Category Archives: Underrated

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Underrated: Night’s Dominion

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Night’s Dominion.


The first volume of Night’s Dominion was published by Oni Press late 2016/early 2017 as the first six issues of, funnily enough, Night’s Dominion. The volume was written and drawn by Ted Naifeh, and presents itself as a prototypical fantasy story with the added flavour of modern superheroes (though not literal modern superheroes). So what’s the story about?

Taken from the blurb:

A thief, an assassin, a mage and a cleric walk into a tavern in the ancient city of Umber. Awaiting them is a mysterious bard with a dangerous scheme: to break into the dungeon of a powerful death cult in search of treasure. For these five desperate criminals, it’s the last chance for hope in a city of corruption and despair. But what they find instead is an undead army preparing to conquer the world. Now, they must fight to protect the city that pushed their backs to the wall, or watch it burn. 

Night’s Dominion is a fun distraction, though the plot is fairly by the numbers in terms of fantasy stories, it’s still engaging and entertaining enough to keep you moving the pages.

I was able to pick up the first six issues for about $12, and it was absolutely worth the price of admission (if I’m honest, I had it sat in my To Read pile for almost a year before I finally picked it up last night). I don’t know if I’d pay more for it than that, but I’m happy with the price I paid. Naifeh’s art is atmospheric and moody, although a couple of his characters look similar enough that it can be hard to tell them apart at some points, I’ve really no major nitpicks with the art style or the writing – the story is good, if not groundbreaking, and it was exactly what I wanted to read (and just about what I expected when I first saw the series solicited half a decade or so ago).

Unfortunately you don’t hear a lot of people talking about the series, which comprises of two volumes as of this writing, and so for that reason I wanted to focus on it for today’s column. It’s a fun book, and it gives you a break from the traditional superhero comics without fully ignoring the genre (if that sounds strange, it’ll make sense when you read it), and until I was googling the cover I had no idea that it wasn’t a self contained story, so the lack of a pesky cliffhanger is always a bonus.


Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover something else next week.

Underrated: Marvel’s Facsimile Comics

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Marvel’s Facsimile Comics.


Recently Marvel Comics have been releasing what they call Facsimile Editions of some of their key issues, which essentially just reprints those issues for (modern) cover price. The cynical person would say that this is just a cash grab from a publisher looking to take advantage of people who want to own a copy of those stories in print, whereas I’m looking at it as a great opportunity to own an exact copy of Giant Size X-Men for less than a fraction of the actual cost.

Before you say that it’s available on Marvel Unlimited, I don’t care. Mainly because I don’t have Marvel Unlimited, but mostly because it allows me to read a print version of the story – something I haven’t yet been able to do.

Yes, I understand that some of us may have a copy of two of the original story already, but are those copies exact to the original printing?

Probably not.

(It should be said at this time that I have never been able to touch an original of any of the comics that the Facsimile Editions reprint, much less actually read one, so I have no way of actually verifying this myself but at least that’s the idea).

Because most of us will never get a chance to view an original copy of many of the original comics, these Facsimile Editions are a great alternative to seeing the original comic (not the stories, because you can find those in a multitude of other place – I own several versions of Incredible Hulk #181, just not an original), including the ads. It’s a recreation of a piece of history in much the same way a reproduction Velociraptor claw is. Which exactly how I’m looking at it; there’s no way I would ever read an original copy of Giant Size X-Men #1 or Incredible Hulk #181 if I was ever lucky enough to find one for a non-exorbitant price, but I sure as hell will read these Facsimile Editions.

Because I’m the kind of nerd who loves looking at old comics; the ads, the commentary… it’s a snapshot of where the industry was at the time, and in many ways the older comics mean more for that than the story inside (because those I can read elsewhere).

That’s why these books are underrated.


Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover something else next week.

Underrated: The Bill Schelly Reader

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet-pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: The Bill Schelly Reader.


I’ve never been shy about my interest in comic book history, and it was when I was searching for some new books to scratch the itch, I came across The Bill Schelly Reader, a book by Bill Schelly that collects some of his finest prose work on the early history of comics and fandom.

Borrowing the text from the back of the book, because that’ll give you a better synopsis than anything I’ll write:

Bill Schelly has been writing about comics and fandom since 1965. In over 50 years one can do a lot of writing, and The Bill Schelly Reader includes some of the author’s best work on subjects ranging from the golden age of comic fandom to James Bond.

Schelly takes us back to the very beginnings of comic fandom with such articles as:

  • “Batmania”: a short history of the early 1960s fanzine (the first fanzine Bill Schelly ever read) credited for a resurgence of interest in Batman comics during a time of dwindling sales
  • “The First Comicons”: a retrospective on the first conventions organized by comics fans, from the Alley Tally Party to larger events in major cities like New York and Chicago
  • “It Started on Yancy Street”: an issue-by-issue look at the first fanzine devoted entirely to Marvel Comics, and why an unwelcome decision by Marvel led to its demise

In addition, book includes articles about the Silver Age Batman, Hawkman by Joe Kubert, the James Bond books by Ian Fleming, and an interview with the author. With dozens of vintage photos and images!

I’d never knowingly read one of Schelly’s essays before, though that’s mostly because I never got much of an opportunity to read Alter Ego where a lot of his essays were published. Over the course of The Bill Schelly Reader, Schelly dives into the early stages of comic fandom in the 1960’s, exploring the emergence of fanzines and the very first conventions. His essays are deep and incredibly interesting for those of us who want to learn more. A lot of the information that Schelly presents, while by no means the definitive history, paints enough of a picture so that you grasp what those days were like for fans. Remember this was long before any websites or even widely published magazine like Wizard, and so fanzines often had circulation numbers running at less than a thousand issues – and were put together by folks who also had other jobs (not unlike a lot of comics websites, but we don’t need to worry about publishing, printing and distribution of our content).

The essays run an average of ten pages or so each with a lot of additional images that add flavour to the text, and it’s amazing how much info Schelly crams into each one. There’s the odd moment where I found my interest waning, but for the most part the book held my attention from cover to cover (though I’d only read an essay or two a night).

If you’re at all curious about the early days of comic fandom, then I’d highly suggest you take a look at this book. Schelly’s literary work often goes out of print (well, as far as I know from my fifteen minutes of research, anyway), and then inevitably the prices spike. Grab this one if you’re at all interested.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Underrated: X-Men: Assault On Weapon Plus

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet-pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: X-Men: Assault On Weapon Plus


I’ve been collecting X-Men comics for the last year and a half, and while I’ve been focusing mainly on the Uncanny X-Men, I’ve also been picking up issues of X-Men (and later New X-Men), which is how I stumbled across Assault On Weapon Plus. The four issue arc originally appeared in New X-Men #142-145, and was written by Grant Morrison, penciled by Chris Bachalo, inked by Tim Townsend, coloured by Chris Chuckry and lettered by Chris Eliopoulos. The story has been collected in the last two decades, but I’ve no idea how hard those collections are, and given the price and availability of the single issues right now, it’s easy enough to pick up the floppies.

The plot picks up after Emma Frost has been shot, shattered and reassembled (though the only relevance to of that to this story is to explain why Cyclops is drowning his sorrows because Jean caught him in a psychic affair and this is sounding more like a soap opera than I thought it would). There’s a little more to it, but the recap in #142 will catch you up for what is effectively a Wolverine, Cyclops and Fantomex story. Wolverine frequently reminds Cyclops, and by extension the audience, that this isn’t an X-Men mission.

It may seem strange that I’ highlighting a Grant Morrison story, but of the man’s often incredible body of work, this four-parter isn’t one that you hear people talking about all that often (although the run in general does get praise), and the story is more accessible than some of the writer’s other work. Assault On Weapon Plus is more of a straight shooting story about a trio of mutants trying to break into the Weapon Plus program for reasons (Fantomex wants to burn everything to the ground, Wolverine wants to know who he was and Cyclops wants to watch Logan’s back).

It’s a fun story, and definitely one that spurs you from issue to issue.

The story does end on a cliffhanger though, and while the following issues aren’t expensive either, there’d probably be a bit of an annoyance if you only picked up the four issues then you’d be left a touch stranded at the end of New X-Men #145. Ultimately though, this story is so much more than it seems on the surface, as with any Grant Morrison story, but you can’t just read the four issues and stop because there’s no conclusion to the story – although it’s not a bad thing to want to keep reading into the five issue Planet X, which I’ll be doing now.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Underrated: God Country

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet-pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: God Country


God Country has one of the more interestingly unique concepts in comics; that of an Alzheimer’s patient who is cured when his hand touches a twelve foot sword, only to be drawn into the soap  opera like world of space gods that have more than a passing resemblance to the Greco-Roman pantheons. Written by Donny Cates, who also co-wrote The Paybacks with Eliot Rahal; that series looked at the other side of superheroing with a starkly funny focus on a group of knock off characters serving as superpowered repomen (and women) struggling to emerge from the crippling debt their equipment put them in. On the surface, God Country may have little in common with The Paybacks other than half of the writing team (and Geoff Shaw‘s art), that’s certainly true on a superficial thematic level, but at their core both series focus on something quite relatable: people and their struggles against every day adversity.

There is every chance that you probably recognize Cates’ name from his work on Venom, Thor and King In Black, and I’ll admit that it feels strange to write about something Donny Cates has written as being underrated, but this is a book that I don’t see people talk about as much as they should.

Emmet Quinlan’s family have been struggling with the horror of watching a loved one slip away whilst suffering from Alzheimer’s, and their struggles are haunting – if you’ve ever had to watch a loved one slip away while suffering this horrible disease as I have, then you’ll understand immediately how hard it can be. Donny Cates treats the subject with the respect it deserves without sugar coating the emotions that Emmet’s family face.

Of course, with this being a comic book called God Country, that’s not what the comic is about.

At least not in it’s entirety. You see Emmet finds a giant sentient sword that restores his mind in its entirety. While Emmet’s disease does form the backbone of his desire to keep his hand on the sword that returned his mind, it’s the conflict with the space gods who want the sword back that provides the more immediate physical threat.

If you enjoyed Jason Aaron’s run on Thor: God Of Thunder  then you’re going to find a lot to love here, from the heavily emotional sequences in the first issue to the more operatic space god scenes in subsequent comics, this is a powerful series – indeed, without Cates wry humour that appears every so often throughout the series, then this could easily become an almost too heavy story.

Ultimately though, this story is so much more than it seems on the surface.

God Country is that rare beast that uses a well thought out high concept science fiction or fantasy premise to tell the most human of stories. It is truly a work of art that had my eyes sweaty with respect – and that doesn’t happen very often when I read comics.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Underrated: Jack Staff: Soldiers

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet-pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Jack Staff: Soldiers


I find I have an affinity to superheroes wearing the Union Jack, probably because one of the first comics I picked up was Marvel’s Union Jack, the three issue miniseries from the late 90’s where the titular character faced off against a legion of vampires, becoming one of my favourite characters in the process.

Since then I’ve always been drawn to heroes wearing the British flag, and so when I did a bit of research on other flag wearing heroes for a very early edition of this column, I came across Jack Staff. Britain’s Greatest Superhero was conceived from a Paul Grist script that was rejected as a Union Jack concept, and found new life as Jack Staff. Written and drawn by Grist, with Phil Elliott providing the colours, Soldiers is the second volume published by Image comics, and collects the first five issues of the Image comic series (the first volume contained the pre-Image stuff).

The story within the book takes place concurrently in two time periods over the course of twenty years – quite how Jack Staff doesn’t seem to age isn’t exactly explained, but then it doesn’t need to be. Grist has written the comics in an anthology-like style as multiple characters are used for focal points with each of the smaller stories telling a smaller piece of the whole. As a graphic novel, this works wonderfully.

Because the events of the story are contained to Castletown, there’s never a world ending threat to contend with, and so the threat level seems more credible given the smaller scale of the book’s events (and given Jack Staff’s ambiguous power set, not quite knowing what he can do is half the fun of watching the shit hit the fan).

Jack Staff: Soldiers is a lot of fun. There’s an old school feel to the heroics in this story, with Grist hinting that the characters are part of a much larger whole as this book scratches the surface of Jack Staff’s world. Despite being listed as the second volume, it’s an excellent point for folks to jump on board, and if you’re anything like me then you’ll be hunting out the other three volumes that Image have published.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Underrated: Becoming Superman

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet-pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Becoming Superman by J. Michael Strazinsky


I’m not usually one to read autobiographies, if I’m honest, which probably sounds like a contradiction to those of you who know how much I like reading about history – specifically the history of comic books – given that autobiographies will typically deal with history in some form or another. And so it was somewhat surprising to me that when I saw Becoming Superman show up at my local comic shop of all places I felt compelled to pick it up. Especially considering I didn’t consider myself a huge J. Michael Straczynski fan to begin with (more as I hadn’t read a lot of his comics as far as I was aware of than because I didn’t like what I read), and so I went into the book knowing relatively little about who he was.

The reason I’m focusing on that book this week, rather than the broader subject of comic book creator auto/biographies is purely that I haven’t read enough of them to have any kind of compelling point to make. Plus, I am sure part of me knows I can then milk the subject a bit further as needed.

Anyway, obviously this is a book that fans of Straczynski are more likely to pick up, but what about those of us who aren’t that into autobiographies or even that big a fan of the man himself?

As somebody who fits both those categories, I can honestly say this was a super compelling book (pun not intended). Straczynski doesn’t shy away from the harsh truths of his life or even the way his actions shaped them. It’s an often times unflinching look at his journey, and you can see how his childhood shaped the man he became, and how he has shaped that into his work. From the harsh reality of television, the highs and lows, JMS is a fantastic storyteller (which shouldn’t be surprising given the list of things the man has worked. Seriously, it reads like a geek’s Must Watch list – Babylon 5, He-Man… the man is nonstop. And yet he looks back upon his life with a wisdom and analytical mind that stops him from portraying the events with rose tinted glasses.

It’s as honest an autobiography as I’ve read, and certainly more than I expected.

Being a comics fan primarily, I came to this looking for insight on his comics, and boy was I not disappointed. His telling of the script writing for Amazing Spider-Man #36, the 9/11 tribute issue, is genuinely beautiful, and had me rushing out to find a copy for my collection (as well as reading it digitally because that all black cover is a nightmare with fingerprints).

I didn’t expect that this would be a book I’d ever cover here, but man oh man was it good. Becoming Superman is a book that checks a lot of boxes, and yet despite that I haven’t heard many folks talking about it, which is why I wanted to write about it today.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Underrated: Inter-Company Crossovers

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet-pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Inter-Company Crossovers


I was reorganizing my bookshelf the other day and a couple of older graphic novels caught my eye, and set me to thinking about the amount of inter-company crossovers I’ve read over the years. Books like Team X/Team 7 from Marvel and Image, Batman/Punisher from DC and Marvel and even He-Man/Thundercats from…. well from DC (does it count in this list? I think so, because although DC owns both properties now, when this awesomeness exploded in the eighties, the thought of them crossing over was a dream in many a fan’s mind, and since this is a thing that I’m writing, I’m going to leave that option on the table for myself). The crossover I’m thinking of in this case is Marvel Verses DC and the Amalgam Universe series that came from it; I’m still far too obsessed with that book after twenty plus years since initially reading it.

Whether it’s because these crossovers seem to happen with less frequency these days (especially between Marvel and DC), they’ve flown under my radar as they’re released, or I just happen to be stumbling across a large number of the crossovers from yesteryear at the comic shop, I’ve been missing the inter-company crossovers that bring some of our favourite heroes together (and often some of the most unexpected combinations).

Again, I don’t know if it feels like there were more released in the 80’s and 90’s than there is today, or if it feels that way because we’ve already got those releases and there’s less from Marvel and DC together than there used to be.

It should probably come as no surprise if you listen to Those Two Geeks, but my favourite crossover is Marvel Vs DC, and the subsequent Amalgam universe. It is the most ambitious crossover on the list, and had fans vote on the outcomes of fights between the various heroes – sometimes the fans were bang on, and sometimes the result was clearly the result of a popularity contest and not of a reasonable outcome between two characters (I love Wolverine, but having him face off against Lobo wasn’t the best match up, and definitely not the right outcome between the two, but at the time I loved it). Other highlights include Superman vs Smart Hulk, Spider-Man vs Super Boy, Batman vs Captain America, Storm vs Wonder Woman and Thor vs Shazam. There was also a pretty cool series of trading cards that came from the crossover with other fights not shown in the comics, as well as two Amalgam trades collecting the mash up stories of Super Soldier (Superman and Captain America), Dark Claw (Wolverine/Batman) and others that came about as a result of the events in the four issue miniseries.

On a much smaller scale, Team X/Team 7 saw Wolverine, Maverick and Sabretooth in their spy days come across Image’s (well, Wildstorm’s) Team Seven. It was much more of an action spy story than a world saving capes and cowl style story, and despite having no idea who Team 7 were (even now I still don’t really know who they are beyond this miniseries, and a quick google has me wondering what the impetus was for this crossover because they don’t seem to have had a lasting impact, though I suppose things were different back then). This was one of those books I picked up because of the Marvel trio more than anything else, and it never inspired me to read more Team 7, but I recall enjoying the dynamic when I did read the book.

Even this Tomb Raider/Witchblade book wasn’t terrible, but had I been a fan of either character before giving it a try, I’d likely have enjoyed the book a little more.

Shifting to modern times, the Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover was an absolute joy to read, as were the sequels. DC and IDW teamed up to create a story with characters that mesh together remarkably well – it’s a shame that this isn’t an ongoing series, because watching Damian Wayne interact with the turtles gives me more joy than it probably should.

There’s been a few Batman crossovers with Marvel heroes – Punisher and Daredevil spring to mind immediately – and while both are thoroughly enjoyable, there’s a standout moment where Batman asks Daredevil for a certain coloured object. It’s been a bit since I read the book, and so I can’t remember if that’s why Batman knows Daredevil is blind or he’s testing a theory – either way the art in those scenes always makes me smile just a little.

And I think that’s the whole point of those crossovers; as almost all of them are out of continuity (aside from within their own self contained stories), for me the main goal is to just hope they’re entertaining. It’s unlikely anything character changing will happen, but there’s a special joy to seeing Spider-Man crack jokes at a stonewalled Batman, or the X-Men coming into contact with the Teen Titans. Of course, these books aren’t always easy to find; it’s unlikely that they’ll ever be collected into a trade (there are exceptions to this such as the Batman/TMNT stories, and the Marvel vs DC and Amalgam trades), and even if they are, reprints aren’t likely for the older books.

But next time you’re in your LCS, see if you can find some of these gems. The books from the 90’s especially are often over looked when it comes to the company crossovers, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth reading.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Underrated: Halls Of The Turnip King

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Halls Of The Turnip King.


I picked up Halls Of The Turnip King, published by Pegamoose Press yesterday from my LCS. It was written, drawn and hand lettered by Brenda Hickey. Originally released as a very limited series with a small print run, Halls Of The Turnip King also adds a thirteen page epilogue to the story, and I thoroughly enjoyed every page.

The plot is actually pretty simple; an elf prince goes to the dwarf kingdom to forge an alliance because the king believes a war is coming. But the prince would rather be playing video games than playing politics and doesn’t really have any idea what he’s doing. But where the plot is fairly straight forward it allows Hickey to really go to two with the humour in the book. If you like visual gags, the honouring, mickey-taking and subverting of fantasy tropes then this is going to be a book you’ll want to get your hands on.

Hickey also has some really fantastic examples of lettering and playing with the panel layouts and sound effects. One of these moments has a sound effect tapping a character on the shoulder to get his attention. I love the way that Hickey is able to work these often subtle moments into the graphic novel. It honestly wasn’t until I started writing this column that I realized just how much I enjoyed the way Hickey has drawn and lettered the comic. There’s an energy here that makes the comic feel almost Monty Python-eqsue at times, but it always feels like a complete and cohesive vision from Hickey.

There’s also a good lesson in the comic, too, but if I tell you what it is then it’ll probably give away too much of the story. The plot is fairly basic on paper, and that’s actually one of the comic’s strengths.

Hickey shows that you don’t need to have a Lord Of The Rings or Game Of Thrones/A Song of Ice And Fire style epic to tell a good story. Sometimes, a story about trying to forge an unlikely alliance can turn out to be exactly what you want to read on a Saturday morning (yes, I am writing this half an hour before publication). I read this book in one sitting, and I enjoyed each and every page of the book. Art, humour, the lettering (which is an underrated side of comics in and of itself) are utterly fantastic.

If this was a review of the book, I’d probably be looking at giving it upwards of an eight or a nine (I say this because there aren’t that many reviews of the book from what a quick google search found). But, because this isn’t a review, what I will say is that this is an Underrated gem and was worth every penny of the $30 it cost me.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Underrated: Not Rushing Your comics Reading

Believe it or not, my time management has gotten pretty bad lately, and I’ve struggled to find time to read many comics, let alone actually write anything with any consistency. So because of that, I wanted to revisit an older column from last year that felt oddly relevant again.

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet-pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Not Rushing Your Comics Reading.


I never actually expected that I’d be writing a column focusing on the underrated aspects of comics on comics as a whole, but then I also never expected to be living during a global pandemic. The period of time during which comics ceased all publication drove me to reading a lot of trade paperbacks and other collected editions of series I had either never read, or hadn’t read in a long time; X-Men stories such as Operation: Zero Tolerance and The Dark Phoenix Saga, and a plethora of titles not from the Big Two ranging from Saga to a reread of Ninja-K. I’ve read a surprisingly large amount of Star Wars comics (more on those in the coming weeks), and have really cut down on my backlog of books to read (and consequently my collection has never been better organized).

But ever since the comic industry started to release books again, I’ve found that I haven’t actually read a third of what I’ve been picking up at my LCS. It’s not that I don’t want to read them, it’s that after so many months of reading a full story in one go, I’ve found that now I’m waiting until I have more than a single issue in a story to read so that I can get more of a fix in one go rather than waiting the 30 days between issues. I realize that this is also increasing the time between me reading the comics (I’ve got two issues of Once And Future next to me right now), but the fact that it’s already been more than 30 days between some issues is besides the point so I’m just prolonging the already extended period between issues.

Or something.

The truth is, I wasn’t intending to do this. I had every intention of reading stuff immediately after buying it, but… I’ve lost the urgency to read comics as soon as I get them now. Pandemic related? Maybe. But it’s the lack of urgency that’s allowing me to savour the stories again and let the issues build up so I can lose myself in a couple issues of Batman, No One’s Rose and other series I’ve been picking up.

It’s nice, honestly, to have lost the FOMO (fear of missing out) that so many of us experience with comics. Maybe because I haven’t fully gotten back into the routine of buying, reading and storing comics yet, but I’ve found a new way to enjoy the stories that I’ve loved for nearly 30 years. With patience (though I enjoy reading older stories in trade, I don’t expect I’ll ever become a trade waiter).

Of course, give me a couple more weeks, and I’m sure that I’ll wonder why I ever wrote this, but right now not rushing through my comics has given me a surprising amount of enjoyment from what I’m reading. It may not become my new normal, but I’ll make the most of it while I’m still enjoying the process.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

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