Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction => Fantasy Book & Author Discussion => Topic started by: Bender on May 13, 2019, 11:01:42 PM

Title: Superheroes and Zombies - Fantasy, Sci-Fi or neither?
Post by: Bender on May 13, 2019, 11:01:42 PM
The undead are a standard feature in fantasy novels, so are people with super powers. Though we don't call them superheroes or Zombies, we have lots of parallels and similarities between the tropes.

So do you see them as Fantasy or Fiction or Sci-fi or just plunk Comic (non-illustrative) as a separate genre?
Title: Re: Superheroes and Zombies - Fantasy, Sci-Fi or neither?
Post by: Elfy on May 14, 2019, 06:53:13 AM
Hard question to answer with the examples provided. Peter Clines Ex series features both. The zombies are pretty much SF, but the superheroes are a mix of SF and Fantasy. Most zombies now are scientific, but the original idea of the zombie utilised magic.
Title: Re: Superheroes and Zombies - Fantasy, Sci-Fi or neither?
Post by: J.R. Darewood on May 14, 2019, 07:01:40 AM
Superhéroes Def feels like it's own thing but possibly a subset is SFF kind of like PnR. At this point also I feel like they've all sort of converged into the same repeated formula too making the case for their distinction. Plus comic fans I think are a very different group than your typical SFF fans, beyond just the literacy thing.

Zombies I still rope in with the general population of SFF
Title: Re: Superheroes and Zombies - Fantasy, Sci-Fi or neither?
Post by: ScarletBea on May 14, 2019, 07:54:50 AM
I would put zombies in Horror, but superheroes outside SFF...
Title: Re: Superheroes and Zombies - Fantasy, Sci-Fi or neither?
Post by: Peat on May 14, 2019, 09:29:16 AM
They are both ingredients that can be used across the SFF range and their own sub-genres which, while logically sitting under Sci-Fi and Horror respectively, kind of don't simply due to divergent fanbases. Particularly Superheroes.
Title: Re: Superheroes and Zombies - Fantasy, Sci-Fi or neither?
Post by: ScarletBea on May 14, 2019, 10:08:02 AM
Ok :)
I suppose I said 'outside' because usually superheroes books are comics, right?

I don't read either, so I don't really care, hehe
Title: Re: Superheroes and Zombies - Fantasy, Sci-Fi or neither?
Post by: DrNefario on May 14, 2019, 11:54:19 AM
Zombies are usually mostly horror, but can be treated in a more SF way, giving an apocalyptic/post-apocalypse vibe like a natural disaster.

Superheroes are nominally SF or F or both, but kind of stand apart because they tend to have their own conventions, their own structures, and their own fanbase. Just like I guess you could say horror is nominally SF or F (or sometimes neither), or UF is nominally horror - once you get a big enough subset that doesn't overlap there's not much point considering them the same thing.
Title: Re: Superheroes and Zombies - Fantasy, Sci-Fi or neither?
Post by: Alex Hormann on May 14, 2019, 07:26:56 PM
I reckon zombies can fit into just about any speculative genre. Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and The Expanse all have zombie-type creatures, but are all clearly different genres.

Superheroes are very much there own genre, in my opinion. Even though Iron Man is SF and Doctor Strange more fantasy, they stand alone
Title: Re: Superheroes and Zombies - Fantasy, Sci-Fi or neither?
Post by: Peat on May 15, 2019, 12:13:39 AM
Ok :)
I suppose I said 'outside' because usually superheroes books are comics, right?

I don't read either, so I don't really care, hehe

They are, but there's some Superheroes books. There's some fantasy comics too.

I think regarding superheroes as something totally different makes sense given how the fanbases don't really like them together and the history of different mediums... I also think regarding Superheroes as part of the wider genre makes sense too.
Title: Re: Superheroes and Zombies - Fantasy, Sci-Fi or neither?
Post by: Elfy on May 15, 2019, 07:17:55 AM
Ok :)
I suppose I said 'outside' because usually superheroes books are comics, right?

I don't read either, so I don't really care, hehe

They are, but there's some Superheroes books. There's some fantasy comics too.

I think regarding superheroes as something totally different makes sense given how the fanbases don't really like them together and the history of different mediums... I also think regarding Superheroes as part of the wider genre makes sense too.
Yeah, have to put graphic novels in there, too. I still see the first half of Cerebus the Aardvark as a great literary achievement. Bone is also another great graphic novel that didn't have a superhero in sight, but it was a fantastic fantasy story.
Title: Re: Superheroes and Zombies - Fantasy, Sci-Fi or neither?
Post by: J.R. Darewood on May 15, 2019, 07:31:38 AM
Ok :)
I suppose I said 'outside' because usually superheroes books are comics, right?

I don't read either, so I don't really care, hehe

They are, but there's some Superheroes books. There's some fantasy comics too.

I think regarding superheroes as something totally different makes sense given how the fanbases don't really like them together and the history of different mediums... I also think regarding Superheroes as part of the wider genre makes sense too.
Yeah, have to put graphic novels in there, too. I still see the first half of Cerebus the Aardvark as a great literary achievement. Bone is also another great graphic novel that didn't have a superhero in sight, but it was a fantastic fantasy story.

@Elfy Did you ever read Elfquest?  There's sooooo many amazing graphic novels out there!

Superhero genre, for me, is defined by a narcissistic style of pro-protagonist myopia embedded within the narrative, an overwrought struggle that really doesn't feel like a legitimate struggle, shallow self-discovery, and male mary-sues that are given some sort of superficial flaw or weakness that isn't really a flaw.
Title: Re: Superheroes and Zombies - Fantasy, Sci-Fi or neither?
Post by: J.R. Darewood on May 16, 2019, 02:05:34 AM
Superhero genre, for me, is defined by a narcissistic style of pro-protagonist myopia embedded within the narrative, an overwrought struggle that really doesn't feel like a legitimate struggle, shallow self-discovery, and male mary-sues that are given some sort of superficial flaw or weakness that isn't really a flaw.

It occurs to me that I have been sharp tongued and possibly unpleasant.

I was reading Charles Bukowski last night. Maybe that was it.
Title: Re: Superheroes and Zombies - Fantasy, Sci-Fi or neither?
Post by: Bender on May 16, 2019, 02:08:37 AM
No worries JR, I thought I was reading Steven Erikson  ;)
Title: Re: Superheroes and Zombies - Fantasy, Sci-Fi or neither?
Post by: Elfy on May 16, 2019, 07:11:54 AM
Ok :)
I suppose I said 'outside' because usually superheroes books are comics, right?

I don't read either, so I don't really care, hehe

They are, but there's some Superheroes books. There's some fantasy comics too.

I think regarding superheroes as something totally different makes sense given how the fanbases don't really like them together and the history of different mediums... I also think regarding Superheroes as part of the wider genre makes sense too.
Yeah, have to put graphic novels in there, too. I still see the first half of Cerebus the Aardvark as a great literary achievement. Bone is also another great graphic novel that didn't have a superhero in sight, but it was a fantastic fantasy story.

@Elfy Did you ever read Elfquest?  There's sooooo many amazing graphic novels out there!

Superhero genre, for me, is defined by a narcissistic style of pro-protagonist myopia embedded within the narrative, an overwrought struggle that really doesn't feel like a legitimate struggle, shallow self-discovery, and male mary-sues that are given some sort of superficial flaw or weakness that isn't really a flaw.
I never really got into Elfquest, it was hard to get down here. I did read a novelised version of it later and found it poorly written. It may have read better as a comic, though.
Title: Re: Superheroes and Zombies - Fantasy, Sci-Fi or neither?
Post by: Peat on May 16, 2019, 09:41:14 AM
Superhero genre, for me, is defined by a narcissistic style of pro-protagonist myopia embedded within the narrative, an overwrought struggle that really doesn't feel like a legitimate struggle, shallow self-discovery, and male mary-sues that are given some sort of superficial flaw or weakness that isn't really a flaw.

It occurs to me that I have been sharp tongued and possibly unpleasant.

I was reading Charles Bukowski last night. Maybe that was it.


I like how you don't actually say you were wrong  :P
Title: Re: Superheroes and Zombies - Fantasy, Sci-Fi or neither?
Post by: J.R. Darewood on May 16, 2019, 10:26:04 PM
Superhero genre, for me, is defined by a narcissistic style of pro-protagonist myopia embedded within the narrative, an overwrought struggle that really doesn't feel like a legitimate struggle, shallow self-discovery, and male mary-sues that are given some sort of superficial flaw or weakness that isn't really a flaw.

It occurs to me that I have been sharp tongued and possibly unpleasant.

I was reading Charles Bukowski last night. Maybe that was it.


I like how you don't actually say you were wrong  :P

Haha, I think the overwhelming avalanche of marvel and DC movies and their respective cookie-cutters have unfairly poisoned me towards superheroes at this point.  I haven't read Leigh Bardugo's wonderwoman book, for example, which I'm sure is great.  The thing is, ideologically, concept itself gives me the same sort of uncomfortable feeling that biopics do: this lingering doubt that you will be able to get a true story with your nose so far up the a#s of your protagonist.

But perhaps I *am* wrong about the movies as well.  My old crotchety a#s just finally got around to watching Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse and OH MY GOD THAT WAS THE BEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN.  That said I'm very biased towards Spider-man as being the best of the comic book superheroes (or not, my love of Spiderman made it impossible for me enjoy the live-action movies... but they really nailed the core of the character for the first time in this one), and stuff with vulnerable child-protagoinsts always gets my heartstrings, but oh my god just from a storytelling perspective it was so incredibly brilliant, even the twists I saw coming still managed to twist the hell out of my insides.  So many brilliant full-circles, call backs, and repeated-but-transformed story elements happening at once:

Too vague to be spoilers but just in case:
Fisk and his family, Morales and fat-peter's farewells, the no-expectations graffiti (both in the-violation-of-sacred-space of his graffiti sanctuary, and the notebook.. the only one that didn't fly for me was the shoulder tap

On top of that the brilliant mix of comic elements into the animation, and the absolutely gorgeous color palette.  Holy f#$k it was good.

Anyways @Elfy apologies if I've been a little sharp-tongued in my disagreements of late.
Title: Re: Superheroes and Zombies - Fantasy, Sci-Fi or neither?
Post by: Peat on May 16, 2019, 10:59:30 PM
Superhero genre, for me, is defined by a narcissistic style of pro-protagonist myopia embedded within the narrative, an overwrought struggle that really doesn't feel like a legitimate struggle, shallow self-discovery, and male mary-sues that are given some sort of superficial flaw or weakness that isn't really a flaw.

It occurs to me that I have been sharp tongued and possibly unpleasant.

I was reading Charles Bukowski last night. Maybe that was it.


I like how you don't actually say you were wrong  :P

Haha, I think the overwhelming avalanche of marvel and DC movies and their respective cookie-cutters have unfairly poisoned me towards superheroes at this point.  I haven't read Leigh Bardugo's wonderwoman book, for example, which I'm sure is great.  The thing is, ideologically, concept itself gives me the same sort of uncomfortable feeling that biopics do: this lingering doubt that you will be able to get a true story with your nose so far up the a#s of your protagonist.

But perhaps I *am* wrong about the movies as well.  My old crotchety a#s just finally got around to watching Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse and OH MY GOD THAT WAS THE BEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN.  That said I'm very biased towards Spider-man as being the best of the comic book superheroes (or not, my love of Spiderman made it impossible for me enjoy the live-action movies... but they really nailed the core of the character for the first time in this one), and stuff with vulnerable child-protagoinsts always gets my heartstrings, but oh my god just from a storytelling perspective it was so incredibly brilliant, even the twists I saw coming still managed to twist the hell out of my insides.  So many brilliant full-circles, call backs, and repeated-but-transformed story elements happening at once:


Well, hey, I didn't say I was disagreeing with you either :P It was indeed a very sharp way to put it, but at the end of the day there's an awful lot of adolescent male power fantasy in superheroes. I'll stand here all day and defend the right for young men to have their power fantasy stories too, particularly when they're as wholesome and altruistic as a lot of superhero stories are; but a spade's a spade. And as far as I can tell, Wonder Woman is basically there for women who want to have the exact same power fantasies. And, well, power fantasies are ultimately a little narcissistic and generally involve struggles that aren't really struggles and what not.

Still, some astonishing and subversive things have been done with the genre, and part of me would like to poll grimdark authors on their childhood reading and see how many of them had Alan Moore comics in there; I don't think there has ever been a finer storyteller for taking stories about "mythical" characters and making them human, while still retaining the interest levels.