Props to Dennis O’Neil for writing a novel about the Question. Like all Steve Ditko creations, the Question is a fascinating character—a blank slate in a complicated world. Maybe someday someone brave (and bold) will also write a Mr. A novel. You never know.
And that makes us wonder: If you were tapped to write a book based on any superhero character, which one would you chose? Magnus, Robot Fighter? The Scarlet Witch? Ronan the Accuser? There are plenty of Batman and Spider-Man novels already. No need to add to the slush pile.
Given a choice, we’d probably write a Kamandi novel. Why not? Even the last boy on Earth needs a little love. But what superheroes would other people pick? We queried a handful of industry vets to chime in with their choices. Answers below.
Kelly Sue DeConnick (author)
“Satana or Vampirella. (Do they qualify as superheroes?) I have an itch to do something pulp-y, trashy, and, uh, horror-y, I guess. Like the books I picked up for twenty-five cents at the used book store when I was a kid, you know? Setting aside the obvious salacious appeal, there’s also the lure of Satana being neither good nor evil exactly. And can’t you just see the glorious painted covers??”
Nick Mamatas (author, editor, critic)
“For me, it isn’t the hero per se, it’s the point of view. I’m taken right out of a novel when I see a sentence like “Spider-Man peered through the dirty window.” Comics themselves of course are simultaneous multiple-POV—we can have an omniscient narrator reporting both facts and revealing to use simultaneously the visible actions of all the characters in a frame. So what Stan Lee tells us about the scene, the information from the art, what Spider-Man says (and what he thinks, which is often different) and what the Green Goblin says (and also thinks), etc. The book packagers almost invariably choose a fairly tight objective third-person (“bestseller style”) just makes the books much less interesting than the comics to me.
“So mostly, I’d like a first-person novel about a superhero, regardless of who it is. If I had to pick a character though, I’d opt for the Silver Surfer. He talks to himself a lot anyway, and with all his cosmic powers also has perceptions a normal human wouldn’t, and that could be a fun thing to read, I think.”
Jamie S. Rich (author, editor, critic)
“Cypher and Warlock: Once upon a time I actually pitched these guys in comic book form, and I could see adapting them to a young adult novel too. Cypher, as some will recall, was the lamest of the lame amongst the New Mutants. I saw him as an awesome metaphor for awkward adolescence: “Oh great, I have super powers…and they suck!” His power was he could understand any language in the universe, so he was useless in battle until he teamed up with the crazy shape-shifting robot, Warlock.
“Other than that, I’d maybe want to try to do a kind of superhero/pulp detective hybrid. Take a character like the Martian Manhunter, who was both a superhero and a private detective, and imagine him as written by Raymond Chandler.”
Dan Vado (Supreme Commander, Slave Labor Graphics)
“I would like to write the last Superman story, something where he kind of floats off into space after he realizes he has outlived all his friends and family.”
Andrew Farago (Curator, Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco)
“My favorite prose superhero novels are Last Son of Krypton (Elliot S. Maggin), Miracle Monday (Elliot S. Maggin), and It’s Superman (Tom De Haven), so I’d have to put the Man of Steel at the top of my wish list. Clark Kent and I both grew up in small Midwestern towns before moving to the big city to fight for truth, justice, and comic books (and/or The American Way) too, so I’ve got that going for me.
“Then again, everyone picks Superman, so I’d probably be better off writing the greatest Aquaman novel of all time. The Old Man in the Sea.”
[DC Universe: Helltown / By Dennis O’Neil / First Printing: November 2006 / ISBN: 9780446616584]