67 books like Wild Cards I

By George R. R. Martin (editor),

Here are 67 books that Wild Cards I fans have personally recommended if you like Wild Cards I. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

Eric Kurlander Author Of Hitler's Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reich

From my list on Nazism and the occult.

Why am I passionate about this?

I would trace the genesis of Hitler’s Monsters to three distinct influences. The first was my childhood love of Golden, Silver, and Bronze Age comics––Batman, Superman, Captain America, The Avengers, The Fantastic Four––which, as illustrated by the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, are replete with themes of Nazi occultism and border science. The second was a conversation with my thesis advisor early in graduate school, when he noted that he was advising a dissertation on German occultism (Science for the Soul). The third influence was observing the mid-2000s resurgence in rightwing populism across Europe and North America, seemingly fueled by recourse to esoteric and supernatural thinking. The rest, as they say, is history.

Eric's book list on Nazism and the occult

Eric Kurlander Why did Eric love this book?

For those interested in a compelling work of fiction built loosely around Nazism and the occult, Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is the perfect novel.

Whether it’s one of the protagonists, a young Jewish magician, escaping Nazi-occupied Central Europe in the coffin of the “Golem of Prague” or the eponymous cousins finding success with their own comic book series infused by contemporary esoterica, Kavalier & Clay evokes the world in which young, first and second generation Jewish immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe created the Marvel and DC superheroes and super(natural) villains, often allied with the Third Reich, that have defined our popular culture for the past eighty years. 

By Michael Chabon,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 'The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay' is a heart-wrenching story of escape, love and comic-book heroes set in Prague, New York and the Arctic - from the author of 'Wonder Boys'.

One night in 1939, Josef Kavalier shuffles into his cousin Sam Clay's cramped New York bedroom, his nerve-racking escape from Prague finally achieved. Little does he realise that this is the beginning of an extraordinary friendship and even more fruitful business partnership. Together, they create a comic strip called 'The Escapist', its superhero a Nazi-busting saviour who liberates the oppressed…


Book cover of When Strikes the Warlord

Percival Constantine Author Of Heroes Forged

From my list on superheroes that aren’t comics.

Why am I passionate about this?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by superheroes. Maybe it’s because as a bit of an outcast myself growing up, I gravitated towards stories of people who were outside society, yet actually more powerful because of it. Perhaps I’m drawn to the idea of people who work outside the system to make the world a better place, regardless of if it’s dangerous to them or if they don’t reap any kind of personal reward. Or maybe I just like to watch beautiful people in colorful costumes beat the crap out of each other. You can always listen to me on the Superhero Cinephiles podcast to hear me talk more about superheroes.

Percival's book list on superheroes that aren’t comics

Percival Constantine Why did Percival love this book?

The next Avengers movie is a few years away and there’s no way of knowing when (or if) there will be another Justice League movie. So if you’re looking for some epic, superhero team action to hold you over until then, look no further than Van Allen Plexico’s Sentinels series. This is the kind of widescreen superhero action you’ve come to expect from the MCU and Plexico’s love of the genre drips off every page.

By Van Allen Plexico, Chris Kohler (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When Strikes the Warlord as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The power-mad Warlord stands poised to conquer-- or destroy-- the universe itself. Can anyone stand in his way? Enter the Sentinels: College student Lyn Li... Brilliant inventor and smart-alec Esro Brachis... Beloved national hero Ultraa... Flamboyant showman Damon Sinclair... and mysterious alien powerhouse Vanadium. When at last they clash atop the Warlord's floating city, can the world itself survive?

The biggest and boldest superhero novel series ever written begins here! The first book in the critically-acclaimed Sentinels superhero novel series introduces the core of the team and the most dangerous-- and insane-- villain of them all: the Warlord!

"Grandiose storytelling…


Book cover of X-Men: The Mutant Empire Omnibus

Percival Constantine Author Of Heroes Forged

From my list on superheroes that aren’t comics.

Why am I passionate about this?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by superheroes. Maybe it’s because as a bit of an outcast myself growing up, I gravitated towards stories of people who were outside society, yet actually more powerful because of it. Perhaps I’m drawn to the idea of people who work outside the system to make the world a better place, regardless of if it’s dangerous to them or if they don’t reap any kind of personal reward. Or maybe I just like to watch beautiful people in colorful costumes beat the crap out of each other. You can always listen to me on the Superhero Cinephiles podcast to hear me talk more about superheroes.

Percival's book list on superheroes that aren’t comics

Percival Constantine Why did Percival love this book?

If you were a fan of the X-Men animated series, then this next pick is the book for you. Magneto and his followers take control of a fleet of the mutant-hunting Sentinels with the express purpose of establishing a new mutant nation. Naturally, the X-Men have to stop him, but with half the team on a mission in space, that’s a tall order. Golden writes a story that’s perfect nostalgia bait for anyone who loved the 90s X-Men.

By Christopher Golden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked X-Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bringing the classic X-Men: Mutant Empire trilogy back into print in a brand-new omnibus

MAGNETO'S EMPIRE WILL RISE...

They live as outcasts, hated and feared by the very humanity they protect. They are mutants, born with strange and wonderful powers that set them apart from the rest of the human race. Under the tutelage of Professor Charles Xavier, they are more than mutants. They are-the X-Men.

Magneto-the X-Men's oldest, deadliest foe-has taken over a top-secret government installation that houses the Sentinels, powerful mutant-hunting robots. The X-Men must fight to keep this deadly technology out of Magneto's hands and stop him…


Book cover of Shadow Legion

Percival Constantine Author Of Heroes Forged

From my list on superheroes that aren’t comics.

Why am I passionate about this?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by superheroes. Maybe it’s because as a bit of an outcast myself growing up, I gravitated towards stories of people who were outside society, yet actually more powerful because of it. Perhaps I’m drawn to the idea of people who work outside the system to make the world a better place, regardless of if it’s dangerous to them or if they don’t reap any kind of personal reward. Or maybe I just like to watch beautiful people in colorful costumes beat the crap out of each other. You can always listen to me on the Superhero Cinephiles podcast to hear me talk more about superheroes.

Percival's book list on superheroes that aren’t comics

Percival Constantine Why did Percival love this book?

If your superhero tastes run more to the weird and dark, this is definitely in your wheelhouse. Deja’s Shadow Legion could best be described as “superhero noir.” It’s got aspects of the supernatural and horror mixed in with pulp hero archetypes and intriguing interpretations of classic super powers. Plus, it features one of the best villains in any piece of superhero media, bar none.

By Thomas Deja, Chris Kemple (illustrator), Mike Fyles (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shadow Legion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WELCOME TO
NOCTURNE, FLORIDA

There has always been something strange about Nocturne, Florida: the City That Lives by Night. It is an entertainment nexus luring tourist from around the world to its night clubs, music venues and other, more adult entertainment venues. But there is a darker side to which these carefree revelers never see; one of dark doings, violence and eldritch evil.

Now a new sinister force threatens Nocturne and only a handful of unique, gifted beings can protect the city’s innocent.
Nightbreaker; a radio star turned vigilante, he exist in a strange limbo world. The beautiful Dreamcatcher who…


Book cover of Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human

Blake M. Petit Author Of Other People's Heroes

From my list on superheroes outside of graphic novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and teacher from Ama, Louisiana, who has also been a reader of comic books since I first learned how to read. I spent many years as a columnist, reviewer, and podcaster for a now-defunct comic site, while also working on my own novels, humor columns, and even the occasional stage play. My time these days is split between my day job as a high school English teacher, my dream job writing, and my full-time job of being the father of a five-year-old.

Blake's book list on superheroes outside of graphic novels

Blake M. Petit Why did Blake love this book?

Not a novel, but Supergods is one of the most intriguing books about the superhero as a concept that I’ve ever read. In Supergods, the always thought-provoking Grant Morrison digs into what superheroes actually are by picking apart archetypes, delving into the history of the medium, and exploring their place as a sort of modern mythology. Having written countless superhero comics, including some of the most surreal such stories ever to exist, Morrison is in a unique position to dissect the genre in a way that leaves you thinking about what superheroes mean and why they matter. It's the kind of book that makes you examine what the building blocks of superheroes are, and as someone who enjoys playing in that sandbox, it makes me look at one of my favorite genres in new and unique ways. 

By Grant Morrison,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Supergods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human

Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Iron Man, and the X-Men—the list of names as familiar as our own. They are on our movie and television screens, in our videogames and in our dreams. But what are they trying to tell us? For Grant Morrison, one of the most acclaimed writers in the world of comics, these heroes are powerful archetypes who reflect and predict the course of human existence: Through them we tell the story of ourselves. In this exhilarating work…


Book cover of Playing For Keeps

Blake M. Petit Author Of Other People's Heroes

From my list on superheroes outside of graphic novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and teacher from Ama, Louisiana, who has also been a reader of comic books since I first learned how to read. I spent many years as a columnist, reviewer, and podcaster for a now-defunct comic site, while also working on my own novels, humor columns, and even the occasional stage play. My time these days is split between my day job as a high school English teacher, my dream job writing, and my full-time job of being the father of a five-year-old.

Blake's book list on superheroes outside of graphic novels

Blake M. Petit Why did Blake love this book?

In the world of Lafferty’s Playing For Keeps, super-powered types fall into one of three categories. The heroes are powerful, but arrogant jerks. The villains have all the charm and charisma, but are still villains. Then there are people like Keepsie Branson, whose “useless” powers don’t let them fall into either category. After all, what good is the power to prevent something from being stolen from your own possession when it comes to fighting crime – or committing it? Lafferty’s style is slick, funny, and very original. This book isn’t like any other superhero story I know.

By Mur Lafferty,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Playing For Keeps as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The shining metropolis of Seventh City is the birthplace of super powers. The First Wave heroes are jerks, but they have the best gifts: flight, super strength, telepathy, genius, fire. The Third Wavers are stuck with the leftovers: the ability to instantly make someone sober, the power to smell the past, the grace to carry a tray and never drop its contents, the power to produce high-powered excrement blasts, absolute control. over elevators. Bar owner Keepsie Branson is a Third Waver with a power that prevents anything in her possession from being stolen. Keepsie and her friends just aren't powerful…


Book cover of Nocturnal

Blake M. Petit Author Of Other People's Heroes

From my list on superheroes outside of graphic novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and teacher from Ama, Louisiana, who has also been a reader of comic books since I first learned how to read. I spent many years as a columnist, reviewer, and podcaster for a now-defunct comic site, while also working on my own novels, humor columns, and even the occasional stage play. My time these days is split between my day job as a high school English teacher, my dream job writing, and my full-time job of being the father of a five-year-old.

Blake's book list on superheroes outside of graphic novels

Blake M. Petit Why did Blake love this book?

Homicide detective Bryan Clauser is on the verge of a breakdown: as San Francisco is gripped by a series of gruesome murders, his own dreams seem to be mirroring the crimes. As Clauser tries to find the link between his dreams and the deaths, he finds himself caught up in an underground world of horrors that he is uniquely equipped to battle against. Sigler is one of my favorite modern writers, blending science fiction and horror seamlessly. In this novel, he’s given us a story that’s part gore-soaked monster movie and part superhero origin story, with characters that stay with you long after you’ve put the book down.

By Scott Sigler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nocturnal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Scott Sigler reinvented the alien-invasion story in his bestselling novels Infected and Contagious… rebooted the biotech thriller in Ancestor…now, in his most ambitious, sweeping novel to date, he works his magic on the paranormal thriller, taking us inside a terrifying underworld of subterranean predators that only his twisted mind could invent.
 
Homicide detective Bryan Clauser is losing his mind. 
 
How else to explain the dreams he keeps having—dreams that mirror, with impossible accuracy, the gruesome serial murders taking place all over San Francisco? How else to explain the feelings these dreams provoke in him—not disgust, not horror, but excitement? 
 
As…


Book cover of The Virtues of Captain America: Modern-Day Lessons on Character from a World War II Superhero

E. Paul Zehr Author Of Chasing Captain America: How Advances in Science, Engineering, and Biotechnology Will Produce a Superhuman

From my list on the superhero in you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I got hooked on superheroes from a very early age. My mom grew up in the Golden Age of comics and loved superheroes. She'd bring home a random assortment of adventures—Batman, Iron Man, Flash, Avengers, Justice League, Iron Fist, Captain America. I was especially keen on the martial arts mayhem so many could bring to bear. That got me started (and I've never stopped since) in martial arts as a teen and took me into a career in science. I bring my own interest, my knowledge of martial arts, and my extensive career and training as a sensorimotor neuroscientist as I explore the science of human achievement through the lens of comic book superheroes.

E.'s book list on the superhero in you

E. Paul Zehr Why did E. love this book?

I loved Captain America when I first came across his character as a kid.

There was always something well, noble, about the guy. What he stood for and how he acted. His code of honor. His way of being.

Yes, Captain America can do all kinds of things with his amazing abilities, and you'd not want to get into a fight with him if you are a doer of evil. But it's his character that defines him and Mark White has written a tour de force exploring not just who and what Captain America represents but how you can incorporate superhero virtues into your own life. One of my favorite books!

By Mark D. White,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Virtues of Captain America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first look at the philosophy behind the Captain America comics and movies, publishing in advance of the movie release of Captain America: The Winter Solider in April 2014.

In The Virtues of Captain America, philosopher and long-time comics fan Mark D. White argues that the core principles, compassion, and judgment exhibited by the 1940's comic book character Captain America remain relevant to the modern world. Simply put, "Cap" embodies many of the classical virtues that have been important to us since the days of the ancient Greeks: honesty, courage, loyalty, perseverance, and, perhaps most importantly, honor. Full of entertaining…


Book cover of Dreadnought

C.T. Phipps Author Of The Rules of Supervillainy

From my list on superheroes not from Marvel or DC.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hi, my name is CT Phipps, and I am a crazy nerd from Ashland, Ky. I'm married with two dogs and love superheroes. I mean love. I used to wallpaper my bedroom wall with Spider-Man comics in their polybags. I've been a lifelong superhero fan and just love all the melodrama, hilarity, and weird science as well as magic that are the undercurrents of the genre. I've never lost my love of the characters and their stories, so when the MCU first came out, I ended up writing this book as well as its sequels. I’ve also written a bunch of other humorous sci-fi/fantasy books but this is the series closest to my heart.

C.T.'s book list on superheroes not from Marvel or DC

C.T. Phipps Why did C.T. love this book?

Dreadnought is a fantastic story about a young trans girl who inherits the powers of the most powerful superhero in the world.

Like Captain Marvel, it bestows upon her the looks of her idealized form. Unfortunately, this goes over like a ton of bricks with her family that she hadn't revealed herself to. The coming-of-age drama doesn't take a back seat to the superheroics, though, and I absolutely love the characters created by the author. 

By April Daniels,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Dreadnought as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An action-packed series-starter perfect for fans of The Heroine Complex and Not Your Sidekick.

"I didn't know how much I needed this brave, thrilling book until it rocked my world. Dreadnought is the superhero adventure we all need right now."-Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky

Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world's greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she's transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to…


Book cover of Ex-Heroes

C.T. Phipps Author Of The Rules of Supervillainy

From my list on superheroes not from Marvel or DC.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hi, my name is CT Phipps, and I am a crazy nerd from Ashland, Ky. I'm married with two dogs and love superheroes. I mean love. I used to wallpaper my bedroom wall with Spider-Man comics in their polybags. I've been a lifelong superhero fan and just love all the melodrama, hilarity, and weird science as well as magic that are the undercurrents of the genre. I've never lost my love of the characters and their stories, so when the MCU first came out, I ended up writing this book as well as its sequels. I’ve also written a bunch of other humorous sci-fi/fantasy books but this is the series closest to my heart.

C.T.'s book list on superheroes not from Marvel or DC

C.T. Phipps Why did C.T. love this book?

Superheroes and zombies seem like a terrible combination, but Peter Clines makes a fascinating story of zombies destroying the Earth but for a collection of superhero guarded survivors.

It's a bit like The Walking Dead combined with the Justice League, though the power level of the people involved is closer to Marvel's street level. The first book has some crass jokes that get dropped from the sequels but not enough that I didn't enjoy it. I have to say my favorite characters are Saint George (a Superman analog) and Stealth (a female Batman).

By Peter Clines,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ex-Heroes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book One in the EX Series

The Mighty Dragon. Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap.

They were superheroes fighting to make Los Angeles a better place.

Then the plague of living death spread. Billions died, civilization fell, and the City of Angels was left a desolate zombie wasteland.

But the ex-humans aren't the only threats the heroes face. Another group is amassing power . . . led by an enemy with the most terrifying ability of all.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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