This was the first year we seriously considered expanding our year-end Top 5 list to an inclusive Top 10 list. It would have been easy to do. For example, four excellent short story collections were published this year and they all deserved to be revisited and praised. Likewise, there were a number of debuts and series-ending goodbyes that made us grin like the Green Goblin (that’s a good thing, btw). Ultimately, we decided to keep our list exclusive for one more year. Exclusivity, after all, is the whole point to “best of” lists. To all the books that made 2013 a special year, we salute you. With no equivocation, here are the five best novels of the past twelve months. Read them and weep (for joy).
1) Turbulence by Samit Basu. Not only is Basu’s novel our pick for the best novel of 2013, but we honestly think it’s one of the best superhero novels of all time. There’s love, passion, and goodwill on every single page. Long live the Justice League of India!
2) The Midlife Crisis of Commander Invincible by Neil Connelly. Most superhero novels are about teenagers and Millennials. Congratulations to Connelly for finding relevancy in the midlife crisis of a soon-to-be super geezer.
3) Vicious by V.E. Schwab. The best things about superheroes are the supervillains. It makes sense that someone would eventually sidestep the heroes altogether and write a novel filled with despicable (but wonderful) monsters. A remarkable achievement.
4) Sidekicked by John David Anderson. Robin, Speedy, Bucky, Toro—they all stood fearlessly in the shadow of their much-heralded mentors. Don’t they deserve a little love and attention too? After all, a superhero is just a sidekick who never gave up. Anderson has written the first great novel about boy (and girl) wonders.
5) Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories edited by Claude Lalumière and Camille Alexa. A handful of terrific superhero anthologies came out in 2013. This one is our favorite because it took aim at a specific target and hit a bull’s eye. As expected, there’s more to Canada than Wolverine and Scott Pilgrim.
As we say goodbye to 2013, let’s also look forward to 2014. Superhero fiction is getting better and better. And next year will undoubtedly bring many more surprises our way. Here’s a list of some of the titles we’ll be reading in the near future.
Almost Super by Marion Jensen. Black Ice by Susan Krinard. The Black Stiletto: Secrets & Lies by Raymond Benson. Burn Bright by Bethany Frenette. Captain America: The Death of Captain America by Larry Hama. The Cloak Society: Fall of Heroes by Jeramey Kraatz. Collision: The Secret World Chronicle IV by Mercedes Lackey, Dennis Lee, Veronica Giguere, and Cody Martin. Dreams of the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn. Ex-Purgatory by Peter Clines. Frank Einstein, Kid Scientist by Jon Scieszka. The Green Lama: Scions by Adam Lance Garcia. Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket Raccoon & Groot: Steal the Galaxy! by Dan Abnett. Have Psionics, Will Travel by Fritz Freiheit. H.I.V.E.: Aftershock by Mark Walden. Hunter by Michael Carroll. Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones. The Invisible by Amelia Kahaney. Joshua Dread: The Dominion Key by Lee Bacon. The League of Seven by Alan Gratz. Lowball: A Wild Cards Novel edited by George R.R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass. Minion by John David Anderson. Resistance by Samit Basu. Revolution: The Secret World Chronicle III by Mercedes Lackey with Cody Martin, Dennis Lee, and Veronica Giguere. The Rise of Aurora West by Paul Pope. The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew. Sky Girl and the Superheroic Return by Joe Sergi. Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt by Neil Kleid. The Starlight Chronicles: Slumbering by C.S. Johnson. The Suns of Liberty: Legion by Michael Ivan Lowell. The Ultra Violets #3: Lilac Attack by Sophie Bell. Wild Cards III: Jokers Wild by George R.R. Martin and others. Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine by Tim Hanley. X-Men: Days of Future Past by Alexander Irvine.