Apr 27 2009

List of Superhero Novels and Their Publishers

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?

15 responses so far

15 Responses to “List of Superhero Novels and Their Publishers”

  1. roseaponion 17 Mar 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Aha! I knew I had a few novels/story collections in my library that feature superhero-type characters.

    To Ride Pegasus & Pegasus in Flight, by Anne McCaffrey – short stories about the “Talented” that create a story arc that spans several generations, compiled in 1973 & 1990, respectively. Some of the stories in To Ride Pegasus were first published in Analog.

    Ingathering by Zenna Henderson – her stories about superpowered aliens who form colonies on Earth, originally published by The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction from the early 50s to the mid 70s.

    The stories here tend to stay far, far away from mention of supervillains, costumes, and a few other comic-book standards, but the characters are recognizable superheroes.

  2. B. Macon 17 Mar 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Thanks! I’ll see if I can find Ingathering, To Ride Pegasus & Pegasus in Flight.

    Here are some more in the “Superhero Novels” category on Wikipedia.
    –From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain
    –More Than Human
    –Attack of the Mutant
    –The Captain Underpants series

  3. Contra Gloveon 07 Apr 2010 at 5:36 pm

    I started reading Quantum Prophecy: The Awakening, but it simply isn’t very well-written. There are too many characters and the dialogue jerks around too much, with little in the way of description. It feels a little empty.

    I’ll try to give it another chance, though. 🙂

  4. roseaponion 13 Apr 2010 at 12:16 pm

    I just read a post about Jackie Kessler & Caitlin Kittredge’s SHADES OF GRAY, sequel to last year’s superhero novel BLACK AND WHITE, on http://mizkit.livejournal.com (mizkit, aka C. E. Murphy, aka author of the Take a Chance comic series and graphic novel, so when she says it’s good, I figure I can believe her 🙂 )

  5. Matthew Laneon 04 Nov 2010 at 8:59 am

    I dont know about “Quantum Prophecy: The Awakening” not being very good, but i’ll tell you this for nothing, Devils Cape is pretty bad. I keep on picking it back up thinking it can’t be as bad as i recall & i always end up giving up. It jumps around time, but has no consistent return point/time/storyline, the author is to descriptive with things that don’t need explaining & i still have no idea who any of the characters are. This entire novel reads like a group of prologues for books that are only connected by the idea of a city.

    Come to think of it, that would explain how i got Devils Cape, signed by the author, for 1 cent off of amazon.

    As for “Black and White” & the sequel “Shades of Grey”, i’ve just order “Black & White” & can only hope it wont be a disappointed (when it eventually arrives).


  6. B. Macon 04 Nov 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I’m wary of novels published by game companies. Case in point: Devil’s Cape was printed by Wizards of the Coast.

  7. Matthew Laneon 26 Nov 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Wow, i totally did not notice that till you just mentioned it. At least that explains why there was no editorial oversight.

  8. Jacobon 02 May 2011 at 2:43 pm

    I VE GOT THE BEST CHARACTER EVER PLUS HIS RIVAL IS SUPER AWSOME im kooking for some one intrested that just loves to write or draw or publish something amazing email me at [deleted] i’m into fantasyand knights please e-MAIL ME SO I CAN SHARE THE NEXT BEST SUPERHERO UDEA

  9. B. Macon 02 May 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Jacob, I removed your e-mail address because I don’t think it’s a good idea to share personal information in a public setting. Also, if I could make a suggestion, when you’re writing to prospective teammates, could I recommend proofreading more carefully? In my experience, high-quality teammates are usually scared off by writers that have a lot of typos. (If I could quote one artist, “Why would I want to work with a writer that writes worse than I do?”)

  10. K Perryon 24 Jun 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Have you read Invasion: Book One of the Secret World Chronicle by Mercedes Lackey with Steve Libby, Cody Martin and Dennis Lee? This novel is based on a pod-cast series: The Secret World Chronicles. I would highly recommend it. I can’t wait for Book 2.

  11. W Hannaon 26 Dec 2013 at 10:04 am

    I would humbly submit my recent addition to the super-hero novels for consideration, Evolution: Rising. Book 1 of the Evolution Trilogy and a very unique take on a variety of popular genres. It is, at its heart, a super-hero story, but goes much further than that in a number of ways. It was only recently released so spreading the word is slow, but as an avid fan of the super-hero genre for quite some time it is based on the concepts, ideas, and premises of what has proven out to be the most memorable stories I’ve been privy to. I would invite you all to give it a read…I think you’ll truly enjoy the action, the depth, and tone of the story.

  12. jacobon 12 Mar 2016 at 4:07 pm

    I love this site

  13. Jackon 20 Apr 2016 at 9:54 am

    Hey B.mac not putting age limits on it

    Marion G. Harmon: Wearing the Cape
    Jack Ferraiolo : Sidekicks
    Minister Faust : From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain
    William Boniface : Ordinary Boy
    Michael Carroll: The New Heroes (US series title: Quantum Prophecy)
    Robert Rodi : What They Did to Princess Paragon
    Carrie Vaughn : After the Golden Age
    Chuck Wendig : Zeroes
    Matthew Cody:Powerless
    And one more I did read but dont knows name…

    I have not and will not read most of these but I do believe any story that fits as a superhero novel deserves a mention. 🙂

  14. Jackon 21 Apr 2016 at 8:44 am

    Christopher E. Long : Hero Worship
    and maybe

    Michael Grant : Gone
    James Patterson : Daniel x

  15. Davidon 29 Nov 2017 at 12:16 pm

    ‘Vicious’ by V.E. Schwab (Published by Tor, 2013)
    ‘Steelheart’ by Brandon Sanderson (Published by Ember, 2013)
    ‘Black and White’ by Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge (Published by Spectra, 2009)

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