Thursday, May 3, 2018

Where does YOUR favourite super hero fit?

All this talk of Infinity Wars segued nicely with discussion about genre and classification in fiction, and had me thinking about super heroes and their powers. I've never been too sure where super heroes fit in the genre pool - although I suspect they'd be in SF and Fantasy. But is that really right? I'm not a great super hero fan these days, though I read the comics in my youth. I'll tell you what I think, but feel free to add, or include corrections. Let's see...

No brainer. He's an alien so, SF

He doesn't have any super powers. He has a bunch of fancy gadgets and he's a great athlete. I'd say he's contemporary crime.

Iron Man
Like Batman, Iron Man is a very rich man with a penchant for amazing gadgets. Contemporary crime with maybe a nod to SF because of the amazing suit.

Thor (and Loki)
Another no-brainer. They're Norse Gods. Out and out fantasy.

Star Lord
Guardians of the Galaxy is space opera, for sure. But as revealed in GoG2, Star Lord is the son of a god. So he slips into the fantasy realm.

Peter Parker obtained his powers when he was bitten by a genetically-modified spider, so I'd put him into SF.

Green Arrow
A superb archer with a bunch of trick arrows. This is another wealthy businessman who moonlights as a crime fighter. Contemporary crime.

The Hulk
Another professor mixing up chemicals he shouldn't. Kind of like a modern day Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. That makes him SF.

The Flash
I gather he's just very, very fast. I'd put him into fantasy.Maybe soething like a mutant?

Wonder Woman
A Greek Amazon, daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus. Fantasy.

Black Panther
Hmm. It's a fictional kingdom, but to me there are overlaps with the Phantom and Batman. He's a very fit guy dilettanting from kinging as a crime fighter. Contemporary crime.

The Phantom
The Phantom is a man with a 400-year family history, the title passed from father to son. Contemporary crime.

He's representative of all Force users. As far as I'm concerned, although I'll admit to thinking it might be a real thing, the way Force users are portrayed in Star Wars puts Yoda etc into fantasy land.

That SF and F bucket is a bit like Hermione's bag - totally extendable and able to fit just about anything. Just as well, eh?

And on another topic, I'm taking part in the ALS association's 'go blue for May' campaign. Pippa and Laurie have both talked about it on their posts. Here's a link to my own website, talking about this excellent cause. We'll all be donating 25% of money earned on the sale of our books to ALS research. So if you're looking for a good SFR or paranormal read, head over here - and know you're donating to a great cause.


  1. Is it significant that my fave has always been Superman? :)

  2. Well, technically, the Flash was zapped by a particle accelerator (in the new TV series) which would make him SF. But in the old series, it was lightning while he was in a crime lab full of chemicals. Hmmm.

  3. Great analysis!

    Some have drawn parallels between The Force and Dark Energy, but there's no solid research done that Dark Energy actually exists yet, except that it should, mathematically. If science ever reveals that the two are eerily similar, I think that would pull ol' Yoda squarely into the SF category. :)

    1. I actually believe something like the Force exists. I'm arguing the case for how Yoda, Luke, Darth et al USE the Force. Now if it turns out there are people who can use "Dark Energy" (or whatever) to lift ships out of the water, strangle people etc - then that's SF. But right now (due to lack of evidence) I'm calling it magic :)

  4. So I'm going to disagree to a degree, lol. I classify all superheroes as scifi (and I had this discussion with a work colleague who's much more Marvel-savvy than me out of interest) using an Arthur C Clarke quote: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. For me, Thor and Loki come from an alien planet (or at least another point in space) so they're aliens with advanced technology. Scarlet Witch - despite her name her abilities supposedly come from an experiment in eugenics so science, therefore scifi. But that's just my opinion - my publisher put my and others superhero stories into urban fantasy, which would cover a lot of them too.


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