After the last Underrated post, I got to thinking that there are some very good comic books featuring superheroes from publishers that don’t get the same level of attention as those from the Big Two. So I asked myself, I said “are there non Marvel or DC superhero comics out there that don’t get the same level of attention as the Big Two?”
As it turns out (amazingly enough), there is.
A few things before we start; firstly, the only rule for these characters to be included here are that they’re not from Marvel or DC. Secondly, because I’ve got eclectic taste these comics may not be for everybody, so be prepared for some potentially foolish claims. Thirdly, this isn’t a complete, or inclusive, list and it is completely subjective.
I’ve raved about C.O.W.L. loudly before. And whilst the series has ended (for now), it’s still work check out. Set during the 1960’s in Chicago, C.O.W.L. a creator owned comic published by Image and written by Kyle Higgins weaves a complex story that follows the Chicago Organized Workers League, and is set against some fantastic art work. Without giving anything away, this is a comic that focuses as much on the political intrigue of superheroing for hire as it does the superheroes themselves. Higgins explores some really interesting questions here, chief of which is “what if superheroes are unionized?”
X-O Manowar (Valiant)
The current series is about to begin a new story arc entitled Exodus with X-O Manowar #39 (released on August 12th), which will make it an ideal jumping on point for new readers. The lead character of the series is a time displaced Visigoth named Aric who has somehow come into possession of a (very interesting looking) alien armour. It’s an awesome series, and one well worth checking out. Expect more from Valiant in a future Underrated.
Captain Canuck (Chapter House Comics)
Although only a couple issues in, this Canadian comic book is really looking promising. As someone who has never read any Captain Canuck before, I can honestly say that you don’t need to either in order to enjoy this comic.
Will Eisner’s The Spirit (Dynamite)
The second issue of this comic came out just last week, and the series is shaping up to be a blast. The current story arc centers on the disappearance of the Spirit, and the efforts of his supporting cast to locate him. This series has been a surprise gem, and I’ve really enjoyed it so far.
When a superhero desperately wants to stop running around in spandex, to retire to a quiet life with his family, do you have any idea how difficult that is when he seems to attract freaks like a magnet? Written by Mark Waid, the current comic book, which is the second volume, is on issue #5, with the first arc Fox Hunt having just come to a cataclysmic conclusion. There is a trade paper back collecting the first series entitled The Fox: Freak Magnet, but you don’t need to read it to appreciate the current series. This is a fun comic that should be on your pull lists.
There we have it – a mere handful of underrated superhero comics that aren’t Marvel or DC. Are there other comic books out there that are, for whatever reason, underrated and under-appreciated?
If there’s any that I’ve missed that shouldn’t have been this time, let me know in the comments. In the meantime, Underrated will return next week to highlight more comic book related stuff that either gets ignored despite it’s high quality, or maybe isn’t quite as bad as we tend to think it is.
Until next time!