It’s no secret how much I love comics.
most pretty much all of the comics I read can, to varying degrees, be placed on the superhero side of things, sometimes I’ll pick up the odd non-superhero comic. Right now I have issue #1 of Mythic on my coffee table waiting to be read (granted, that comic came from Comic Block and I didn’t actively seek it out, but I digress), and I’m a big fan of the modern comic book re-imaginings of the early pulp heroes such as The Black Bat, The Spider, and The Phantom, although one could argue their closeness to the superhero genre. The point I am poorly trying to make is that I love superheroe stories (of all varieties) in my comics more than any other type of story.
Amazingly enough, I also read books.
If you look at my book shelf you’ll see a lot of fantasy, sword and sorcery, and historical fiction. There isn’t much set within the last one hundred years or so that I tend to pick up and read. I can think of, maybe, ten books (or series) that I’ve read in the last fifteen years or so that are set within the last century, and only two of them were based around superheroes. One was an average Wolverine tale I read on Kindle; and the other was a really good, if not quite a mind blowing book; A Once Crowded Sky by Tom King. I would actually recommend you take a look at the book, not only because of the story, but because of the way it is told. Each characters point of view is laid out like a comic book; the book is set up like a text version of a collected comic book tie-in event across multiple issues. It’s brilliant.
A Once Crowded Sky is a relative anomaly for me; it’s a superhero story that I read, and enjoyed, that wasn’t in a comic book. Now, my sample size of superhero books is obviously incredibly small compared with that of superhero comics, but the thing I must stress here is it isn’t that I’ve had no access to superhero books, it’s that I simply have no desire to read about superheroes in any other medium that isn’t a comic book, and I have no idea why.
Maybe it’s because up until A Once Crowded Sky every superhero book I’ve looked as has been hard to justify the price tag. I found A Once Crowded Sky for $3 on a table of reduced hardcover books at a chain book store – it’s easily worth four times that amount, but would I have looked at it for more than $3? Seeing as how it took me two days to decide to pick the book up even for about the price of a comic, well, then probably not. Maybe I don’t like superhero books because they lack the visual nature of comics, which probably does have something to do with it, but I’m more then happy reading the Dresden Files novels and graphic novels, but then the Dresden Files and superheroes occupy two different genres. Maybe, and most likely, it’s because there simply hasn’t been much buzz about any superhero books.
As a genre it is still relatively new – especially compared to other genres – and many of the authors currently writing in it are either still finding their groove, or have yet to publish a significant body of work to delve in to; Tom King has written several comics, but to date has only the one book featuring superheroes released.
Someday, hopefully soon, superhero books will have their own section in the book store and when they do, that’s where you’ll find me.