I ask this question because if we think about, for example, the case of Star Trek and Star Wars, there are very significant extended universes including original novels.

However, as far as I'm aware, the major superhero franchises don't have such a thing. Obviously, there are novelizations of existing works (e.g. movies) and there are children's books and one can theorize that the difference is whether the characters originate in comics or in TV or film.

Is this the case, or have there been novels set in the major DC and Marvel universes that are not simply adaptations of comics or movies?

(Note: This is not intended to be a list question. Please don't overload the answers. If there are one or two major significant examples, that's sufficient.)

  • Example, the Mutant Empire trilogy for X-Men, christophergolden.com/mutant.html – FuzzyBoots Jan 7 '19 at 16:27
  • @FuzzyBoots: I guess that would count – ThePopMachine Jan 7 '19 at 16:29
  • ^_^ I can recommend that one too. I can post it as an answer, if you'd like. There was also a Generation X series I remember reading. The rest that I recall were standalones. – FuzzyBoots Jan 7 '19 at 16:30
  • @FuzzyBoots: Sure. I appreciate the answer. It seems there are only a few examples, since you have a think so hard. So it seems to confirm that comicbook superhero novels just aren't "a thing" like other major SF franchises. – ThePopMachine Jan 7 '19 at 16:34
  • 1
    Marvel published a series of 10 novels (and one short story collection) in the late 1970s, and published dozens of novels (several forming trilogies, others standalone) from 1994 to 2002 (often at least one novel month, through the 1990s).They picked up again from 2005-2010, publishing at least 2-3 novels a year - about the same as the number of adaptation novels being published. They started again in 2014, and are again publishing at least 2-3 a year to present. DC has published novels as well, though not so many. – RDFozz Jan 7 '19 at 17:07

I can't really address the general state of original novel series, but Christopher Golden's Mutant Empire trilogy is well-regarded as an independent X-Men story.

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.

Volume 1: Siege

Magento, 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. But the Acolytes, Magneto's fanatical mutant followers, stand between the X-Men and victory -- a victory quickly slipping away. For a more ruthless enemy, the US government, holds the X-Men responsible for the installation's takeover!


Volume 2: Sanctuary

Continuing the X-Men trilogy, the X-Men must face nemesis Magneto and his Acolytes once again. Meanwhile, the threat of the US government remains, prepared to point the finger on the X-Men for the takeover.


Volume 3: Salvation

Manhattan is in the hands of the evil Magneto and his Acolytes as the first step to the Mutant Empire. Half of the X-Men have been captured, and Magneto's law is enforced by an ever-growing army of mutants and the powerful robot Sentinels.

The remaining X-Men must stop Magneto by turning the reprogrammed against him and be defeating the man himself. To do that, they must join forces with the US government -- who view the X-Men as being as much of a menace as Magneto -- and with one of their oldest foes, the Juggernaut!

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