It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's...Not Your Ordinary Superheroes

By Lynnanne Pearson

We all know the origins and adventures of Superman, Wonder Woman and the Avengers. But the Marvel Cinematic Universe has nothing on female cyborg Fatale and The Actionary. Read about these literary superheroes who need their own big screen adaptions (or at the very least their own graphic novel).

  • Soon I Will Be Invincible

    2007 by Austin Grossman

    Doctor Impossible was a gifted lab assistant until he touched a radioactive energy source. Now he has super strength and a desire to take over the world. The Champions (think the Avengers but even more dysfunctional) are tasked with stopping him (for the 12th time). The author's willingness to treat his villain and heroes as real characters worthy of introspection typically seen in a Jonathan Franzen novel is what sets this one apart. Fun for both literary fiction lovers and those who love a man in tights.

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  • The Damned Busters

    2011 by Matthew Hughes

    So, you accidentally summoned a demon while setting up for your poker game. If you are anything like mild-mannered actuary Chesney Anstruther, you use this demon to become a superhero: The Actionary. This book is a fun mishmash of comics, pulp fiction, religion, and even some philosophy thrown in there for good measure. Perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman's American Gods.

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  • Dark Star

    2012 by Bethany Frenette

    Teenager Audrey Whitticomb feels that pressure that goes with living under the shadow of a successful parent. In Audrey's case, this burden is even greater, her mom is the superhero Morning Star. Mom keeps Minnesota safe fighting demons with the help of her handsome sidekick Leon. Audrey (like many a hero of young adult novels) discovers she is special and has powers of her own. If you like your superheroes mixed with the supernatural and some romance (and don't mind some teenage angst), this intriguing series is for you.

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  • A Once Crowded Sky : a novel

    2012 by Tom King

    The superheroes of Arcadia City, in order to stop the apocalypse, had to sacrifice their powers and their leader Ultimate. Now, they face life as mortal men and all the messiness involved with being normal. Pen, having left the group for a normal life long before this last fight, is the only one left with superpowers. Thus, when evil come calling again, he is the only one left who can save the day. But will he choose to? (I, for one, would at least ask for a raise and a puppy before fighting a supervillain). This unique cross between a graphic novel and a work of literary fiction explores the limits of power and the responsibility we owe to society.

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  • The Falling Machine

    2011 by Andrew P Mayer

    Steampunk superheroes! I could say more about this inventive trilogy but really steampunk superheroes says it all.

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  • Mystery Men

    1999 by Mel Damski

    I can't make a list of off-beat superheroes and not include this fun movie. This superhero spoof was a movie ahead of its time. Now, we know all about (and love them) the well-worn tropes of a superhero movie. So, check out this movie that pokes fun at the thought of a pair of glasses making someone unrecognizable.

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  • After the Golden Age

    2011 by Carrie Vaughn

    Celia West has something in common with Audrey Whitticomb (the heroine of Dark Star--scroll up 3 books!). She is the daughter of a superhero. Actually, she's the daughter of two superheroes (take that Audrey) . Sadly, she has no powers (Audrey wins this one) but is an accomplished forensic accountant (maybe she should hook up with Chesney Anstruther). She is also the favorite target of all the villains. Will her accounting skills take down Destructor when her parent's superpowers did not? I, for one, never underestimate the power of math.

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