Superheros are all the rage these days. Everyone dreams of being spared the monotony of everyday life by some psycho superhuman with an insane fashion sense. Thankfully, Marvel and DC have obliged us with enough comics, movies, and video games to spork our eyeballs out with superhero goodness for the rest of our lives. My only question is, who will save us from this onslaught of superhero visual media?
Well friends, our savior is none other than Michael Stackpole . Sure, he may appear to be a mild mannered guy, but when behind the keyboard, he transforms into The Authornator-bringer of originality to superhero stories!
His latest creation, In Hero Years…I’m Dead, is a must read for all fans of the traditional comic book story.
The story centers around an old hero returning to Capital City after twenty years of imprisonment. All that he knew has changed. The great heroes of his time have all retired, content to allow a new group of young upstarts to run things. As he stumbles around trying to regain his old footing, he learns the new rules have cultivated a dangerous societal mix that could destroy him if he continues to play a hero.
It is incredibly hard to tell an inventive superhero story, but In Hero Years…I’m Dead genuinely spins an original tale. Stackpole mixes the traditional comic book feel with quirky humor and a noir-detective backdrop that makes for truly compelling reading. Capital City is full of surprises around every turn as caricatures of all the classic heroes propel you further down its alleys.
The characters feel very real and leap off the screen. The protagonist keeps you engaged as he explores the new world Capitol City has become in his absence. Everyone can connect to the range of emotions he experiences throughout the story.
Most hero stories focus on the heroes themselves and their personal struggles. While Stackpole certainly captures this, he also explores the pressure of society as it works against the traditional hero versus villain mechanic. He creates a truly modern city that brilliantly figures out how to cope with its super inhabitants that is so believable, it is almost scary . The social commentary he weaves into the main storyline adds that bit of depth that some hero stories skim over to appease the masses.
You won’t find the same old ‘have to beat the bad guy’ plot here. Stackpole dishes up a fresh take on caped crusaders and their reason for protecting their city.
In Hero Years…I’m Dead is currently available digitally for most ereader platforms. Sadly, this is not in print yet, but there is a very good story as to the reason. It comes in two edition, normal and deluxe. The deluxe edition is only a dollar more and includes a sweet essay detailing Stackpole’s own personal journey writing the novel.
Get it Here (Deluxe edition):