We’re not getting our usual selection of superhero blockbusters in theaters this summer for obvious reasons, but that doesn’t mean we have to be deprived of good superhero stories. One way to get them is by supporting your local comic book shop, and another is by searching the internet.
Or you can let me search the internet for you and collect a bunch of free-to-read superhero short stories into one nice list. 😉
Sojourner: Forsaken by Will Casel Brown
It is my hope and expectation that Sojourner: Forsaken will eventually grow too long to be considered a “short story,” but I’ll keep it on this list forever anyway because I love it.
The story follows Sojourner, an alien sent to Earth to study superhumans, but who crash-lands and ends up getting involved with the resistance. The main villain is the Enforcer, a costumed superhuman who is definitely not a hero and whom I just hate SO MUCH. Much of the action involves fighting him or escaping from him, and it’s wild how much adventure is packed into the current four chapters.
Sojourner: Forsaken is a “hero’s choice adventure,” where you can vote on the actions the characters take next chapter. (If we’re ever given the option to beat up the Enforcer, I’m going to vote for it so hard.) Check it out on the author’s website and choose wisely!
Origin Story by Lia Swope Mitchell
Give us a hero, the people said. So for everyone’s sake, the genius tried.
What makes someone a hero? That’s the question Origin Story poses as its scientist main character tries to build a superhero from the ground up. He takes everything from powers to appearance to backstory into consideration, and there are some definite Dr. Frankenstein vibes going on as he puts all the pieces together.
What kind of hero does he create? I won’t spoil how it turns out, but…um, maybe look elsewhere if you want a happy ending.
You can read it on Vice.com.
The Superhero Baby Boy by Alicia McCalla
This story is a heartwarming one. Granted, it takes place on a post-apocalyptic Earth that’s been invaded by aliens, so don’t expect everything to be sunshine and rainbows. There’s danger and darkness but also resilience and hope, and it’s all about a mother who’d do anything to protect her son.
You can read the text or listen to it read aloud by the author herself on her website, which is full of stories and articles that are definitely worth a look.
A Mindreader’s Guide to Surviving Your First Year at the All-Girls Superhero Academy by Jenn Reese
I had such a big smile on my face when I finished this one. It’s funny and sweet, romantic and hopeful–just perfect, really. The story follows a mind-reader who’s having trouble fitting in at superhero school (Is being able to read minds in a building full of teenagers anyone else’s nightmare scenario?) and tackles the question of what makes people good or evil.
I’m going to stop writing now, because it’s wasting your time when you could be clicking the link and reading this story in Uncanny Magazine.
If you liked these, you can find plenty more superhero fiction in my three previous roundups. You can also read my own short story, How Lady Nightmare Stole Captain Alpha’s Girlfriend, in Luna Station Quarterly. And if you know of any other awesome superhero short stories, be sure to recommend them in the comments!