I’m trying something new with the tidbit thursday this week…informed rants!
We’ll see how it goes.
Hey, did you know that in addition to being the beloved author of a young adult novel involving two time traveling con men (con people?), I also happen to have a couple of superhero novels under my belt?
That’s right, kids…The Legend of Buddy Hero and its sequel Rise of the Fat Mogul are both books in my Defenders Series which follows a few folks around as they try to pick up the pieces of a world that forgot about them.
Here’s the thing about superhero novels, though…they’re kind of overlooked. Seeing as superheroes (at least the traditional definition of them) came about through the incredibly visual medium of comic books, and have more recently become incredibly popular through the even more visual medium of film, the few folks who take the time to actually write about these heroes using only words are generally barking up the wrong tree.
Which is incredibly disappointing, if you ask me, because there are some great superhero novels out there, which do an amazing job of circumventing the visual part of the style of storytelling and really bring things back to their roots..the parable-esque nature of ancient myths.
Actually, I think you’d find it interesting if you actually looked at some of the more popular books of recent days, things like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, or even the Twilight series, and compare it to comic books of old. There’s a whole lot there that are similar. Harry Potter being your typical “nothing can hurt me” character who has a host of sidekicks with special powers who keep him going forward…you know, like the X-men. Katniss Everdeen, the principle-driven person who wants to change the world, although really shouldn’t be capable of such power…backed by the image of some winged creature that everyone rallies beneath….you know…like a Batman…or…since she has the arrows…maybe Green Arrow? And Bella whatsherface from Twilight…well, she’s not really much like the superheroes at all, but romance comics used to be a big thing, and there was often a lot of crossover between romance comics and horror comics…so…you know…I’m only stretching a little here.
But I get it…it’s really hard to want to even consider changing how you read about superheroes. Why read about someone flying through the air, leaping over buildings in a single bound and all that, when you can see it either on the page or on the screen?
That’s a great question. A question that I hope every single author out there who has attempted to pen a superhero novel has attempted to answer and taken into account when putting their stuff together.
Take, for instance, Flora and Ulysses….now, this book does have some pictures involved, but they’re really a smaller portion of the whole piece. And this is young adult literature…really young adult. But the author here uses superheroes as the way the may character deals with the fact that her parents are divorced…and a superhero squirrel works to keep Flora safe and happy and on crazed adventures that keep her distracted from what’s really bothering her.
Or Henchmen, a book that takes a look at the whole superhero phenomenon not just from the bad guy’s standpoint, but from the bad guy’s sidekick’s standpoint. Here we see that everyone within an evil organization has their own reason for being involved…and it might not always be money.
The Supernaturalist is an interesting example in that it first appeared in the written format, but then went on to become a graphic novel…and soon a movie? (apparently, maybe)
So…needless to say, I’ve only scratched the surface here of what superhero novels might have to offer. And obviously those who are silly enough to attempt to write in the genre are facing some terrible odds, seeing as those most interested in superheroes tend to put their money on the ones that come in pretty packages with fantastic pictures.
But I suggest you take a stab at reading one of the more literary versions of the characters. You might find they’re even more amazing when you’re allowed to create your own visualizations…
Have fun out there!