I love a good anthology. Getting a dozen stories in one collection, discovering new authors, diving into new worlds—what’s not to like? Fans of superhero fiction are particularly lucky, because there are a lot of good superhero anthologies out there. In honor of the release of Heroes and Villains, the new boxed set that contains Hero Status along with nine other novels, I want to spotlight four of my favorite anthologies and four on my to-read list.
WARNING: This post contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War. Do NOT read this if you haven’t seen the movie yet.
I’m an emotional wreck right now.
I walked into the theater over the weekend so hyped and excited. I left feeling traumatized. It’s like going to your birthday party, but when you walk through the door, the guests start beating you up, and they keep at it for two hours and forty minutes, pausing only to tell jokes and have brief character moments.
And we have to wait how long for the sequel? (Yes, I’m going back for the sequel, because apparently I’m a glutton for punishment.) If you look at all those long months before the next release date and feel the same crushing despair you felt at the end of the movie, I have two things for you.
The first is a virtual hug. The second is a list of books to fill the void in your heart.
Interested in traveling back in time and across dimensions? Good, because I’ve got a collection of steampunk short fiction to transport you to other worlds. The steam and clockwork-powered robots in these stories range from evil to enchanting, from sentient beings to human-piloted machines of mass destruction. The one thing they all have in common is being highly entertaining.
The Mark V Eleganté by Nelson Stanley
The Mark V Eleganté is a fantastic audio short over at Gallery of Curiosities. It’s set around an insanely dangerous race of massive steampunk contraptions where the only rule is that anything goes, and stuff gets smashed up worse than when the Hulk comes to town. The main character has a memorable voice, and the narrator fits him so perfectly that I can’t imagine anyone else reading it. The story manages to be both super fun and really tragic at the same time, and you should definitely give it a listen.
…I’d probably lose the company a lot of money, because I’m terrible at predicting what will be popular. Seriously, I’m the worst. But every nerd likes to dream, so if I somehow became a Hollywood executive, scriptwriter, or [insert name of important job here], these are the DC movies I’d push to make. And sure, one reason is because I’d hope they’d be popular moneymakers, but I’d also just really, really want to watch them.
At one point, another Batman movie was on the list of upcoming DC projects, though I’m not seeing it on more recent forecasts. But we’ve had seven Batman movies already, so I think DC should accept they peaked at The Dark Knight and move on… to Gotham’s cyberpunk future.
If you never watched the Batman Beyond cartoon back in the day, then friend, you are missing out. Actually, stop reading this blog post and go get the DVDs to binge watch. I won’t be offended.
In an old ‘Ask Chris’ column, Chris Sims once described the show as “What If Batman Was Spider-Man,” which I think is perfect. It takes all the high school drama and teenage shenanigans that made Spider-Man: Homecoming fun and puts it in the gothic and twisted setting of Gotham that we all know and love.
Grumpy old man Bruce Wayne is just the best, and Terry McGinnis, the new younger Batman, is relatable and very much his own character rather than being Bruce 2.0. Their multifaceted mentor/mentee relationship is the core of the show and full of just so much snark. Continue reading If I were in charge of the DCEU…
Ah, superhero romance. Back in the old days, it meant a man in a cape rescuing a distressed damsel and going to great lengths to hide his secret identity from the woman he supposedly loves. And you’ll still see that sometimes, but for the most part, romance in the genre has gotten a bit more complex over the years.
Pretty much every superhero movie and TV show has a romantic subplot and love interest these day. Some of them are great. Some of them are… let’s just say they’re not very well developed.
But for those of you who want a little more love with your crime-fighting exploits, there’s a whole subgenre of superhero romance novels. Granted, there’s not a lot of them. You won’t find a shelf dedicated to it at your local library, and most online retailers don’t have a category for it, but if you’re willing to search a bit, you can find some good ones.
It’s that time again: time for another edition of the best superhero short fiction from around the web. While I haven’t committed to doing a second season of Fight Crime! (A Love Story) and am still bouncing around ideas, I don’t want to leave you guys without some awesome superhero reading material. So here are four free short stories to kick off your week with. (And if you like these, catch up on my first and second lists.)
La Gorda and the City of Silver
Written by Sabrina Vourvoulias and narrated by Sandra Espinoza, La Gorda and the City of Silver is a brilliant story about luchador vigilantes in Guatemala. Though it ventures into some dark territory, it’s heart-warming and uplifting overall, and there’s a lot of humor in the main character’s voice. You can read it at Podcastle, but I recommend listening to the audio version in the podcast on the same page, because the narrator is absolutely perfect. This is one of those stories that stayed with me after finishing it, so I whole-heartedly recommend giving it a try.
Last Stand for Lucifer’s Legion
Last Stand for Lucifer’s Legion by D.K. Latta is about superheroes in WWII and feels like it was ripped straight from an old pulp magazine. I liked the mix of American and Canadian superheroes on the team, and overall, it’s just a good action/adventure story. Fans of golden age comics should definitely check it out at Crimson Streets.
Lazarus and the Amazing Kid Phoenix
This story by Jennifer Giesbrecht features people getting superpowers after near-death experiences (or after dying and coming back, depending on your interpretation). It’s well-written and poignant, and the POV is so excellent that you can hear the main character talking even if you don’t listen to the audio version. It’s not a feel-good story, though, and it left me with a melancholy feeling at the end. But it does this really cool thing interspacing comic scripts between the main story and addresses a lot of deep questions and themes. You can find it in Issue 86 of Apex Magazine.
When the Devil Drives
Written by Melinda Snodgrass (and edited by George R. R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame), When the Devil Drives is set in the Wild Cards universe, which means it automatically has amazing world-building and a wealth of cool concepts to play with. A mystery where the protagonist has to clear his own name when he’s suspected of murder, it stars a morally gray main character who stays likable through his dry humor and relationship with his family. The whole thing can be read at Tor.com.
Fight Crime! (A Love Story) is taking a break between episodes this week, but that doesn’t matter, because you’re reading Almost Invincible, right? 😉 For you voracious readers who finished the novel already and need more stories to consume, here’s a selection of free superhero short fiction from around the web.