Superheroes have never been hotter than they are right now. Movie studios continue to offer up super-powered blockbusters, such as the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, while TV screens flicker with such fare as Arrow, The Flash, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Self-published authors aren’t immune to such trends—but, unsurprisingly, many have their own unique takes on the world of costumed adventurers.
Adam Beechen, Manny Bello, and Ethen Beavers have plenty of combined experience in traditional comics, having worked on titles such as Teen Titans Go! and Justice League Unlimited. But their self-published graphic novel, Hench, takes a very different tack, telling the intimate, personal story of a supervillain’s henchman as he struggles to support his family. Kirkus’ reviewer wrote that they’d “created an entertaining, thoughtful spin on the superhero comic, cleverly focusing on the kind of character always left in the background.”
(They’re not the only self-published authors with graphic-novel experience. Leland Myrick, for example, an illustrator of such works as 2013’s Feynman, is also the self-published author of fantasy novels such as The Ten, which was named one of Kirkus’ Best Books of 2012.)
Douglas and Angelia Pershing meld superheroics with sci-fi in their self-pubbed YA series. In Shifters and Ordinaries, alien teens Ryland and Tanner Ascuse use their newly discovered talents—which include super-speed, among others—to try to stop an invasion of Earth. “Fans of Superman (and Supergirl) will enjoy the protagonists’ alien origins,” said Kirkus’ reviewer of Shifters, “and X-Men readers should appreciate the youths-against-the-world theme.”
Finally, in the self-published Saving Superman by Kathleen Sales, a troubled young boy draws strength from his love of Superman comics. Kirkus called it an “emotionally honest, thoughtful novel about families whose superpowers involve coping with the everyday.”—D.R.
David Rapp is an Indie editor.