2010: Subtle Superheroes So Far

There are plenty of great examples of superheroes leaving the confines of the comics that bred them and finding a home in prose. It’s usually pretty obvious that you’re reading a superhero story. Vigilantes fighting over the top bad guys are a staple, even if the purpose of the story is to deconstruct that theme.

I was pleased to start the year with 2 great superhero stories. Both avoid screaming their genre while examining familiar tropes from new angles. The first story in the March issue of Asimov’s is the novelette, “Helping Them Take the Old Man Down” by William Preston. I love how this story sketches almost half a century of crime fighting adventures while never explicitly explaining what makes “the Old Man” so special. It gives a crazy amount of room for the imagination to fill in the exploits of the narrator and his companions.

Tor sent me an Arc of an anthology, Warriors, due out in march. I’ve enjoyed the stories I’ve read so far. While some might find the mix of genres distracting, I’m quite enjoying reading great historical, fantasy, mystery and science fiction stories and never quite knowing what will come next. “Dirae,” The story by Peter S. Beagle, uses a creepily unreliable narrator to paint a violent picture of a vigilante. It might be a stretch to consider this a superhero story, but it scratches that itch for me and it’s a really cool reading experience no matter how you label it.


Both of these and plenty of other Superhero stories can be found at the Superhero Tagshadow. You can follow my adventures in ontology at my new TagShadow Blog. I’m putting most of my free energy into that project at the moment but updates will continue here, if at a somewhat slower pace.

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~ by mentatjack on February 6, 2010.

3 Responses to “2010: Subtle Superheroes So Far”

  1. Steven,

    Thanks for your positive words about my story. I’m glad you enjoyed it (and enjoyed it enough to talk about it).

    Best wishes,

    Bill Preston

  2. This is a trend? Huh. A couple years ago I started posting a “superhero” novel on my website because I figured that I had zero chance of publishing it anywhere.

    Then “Soon I Will Be Invincible” came out, making me wonder if I’d done the right thing there.

    It would be really crazy if superheroes in prose became a large enough group to be noticeable.

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