10 Novels Based On DC Comics For Literature Fans

Slowly and steadily, superhero fiction has become a necessity in almost every branch of media. Fans can now find their favorite comic characters in movies, TV series, and podcasts. There is, however, a form of narrative expression constantly ignored by the public: literature.

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Many don’t know this, but there are many novels and short-story anthologies based on the DC comic books. Some of them are only novelizations of famous comics and superhero movies, but others are original stories inspired by the comics. These novels treat the fans to new exciting adventures and shine a new light on beloved superheroes, like Batman and Superman.

10 The Adventures Of Superman Is The First Superman Novel

Action Comics #1 Superman

The Adventures Of Superman by George Lowther tells the story of Superman from the very beginning. The Adventures Of Superman has a complete plot that first details Krypton and Kal-El’s life before its destruction. Then, it deals with Clark’s childhood on the Kent’s farm and his life in Metropolis. And finally, The Adventures Of Superman showcases him as Superman as he battles Nazi spies.

Published in 1938, only four years after Superman was created, The Adventures Of Superman is the first-ever novel about a comic book character. Because of this, it features a somewhat different Superman. For example, he doesn’t have some of his most iconic abilities, such as freeze breath and heat vision. What’s more, he isn’t opposed to murder if necessary. Despite these differences, it’s a fun read that sheds some light on Superman’s origins.

9 Superman: Doomsday & Beyond Re-Tells The Death Of Superman

Also known as Superman Lives!, Superman: Doomsday & Beyond starts at the end. Beginning with Superman’s death at hands of Doomsday, Doomsday & Beyond recounts life after the Man of Steel is gone. This includes Superman’s last thoughts, his loved ones’ lives without him, and the mysterious appearance of four super-beings claiming to be Superman while Clark’s body goes missing.

Taking inspiration from comics from the ’80s and ’90s, such as Man Of Steel, Superman, and Action Comics, Louise Simonson crafted a young-adult version of The Death Of Superman. The book was so successful, it was promptly adapted as an audiobook and aired on BBC Radio the same year of its publication.

8 Supergirl Is Based On The 1984 Movie

Before the DCEU, fans had the Salkind film series, produced by Ilya and Alexander Salkind and with Christopher Reeves as Superman. Although this universe wasn’t as complex as the new ones, it also included other characters, such as Supergirl, who was played by Helen Slater in Supergirl (1984).

Although Supergirl wasn’t successful in its time, Norma Fox Mazer was commissioned to write a novelization of the script. This book, like the movie, depicts Kara Zor-El as she’s forced to reveal herself as Supergirl in order to save the Omegahedron from the wrong hands.

7 The Further Adventures Of The Joker Is An Anthology Of Stories

The Joker Taunts Gordon In Batman The Killing Joke

The Further Adventures Of The Joker is an anthology of stories created by different authors, edited by Martin H. Greenberg. It features 20 short stories with the Joker as a unifying theme, written primarily by American authors. These stories have no connection with each other, and their topics range widely. For example, some of them cover Batman’s relationship with this villain, but others talk about the Joker’s childhood.

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AdditionallyMartin H. Greenberg edited other anthologies with a similar format, like The Further Adventures Of Batman, The Further Adventures Of Superman, and The Further Adventures Of Wonder Woman. None of these short stories are considered canon since the writers were given creative freedom for them.

6 Green Lantern: Sleepers Book One Features Kyle Rayner As Green Lantern

Green Lantern: Sleepers Book One features Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern, a space-traveling superhero whose girlfriend, Jade, inadvertently befriends Siniestro. After this villain kidnaps her, Kyle must save her, their relationship and Earth itself.

Created by Christopher Priest, the first black writer/editor in mainstream comics, Green Lantern: Sleepers Book One is a fun read. It has a classic Green Lantern story that can’t be found in the comics. For those readers wanting more, there’s good news – this is only the first book of a whole trilogy.

5 Peter & Max: A Fables Novel Follows The Fables Formula

fables legends in exile cover

Peter & Max: A Fables Novel narrates two parallel stories starring Peter Piper and his villainous brother, Max. One is a Medieval tale about the Piper family. The other is an espionage story that follows Peter as he chases his brother using his skills as a thief.

This novel, by Bill Willingham, is a stand-alone story only based on Fables, which means readers don’t have to know much about the comic to understand it. However, it follows the same format. It re-tells a fairy tale, The Pied Piper Of Hamelin, but reimagines its characters as if they lived between humans.

4 The Sandman: Book Of Dreams Expands On The Sandman’s Universe

The Sandman: Book Of Dreams is an anthology of short stories that revolve around The Sandman comic book series by Neil Gaiman. Book Of Dreams includes 18 short stories that draw inspiration from Gaiman’s comic. Expanding on The Sandman‘s lore and characters, it was edited by Ed Kramer and Neil Gaiman.

With an epilogue by singer Tori Amos, The Sandman: Book Of Dreams received mixed reactions from the public. The general consensus is that the book is a treat for fans of this universe, but some of the stories are better than others. Book Of Dreams’ most hardcore fans especially recommend Each Damp Thing by Barbara Hambly and Splatter by Will Shetterly.

3 Wayne Of Gotham Follows Thomas Wayne’s Life

Batman By Jim Lee

Wayne Of Gotham tells two stories at once. One stars Thomas Wayne set around 1960. The other stars Bruce Wayne as Batman in the present, as he learns the Wayne family’s darkest secrets while investigating his parents’ murders. Wayne Of Gotham was written by Tracy Hickman, co-creator of the Dragonlance series, a must-read in the fantasy genre.

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Batman is the main character of the second timeline. However, Wayne Of Gotham focuses primarily on Thomas, his father, as he meets Martha and deals with his own bad decisions. While some readers find this to be disappointing, others think Wayne Of Gotham offers a barely-explored angle about Bruce’s life: his father’s psychology.

2 Batman: The Ultimate Evil Pins Batman Against A Child Trafficking Ring

Batman Leaves People For Dead In Batman Reptilian

Probably one of Batman’s darkest plots, Batman: The Ultimate Evil follows the Dark Knight as he dismantles a child trafficking ring. Inspired by a caseworker with Child Protective Services named Deborah Kane, and his own mother’s investigation before she was murdered, Batman decides to include child molesters in his list of villains to defeat.

The Ultimate Evil, which ends with a non-fiction essay about child sex tourism, was written by Andrew Vachss. Vachss is a crime fiction author, an attorney exclusively for the youth, and a child protection consultant. Batman: The Ultimate Evil is, as is many others Vachss’ works, a valuable attempt to bring awareness.

1 The Kingdom Come Novelization Adds To The Comic’s Depth

The Faces of Kingdom Come:

Just like the comic, Kingdom Come tells the story of a far future where superheroes are no longer trusted. They have become violent, amoral, and irresponsible. Now, the older Justice League members have to recruit a new team in order to prevent the chaos around the world.

Granted, Kingdom Come is as good as it gets in the comics. While this novel may not have Alex Ross’ artwork, it manages to add a psychological depth to all characters that the comic simply can’t reach. Most readers believe this novelization is the perfect bonus feature to the comic series.

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