Mar 12 2010

A ‘zine for superhero fiction!

If you’re looking for a low-stakes way to get a short story (up to 6000 words) published, This Mutant Life might be worth looking into.  You can see its submission guidelines here.  “Stories which deal with the everyday lives of people with unusual abilities or physical characteristics are ideal, and there will be a definite preference given to stories which present interesting and well defined characters and situations.”  The pay is extremely low, though.

UPDATE: A Thousand Faces is a quarterly journal that also specializes in superhero stories. You can see its submissions page here.

14 responses so far

14 Responses to “A ‘zine for superhero fiction!”

  1. Contra Gloveon 12 Mar 2010 at 8:40 am

    Better than nothing! I’ll try for there…maybe.

  2. Beccaon 12 Mar 2010 at 9:55 am

    Hey, that’s cool… I wonder if I could ever, ever limit myself to writing that short, though 😛

  3. Wingson 12 Mar 2010 at 10:30 am

    I actually have a lot of ideas for short stories, some involving characters from my novels (Gifted and Wish for Darkstar Rising and HTSTW respectively). I’d probably be better off with one of my original character works, though. Hmmm…I shall start brainstorming.

    – Wings

  4. roseaponion 13 Mar 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Hi – I ran across this site the other day while I was searching for just this kind of info! Do you know any other markets that accept superhero fiction?

    I was kind of hoping to publish mine as a serial, though, so I don’t know if I can use this particular market.

  5. B. Macon 13 Mar 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I’ll let you know if I hear of anything.

  6. roseaponion 13 Mar 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks so much 🙂 I love superhero fic more than the actual comics or tv shows – too many issues or seasons and the plots get ridiculous. It’s a bit odd that I haven’t found many places to read or submit short stories about superheroes.

    I was scrolling down the sidebar and thought it was weird that you have tips for comic books and tips for novels, and no middle ground (short stories). With other spec fic subgenres, authors are expected to pay their dues with published short stories before launching a novel, and I didn’t realize that the superhero genre would be so different.

    With the box office success of so many movies based on comics, I’m left wondering why there doesn’t seem to have been more corresponding demand for original superhero fic in more formats – we get movies, tv shows, and the original format comics, and as far as short stories, novellas, anthologies, serials, etc., all I’ve heard is a lone chirping cricket.

    I hope I’m wrong and there are lots of original superhero stories someplace I’ve overlooked 🙂

  7. B. Macon 13 Mar 2010 at 5:55 pm

    “It’s a bit odd that I haven’t found many places to read or submit short stories about superheroes.” Yeah–superhero stories sell hundreds of millions of dollars a year in comic books and movies. Unfortunately, I get the impression that they are a very, very small sliver of the market for longer prose works. How many independent superhero novels have been professionally published? Probably fewer than 50, at least as far as I’m aware of.

    Is your story close enough to sci-fi to work for a genre journal (probably sci-fi or action/adventure)? That may be an option. I glanced at your website and saw that you’re looking to do a story about a protagonist that gets raped, so maybe you could try a journal that focuses on feminist literature.

    Aside from that, if you are interested in writing a novel some day, I wouldn’t get too hung up over (what I perceive to be) the lack of short story opportunities available to superhero writers. According to Tobias Buckell’s survey of mainly sci-fi/fantasy and romance novelists, only 11% of the novelists published short stories before getting their first novel published. So, if you’re interested into breaking into novels, it looks like novel-publishers won’t hold it against you that you haven’t had short pieces published first.

  8. roseaponion 14 Mar 2010 at 10:51 am

    Well, the rape story is different from the superhero one, though I may have a storyline in the superhero one about fighting modern slavery. It’s a problem my villain-turned-hero has some personal experience with and she’d be highly sympathetic to the women and children enslaved to the sex trade.

    I’m not exactly highlighting the tech in the story – it’s there, it’s futuristic, it works, it’s necessary – but it’s not the point. I’m more interested in portraying characters and their dynamics, what their powers and the fallout from them would really be like, how they’d be interesting people with problems who do things that matter, which is my personal working definition of a good story. I’m just not sure if that story featuring superheroes would be a good fit for many magazines.

    But as a reader, I _like_ the superhero genre, as a genre more than as comics and movies. I’d love to buy an anthology of short stories about original superheroes. Maybe several if the first one was done well – have you read Chicks in Chainmail? The equivalent of that for superheroes would be awesome.

  9. Ragged Boyon 14 Mar 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Hmm. While I do have an idea for a story that I think would be pretty cool, I’m a bit apprehensive about writing in a novel style. I don’t think I’ve fully developed a style as a novel writer. However, this is low stakes so attempting couldn’t have a negative outcome.

  10. Benon 20 Mar 2010 at 7:36 am

    Hey guys,

    I’m the editor of This Mutant Life and I can tell you the reason I decided to set the ‘zine up was because, like a lot of you, I wanted to write superhero stories and didn’t see a market. So, of course, I decided to make one (which is kind of cutting corners I know). The ‘zine is selling well enough, and I’m deliberately keeping it as inexpensive and accessible as possible, which is kind of why the pay rates are token. It’s not my plan to make a million dollars, but to create a place to showcase superhero stories. It’ll be published every two months so there should be a steady stream, and starting with the next issue I’ll also be having interviews with published authors.

    By the way, there is a journal called Thousand Faces (, I think) which accepts submissions too. I’ve had a story accepted there but it hasn’t been published yet, so I can’t really compare pay rates.

    Good luck with the writing.

    Ben Langdon
    This Mutant Life

  11. B. Macon 20 Mar 2010 at 8:35 am

    A Thousand Faces: The Quarterly Journal of Superhuman Fiction. Badass! Thank you for pointing that out. Its submissions page is here.

  12. Contra Gloveon 20 Mar 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Good information, B. Mac! I’ll be sure to try sending short pieces there.

  13. Jakeon 23 Mar 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Hey guys. I am actually planning on submitting something just so I can say that I’ve been published. So it’d be absolutely awesome if you guys could help me with my submission. The ideas I’ve had so far are the following:

    1. A teenage mutant is stricken with a curse/super-power that forces him to change into a homicidal were-wolf like creature every two weeks. His family knows and this will delve into what his family has to go through with a mutant on there family. (also due to copy-right things I am referring to him as a meta-human in the short story, wouldn’t want any X-Men breathing down my neck lol.) His family have to shackle him in a basement for everyone’s safety, it is a dark secret indeed. But, what happens when he transforms before they can get him to the basement?

    2. A teenage boys powers finally manifest, but there’s a catch. His power involves him taking on the looks of anyone he sees. It will take time for him to get used to it, but time is something he doesn’t have. Especially when his own mother thinks he is a robber.

    3. Cheating is against the rules on the Football Team, but is it really cheating when you have super-strength? What happens when a jock is revealed as a mutant during one of the football games? What will happen to him?

  14. B. Macon 23 Mar 2010 at 7:22 pm

    I’ve already seen a few stories like #3. For example, Static Shock (in the episode “Linked”) and Dynamo 5 have done this with football. The Incredibles used track and field. Do you think you could put a fresh spin on it? I think the cliche conclusion would be that the character gives up on sports because he has an unfair advantage and does something else with his powers. One alternative that comes to mind is that the character takes up a different sport where he can compete more fairly.

    Alternately, perhaps you could lead us to the unexpected conclusion that he actually should continue competing. (For example, you might say that one point of sports is to learn how to outplay athletically more gifted opponents).

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