Yesterday, I posted a discussion video on my YouTube channel about the rise of Superhero YA. You can check out that video HERE if you’d like more information, but basically, I am a huge fan of the growing trend of YA novels about comic book superheroes. Starting with Black Widow in 2015, and looking ahead to the four DC/Random House books coming 2017 – 2018, it seems like the hot new trend in YA sports tights and a cape. Sign me up.
As someone who unashamedly loves the superhero narrative – but still loves a villain, let’s be real ok guys this is me after all – I’m so excited to see what’s in store. As I said in my video, I never read comics growing up and still find them intimidating, but I’m really into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and holy hell Suicide Squad looks right up my alley. So I thought that I’d compile a list of my top five superheroes who I’d like to see get the YA treatment, plus a couple villains because sometimes you can’t help but root for the bad guy. Maybe that’s just me.
1. JEAN GREY. Growing up, I was an X-Men girl, and Jean Grey was my FAVORITE. I know we’ll see young Jean Grey in the next X-Men movie, but I would love to get a YA novel from her perspective. Jean struggles with the intensity of her powers in a different way than her cohorts, and I think this would provide a great framework for a story. Plus, teenage X-Men at boarding school is just so very much a thing I want.
2. SPIDER GWEN. As much as I love Peter Parker, Gwen Stacey as Spider Woman is such an awesome novel waiting to happen. I’ve actually read the Spider Gwen comics, and this is a character and story arc that I really enjoy. Gwen plays drums in her all-girl band, The Mary Janes, and tries to reconcile her vigilante justice with her father’s status as head of police. This is prime novel material, people!
3. BLACK PANTHER. Aside from his role in Captain America: Civil War, I know little to nothing about T’Challa, which is A CRYING SHAME FOLKS. A prince who becomes king and a superhero, T’Challa has a lot going on – it can’t be easy to run a country and be an Avenger. Plus, he’s the first black superhero in a mainstream comic, and it’s time we stop accepting the media’s insistence that you must be a white man to be the hero and worthy of a story. Personality-wise, T’Challa is such a refreshing divergence from snarky Stark and whimsical Rogers. In my opinion, he’s one of the most exciting characters in the MCU, and while I’m so pumped for the Black Panther movie in 2019, I think a YA novel about this character would be awesome.
4. MS. MARVEL. Kamala Khan is Marvel’s first Muslim headliner, and oh is she awesome. Who wouldn’t devour a YA book about a sixteen year old who finds herself with super powers? Uh, no one, that’s who. Comics are woefully male, pale, and stale, but the latest incarnation of Ms. Marvel shows just who really runs the world. Girls. I know that Kamala Khan’s comics are very recent releases, but they’ve created great buzz, so all the better to capitalize on that popularity and write a book.
5. DEADPOOL. Because obviously. I don’t know how a teenage Deadpool story would work, but I want one.
I just realized these are all Marvel characters, whoops. If you’ve got DC recommendations, let me know!
And here are a couple villains I’d like to see featured, if not in their own novel, then at least in their superhero counterparts’ books: Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn. Loki, and Magneto!
What are some comic characters you would like to see get their own YA book? Let me know in the comments!