One thing that makes George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards series a unique superhero tale is that its superpowered heroes and villains all share the same origin story: when an alien virus fell from the skies on September 15, 1946, its effects spread like the shuffling of a deck of cards. Ninety percent of those who contracted it drew the black queen and died in a brutal fashion; 9% suffered the twisted transformations that marked them as jokers; and a mere 1% became the aces, afforded extraordinary powers.
It may not surprise you to learn that many of the authors of the Wild Cards grew up reading classic comic books. As part of a special Wild Cards event hosted by George R.R. Martin in August 2017, authors including Melinda Snodgrass, the late Victor Milán, Walton Simons, Carrie Vaughn, and more shared their favorite childhood superheroes—including some you may not have heard of.
Captain America, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, and Batman (because he had no superpowers, naturally) all get their due, but the above video also calls out Donald Duck, G.I. Joe, and Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. But the real burning question is, how would the Wild Cards fare against these greats? The Amazing Bubbles—who stars in the forthcoming Wild Cards XXVI: Texas Hold’em—could hold her own against Scarlet Witch… if she has the element of surprise. The Recycler and Iron Man would probably commiserate over building armor out of scrap metal. Superman is a bit of a conundrum, but Milán made a good case for one of Captain Trips’ identities going toe-to-toe with the Man of Steel.
And then there’s always the unexpected superhero crossover… You’ll have to watch the video to find out who Mary Anne Mohanraj thinks would make a great team.