Monday, February 19, 2007

Where Are All the Superheroes?

Superheroes seem to be big business these days. Movie blockbusters, such as the recently released Ghostrider, or X-Men, Spiderman, and Superman Returns, bring in huge amounts of money. We have the NBC show Heroes as well.

I'll admit I've always been a fan of all-things super. From the time I was six years-old, I've been living in the fantasy world of superheroes. There is something appealing with the idea of being able to do something that no one else can, to experience flying or creating fireballs out of thin air or any other myriad of powers superheroes have these days.

But one thing I never got into was the comic book. Superheroism was either something within my own imagination, or fulfilled on the big screen. To this day, I'm not much into comic books. And so I was thinking recently about how there seem to be so few books out that involve superheroes. I mean real books (oh, don't bug me about comic books being "real" know what I mean...books that aren't graphic in nature, but rely exclusively on the written word).

My book, Mindburst, would certainly fall under that category. I'd certainly define it as being part of the superhero genre. Except that there are no pictures. Same with my recently published story, The Dreammaker, and another story I'm shopping around at the moment.

But I wonder why that is. I want to read about superheroes, not just write about them. I've stumbled across a few. The Charlie Bone series is somewhat superheroish in nature. And Midnighters, by Scott Westerfeld. (Granted, I haven't yet had the pleasure to read that one, but I've read other Westerfeld books and loved them, so look forward to experiencing Midnighters.)

I don't want to read a superhero novelization of a movie. I want to read original superhero books. So, tell me. Do you know of any? I'd really like to know. But if reading the story involves pictures, don't bother.

Note: I have absolutely nothing against the graphic novel or comic book. Nothing whatsoever. I have great respect for the graphic artists and authors who conceive of these kinds of stories. Marvel and DC Comics have both offered me plenty of pleasing stories ultimately made into movies. But I'm just not a comic-book-reading kind of guy, is all!


MileMasterSarah said...

This comment is a little unrelated, but I have to say that upon checking the OC headlines I was a little taken aback by the superheroes title of your post. The reason is I’m a little down today, as happens from time to time (at least once a week) as I feel overwhelmed with day in day out things. I was wondering how to help other families with special needs kids, as I can’t imagine that my feeling like this is exclusive to me when there are so many demands on day to day living. And I started thinking about the superheroes we all have in our own lives. The moms and dads of all our beautiful children and the children who are our lights and our guidance when we (us moms and dads) might feel so overwhelmed, frustrated, and confused So superheroes were on my mind, but more the garden variety kind of superheroes. I don’t have any good recommendations for superhero fiction, I just wanted to share this. Sorry since I know it is off topic.

MileMasterSarah said...

Sorry, Ryan, typo in your name!

RyanBruner said...


You know, it is a powerful thing, what you're talking about. It is something we are called by God to be, in a way: superheroes for one another. We are told to be compassionate, giving, loving, caring. When a man takes your cloak, give him your shirt as well, that kind of thing. We are called to give of ourselves for the benefit of others.

And when we do, in those times when we are the ones in need, those acts of kindness will be returned.

So, yeah...perhaps not exactly the topic I had in mind, but you raise a good topic nonetheless...maybe one I'll write about in a few days.

Keith Cronin said...

You might want to check out Batman: The Ultimate Evil, by Andrew Vachss.

Vachss is an EXTREMELY dark, serious author, but it proves a decent fit with Batman's less-happy-than-most-superheroes character. And while it's a departure from some of Vachhss's more sexually oriented stuff, it's still definitely a Vachss book - he's an author who maintains a rigid platform against child abuse and molestation.