Garth Nix seems to have kick-started the youth supervillain sub-genre a while back with his Artemis Fowl series, so we’ll take a look a some of the books out there for you to enjoy. These aren’t just for kids!
H.I.V.E.: Higher Institute of Villainous Education– I first came across this gem in the kid’s section of Joe Fortes Library in Vancouver. It is the first book in a series by Mark Walden and concerns the adventures of Otto Malpense, a snowy-haired 13 year old British orphan who is well on his way to becoming a supervillain in his own right. His ingenious criminal (and hilarious) escapades, unfortunately, bring him to the attention of a sinister, covert organisation charged with the training of the next generation of criminal masterminds. I really enjoyed this book and I’m sure anyone who’s watched a bond film and secretly rooted for the bad guy will feel the same way. The set pieces are a combination of Broccoli’s Bond, Austin Powers and Harry Potter. It is clearly aimed at nerds and geeks with all the young trainees being misfits of some kind. Its always nice to see the underdog have his day. Ok, I’ll admit, that in this case the underdog is a 200lb rottweiler clasping the world in an iron mailed paw, but you get the picture!
Soon I Will Be Invincible is a novel by Austin Grossman, the brother of The Magicians author Lev Grossman (also a good read). It follows the exploits of Doctor Impossible, a stereotypical supervillain with a secondary plot concerning his own ‘origin story’. Many of the superheroes portrayed in the book have a similar mainstream counterpart. For example, Blackwolf is clearly a Batman-type hero. I enjoyed this book, mainly because the anti-hero Dr. Impossible was so likeable and the heroes so irritating and had me reaching for the remote to my own death ray (currently installed on the moon). This book is aimed more at the adult market, especially those with a passing familiarity of the Marvel and DC heroes, but it should still appeal to most ages.
Other examples from the growing cannon of the genre include-
- Confessions of a D-List Super rvillain by Jim Bernheimer
- Burn Baby Burn by James Maxy
- Demonica: Confessions of a Small Town Super-Villain by John Cosper