Happy Wednesday, fellow imaginers! Welcome to another weekday posting here at YJBLiterary! Today, I wanted to briefly discuss superhero novels, and my experiences reading them. This is a fairly niche genre, one which can garner many loyal and involved fans, however it is a difficult one to nail down as well. I will elaborate in a minute.
In today’s age, we are in a Golden Age of superhero marketing. Comic books have never been more diverse. Movies are absolute blockbusters, destroying the competition like the Hulk tears through brick walls. They are even culture defining (see the effects of Black Panther or Captain Marvel if you need further proof). Comic books aren’t going anywhere, and our love for superhero tales has only scratched the surface thus far. However, when it comes to novels, we are still very far behind.
Why is it so difficult for this genre to be as impactful? Well, there are several reasons:
- There aren’t many writers who are pouring in to this genre. Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners series is perhaps the closest we have in terms of popularity, but even those I see as more dystopian than superhero. As a result, it’s very difficult to find any traditional authors who are putting them out consistently. The indie community has a decent number, however they are not as promoted as other genres. When I first started reading the genre, it was like pulling teeth trying to find any that matched what I was actually looking for. I scoured several Goodread pages, websites, and got very little in terms of results for established series or authors in the genre.
- Visual Differences
- It’s very difficult trying to put into words what one can easily see when flipping through a comic book. People are pulled into comic books because of its visual appeal. The art pops out at you and literally draws you into the story. Literary fiction is a whole different beast, the words being your main hook. You need the reader to have a vivid imagination, carrying them into the theatre of the mind. Some people prefer their superhero stories seen on the page or screen rather than read in a novel.
- Honestly, this one is perhaps the most disappointing. There are perhaps a handful of authors that I’ve read in which I was fully immersed in the work and excited about the world they had built. Often times it was overly familiar tropes or rehashes, superficial characters, and poor plot development. There was no care taken when crafting this world and its inhabitants. As a result, they tend to be lackluster reads that didn’t draw me into the follow-up, if there was one to be had. And don’t get me started on the topic of diversity…
- Big publishers spend big money on big names, and if those names don’t write in the genre you’re interested in, good luck finding popular books on the topic. Often times, the genre of superhero fiction is looked down upon, viewed mainly as fan fiction or more kid centered. As a result, this causes many to steer away from the genre, which is a shame as this can be quite a rich, deep subject to tap.
So why am I bringing this up? Because I want to promote and encourage others to continue to expand this genre. I think this is a growing niche which can be incredibly rewarding. I want people to become fans of authors and series in this genre and to be able to discover them easily. As such, I encourage you all to check out the Facebook page: Superhero Literary Media. This page is devoted to promoting and helping authors raise awareness of their books in the genre and to help fans find these books easier. Check it out, follow it, like it, and hopefully, support it and the authors that comprise the page. Your new favorite book/author may just be around the corner…
Until next time, keep imagining!