More Superhero Prose Fiction

Last summer at the peak of beachgoing season when some of you may have been searching for some good books to read on your vacation, I wrote about the growing trend of superhero fiction.  It might seem odd to read stories about superpowered characters in non-comicbook formats, but even without the four-color panels of art, words alone can present some incredibly imaginative stories. 

If you had a chance to read and enjoy any of the books I recommended last time, here are some more to entertain you. 

After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn.  Her debut fantasy novel, Discord's Apple, was a critical success, and now Vaughn explores the world of superheroes, seen through the eyes of an ordinary, powerless daughter of the heroic Captain Olympus and Spark. 

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Dfaz.  To call this a superhero book is misleading, but any comic book fan would relate to the geeky protagonist.  There are fantasy elements in the plot about a family curse, and this definitely feels like a prose version of some of the finest graphic novels out there.

The Darker Mask edited by Gary Phillips and Christopher Chambers.  This anthology of stories showcases people with superpowers who aren't perfect but flawed.  It's an interesting experiment, building on what Marvel and other comicbook publishers tried to do to make their heroes more human.

Demigod by Jaron Lee Knuth.  A man who suffered from migraines his whole life suddenly develops mind powers.  The interesting part is following the choices he makes on how to use them.

Devil's Cape by Rob Rogers.  Heroes and villains clash in a southern city filled with violence and corruption.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy by William Boniface. Aimed at younger readers, this is still a fun series of books.  Mostly prose, it has some whimsical illustrations throughout.

Gladiator by Philip Gordon Wylie.  I mentioned this groundbreaking novel in my original superhero prose essay.  It was written in 1930, years before Superman hit the scene.  It's still an interesting book today.

Hero by Mike Lupica.  Best known as a sports writer and commentator, Lupica tells a fine tale here about a teenager investigating his dad's death, only to discover that his father was a superhero and he has inherited his super-abilities.

In Hero Years I'm Dead by Michael Stackpole.  Here's a noirish tale of a world that's changed and a hero trying to make sense of it all and survive.

Nobody Gets the Girl by James Maxey.  Action-packed and full of humor, this is one of my favorites.

Paranormals by Christopher Andrews.  A "celestial event" grants some people superpowers.  It's a standard premise, but Andrews handles it well.

Personal Effects: Dark Art by J.C. Hutchins and Jordan Weisman.  More supernatural thriller than costumed superhero adventure, this tale still deals with superpowered good guys and bad guys.  And it has innovative interactive elements too.

Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty.  Third-rate heroes need to step up and save the day and try to figure out who's really good and who's really bad in a city of egotistical first-class superheroes and powerful villains.

Sentinels by Van Allen Plexico.  The author has a background in "real" comics, so his fiction prose is just as much fun for superhero fans.

Superfolks by Robert Mayer.  Another pioneer novel, this was written in 1977 and deals with a superhero experiencing a mid-life crisis. 

Super Human by Michael Carroll.  This is a prequel to the epic Quantum Prophecy series, introducing the world of superpowered beings and revealing some of their origins.

Third Class Superhero by Charles Yu.  This collection of stories by a great young writer is great, especially the superhero tale "Moisture Man."

Those Who Walk in Darkness by John Ridley.  A villain destroys San Francisco forcing the government to banish all "metanormals."  The author is a screenwriter, so I can imagine this as a movie someday.

The floodgates are open, so there are many more.  Happy reading!