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Comic Book References in Science Fiction


Introduction
Comic strips and comic books are an important part of American pop culture. It is not surprising that there are references to specific comic book characters within novels and movies which are about general subjects. Particularly popular characters have become a part of contemporary mythological consciousness. Most people today are probably just as likely to be familiar with Superman as Zeus.

This page lists mainstream science fiction stories and novels which contain references to actual comic book and comic strip characters. References to actual comic book writers and artists are also included.

This list is not comprehensive for all published science fiction, but comes from an indexed body of over 2000 novels and stories, including all novels which have won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus or Campbell awards. The information on this page is a summarized subset of information from the main Adherents.com literature database. In the database, this information is listed under the "comics" category.

This page does not discuss prose literature written specifically about superheroes or other comic book characters. Also, generic references to comic books, or references to comics which do not really exist, but are "made up" and referred to in a novel, are not listed here, although such references may be found in the main database. Only characters whose original medium was comics are listed. There have been Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse comics, for instance, but their original medium was animation.

Although many comic book characters are universally recognizable within Western culture, references to them lag behind references to other literary figures. This is because literature is perceived as "worthwhile" or "literary" proportionate to its age. Contemporary writers make frequent references to Greco-Roman mythology, Greek philosohers, and ancient authors such as Homer, as well as more recent writers such as Shakespeare. Today's writers perceive such references as enhancements to their works; a quote from Hamlet adds authority and respectibility. More recent writers such as Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe, and Jane Austen are alluded to frequently or mentioned directly, but with less frequency than sources many hundreds or thousands of years old.

Specific writers and literature from this century are perceived as "less literary" and are refered to the least. An author may think of an allusion to Star Wars that fits in their novel, and which would probably be more generally familiar than one from Chaucer, but will use the Chaucer reference because the more modern reference would seem to diminish the work. Comic books are even lower on the cultural hierarchy than movies, so there are relatively few references to them compared to other literary sources. Generally speaking, comic book characters are only refered to by characters who are identifiably influenced by pop culture. These reference are usually enhancements to the character. Authors rarely use comic book references as literary allusions in the narrative. A reader might encounter an allusion such as "She was Juliet to his Romeo," but is unlikely to find "She was Lois Lane to his Clark Kent."

Character/Series/etc.# of
Refs.
Books/Stories with References
Superman 26- Anderson, Jack. Millennium. New York: Tor (1994), pg. 165-166
- Anthony, Patricia. Cold Allies. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (1993); pg. 10
- Bear, Greg. Blood Music. New York: Arbor House (1985), pg. 19, 67-68
- Block, Paula M. "The Girl Who Controlled Gene Kelly's Feet" in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (Dean Wesley Smith, ed.) New York: Pocket Books (1998), pg. 429
- Busby, F. M. The Singularity Project. New York: Tor (1993); pg. 59
- De Haven, Tom. Walker of Worlds. New York: Doubleday (1990); pg. 56
- Douglas, Carole Nelson. Seed Upon the Wind. New York: Tor (1992); pg. 201 (Kryptonite)
- Drake, Robert. "Power" in Circa 2000: Gay Fiction at the Millennium (Robert Drake & Terry Wolverton, eds). Los Angeles, CA: Alyson Pub. (2000); pg. 101
- Hand, Elizabeth. Waking the Moon. New York: HarperPrism (1995); pg. 28
- Hand, Elizabeth. Glimmering. New York: HarperCollins (1997); pg. 226 (Kryptonite)
- Jacobs, Harvey. "Stardust" in Omni Visions One (Ellen Datlow, ed). Greensboro, NC: Omni Books (1993; story copyright 1987), pg. 46
- Kelly, James Patrick. "10^16 to 1" in The Year's Best Science Fiction, Vol. 17 (Gardner Dozois, ed.) New York: St. Martin's Press (2000), pg. 43, 51, 54 (Superman, Mr. Mxyzptlk)
- Kessel, John. "The Pure Product" in Modern Classics of Science Fiction. (Gardner Dozois, ed.) New York: St. Martin's Press (1991; story c. 1986), pg. 565 (Lex Luthor)
- King, Stephen. The Stand. Garden City, NY: Doubleday (1978), pg. 628 (also pg. 40: Superboy)
- Martin, George R. R. "Shell Games" in Wild Cards (George R. R. Martin, ed.) New York: Bantam (1986), pg. 192
- Quan, Andy. "Hair" in Circa 2000: Gay Fiction at the Millennium (Robert Drake & Terry Wolverton, eds). Los Angeles, CA: Alyson Pub. (2000); pg. 308
- Rand, Ayn. Fountainhead. New York: Penguin (1993; c. 1943); pg. 342, 492
- Robinson, Kim Stanley. The Gold Coast. New York: Tor (1995; c. 1988); pg. 119
- Ryman, Geoff. 253. New York: St. Martin's Press (1998); pg. 24, 331
- Sagan, Carl. Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press (2000; c. 1973); pg. 102
- Sawyer, Robert J. Golden Fleece. New York: Time Warner (1990); pg. 90
- Sawyer, Robert J. Flashforward. New York: Tor (2000; c. 1999); pg. 182 (Superman, Lois Lane)
- Shea, Robert & Robert Anton Wilson. Illuminatus, Vol. III: Leviathan. New York: Dell (1975), pg. 14-16, 26, 50-51
- Simmons, Dan. Carrion Comfort. New York: Warner Books (1990; c. 1989); pg. 262 (also pg. 328: Jimmy Olsen)
- Simmons, Dan. "Shave and a Haircut, Two Bites" in Prayers to Broken Stones. New York: Bantam (1992; c. 1989); pg. 286
- Wood, Crystal. Cut Him Out in Little Stars. Denton, TX: Tattersall Publishing (revised and reprinted 1998; c. 1994); pg. 56, 76
Batman 12- Byrne, John L. Fearbook. New York: Warner (1988), pg. 78
- Brust, Steven. Agyar. New York: Tor (1993); pg. 71
- Chalker, Jack L. The Cybernetic Walrus (Book One of The Wonderland Gambit). New York: Ballantine (1995); pg. 172 (Catwoman)
- Cool, Tom. Infectress. New York: Baen (1997); pg. 306
- De Haven, Tom. Walker of Worlds. New York: Doubleday (1990); pg. 162
- Farmer, Philip Jose. "Riders of the Purple Wage" in The Hugo Winners: Volumes One and Two. (Isaac Asimov, ed.) Garden City, NY: Nelson Doubleday (1971; story copyright 1967), pg. 619 (also mentions Robin)
- Jacobs, Harvey. "Stardust" in Omni Visions One (Ellen Datlow, ed). Greensboro, NC: Omni Books (1993; story copyright 1987), pg. 46
- Martin, George R. R. "Shell Games" in Wild Cards (George R. R. Martin, ed.) New York: Bantam (1986), pg. 192
- McCammon, Robert R. Boy's Life. New York: Pocket Books (1992; c. 1991); pg. 8
- Sawyer, Robert J. Calculating God. New York: Tor (2000); pg. 126
- Williams, Walter Jon. "While Night's Black Agents to Their Preys Do Rouse" in Wild Cards IX: Jokertown Shuffle (George R. R. Martin, ed.) New York: Bantam (1991); pg. 185 (Joker)
- Willis, Connie. Bellwether. New York: Bantam Spectra (1997; 1st ed. 1996), pg. 54
Incredible Hulk 10- Anderson, Jack. Millennium. New York: Tor (1994), pg. 152
- Anthony, Piers. Split Infinity. New York: Ballantine (1980); pg. 8, 286, etc.
- Barnes, John. "Upon Their Backs, to Bite 'Em" in Drakas! (S. M. Sterling, ed.) New York: Baen (2000), pg. 314
- Bishop, Michael. Brittle Innings. New York: Bantam (1994); pg. 3
- Geary, Patricia. Strange Toys. New York: Bantam (1989; c. 1987); pg. 220
- Hand, Elizabeth. Waking the Moon. New York: HarperPrism (1995); pg. 251
- Kelly, James Patrick. "10^16 to 1" in The Year's Best Science Fiction, Vol. 17 (Gardner Dozois, ed.) New York: St. Martin's Press (2000), pg. 43
- Powers, Tim. Last Call. New York: William Morrow & Co. (1992); pg. 78
- Shea, Robert & Robert Anton Wilson. Illuminatus, Vol. III: Leviathan. New York: Dell (1975), pg. 14-16
- Waldrop, Howard. "Ugly Chickens" in Modern Classics of Science Fiction. (Gardner Dozois, ed.) New York: St. Martin's Press (1991; story c. 1980), pg. 495
Peanuts
(Snoopy/Charlie Brown)
10- Bear, Greg. The Forge of God. New York: Tor (1987), pg. 264
- Bury, Stephen. Interface. New York: Bantam (1994); pg. 315
- De Haven, Tom. Walker of Worlds. New York: Doubleday (1990); pg. 40, 128
- Delany, Samuel R. "The Tale of Plagues and Carnivals" in Flight from Neveryon. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press (1994; c. 1984); pg. 199
- England, Terry. Rewind. New York: Avon Books (1997), pg. 7
- Hand, Elizabeth. Waking the Moon. New York: HarperPrism (1995); pg. 112, 152
- Maggin, Elliot S. Superman: Last Son of Krypton. New York: Warner Books (1978), pg. 42
- Ryman, Geoff. 253. New York: St. Martin's Press (1998); pg. 172
- Simmons, Dan. Phases of Gravity. New York: Bantam (1989); pg. 265
- Walker, Sage. "A Breath of Life" in Wild Cards: Book II of a New Cycle: Marked Cards (George R. R. Martin, ed.) New York: Baen (1994), pg. 293
Marvel (company) 6- Bishop, Michael. The Secret Ascension; or, Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas. New York: Tor (1987), pg. 88
- Claremont, Chris. New Mutants, Vol. 1, No. 48: "Ashes of the Heart". New York: Marvel Comics Group (Feb. 1987); pg. 14
- Ellison, Harlan. Mefisto in Onyx. Shingletown, CA: Mark. V. Ziesing Books (1993); pg. 80
- Kelly, James Patrick. "10^16 to 1" in The Year's Best Science Fiction, Vol. 17 (Gardner Dozois, ed.) New York: St. Martin's Press (2000), pg. 43
- Milan, Victor. "Transfigurations" in Wild Cards (George R. R. Martin, ed.) New York: Bantam (1986), pg. 270
- Shiner, Lewis. Glimpses. New York: William Morrow and Co. (1993); pg. 27
Fantastic Four 5- Claremont, Chris. New Mutants, Vol. 1, No. 42: "New Song for Old". New York: Marvel Comics Group (Aug. 1986); pg. 12
- Jacobs, Harvey. "Stardust" in Omni Visions One (Ellen Datlow, ed). Greensboro, NC: Omni Books (1993; story copyright 1987), pg. 46 (Human Torch)
- Kelly, James Patrick. "10^16 to 1" in The Year's Best Science Fiction, Vol. 17 (Gardner Dozois, ed.) New York: St. Martin's Press (2000), pg. 43, 51-52 (Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom, Latveria)
- McCammon, Robert R. Boy's Life. New York: Pocket Books (1992; c. 1991); pg. 8
- Shepard, Lucius. "Fire Zone Emerald" in Future on Fire (Orson Scott Card, ed.) New York: Tor (1991; story copyright 1987), pg. 98 (Invisible Woman)
Green Lantern3- Anderson, Jack. Millennium. New York: Tor (1994), pg. 152
- Kelly, James Patrick. "10^16 to 1" in The Year's Best Science Fiction, Vol. 17 (Gardner Dozois, ed.) New York: St. Martin's Press (2000), pg. 43
- McCammon, Robert R. Boy's Life. New York: Pocket Books (1992; c. 1991); pg. 8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles3- Huff, Tanya. Blood Lines. New York: DAW Books (1993); pg. 144
- Simmons, Dan. Children of the Night. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons (1992); pg. 47
- Simmons, Dan. The Hollow Man. New York: Bantam (1993); pg. 223-224
Action Comics2- De Haven, Tom. Walker of Worlds. New York: Doubleday (1990); pg. 49
- Mann, William J. "Say Goodbye to Middletown" in Circa 2000: Gay Fiction at the Millennium (Robert Drake & Terry Wolverton, eds). Los Angeles, CA: Alyson Pub. (2000); pg. 259
Archie2- Geary, Patricia. Strange Toys. New York: Bantam (1989; c. 1987); pg. 90
- Powers, Tim. Last Call. New York: William Morrow & Co. (1992); pg. 286 (Jughead)
Asterix2- Ryman, Geoff. 253. New York: St. Martin's Press (1998); pg. 165
- Sawyer, Robert J. Flashforward. New York: Tor (2000; c. 1999); pg. 37
Captain Marvel 2- May, Julian. The Golden Torc in The Many-Colored Land & The Golden Torc (omnibus). Garden City, NY: Nelson Doubleday (copyright 1982); pg. 413
- McAuley, Paul J. Fairyland. New York: Avon Books (1997; c 1995), pg. 4.
DC (company) 2- Bishop, Michael. The Secret Ascension; or, Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas. New York: Tor (1987), pg. 88
- Kelly, James Patrick. "10^16 to 1" in The Year's Best Science Fiction, Vol. 17 (Gardner Dozois, ed.) New York: St. Martin's Press (2000), pg. 43
Dick Tracy2- Bishop, Michael. Brittle Innings. New York: Bantam (1994); pg. 173
- Bury, Stephen. Interface. New York: Bantam (1994); pg. 34, 435, 463, 484
Doctor Doom 2- Kelly, James Patrick. "10^16 to 1" in The Year's Best Science Fiction, Vol. 17 (Gardner Dozois, ed.) New York: St. Martin's Press (2000), pg. 43, 51-52
- Smith, Dean Wesley & Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Enterprise: By the Book. New York: Pocket Books (2002); pg. 6
E. C. Comics2- Martin, George R. R. "Shell Games" in Wild Cards (George R. R. Martin, ed.) New York: Bantam (1986), pg. 3
- Martin, George R. R. & John J. Miller. Wild Cards VII: Dead Man's Hand. New York: Bantam Books (1990); pg. 3
Garfield2- Claremont, Chris. New Mutants, Vol. 1, No. 15: "Scaredy Cat!". New York: Marvel Comics Group (May 1984); pg. 1
- Ryman, Geoff. 253. New York: St. Martin's Press (1998); pg. 66
Prince Valiant2- Bradley, Marion Zimmer. The Mists of Avalon. New York: Ballantine (1984; c. 1982); pg. v
- Bury, Stephen. Interface. New York: Bantam (1994); pg. 345
Spider-Man 2- Barnes, John. "Upon Their Backs, to Bite 'Em" in Drakas! (S. M. Sterling, ed.) New York: Baen (2000), pg. 314.
- Sawyer, Robert J. Golden Fleece. New York: Time Warner (1990); pg. 90
Aquaman1McCammon, Robert R. Boy's Life. New York: Pocket Books (1992; c. 1991); pg. 8
Beetle Bailey1De Haven, Tom. Walker of Worlds. New York: Doubleday (1990); pg. 23
Blackhawk1McCammon, Robert R. Boy's Life. New York: Pocket Books (1992; c. 1991); pg. 8
Calvin and Hobbes1Anderson, Jack. Millennium. New York: Tor (1994), pg. 197
Captain America1York, J. Steven. Generation X: Crossroads. New York: Berkley (1998); pg. 58
Daredevil1Bishop, Michael. The Secret Ascension; or, Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas. New York: Tor (1987), pg. 88 (Elektra and Bullseye also mentioned).
Elfquest1Claremont, Chris. New Mutants, Vol. 1, No. 21: "Slumber Party". New York: Marvel Comics Group (Nov. 1984); pg. 28
Far Side, by Gary Larson1McAuley, Paul J. Fairyland. New York: Avon Books (1997; c 1995), pg. 4
Flash1McCammon, Robert R. Boy's Life. New York: Pocket Books (1992; c. 1991); pg. 8
Green Hornet1Busby, F. M. The Singularity Project. New York: Tor (1993); pg. 60, 73, 86, 89, 105, 115, 123-124, 132-135, 157, 160, 173, 178, etc
Hawkman1McCammon, Robert R. Boy's Life. New York: Pocket Books (1992; c. 1991); pg. 147
Howard the Duck1King, Stephen. The Stand. Garden City, NY: Doubleday (1978), pg. 628
Justice League1McCammon, Robert R. Boy's Life. New York: Pocket Books (1992; c. 1991); pg. 8
Legion of Super-Heroes1Drake, Robert. "Power" in Circa 2000: Gay Fiction at the Millennium (Robert Drake & Terry Wolverton, eds). Los Angeles, CA: Alyson Pub. (2000); pg. 101
Li'l Abner1Bishop, Michael. Brittle Innings. New York: Bantam (1994); pg. 173
Little Lulu1Geary, Patricia. Strange Toys. New York: Bantam (1989; c. 1987); pg. 145
Little Orphan Annie1Bishop, Michael. Brittle Innings. New York: Bantam (1994); pg. 55 (Daddy Warbucks)
Mad magzine1The Paper Grail. New York: Ace Books (1991); pg. 280
Matrix Comics1Hand, Elizabeth. Glimmering. New York: HarperCollins (1997); pg. 32
Miracle Man1McAuley, Paul J. Fairyland. New York: Avon Books (1997; c 1995), pg. 44
Plastic Man1Bishop, Michael. Brittle Innings. New York: Bantam (1994); pg. 51-52, 58-59, 462
Popeye1Bishop, Michael. Brittle Innings. New York: Bantam (1994); pg. 281
Sandman comics1Hand, Elizabeth. Waking the Moon. New York: HarperPrism (1995); pg. 214
Scrooge McDuck1Simmons, Dan. Summer of Night. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons (1991); pg. 488, 495-496
Sgt. Rock and Easy Company1McCammon, Robert R. Boy's Life. New York: Pocket Books (1992; c. 1991); pg. 8
The Spirit1McCammon, Robert R. Boy's Life. New York: Pocket Books (1992; c. 1991); pg. 8
Tintin (Belgian)1"Hair" in Circa 2000: Gay Fiction at the Millennium (Robert Drake & Terry Wolverton, eds). Los Angeles, CA: Alyson Pub. (2000); pg. 316
Wonder Woman1Anderson, Jack. Millennium. New York: Tor (1994), pg. 49



References to Specific Comic Book Artists and Writers

Artist/Writer# of
Refs.
Books/Stories with References
Jack Kirby3 - de Lint, Charles Memory & Dream. New York: Tor (1994); pg. 11
- Friedman, Michael Jan. Planet X (Star Trek: The Next Generation/X-Men crossover). New York: Pocket Books (1998); pg. 167
- York, J. Steven. Generation X: Crossroads. New York: Berkley (1998); pg. 23
Steve Ditko2- Friedman, Michael Jan. Planet X (Star Trek: The Next Generation/X-Men crossover). New York: Pocket Books (1998); pg. 167
- York, J. Steven. Generation X: Crossroads. New York: Berkley (1998); pg. 23
Frank Miller1Bishop, Michael. The Secret Ascension; or, Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas. New York: Tor (1987), pg. 88.
R. Crumb1Sterling, Bruce. "Dori Bangs" in Modern Classics of Science Fiction. (Gardner Dozois, ed.) New York: St. Martin's Press (1991; story c. 1989), pg. 657 ("Keep on 'Truckin'" and "Fritz the Cat")
Scott Adams1Bradley, Marion Zimmer & Holly Lisle. In the Rift. New York: Baen (1998); pg. 152
Al Capp1Bishop, Michael. Brittle Innings. New York: Bantam (1994); pg. 173
Walt Kelly1Busby, F. M. The Singularity Project. New York: Tor (1993); pg. 31
Walter Simonson1Maggin, Elliot S. Superman: Miracle Monday. New York: Warner Books (1981)
Gary Trudeau1Busby, F. M. The Singularity Project. New York: Tor (1993); pg. 31

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