The Pen and Cape Society is an association of authors united in their love of superhero prose fiction. Over the years, the group’s website has become a good resource for readers and authors alike. In particular, we enjoy listening to Throwing the Gun, a semi-regular podcast featuring a roundtable of Society members discussing genre and craft. Just out, the Pen and Cape crew has published its third anthology: The Good Fight 3: Sidekicks featuring stories by Stephen Brophy, Nicholas Ahlhelm, Michael Ivan Lowell, and Samantha Bryant (among others). And don’t forget to check out the first two books in the series: The Good Fight and The Good Fight: Villains.
When Lumberjanes debuted back in 2014, it was widely celebrated for its “lady-created and lady-driven” stories, its diverse cast, and its winning all-ages appeal. Now the comic book series is being turned into a prose novel series. Holy Kittens! According to Publishers Weekly, the first volume, written by Mariko Tamaki with illustrations by Brooke Allen, will be in stores October 2017.
Entertainment Weekly is giving readers a two-chapter sneak peek at Leigh Bardugo’s upcoming novel, Wonder Woman: Warbringer. We think the author is on the right track. Says Bardugo: “In William Moulton Marston’s original story, Diana longed to leave the Amazons because she fell in love with a mortal man. I mean, bless Steve Trevor, but that never really resonated with me. I wanted to give Diana her own quest.”
When someone writes the history of superhero fiction, Weird Heroes will undoubtedly be a big part of the narrative. The paperback series (totaling eight volumes all published in the ’70s) helped build a bridge between comic books and prose. At the time, the list of contributors was super impressive. Philip José Farmer, Jim Steranko, Marv Wolfman, Steve Englehart, Ben Bova, Michael Moorcock, and Ron Goulart were just a handful of creators featured throughout the series. Weird Heroes billed itself as “New American Pulp,” and it was a big melting pot of pulp fiction, science fiction, fantasy, sword and sorcery, adventure, comic books, and superhero prose fiction. Check out the recently assembled cover gallery (here) and read our review of the first book in the series (here).
Fans of rowdy space opera and exotic planetary romance will undoubtedly get a kick out of Star Hawks, Vol. 1 (By Ron Goulart and Gil Kane / First Printing: April 2017 / ISBN: 9781631403972). First published nearly 40 years ago, the daily comic strip was a self-conscious nod to golden age serials such as Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. Despite its pedigree and swashbuckling fun, Star Hawks never found a dedicated audience and faded away after a few years. But now, thanks to the good folks at IDW, the entire thing will be available in a handy three-volume reprint package. Coda: After the strip ended, Goulart was inspired to write two additional Star Hawks novels. They’re a lot of fun too. Read our reviews (here and here).
The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker (First Printing: January 2017 / ISBN: 9780812989281) is the story about two women who pursue a career in animation. The novel, says Whitaker’s agent, constitutes an important addition to the literature of artistic collaboration. “We’ve see this so often from male writers, about male characters,” she says. “Looking for truth in art is not something we see a lot in novels about young women.” Read the Publishers Weekly review (here).
Regular readers have undoubtedly noticed that we’ve never enabled the “comments” option on SuperheroNovels. Despite the ongoing oversight, a steady stream of informed chitchat comes our way via email. You’ll be happy to know that a robust superhero fiction conversation is ongoing, albeit underground. Feel free to chime in whenever you have something to say. Added bonus: we abandon the annoying first-person plural pronoun in our correspondence. On email, it’s strictly first person all the way.
Reviews: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). The Power by Naomi Alderman (here, here, and here). Batgirl at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee (here). Dreadnought by April Daniels (here). Power Game by Christine Feehan (here). Jerusalem by Alan Moore (here). Vicious by V.E. Schwab (here).
For your reading pleasure: Black Power: The Superhero Anthology edited by Balogun Ojetade. Sovereign by April Daniels. Wonder Woman: The Deluxe Junior Novel by Steve Korte. The LEGO Batman Movie Junior Novel by Jeanette Lane. Bug Girl by Benjamin Harper and Sarah Hines Stephens. Gloom: Sic Semper Tyrannis by Stephen Semones (great title!). Shadow Legion: Nightmare City by Thomas Deja. Brothers (The Young Neos Book 1) by Lucas Flint. The Unbeatables: The Autobiography of Strongman by L. Dustin Twede. Misadventures with a Super Hero by Angel Payne. The Ultimate Agent by Derek Borne. Fierce by Rob Rosen. Black Panther: Who Is the Black Panther? by Jesse Holland. Spider-Man: Homecoming (author unannounced). Hulk: Planet Hulk (author unannounced). Stan Lee: The Man Behind Marvel by Bob Batchelor.