1. Nidhogg
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    Nidhogg Member

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    Other Superhero Fiction

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by Nidhogg, May 14, 2016.

    I'm not certain if this would be categorized under science-fiction or fantasy, seeng as this genre can include aspects from both (or neither). Due to the increase in hype for superhero movies over the past few years and for the next few years to come, I felt that it could be appropriate to have a general thread to discuss superhero literature. Please be warned that this first post may come across as a rant- which in all fairness it probably is- but I hope that it can become more of an active discussion with time.

    In general, my experiences with the genre have been relatively mixed. Whilst you sometimes get stories that are really interesting, a lot of the ones I've seen and read have been rather repetitive in plot points and perspectives. The protagonists are often brooding male anti-heroes or young females who just learn that they have powers, with the plots either going along the lines of villains becoming the hero or heroes/heroines learning that being a superhero isn't as glamorous as it seems at first.

    There are diamonds in the rough- the online series Worm by John McCrae, for example, is a great story with diverse characters and a great portrayal of different viewpoints of a world with superheroes, ranging from heroes, villains, common henchmen, to the powerless people that have to make a living amongst them. However, many of the other stories in the genre fall into ballpits of cliches or find themselves with characters that are one-dimensional replicas of other characters in the genre- Prepare To Die! sadly comes to mind, as I only realized after my second reading of the book how bad it was.

    Despite this, it is quite possible that the superhero genre will still be sought after by those that want to see fresh outlooks on the genre and its ensuing tropes. I myself have jumped on this bandwagon as one of the stories I'm currently working on is within this genre, and I'd like to avoid the issues that I have seen in it as much as possible.

    With all of that in mind, what are your opinions on the genre? What aspects of the superhero genre would you like to see explored more in literature, or any that you would like changed? Personally, two things I'd like to see more of are superhero stories from the perspectives of those who do not wish to get involved for reasons beyond "it's not my fight", and also origins of powers being for a time zone that isn't WWII or the present day.
     
  2. Kinzvlle
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    Kinzvlle Active Member

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    Superheroes have always had a following it`s just been a niche and not always a main stream one. Though it`s pretty good time to be a superhero fan. The powers coming from WWII has a lot to do with Marvel making propaganda comics thus giving us Captin America and others. There`s also the Nazi`s habits for experiments that have been used as origins in superhero and other similar genres. I`ve had an interesting experience with the genre from a writer's side of things. Back when I was more active on the roleplaying scene I ran and was involved in many superpowered role plays. One of which was the concept of high schoolers with superpowers. No heroism, no superhero training, no X-Men style team just high schoolers going through high school things with the power to light people's hair on fire. That is something i`d kinda like to see more of. People with abilities and powers, who don`t become heroes. Who just go about their days, as normal with the added benefit of laser vision meaning he doesn`t have to wait for the break room microwave during his break. I don`t mean retired heroes or people who will end up heroes by the end just average Jo`s. They can still be good people and do good in their own way but not everyone who gets powers is gonna strap on tights and fight robots. Just more notice and reference of these in the background at least. Don`t just let us assume they exist, have a scene where the heroes favorite deli has the counter guy cut the bread with his heat vision. I`m also fond of character studies, not all superhero things need to have robot fights, why not an insurance who`s wife left him because of the stigma of being with an enhanced got to her, or etc and it shows his road through depression and to acceptance without robot fights.
     
  3. Topaztock
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    Topaztock Member

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    Superhero prose has always baffled me slightly as I'm not sure how well the genre works in this medium. Comics and Films are the obvious choice for Superheros, with bright colours and action - we can't understate the importance the design of the character is for their popularity, which might not come out as well in prose.

    But I suppose if you do consider all of that when you're writing, it could end up with a decent read - possibly a more low-key examination of the superhero stuff? Bits between the fights? But I've realised I just described Matt Fraction/David Aja's Hawkeye comic series and I can't imagine that without it being a comic.

    And, I'm saying this as a massive comic book fan, there are only a few legitimately good superhero stories published in comics - a lot of them are just treading familiar and stale waters.
     
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  4. Miller0700
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    I'm starting to go into the genre as well.
     
  5. Nidhogg
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    Nidhogg Member

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    I agree that that's the most likely reason why the WWII origin is still so prevalent today, with the addition of it also likely being due to the presence of Nazi experimentation, the notion of √úbermenschen, and the development of new technologies and sciences due to the war. However, it would be nice to see a world where superhumans appeared in some other time, such as the French Revolution or the Rennaisance. In the story I'm currently working on, superhumans first appear during the Cold War, which has been pretty fun to work with so far.

    I also find the character studies to be quite good, to the extent of it being one of the main things I look for in superhero novels besides the worldbuilding.

    I agree that it's hard to convey the same feeling as comics and movies do, but there is still definitely a market out there for novels. Most of the ones I've read either focus on superheroes that don't have flashy costumes, or they make the descriptions vivid enough for readers to get a good idea of what kind of feel the costume is going for, without needing to specifically say each and every aspect of the designs. I imagine it would be quite easy for superhero writers to fall into 'purple prose' if they tried to evoke the same feelings for the visuals in their story.
     
  6. halisme
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    halisme Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've been considering writing about a sort of alcoholics anonymous for D list retired supervillians. It'd be a comedy though.
     

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