those universes filled with conflicted heroes with incredible powers and villains intent on destroying the world. I like the movies, the games, etc., but I often don't have the background knowledge to fully appreciate the subtleties. However, I find myself wanting to explore these superhero universes in more depth.

So, chit-chat: are there any good superhero novels? I seem to particularly like the Marvel universe, especially X-Men, but I'm open to other suggestions. On the other hand, perhaps it's the case that the "logic" of the mythology is so thin that the universes don't stand up to scrutiny in novel form. I imagine someone has given it a shot at some point though.
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Erik D
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The closest thing I can think of off the top of my head is Mistborn, though it's fantasy.
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Jesse Hickle
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I recently read Brandon Sanderson's Steelheart, and really enjoyed it. It's not really a superhero book because everyone with superpowers is a villain, but it's that type of thing.
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The Wild Cards series by George RR Martin and others.

Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher is a good supers novel.

I guess Adam Christopher's Empire State (described as "a noir, Philip K Dick-ish science fiction superhero story") also counts.
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Robert M
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I've read a couple that I've enjoyed by Kevin J. Anderson
The Last Days of Krypton -- Prequel to Superman
Enemies & Allies -- Superman meets Batman
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Worm

(Warning: Long and rather dark.)
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Bryan Thunkd
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andyl wrote:
The Wild Cards series by George RR Martin and others.
I liked this series a lot... but it was years ago that I read it, so maybe part of my affection is nostalgia? Definitely interesting if nothing else.

While I like traditional comic books (I'm also a Marvel & X-man fan) the constant retconning and alternate universes and reimplementations frustrate me. I'd probably be more interested in reading a novel of something a little less mainstream.
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Andy Leighton
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Thunkd wrote:
andyl wrote:
The Wild Cards series by George RR Martin and others.
I liked this series a lot... but it was years ago that I read it, so maybe part of my affection is nostalgia? Definitely interesting if nothing else.


There has been more fairly recently. Fort Freak was 2011.
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Thunkd wrote:
While I like traditional comic books (I'm also a Marvel & X-man fan) the constant retconning and alternate universes and reimplementations frustrate me. I'd probably be more interested in reading a novel of something a little less mainstream.


Or at least limited series that don't cross over or require 50 different subscriptions just to keep up.
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I haven't read it, but there was a novelization of Alex Ross and Mark Waid's Kingdom Come.

The Hellboy novels might work, too.
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Duke Of Lizards
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Scott Firestone IV wrote:
The Hellboy novels might work, too.


Are they any good? I liked the movie.


There are quite a few more novels than I expected in the Marvel Universe, but many of them are "young adult" and there isn't a good way to judge the quality of any others. Has anyone actually read any of these or perhaps other books by the authors?
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I read one that was entirely about a super villain's perspective, and it was quite delightful. Check out

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman.

Also, I have always considered the Dresden books to be essentially superhero narratives. He has special powers. He fights evil, solves mysteries, gets swept up in epic struggles. He essentially has to conceal his special identity from the mundane world (especially the cops) but he has certain mundanes on his side and who know his secrets (the lady cop Murphy, for example). He is widely distrusted and disliked by both the mundane world, and the supernatural world, and yet in spite of this, he does his best to bring only goodness and light into the world. Etc etc. The tropes are all there, and they are all superhero tropes. It just so happens that Dresden's special ability is magic. He might as well be Dr. Strange.

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MScrivner wrote:
I read one that was entirely about a super villain's perspective, and it was quite delightful. Check out

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman.



Yep, short but wondeful. Also the Chip Kidd cover is a delight!
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Dennis O'Neil did Knightfall as a novel in addition to the comics.
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Greg Cox did a few DC novels. Infinite Crisis and 52. Both were slightly smaller in scope but quite well done.

He has a few others in his belt...an Iron Man & a DD I think.
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polychrotid wrote:
Scott Firestone IV wrote:
The Hellboy novels might work, too.


Are they any good? I liked the movie.



I read The All-Seeing Eye and didn't like it much at all. But that doesn't mean the others are bad, too.
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John Shirley had some good licensed novels: Batman: Dead White may be the best. The Constantine ones were also good and probably better than the Alien and Predator ones.

Does Jonathan Lethem Fortress of Solitude count?
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There is a reprint of The Adventures of Superman. It was written in 1942 and so it's definitely a product of its time (pulpy), and certainly doesn't contain any of the modern mythos.


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MScrivner wrote:
I read one that was entirely about a super villain's perspective, and it was quite delightful. Check out

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman.

Also, I have always considered the Dresden books to be essentially superhero narratives. He has special powers. He fights evil, solves mysteries, gets swept up in epic struggles. He essentially has to conceal his special identity from the mundane world (especially the cops) but he has certain mundanes on his side and who know his secrets (the lady cop Murphy, for example). He is widely distrusted and disliked by both the mundane world, and the supernatural world, and yet in spite of this, he does his best to bring only goodness and light into the world. Etc etc. The tropes are all there, and they are all superhero tropes. It just so happens that Dresden's special ability is magic. He might as well be Dr. Strange.



Delightful is an excellent recommendation - thanks. And I love the Dresden Files books. Isn't the new one coming very soon?
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polychrotid wrote:


Delightful is an excellent recommendation - thanks. And I love the Dresden Files books. Isn't the new one coming very soon?



Kept getting pushed back. HC finally comes out in 5 days.
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polychrotid wrote:
So, chit-chat: are there any good superhero novels? I seem to particularly like the Marvel universe, especially X-Men, but I'm open to other suggestions. On the other hand, perhaps it's the case that the "logic" of the mythology is so thin that the universes don't stand up to scrutiny in novel form. I imagine someone has given it a shot at some point though.


There's a trilogy of Spider-Man Sinister Six novels by Adam Troy Castro. The first one is apparently a bit hard to find unfortunately.
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Not quite superheroes, but close enough: Lord of Light by Zelazny.
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From another browser window (i.e. Charlie Stross' blog)

Quote:
I've been reading a lot of superhero fiction lately (The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar, Turbulence by Samit Basu, the Velveteen books by Seanan McGuire, to name but four: I'll even confess to Carrie Vaughn's superhero spin-off series, and others besides

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trif wrote:
From another browser window (i.e. Charlie Stross' blog)

Quote:
I've been reading a lot of superhero fiction lately (The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar, Turbulence by Samit Basu, the Velveteen books by Seanan McGuire, to name but four: I'll even confess to Carrie Vaughn's superhero spin-off series, and others besides



I nearly listed The Violent Century but I didn't. True it does contain superheroes. But it isn't really the sort of superhero story you would find in a Marvel comic. It isn't really about superheroes in the same way.

One I did forget was Count Geiger's Blues by Michael Bishop. Again a bit more than a superhero novel.
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Duke Of Lizards
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andyl wrote:
trif wrote:
From another browser window (i.e. Charlie Stross' blog)

Quote:
I've been reading a lot of superhero fiction lately (The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar, Turbulence by Samit Basu, the Velveteen books by Seanan McGuire, to name but four: I'll even confess to Carrie Vaughn's superhero spin-off series, and others besides



I nearly listed The Violent Century but I didn't. True it does contain superheroes. But it isn't really the sort of superhero story you would find in a Marvel comic. It isn't really about superheroes in the same way.


I'm really curious about this. My inexperience with the comics means I don't even know what is typical. How does The Violent Century differ?
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