2014 was definitely the year of the tiger as far as we’re concerned. Nick Harkaway’s latest novel featured a substantial superhero storyline and we are happy to embrace it as our favorite novel of the year. But really, when we think about it, all the novels on our yearend best-of list are roarsome. There’s nothing “inferior” about these five books (sorry about the silly pun). Here in recap are the best superhero novels of 2014.
1) Tigerman by Nick Harkaway. Could Harkaway’s novel be the future of superhero fiction? We hope so. It’s the story of a lonely man living at the end of the world who transforms himself into a crimefighting vigilante. He is Tigerman. Hear him roar!
2) Minion by John David Anderson. It doesn’t matter if you’re a superhero sidekick or a supervillain minion. Growing up is hard. And making the right decisions along the way is even harder. Anderson’s got an easy-going (and slightly poetic) flair for telling these sorts of stories. An excellent follow-up to last year’s Sidekicked.
3) The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew. The creators have taken a long-forgotten Golden Age superhero and given him a backstory that touches upon the immigrant experience, still-relevant Chinese cultural stereotypes, and the struggles of assimilation. Long live the Green Turtle!
4) The Indestructibles by Matthew Phillion. When assembling a superhero team it’s best to appoint a sorcerer supreme to lead them into battle. It worked for the Defenders back in 1971. And it worked for the Indestructibles in 2014. Highly recommended by the hoary hosts of Hoggoth.
5) Dreams of the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn. Keeping secrets is an important part of the superhero lifestyle. But therapists and life coaches agree: Lying to your friends and sneaking around in spandex is a lousy way to live life as a mature human being. It is, however, splendid grist for a novel.
The start of a new year always brings the promise of more exciting superhero fiction to come. Now that we’ve bottled 2014, let’s look forward to 2015 (colloquially known as the Age of Ultron). Here’s a highly selective list of books we’ll be reading in the next 12 months.
Ant-Man: Natural Enemy by Jason Starr. Arrow: Vengeance by Oscar Balderrama and Lauren Certo. Avengers: Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Dan Abnett. Battlestorm by Susan Krinard. Citizen Skin by Stephen T. Brophy. Day of the Destroyers edited by Gary Phillips. Deadpool: Paws by Stefan Petrucha. Deceptive by Emily Lloyd-Jones. The Dragons of Heaven by Alyc Helms. Ex-Isle by Peter Clines. Firefight by Brandon Sanderson. Gailsone: Head of the Dragon by Casey Glanders. The Green Lama: Crimson Circle by Adam Lance Garcia. The Halo Effect by Ben Langdon. H.I.V.E.: Deadlock by Mark Walden. The Incredible Space Raiders from Space! by Wesley King. Less than Hero by S.G. Browne. Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond. School for Sidekicks by Kelly McCullough. Secret Wars by Alex Irvine. Wild Cards IV: Aces Abroad by George R.R. Martin and crew. The Worst Thing About Saving the World by Christopher Healy.