August 26, 2019

Indie Superhero Summer

Superhero fatigue? Not in this house.

It bugs me whenever I read another article about “superhero fatigue”.

I mean, part of this is personal, sure. As both a massive fan of the genre, and someone trying to make a career in superhero stories, the idea of superheroes turning into just another passing fad is obviously not something I relish.

But it’s also more than that. To me, saying “superhero fatigue” is the same as saying “sci-fi fatigue”, “mystery fatigue”, or “romance fatigue”. It dismisses the genre as a narrow niche, when really it’s so much broader than that.

Superheroes—and by extension, their stories—can be anything. Whether creating space where people can see themselves in media that normally excludes them (Midnight, Secondhand Origin Stories, and The Crashers), telling cute, escapist love stories (Cinnamon Blade, Captain Stellar), or examining superheroes through the lens of fandom (Red and Black, The Private Life of Jane Maxwell), superheroes come together to create a genre that is rich and flourishing. The books I’ve covered this summer only barely scratch the surface. There are also books about superhero wizards, supervillains falling in love with heroes, aging superheros, vengeful superheroes, superhero accountants, and even least likely heroes, to name a new.

And let’s not forget the importance of where superheroes come from. It wouldn’t be superheroes if the genre itself didn’t have a powerful origin story. From the beginning, these masked heroes have been sources of inspiration and encouragement. They’ve been a means of examining and exploring the problems of the world. They’ve been a cause for hope, and a shining beacon of true heroism.

You can like or dislike them as much as you want, of course—and yes, there are absolutely problems with blockbuster titles crowding out smaller films in terms of both studio funding and theater space. But to blame superheroes themselves is to do a disservice to the millions of people they bring joy to every day, and the long history of social good they’ve stood for.

I, for one, hope they’ll be sticking around for a long time to come.

All right, friends, this wraps up #IndieSuperheroSummer. I hope you all have enjoyed this foray into my obsession, and hopefully found a few new favorite reads along the way! I’ve definitely had fun. This was my first experiment with weekly blogging, and I think it’s something I’d like to return to in the future—but not quite yet. September, I’m focusing on Hopefuls 3 and 4, as well as a few changes I’m making in my personal life, so my presence here is going to lighten significantly for a bit.

See you soon!