The Initivative: Superhero RPG Appendix N Blog Challenge

Spawned from an off-handed comment I made in my own blog, Barking Alien has kicked off The Initiative: Superhero RPG Appendix N Blog Challenge.

And since it was my idea, I accept.

Background: "Appendix N" is the list of recommended source material from 1st Edition AD&D.  It contained a bunch of fantasy and sci-fi novels that influence the creators of the game and included people like Clark Ashton Smith and Jack Vance.

In BA's original post and follow-up challenge, the issue was how to inform potential players about your own style of GMing when it comes to superhero RPG's.  Are they gritty or light-hearted?  Realistic or fantastic?

You need five to ten comic books, and five to ten other sources (movies, TV, video games, etc.)

Now the real challenge is that BA is my RPG brother from another mother, so it would be easy to just copy his list whole, but what's the fun of that.  I will say that there are a lot of crossovers.

Comic books
The Avengers (esp. the 1970's Avengers and the Busiek/Perez era up to Avengers: Disassembled)
The Justice League (esp. the late 70's to early 80's "satellite years")
The New Teen Titans
The X-Men (the Wein/Cockrum and Byrne/Claremont era of 1975-late 1980's,  Feel free to stop when the X-Books exploded everywhere)
The Crusaders (The Red Circle comics relaunch that was too, too brief)
The Outsiders (vol. 2)
The Legion of Super Heroes (as BA said, the Levitz era is the best)

Non-comic book medium source material
Batman: The Animated Series
Superman: The Animated Series
Justice League/Justice League Unlimited
Young Justice (TV series--surprised BA didn't have this one)
The Incredibles
Galaxy Rangers
Bionic Six

What didn't make the list?

  • Most of the 1990's.  That includes the "Iron Age" stuff that I read extensively but has aged so badly and the post-modern comic book movement that just doesn't suit me for the RPG medium.
  • The early DC-comics based TV shows (aka "The Superfriends") which I liked as a kid and the most recent DC-comics based TV shows (aka "Arrow") that I like as an adult.
  • The Marvel Studios movies, which I enjoy a great deal but apart from the Avengers don't reflect the team dynamic.  I considered putting in the Avengers movie but it's kind of a mess, plot-wise.


  1. Great lists! Can't believe I forgot the Red Circle relaunch and Impact Comics from DC. Man oh man! Someone needs to do that universe justice for more than a couple years at a time.

    I loved Young Justice, but it falls just outside 'The Zone' for this next campaign I'm planning. If my list of 10 went to 11, you know it would be there.

    Thanks for the idea for this Rob!

  2. The Outsiders v.2, what is that one? Is that a relaunched after the Aparo era?

    1. Yes. It was 1993-95 and was written by Mike Barr and pencilled by Pelletier. I enjoyed that run for a lot of reasons, mostly because I liked the jumbled, diverse group.


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