Or why you should read Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman
I infrequently go to big chain bookstores because they disappoint me. However, the last time I went to a well curated one they had an end display of serious(ish) superhero novels since apparently that is a novel genre now. So it would appear that with the mainstream appeal of all things supeheroic there is a demand for cape prose novels.
Soon I Will Be Invincible, published in 2007, predates this mainstream popularity and was totally out there before it was cool to be. Man.
It's also a really, really fun book.
Half of Soon I Will Be Invincible is narrated by Dr. Impossible, a super power enhanced genius suffering from Malign Hypercognition Disorder. Dr. Impossible is brilliant. He is evil. He is jaded. He wants to be respected and feared. He is kind of pathetic and really sort of adorable. He has hatched failed plans to take over the world involving doomsday devices, mind-control, time travel, robot armes and alien invasions. But in Soon I Will Be Invincible his ultimate plan will be revealed. He is, simply put, the pompous villain we all love to root for.
The other half of Soon I Will Be Invincible follows cyborg enforcer Fatale: an amnesiac everyday person thrust into the world of super heroics by a runaway truck. In soon I Will Be Invincible she is recruited to join The New Champions, an ersatz Justice League of Earth's mightiest heroes. As such she provides an outsider/everymans perspective of the superheroes of the story. She is drole, she is unsure of herself, she is a very likable character.
To a certain extent Soon I Will Be Invincible functions as both a satire and celebration of the superhero genre. For those who know what's going on the book provides an in depth analysis and history of the superhero genre with many characters standing in for established heroes of the gold, silver, and modern ages of comics. The novel is also hilarious and deconstructionist: it plays with the goofiness of the concept and adds a selective element of comedic realism to the proceedings. The result is a novel with a thinky, celebratory element for the serious comics fan and a hilarious comedic element that should appeal to everyone.
So, honestly, no matter who you are, if you want a fun, casual book about superheroes you should give Soon I Will Be Invincible a shot.