Goodreads, the literary online source for readers and authors defines Superhero fiction as a genre that is part of speculative fiction. The wording of the definition is below.
“Superhero fiction is a genre originating in and most common to American comic books, though it has expanded into other media through adaptations and original works. The form is a type of speculative fiction examining the adventures of costumed crime fighters known as superheroes, who often possess superhuman powers and battle similarly powered criminals known as super-villains.”
Many of these stories can involve science fiction because it stretches the limits of our understanding of science. The supernatural is well established in many manifestations of superheroes. They often involve fantasy with the impossible or improbable as commonplace. Superheroes can be a master or subject of magic that gives them powers or a curse. They can fly, throw fire, lift buildings or read minds. They can do supernatural acts beyond the abilities of normal humanity.
When I was a child and I read comics or stories that highlighted these characters I would be ridiculed by others. “You enjoying that ‘funny book’? That stuff will rot your brain. Set your mind in the real world and don’t read that trash.” Peoples lack of sensitivity and kindness angered me. When I tried to explain that I enjoyed the adventure and it expanded my imagination and I saw nothing wrong in it. I was told I needed to get my head out of the clouds and back on earth.
All these trials did not curb my appreciation for the superhero in literature. That’s right I called it literature because that is what it was and is. I am thankful that the criticism and the expression of disapproval of superheroes in writing are heard less in today’s world. Superhero fiction truly is here to stay as a genre in writing.
Good writing will capture your imagination and allow you to escape into a world where you can fly or do amazing things to help others from harm and solve the problems that face society. You can climb into the character of power and see the problems he faces and choices he must make. While you don’t need powers to be a hero more is expected of you if you have supernatural abilities.
Strip all the powers away and they are no different than any other person trying to cope with life but if they fail the cost can be much greater. More is expected of them and they have a greater responsibility because regular people are fragile compared to them. Their life is complicated because of the power they possess.
What a great premise for a story to write from a superheroes perspective. While any story is only as good as the writer the possibilities are endless and there are a lot of great superhero stories to be found. Don’t lock yourself into just one genre of literature and don’t fear reading about the supernatural world of superheroes.