The last time we saw Alice Gailsone she was lying in a hospital bed recuperating from injuries sustained from an atomic bomb (The Red Rook). In her first post-nuclear adventure (“Old Ghosts” / By Casey Glanders / First Printing: August 2014), Gailsone finds herself in a sentimental mood. But (no surprise!) her sentimental journey to Houston leads directly to an ambush by a gang of murderous mercenaries led by Benny Callahan. Big Ben was a crime boss who’s been chewing up the scenery for a long time (he helped Hernán Cortés colonize/destroy the Aztec Empire back in the 16th century). Now he and his pals are snooping around an abandoned Purge facility looking for trouble. All Alice wants to do is retrieve a cherished memento and get the hell out of Texas as fast as possible. She’s not going to let an immortal, a vampire, a magician, or any old ghosts get in her way.
“Superhero literary fiction is thriving,” says KirkusReviews.com, and who are we to argue? “Although they lack the visual storytelling medium shared by comics, films and television, novels can and do provide stories that are often more detailed and deeper in meaning. There’s more room for these stories to flex their literary muscles.”
We’ve read hundreds of stories about kids getting superpowers when they reach puberty. It totally makes sense that authors would use adolescence as a catalyst for transformation. But puberty isn’t the only time your body changes. Women go through another physical change later in life. Isn’t it time someone wrote a menopausal superhero story? The answer, of course, is yes. “Hot Flash Woman” by Adrianne Ambrose (First Printing: December 2014) is the story of a woman who is unknowingly starting fires. It turns out that her superpowers are linked directly to the hot flashes she’s experiencing during menopause. Later this year, Curiosity Quills Press will be releasing a novel by Samantha Bryant called Going Through the Change. Says the author: “Going through ‘the change’ isn’t easy on any woman. Mood swings, hot flashes, hormonal imbalances, and itchy skin are par for the course. But for Helen, Jessica, Patricia, and Linda, menopause brings changes none of them could ever have anticipated – super-heroic changes.”
Look for Superhero Monster Hunter: The Good Fight (from Emby Press) sometime before the end of spring. Glancing at the table of contents (here), we don’t spot many familiar names. We are, however, heartened to see a short story by Frank Byrns on the list. Hopefully “Slouching Towards Ragnarok” won’t be the only new superhero fiction we’ll see from Byrns this year.
Author Lincoln Michael recently posted a short story from his upcoming book, Doom Mood. To stoke your curiosity, here’s the first paragraph of “The Supervillain Stalled in His Lair”: “There is nothing that occupies the supervillain’s mind more, nothing that is a more constant source of obsession and angst, than his secret lair. Even the superhero, his great nemesis, manifests as an afterthought compared to his lair.”
If you’re like us, you probably created hundreds of superheroes while doodling in the margins of your high school textbooks. In fact, that’s probably where the Savage Dragon made his debut — in Erik Larsen’s chewed-up algebra book. For more details about superheroes and superhero fiction, check out author Katty Bee’s helpful video: “How to Create a Superhero.”
Publishers Weekly has anointed The Strange Birth, Short Life, and Sudden Death of Justice Girl by Julian David Stone as one of the best indie books of 2014. Here’s a snippet of the review: “The author draws upon his career in entertainment to drive this lurid depiction of mass media’s power in shaping our fantasies, values, ideals, and fears. This fast-paced and emotionally vibrant satire is a treat for television buffs, and general readers alike.”
Someone should start a blog that catalogs superhero lyrics in popular music. Maybe call it SuperheroLyrics.com or something like that (the URL is available btw). Whether it’s a song by Anthrax, Pop Will Eat Itself or MF Doom, it doesn’t matter to us — we’re always interested in how superhero culture is absorbed into other media. Recently we’ve had an old Genesis song called “The Carpet Crawlers” rattling around in our head. It’s a great tune made even better by these lyrics: “Mild-mannered Supermen are held in Kryptonite. And the wise and foolish virgins giggle with their bodies glowing bright.”
Two things of (possible) interest: 1) Super-Hot Female Member of Real-Life Superhero Group Captures Japanese Hearts, and 2) Wil Wheaton is Here to Help You Meet Your Perfect Sidekick!
Reviews: The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence by Stan Lee and Stuart Moore (here). The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore (here and here). Crimson Son by Russ Linton (here). Steelheart (here and here). and Firefight (here, here and here) by Brandon Sanderson. Vicious by V.E. Schwab (here). The She-Hulk Diaries by Marta Acosta (here). Tigerman by Nick Harkaway (here).
For your reading pleasure: “Flesh and Blood” by Michael Carroll. “Gifted: An Indestructibles Christmas Story” by Matthew Phillion (short review: pretty good). The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence by Stan Lee, Stuart Moore, and Andie Tong. The Greater Good by Henry Brown. Hero Status by Kristen Brand. Memoirs of a Crimefighter by Seth Andrew Jacob. Hungry Gods by J.D. Brink. Marcellus: The Mantle by Alex James. Metahumans vs Robots edited by J.L. MacDonald. H.E.R.O. – Cyberhunt by Kevin Rau. The Last Superhero by Astrid Artistikem Cruz. The Unrevealed by Jason Porter Collinsworth and Lara Marie Collinsworth. A Very Merry Superhero Wedding by Kitty Bucholtz. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs (available 05.12.15). Deadpool: Paws by Stefan Petrucha (available 08.05.15).