Last Week in Superhero Fiction (2/15/18)

Superhero Fiction News GraphicThe Pen and Cape Society’s superhero fiction podcast, Throwing the Gun, came out with a new episode earlier this month discussing the endings of some major superhero fiction series.

Toren Chenault has been talking about his upcoming superhero novel, Mystic Man, on Twitter, and it sounds awesome. Read his tweets and get hyped.

Karen Diem posted a cool cut scene from Power, the third book in her Arca series, on her blog. But if you haven’t read the series yet, you should start with the first chapter of book 1 here. It has one of the best first lines I’ve seen in a while.

If you’re looking for some transmedia superhero fiction, Project Indigo sounds fun and original. It follows “disgraced former superhero Margo ‘Indigo’ Mason’s efforts to rehabilitate her terrible public image via the Internet after her roommate accidentally blows her cover.” You can check out the website or watch the story unfold on social media like Margo’s Twitter account.

If you’ve been thinking of reading Renegades by Marissa Meyer, Emily Talks About Books just posted a review.

Any news I missed? What superhero books have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comment!

 

A Reading List of Superhero Romance

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.

Doctors Strange and Palmer Gif
Remember this touching romance? Yeah, me neither.

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.

So get ready to save the world and fall in love (or at least read about it). Here’s a short list of superhero romance novels I’ve read and enjoyed. Continue reading A Reading List of Superhero Romance

The Evolution of a Novel

Hero StatusHero Status sprang from my mind, fully formed, like Athena from the head of Zeus.

Lol, no. It was actually a painfully long first draft, followed by countless rewrites, beta feedback, and even more rewrites. Scenes were added, the structure tweaked, and the writing ironed out before it became the version you now read. But that’s pretty standard for most novels.

I’d almost forgotten about the bonkers early version I abandoned before going back and restarting the whole thing from scratch years later.

Way back in 2008, I started writing my first piece of superhero fiction for National Novel Writing Month in November. This was the precursor to Hero Status, though it’s pretty much unrecognizable. It starred not Dave but Elisa–or at least the character who would eventually become Elisa. She had a different name in this and a different origin, being an experiment of Dr. Sweet’s whom Dave rescued and adopted. The book was about her going off to college and dealing with Dr. Sweet’s attempts to recapture and brainwash her.

Looking back at the file, I made it about 24,000 words in before giving up. I moved on to other books, but something about the concept and characters of that old untitled novel kept calling to me. I began outlining a new version, changing Elisa’s character to being Dave and Val’s biological child and having her torn between her parents’ heroic and villainous legacies.

But I didn’t like that either.

Eventually it dawned on me: the daughter character wasn’t what made this idea interesting. It was her parents, the retired superhero and former supervillain, and the question of how two people with such conflicting morals and personalities could have such a stable, happy relationship.

Once I focused on Dave and Val, the idea for the plot followed, and Hero Status was born. But I still find that old version morbidly fascinating and thought you might, too. So here, in its unedited and awful glory, is the first chapter of the story that sparked The White Knight and Black Valentine Series: Continue reading The Evolution of a Novel

New Superhero Fiction Releases (January 2018)

It’s a new year, so time for new superhero books. We’ve got a lot of sequels this month, some some brand new series, and no shortage of nice-looking covers. As always, I haven’t read all these books personally, so make sure to view the samples and reviews before purchasing. And if you’ve read any of them, share your thoughts in the comments!

DUO – The One and Only

by Michael Pauly

Duo Cover

1981

The Cold War. A world on the brink of annihilation.

The CIA and KGB fight a global shadow-war to claim every child who manifests a superpower in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse. The supernatural stockpile more important than nuclear weapons.

Alex Dwyer sits in a high-school cafeteria talking with a pretty girl. Hits the lunch-table with an involuntary twitch of embarrassment.

Explodes the table into a million pieces.

Alex Dwyer brings the world one step closer to armageddon…

Amazon

Wayward: A Cadence Phoenix Novel

by Skye Knizley

Wayward Cover

Cadence Phoenix. A girl with a rose tattoo, a body full of scars and an old guitar she plays like an angel. Two years ago she woke up in the trunk of a car with no memory, no clothes and no identification. She’s on the run, but she doesn’t know why. All she knows is everyone she gets close to, everyone that tries to help her, ends up dead. Someone doesn’t want her to remember and will kill to keep their secret.
But who is it, and why? CJ doesn’t know. But she’s going to find out.

Wayward: A Hero Will Rise

Amazon

Villains Don’t Save Heroes!

by Mia Archer

Villains Dont' Save Heroes Cover

Sequel to Villains Don’t Date Heroes!

Night Terror, the greatest villain Starlight City has ever known, finally had it all. A beautiful girl she couldn’t get enough of. The city finally sort of liked her after she saved it from a giant robot attack. Now it was time to live happily ever after, right?

Yeah, right.

It turns out saving the city and getting the girl was only the beginning of more trouble. She wanted to be Starlight City’s villainous overlord, not the city’s heroic savior. The girl she can’t get enough of is also the world’s greatest hero, which made for a relationship that takes “it’s complicated” to a whole new level.

Oh, and there’s a new villain in town looking to take a shot at the queen. Night Terror’s old nemesis Dr. Lana makes a hell of a villainous debut using tech she stole from Night Terror to rob Fialux of her powers! Now Night Terror has to deal with a new challenger and a hero who’s still trying to save the world despite her dangerous lack of the flight, strength, and invulnerability that used to keep her in one piece.

Villains aren’t supposed to save heroes, but that’s just what she’ll have to do if she’s going to get the girl, save the day, and defeat her new archnemesis.

It’s all in a day’s work for the world’s greatest villain!

Amazon

Tag Team (The Supervillain’s Kids Book 2)

by Lucas Flint

Tag Team Cover

After defeating their supervillain father, Bait and Switch are now seen as heroes rather than potential supervillains. Their classmates finally accept them and even most of their teachers have gotten over their distrust of the two. Life seems to be getting better and better.

But things take a turn for the worse when a superhuman terrorist organization targets the Academy. Their target: A mysterious new student whose power they want to use to throw the superhero community into utter chaos.

Now Bait and Switch must defend this student from the terrorists, but that’s easier said than done, because the leader of the terrorists has infiltrated the Academy with the intent to destroy it–and Bait and Switch–from within.

Amazon

Continue reading New Superhero Fiction Releases (January 2018)

Even More Sensational Superhero Short Stories

Superheroine image

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.

Turn Back the Pages: Empowered

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Empowered Cover

Superheroes are sexy.

That’s not news to anyone. The tight spandex. The peak physical fitness. The contractually-obligated shirtless scene in every Marvel movie:

Shirtless Cap Gif

But for the longest time, comic book publishers seemed to think that “sexy” equaled a superheroine in an impractical costume twisted in a weird position to put both her boobs and butt on display. Combine that with some truly unfortunate storylines and shallow characterization, and it’s no wonder comics sometimes get a bad reputation for their treatment of female characters.

On paper, Empowered would seem like one of the worst examples of this. Its main character, the superheroine Empowered, gets her extraordinary abilities from her costume—a ridiculously sheer bodysuit that doesn’t hide anything. It also gets ripped in battle a lot, which not only exposes her but leaves her powerless. And so she regularly ends up captured by supervillains and put in bondage.

Sounds terrible, right?

But it’s actually incredibly well-done, and can be sexy, hilarious, and at times, tragic. Honestly, there’s nothing else like it in superhero media. Here’s what makes it so good: Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Empowered

Last Week in Superhero Fiction (1/18/18)

Superhero Fiction News Graphic

Trish Heinrich has posted the first video in a series of “Monday Moments.” This week, she talks about the release date of the next book in The Vigilantes series and mentions an upcoming and very exciting superhero fiction boxed set that you all may be interested in.

Today is the cover reveal of Day, the second novel in Jessica Florence’s Hero Society superhero romance series. You can get a peek at the very cool cover here.

This was a over a week ago, but Tor.com posted a review of The Private Life of Jane Maxwell by Jenn Gott, describing it as “odd but satisfying,” which sounds like a recommendation to me.

Author Darius Brasher is setting up a Patreon page to offer readers free early copies of his books and other cool rewards like having characters named after them and the rights to name his unborn children. I’m pretty sure he’s kidding about that last one. Probably.

If you’ve been debating whether to buy Supervillain High by Gerhard Gehrke, you can now get chapters 1 through 4 for free on Instafreebie and try it before purchasing.

Any news I missed? What superhero fiction are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments!