Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics. The official topic for this week was Bookish Wishes, but I am choosing to do something a little different and instead I will be highlighting some of my favourite underappreciated comic series.
Each year, there are a ton of new and exciting comic series released. Some of these series are outstanding, some are a little less enjoyable, but most get a lot of attention, whether good or bad, from the comic community. However, ever since I have started collecting comics, I have come across several amazing titles which do not seem to get as much attention, interest, or recognition as they deserve. This is a real shame, because some of these comics are actually extremely impressive, containing some incredible stories and complex characters, all of which are really worth checking out.
Due to how much I enjoyed some of these lesser-known comics, I thought I would take the opportunity to look at the ten best comics I consider to be somewhat underappreciated or unfairly ignored by the general comic community. In order to complete this list, I have gone through my collection of favourite comics and pulled out several great titles, which don’t always get the attention that their excellent stories merit. I ended up pulling together an intriguing list of comics, and while I did debate about just how underappreciated some of these titles are, I think I ended up with a fantastic list that I am rather happy with. So, let us get to it.
A comic beloved by those who have read it, I am only saying this one is underappreciated because a future adaption is very unlikely, especially after the market was saturated by the similar Once Upon a Time.
Booster Gold (Vol.2)
A fun, time-travel filled romp that follows perennial DC Comics loser, Booster Gold, and shows why he is the greatest hero you have never heard of.
Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2016)
Only underappreciated by those who do not read Star Wars comics.
Top Ten List:
The first comic on this list is the incredible Gotham Central, a fantastic series that focused on the members of the Gotham City Police Department. Essentially a police procedural in the world inhabited by Batman, this remarkable comic, created by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, is pretty damn amazing, and does a lot with some of the fantastic police characters featured in the Batman comics. Containing some very impressive storylines, including its most famous arc where Renee Montoya is outed as a lesbian, this series did win several awards, however, it is routinely overlooked by fans due to the focus on other non-Batman characters. With a decent 40 issue run, this was a very memorable and clever comic, which provided some inspiration for the Gotham television series. With another potential adaption in the future, this comic may finally be about to get the love it is due, and it will be well deserved when it does.
Scarlet Spider (Vol. 2)
Next up we have a very fun series from Marvel comics, the second Scarlet Spider series. This series, which spun-off from the Spider-Island crossover event, follows newly resurrected villain and Spider-Man clone, Kaine, as he accidently becomes a vigilante anti-hero in Houston. Taking the mantle Scarlet Spider, Kaine attempts to fight crime his own way, often with violent and deadly results. Written by Christopher Yost, this series was a somewhat darker Spider-Man tale that had some excellent humour to it, as the usually serious and murderous Kaine, is forced into some ridiculous heroics. Surprisingly addictive and entertaining, this was an outstanding series that unfortunately undersold and was cancelled after only 25 issues.
The third entry on this list is the zany and hilarious Chew comic, created by John Layman and Rob Guillory. Chew is an interesting and unique comic that does have a dedicated fan base, although it is overlooked, mainly because it is a bit of a niche read. Frankly, anyone who has not read this comic may be justified in thinking that a series about a federal agent who receives psychic impressions by eating food as he faces off against a group of superpowered cannibals, might be a bit much. However, if you have read Chew, you will know just how awesome this comic is and how cleverly they bring the story together. This series honestly has the potential to be the next The Boys or Invincible if someone manages to adapt it, so its status as an underappreciated comic might be only fleeting. If that is the case, I would strongly suggest reading this series now to be ahead of the rest of the pack.
Secret Six (Vol. 3)
A comic that I recently mentioned on my recent Top Ten Favourite Comics list, Secret Six is an outstanding series by Gail Simone that focuses on an unusual team of supervillains. This is an incredible and entertaining comic, that often gets overlooked due to its apparently similarities to Suicide Squad. This is a real shame as Secret Six is a uniquely different comic with some clever stories, memorable characters, and some real heart to it.
One Marvel series that I have a lot of love for is the great Avengers Academy series. Set after the events of Dark Reign, this comic initially follows six damaged teens who are recruited by Hank Pym to become the next generation of Avengers. However, it is eventually revealed that the entire program is a lie, as all six are considered future supervillains due to their backgrounds and tortured pasts. Created by Christos Gage and Mike McKone, this was a very compelling and powerful comic that featured some deep character moments and intriguing stories. Lasting 39 issues, this series was very well received and was even worked into some major Marvel crossover events. However, it got a little lost amongst all the other Avengers comics written at the same time, resulting in a shorter run than it needed. While several key characters were eventually featured in the fun Avengers Arena (Hunger Games with teen superheroes) and Avengers Undercover series, most of the members of the Avengers Academy have only been marginally featured in recent years, which is a real shame after all the fantastic development that went into them.
Blue Beetle (Vol. 7)
Back in the mid 2000’s there was a fantastic and compelling new era in the iconic Blue Beetle comic with the introduction of the third Blue Beetle Jamie Reyes. Spinning off from Infinite Crisis, this series followed the teenage Jamie as he deals with the massive power of his alien scarab and the true past of his predecessors. This is an excellent series that perfectly showcased a complex teenage hero and contained some fantastic character development and big moments. While this version of the Blue Beetle character has gone on to do some big things, the series he originated in is often overlooked. Some elements of these comics were utilised in the second season of Young Justice and fans of this show will get a lot out of reading it.
Batgirl (Vol. 3)
While Batgirl is a fairly prominent comic series, there is one great incarnation that is often lost due to its timing, short run and main character. Written by Bryan Q. Miller, this Batgirl series saw everyone’s favourite Spoiler, Stephanie Brown, take on the cowl after Cassandra Cain gave up her costume. With a different mentality to her predecessors, as well as her own unique strengths, this a different Batgirl than readers were familiar with, but it has a fun feel to it. Featuring some great storylines, this proved to be an excellent comic, and it is one I have read several times. Thanks to the onset of Flashpoint and the New 52, this series ended way too soon and was never given the chance to get the following and appreciation it deserved.
Another comic that I previously featured on my favourite comic list; the All-New Wolverine follows X-23 as she takes on the mantle of her father after his death. Bold, funny and featuring an awesome group of supporting characters, this is an excellent and captivating comic series. Despite being an amazing period in this character’s history, this comic is often overshadowed by the vast number of Wolverine comics out there, which is a real shame.
Fans of Batman always have their favourite Robin and mine is easily the third Robin, Tim Drake, who served in the role for over 20 years. While his main Robin series got a lot of attention during its run, rather less attention was given to the follow up Red Robin series by Chris Yost and Ramon Bachs. Set after the death of Bruce Wayne and the introduction of the Damien Wayne Robin, Red Robin follows Tim as he fights crime his own way and attempts to prove that Bruce was still alive. Despite serving as a great continuation of the previous Robin series and containing some fantastic comics (I am a particular fan of the Collision arc), this series was overlooked at the time and then eventually cancelled thanks to Flashpoint and the New 52. Despite that, it remains a firm favourite of mine and I loved what the creators did with this awesome character.
Outsiders (Vol. 3)
While the Outsiders comics are generally overlooked in the grand scheme of the DC universe, their was one run of the comic several years ago which I personally feel does not get the credit it should. Written by Judd Winick, this series spun out of the Graduation Day crossover event and showed former Titan’s members Nightwing and Arsenal forming their own version of the Outsiders with several new heroes. I was a major fan of this series during its initial run, mainly because of the awesome first volume which focused on their formation. With an intriguing group of characters, some fantastic storylines and surprising emotional depth, this is an excellent series which went to some incredible places. Despite that, this run on the series is often forgotten, especially as the team featured none of the original Outsiders, but it ends up being a great series that comes highly recommended.
Well that’s the end of this latest Top Ten List. I think that it turned out pretty well and I believe that I successfully highlighted a number of awesome comic series that surprisingly underrated. Each of the above series are really worth reading and are especially good for DC and Marvel fans who want to explore some of the more obscure comics the franchise has produced. I look forward to reading some more obscure and underappreciated comics in the future, but in the mean-time, make sure to let me know in the comments what your favourite underrated comic is.