Batman Novelizations

October 24th, 2008 by | Tags: , ,

Most of the novelizations of Batman that I’ve seen have been written by writers who primarily worked in comics. Although some of them are very good, I’ve wondered what it would be like if regular novelists wrote Batman books. I think the person I’d most like to see write one is Stephen King. He has a knack for making bizarre situations blend into the real world.

Of course, there are all kinds of genres. King would be good for horror, or dystopian sci-fi. Can anyone think of any other authors who could do a great spin on Batman, or the DCU?

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22 comments to “Batman Novelizations”

  1. They’re long since out of print, but Simon Hawke’s To Stalk A Specter and Craig Shaw Gardner’s The Batman Murders are both really excellent prose adaptations of the Dark Knight that provide damn fine reading (Hawke’s novel could be reprinted and slot into Batman Begins/Dark Knight territory really well. It even references Year One, which is pretty damn awesome). The Batman Murders isn’t quite as good, but it’s a fun little mystery with a Manchurian Candidate twist. If you can track them down, by all means do so.

    The Anthologies The Further Adventures of Batman and The Furher Adventures of the Joker all have really excellent tales by authors ranging from Isaac Asimov to Joe R. Landsdale (whose God of the Razor first appears in ‘Subway Jack’ as I recall and is goddamned creepy). If you can track those four down you’ll be in for some hours of caped crusader fun.


  2. Andrew Vacchs also wrote a Batman novel in the 90s. If I recall correctly, it was very much in Vacchs’ true-crime style, and Batman had to fly to Thailand to deal with child molesters.

    http://www.vachss.com/av_novels/batman.html There ya go.

  3. @Stacy Dooks: I have the anthology with Asimov. Thanks for the recs. I’ll see if I can find them.

    But see, if Stephen King wrote a Batman book, then I’d also have hours of fun, since King in incapable of writing anything under five-hundred pages long.
    Hm. Maybe Sara Paretsky could do a VI Warshawski and Batman detective series, too. (I also, in my heart of hearts, want the Owlman/Punchinello The ClownGirl book that Harley Quinn was supposed to have written in the Gotham Knights Animated Series Comics. If they could get someone to ghostwrite that, I would get it in a heartbeat.)

  4. Andrew Vachhss (hardboiled/crime writer) did a Batman Novel called “The Ultimate Evil”. As a huge fan of his, I’ll admit it was pretty bad.

  5. I’d be all over a William Gibson or Neal Stephenson “Batman” novel.

    Gibson could evoke such a strange and detailed look at the streets of Gotham while Stephenson would be able to get so into the head of Batman.

    From a purely action point of view R.A. Salvatore would rock out some Batman butt-kickings.

  6. It’s not Batman, but I’d kill to see Clive Barker do anything related to John Constantine. Seriously. Now I’m angry this hasn’t happened.

  7. No worries, let me know what you think.

    If I had to deliver a warning as you quest, it would be this: should your path cross with Batman: Captured by the Engines by Joe R. Landsdale, you would do well to avoid that book. Unless you want to see what happens when Batman fights Christine’s brother that is. If that sounds appealing, have at ‘er.


  8. People who should write Batman novels:

    Maya Angelou
    Dave Barry
    Terry Pratchett
    Michael Chabon
    Tom Clancy

  9. It would frankly probably be a waste of his time, but Dennis Lehane would be incredible.

  10. I used to be a little into Star Wars novels, so I know I’d like to see Timothy Zahn or Michael Stackpole take a stab at Batman. Aaron Allston maybe for a Batman family book. Kevin Anderson on a Robin book, without Brian Herbert cowriting.

    And I was going to say Tolkein, but why limit him to just Batman? Play to the man’s strengths, let him loose on Krypton or the 31st Century or the Fourth World or Oa.

  11. @GreggN: Vachss, even.

  12. @Eric Stark: Hmm. Those two would have an interesting take on Batman, but I’d think they’d skew more sci-fi in a way that might work for Supes or Green Lantern, while Batman is more noir. However, look who’s talking, here. I’d have King write a Batbook and he’d set in an small town in Maine.

    @Lt. Ken Frankenstein: That sounds like something that *might* happen, though. It seems like the right fit for both of them.

    @Stacy Dooks: Looks like you’re the aficionado. I’ll go you one better, though. I think the guy who wrote ‘Caught’ was also the guy who wrote the Scarface intro episode in the Animated Series, which I thought was pretty good.

    @LurkerWithout: I was thinking that Toni Morrison would write a Batbook that would be great, but kind of like an acid trip.

    @David Uzumeri: I’m not familiar with him, but the genres seem to match pretty well.

    @HitTheTargets: Tolkien. He would actually do a pretty good Wonder Woman, I think.

    @GreggN: Ohhhhhhh. I think I read that one. And. Yeah. Tough break.

  13. If you want someone who works splashes of the surreal into his fiction, you really can’t do any better than Haruki Murakami. I’m not sure if he’d be the right guy to tackle Batman, though– his writing can be haunting and tense, but I wouldn’t really call him an action genre kind of guy. The Question, on the other hand, I could totally see him writing.

    I am totally on LurkerWithout’s suggestions of Pratchett and Chabon. I’d add Neal Pollack to that, as well as Hunter S. Thompson if he were still alive– both of them would create Batman stories full of bile and hilarity.

  14. Matthew Reilly would make a ridiculously awesome writer for the action scenes, but you’d have to deal with exact specifications on all the guns and tech. Then deal with descriptions of Bruce Wayne that make him sound like Tom Cruise.

  15. F. Paul Wilson would make a great Batman writer. See his Repairman Jack series for examples. It features a character who works outside of the law to fix problems for people, and mixes in some supernatural horror.

  16. Chuck Palahniuk’s Arkham Asylum.

    You read it here first.

  17. Stephenson would write a *terrible* Batbook. And this is coming from a huge Neal Stephenson fan. But there’s nothing for Stephenson to hang his hat on with Batman – Stephenson thrives on plots and characters used as stalking horses for massive infodumps and lectures on history, economics, math, philosophy, etc – it’s the information that matters more, not the story or characters. I don’t think Batman gives Stephenson anything interesting to talk about, really.

    And Gibson? Meh. He’d be better than Stephenson, but still, while he’s very much into the neo-noir thing, it’s always from a very technology-infused, postmodernist perspective. About the only thing I think he’d work well with in re: Batman is the sense of alienation.

  18. Charles de Lint could do an interesting Batman, maybe something to do with Jason or Rhas. Though mostly I think I just want to see how he’d make Gotham breathe, ghosts and all.

    And though he’s a comic writer now and was a screen writer before – I’d seriously like to see if Joss Whedon could pull together the aspects of team work I loved so in Buffy & Angel, but without any Buffyisms.

  19. @Stig: Now you’re freaking me out.

    @Avalon’s WIllow: Whedon – I wouldn’t go Buffy, but I would go for a kind of Firefly-like book.

  20. […] a recent post I wrote about authors I would like to see write comic book novelizations. In the comments I mentioned that some characters in comics had also written books. I want those […]

  21. Richard K. Morgan, hands down. His noir sci-fi novels (I would rank with Gibson’s cyberpunk) are awesome and he did a good (not great) turn on two Black Widow miniseries comics for Marvel.

  22. Morgan (if he wrote in the same way as Thirteen or the Kovacs books) would be a bit too grim and sociopathic even for Batman…