Apr 27 2009
When you write a novel query, publishers may ask you to describe some similar, competing titles. Ideally you can come up with a few similar titles that were successful; that suggests that your title will be successful as well. If you’re pitching a superhero novel, here are a few titles that might be comparable to yours. NOTE: If you’re looking to get a short story with superheroes published, check out this list of publishers instead.
1. Soon I Will Be Invincible. Published by Vintage, 2008. “The realm of comic book heroes and villains gets a dose of realism in this whimsical debut from game design consultant Grossman. The story shifts between the perspectives of Doctor Impossible, a brilliant scientist turned world’s greatest menace, and Fatale, a lonely cyborg and the newest addition to the venerable group of heroes known as the Champions.”
2. Devil’s Cape. Wizards of the Coast Discoveries, 2008. “Heroes with a Southern Gothic edge. It blends the gritty crime novel with a heavy dose of the supernatural and weaves a tale of superhuman heroes and villains.”
3. The Quantum Prophecy. Published by Puffin, 2008. Aimed at kids 9-12. “Thirteen year-olds Danny and Colin are shocked to discover that they are in fact the beginning of a renewed superhuman race… When the past resurfaces, Danny and his fellow superheroes must face the new challenges that threaten their survival.” This book sold well enough that it was made into a series.
4. Captain Freedom: A Superhero’s Search for Truth, Justice and the Celebrity He So Richly Deserves. Harper Paperbacks, 2009. This is a comedic look at a ridiculously over-the-top superhero.
5. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Picador, 2001. This 1930s period piece won a Pulitzer for fiction.
6. Wild Cards. Bantam, 1986. This launched a series that has had more than ten books, including Busted Flush by Tor Books in 2008. Sort of like Heroes, it’s an action-drama with an enormous cast.
7. Playing for Keeps. Swarm Press. This novel is about a conflict between protagonists with joke powers, egotistical “heroes” with real powers and manipulative villains. “As Seventh City begins to melt down, it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad, and even harder to tell who may become the true heroes.”
8. Superfolks. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2005. “An irreverent look behind the mask of superheroes wrapped up in a cutting lampoon of late ’70s attitudes.” Stan Lee said that it was a humorous novel about superheroes in a mid-life crisis.
9. Those Who Walk In Darkness. Aspect, 2005. Fahrenheit 451 meets Marvel’s Civil War; the story focuses on one of the cops assigned to exterminate metahumans that won’t leave the country.
10. Superpowers: A Novel. Three Rivers Press. “After five college friends wake up after a night of partying to discover they have superpowers, they band together as the All Stars, supernatural crime fighters straight out of Madison, Wis.”
11. Hero. Hyperion, last reprinted in 2009. This is a combination superhero/gay coming-out story.
12. Masked. Simon and Schuster, 2010. This is a superhero anthology focusing on “how far our classic crusaders have evolved—and how the greatest of heroes are, much like ourselves, all too human.”
Would you like to suggest any other superhero novels?