Underrated: Licensed Comics

After reading The Dresden Files: Down Town earlier this week (you can expect my review next week), I realized that while we often see comic books adapted into movies and television, what we don’t see quite as often is other media, such as books, movies and television shows adapted into comics. Whether this is because it happens less frequently, or there simply isn’t the publicity surrounding these adaptations, I don’t know.

However you look at it, when other media is adapted into comics, comic book fans tend to either ignore them or prejudge the adaptations into the bargain bins. Although in some cases this is entirely understandable, there are some gems out there.

A few things before we start; firstly, these comics aren’t going to include Marvel‘s current Star Wars titles; yes, they’re exactly what I’m talking about, but they’re also tearing up the sales charts. Secondly, I’ve got eclectic taste so these 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 subjectiv

The Last Of The Mohicans
You’ve probably seen the film adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper’s 1826 novel featuring Daniel Day Lewis from the early 90’s that details the last days of the Mohicans? It was adapted into a graphic novel (published by Marvel) a few years ago, and it’s actually very well adapted.

The Blade Itself
Joe Abercrombie’s First Law books are full of dark humour, bloody and take great delight in turning long established fantasy tropes on their heads. In what world is the savage barbarian the most civilized man in a city?  How does the great hero from a recent war become a twisted husk of himself? This series is one of the best fantasy series I’ve read in a long time, and the graphic novel adaptation is just as worth reading, if you can find it.

The Dark Tower
Stephen King’s Dark Tower series is perhaps one of the greatest book series that I’ve ever read.  It isn’t for everyone, indeed I’m not usually a fan of his work, and yet I couldn’t put this series down. Marvel have been adapting this series for years, with collections published almost regularly.

Dark Horse Comics Star Wars
Before Disney owned Star Wars and the Expanded Universe was essentially erased, Dark Horse were publishing some pretty great Star Wars comics, because at the time, they owned the publishing rights to the comic book form of the Star Wars Saga. Those rights went to Marvel (also owned by Disney) once the license expired, and the many wonderful tales that had been told over the years from Dark Horse consigned to memory. But because they’re not officially part of the Expanded Universe doesn’t make them any less enjoyable.

IDW’s Star Trek
I feel it would be somewhat unfair to mention Star War without bringing up Star Trek. Lately IDW have been producing some pretty solid licensed comics under the Star Trek name, including an interesting crossover with Green Lantern entitled Spectrum War. Although the crossover isn’t to my taste, I can appreciate that I’m absolutely not the target audience for Spectrum War, but maybe you are?


There we have it – a mere handful of underrated comic book adaptations. There are many more adaptations from books, movies, and television shows that are worth reading, so there’s a good chance there will be a second (or third) part to this list eventually.

In the mean time, Underrated will return 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!

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