Category Archives: Underrated

Underrated: Release Barabbas!

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: Release Barabbas


The cover to the comic actually has straight lines – this is just a poor photo of my copy.

There’s a chance that you may have heard about Barabbas, especially if you’re familiar with the bible and the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, John and later copies of Luke. If you haven’t heard of him, then Barabbas was the criminal who, along with Jesus of Nazareth, was presented to the crowd by Pontius Pilate whereby the crowd was given the option to save one man and condemn the other to death. We all know how that turned out for one of the men.

But what about the other?

Well that’s where Liam McKenna‘s Release Barabbas comes in. Billed as “an absolutely nonreligious, yet possibly sacrilegious biblical fairy tale” the 57 page comic tells the story of Barabbas’ life on the day his life was spared – a day that also happens to be the same day Jesus was crucified.   If you’re already starting to turn away because you’re leery of the religious undertones then don’t worry because despite being set during a pivotal moment in history, biblical or not, there’s actually nothing to do with religion in the comic, because Barabbas himself seems entirely oblivious to it – and this is his story.

Release Barabbas has a colour scheme that feels immediately historical; the reddish peach of the physical comic lends itself a brilliantly sepia-esque tone that serves as a great tool to set the historical nature of the tale right away. Likewise, McKenna’s stylized art lends itself to a physical comedy that’s reminiscent of the Saturday morning cartoons and the sound effects that so often permeate those shows and comics. McKenna’s use of blank space to highlight the loneliness and isolation that Barabbas feels as he navigates his first hours of freedom.

As a story about the death of Jesus without Jesus in it, this is a very enjoyable read about a man unaware of the history unfolding around him – and in many ways that’s a reminder to us all. Just because you’re unaware of the events around you doesn’t mean that they’re not happening. For a comic that seems to be a light hearted tale, there’s a subtle gut punch there – and that’s why this is an Underrated book (and the fact you’ve probably never heard of it).

The comic is available in part here or on Gumroad here in a pay-what-you-want model. If you want to hear more on the comic, there’s an episode of Those Two Geeks you can listen to here. I purchased a physical copy directly from the author a couple of months ago for around $17, and it was worth every penny.


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

Underrated: Incorruptible

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: Incoruptible


Last wek we looked at Irredeemable, Mark Waid’s exploration of Superman snapping and going from the world’s greatest hero to its most despised villain. That series ran for just shy of 40 issues, and also spawned a spin-off series called Incorruptible that asks the same question but in reverse; what if the world’s greatest villain became its greatest hero?

After seeing the atrocities commited by Waid’s Superman analogue the Plutonian, Max Damage decides that somebody has to stop the rampaging villain – somebody has to give the world hope. And so he sets about becoming everything he isn’t in order to try and save the world, much to the confusion and annoyance of his former gang.

But Max Damage doesn’t have a moral compass; he sees the world in a strange black and white, and so his idea of heroism is to, literally, do the exact opposite of what he once did. He destroys all his ill-gotten gains, rather than anonymously donating it to a charity or those in need (or even returning the stuff), and takes down his old gang.

The switch from villain to hero is so abrupt that when he arrives on scene to help police with a situation, their reaction is pure terror, even when assured that Damage is no longer a villain. Much like the series it span out of, there’s some dark humour on display here as Waid gives us a psychological study of a damaged person trying to atone for their mistakes without actually understanding why what they did was wrong.

As a person who deeply enjoys redemption stories, this is one of the more enjoyable ones I’ve read. Max Damage’s journey from villain to hero is as amusing as it is fascinating; he never quite understands what makes a man a hero or a villain, leading to the question of if an evil man does good things, does that mean they’re not actually evil?

Max Damage’s power set itself is also interesting; the more sleep deprived he gets, the more invulnerable and strong he becomes, which leads to its own set of problems as he realizes just how much the Plutonian was pulling his punches in their earlier encounters, and has to find a solution to the power imbalance if he’s ever to go head to head with his enemy.

Between both Irredeemable and Incorruptible Waid has a great deconstruction of the nature of heroism and villainy that holds up nearly a decade after it debuted. If I’m honest, I prefer the spin-off series, but you can’t really enjoy one without the other; they’re each a side of the same coin, and reading them both concurrently enhances each series more than you would initially expect.

As a series, this is very much loved by many, but it doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. That’s why it’s Underrated.


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

Underrated: Irredeemable

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: Irredeemable


If you’ve been half paying attention to the gamut of movies hitting the theater this year that have some relation to comics or geek culture, then you’ve probably heard about the movie Brightburn, a superhero horror film that reimagines Superman’s wholesome origin as something much darker – this superpowered alien is a touch less well adjusted, and begins murdering people. Ten years ago, Mark Waid told a similar story. The Plutonian was essentially Superman, though without the influence of Jonathon and Martha Kent, who one day snaps after the world’s snide comments and contempt becomes too much for him to bear.

If you’ve ever wondered about whether Superman could take out the Justice League – or the Paradigm in this universe – the answer, at least according to Waid, is when he snaps he absolutely can.

Irredeemable is as much about the fall of the Plutonian, told in flashbacks, and how the world copes being at the mercy of the terrible supervillain. There are remnants of various teams left alive, but few seem capable of facing the Plutonian head on, instead trying to make the best of the new status quo.

“What if you go from, you know, Captain America to Doctor Doom? What if you go from Superman to Lex Luthor? How do you go from being the greatest hero in the world—someone that everybody knows, and everybody loves, and everyone recognizes—to the greatest villain in the world? What is that path? It’s not a light switch, it’s not an on-off switch, it’s not something that you wake up one day and just become evil.”

Mark Waid on the basis for Irredeemable, markwaid.com podcast.

Irredeemable earned Waid two Eisner awards, and understandably so, as his thirty seven issue deconstruction of the superhero mythos makes for essential reading for any who want to see the darker take on Superman have real consequences. But with as much despair as there is in the comic, there’s also hope, and humour. Waid’s commentary on the superhero genre (including some accurate comments about the frequency of black men with electrical powers, and the less than subtle racism said black hero faces) is another notch on the belt of a series that must be read.

The comic has now been collected in various trades, and can be found on comiXology for those interested in digital reading. I can’t recommend it, and the spin off series Incorruptible enough (more on Incorruptible next week). There’s thirty seven issues of Irredeemable to devour, and that’s it.


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

Underrated: Comics Not In Diamond’s Top 300 For April ’19

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: Comics not in Diamond’s top 300 sellers for April 2019


This week we’re going to be looking at a list of comics that are all pretty good, but don’t get the attention that they deserve. Now I’m not even going to pretend to have a definitively exhaustive list of underrated comics here, because we’re hoping  that you decide to check at least one of these series out next time you’re looking for something new either online or at your LCS, and giving you a huge list to check out would be counter productive to that. Instead, you’ll find four to six comics that are worth your attention that failed to crack the top 100 in sales. The only hard stipulation for this week: not one of the comics made it into the top 100 for April’s comic sales, according to Comichron, which is why they’re Underrated.


X-O Manowar One Dollar Debut #1 (Valiant)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 369/2,049
Why You Should Read It:
Because you can’t ask for a better priced introduction to one of Valiant’s best series than this. For a dollar, you really can’t go wrong.

Cold Blood Samurai #1 (Action Lab)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 353/2,343
Why You Should Read It: 
A story that presents more commentary than you would expect with anthropomorphic reptiles, this tale fits in with the outsider-savior story whilst also adding in a very clear discourse on racial division. Plus, it’s all presented in a samurai story that reminds me in some ways of the westerns that took inspiration from Japanese cinema.

Witcher #4 (Dark Horse)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 314/3,171
Why You Should Read It: 
One of my favourite videogames right now is Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, after having been turned on to the game from the books. It stands to reason that I’d dip my hands into the comics too, and lo and behold, they’re actually pretty damn good.

Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #4 (Dark Horse)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 304/3,340
Why You Should Read It:
In ten years, this will be the series everybody said they read when it first came out. But judging by these numbers… The point of that is, is that Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt is one of the most engaging reads for comic fans right now; Kieron Gillen plays with so many different tropes and genre forms – you just have to read this book.

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Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t cracking the top 100.

Underrated: Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado (Redux)

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: Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado


bs colorado.jpg

I wanted to revisit this book, because I’ve recently reread and still don’t think it gets the attention it deserves. This originally ran in July of 2018.

Jeff Lemire has been writing Bloodshot across various series for a long time. Longer, even, than I have been reading. Two days ago, I picked up the first volume of Bloodshot Reborn as despite reading from around the eighth issue of the series on, I had never actually read the opening to the series. The blurb on the back of this book gives you a pretty good idea of the book’s plot, but what it doesn’t do is tell you that this book is so much more than your typical superhero story.

Bloodshot’s nanites made him a nearly unstoppable killing machine. His enhanced strength, speed, endurance, and healing made him the perfect weapon, and he served his masters at Project Rising Spirit — a private contractor trafficking in violence — very well. Now, Bloodshot is a shadow of his former self. He lives in self-imposed exile, reeling from the consequences of his past life and the recent events that nearly drove him mad. But when a rash of shootings by gunmen who appear to look just like Bloodshot begin, his guilt will send him on a mission to stop the killers, even if it means diving head-long into the violence that nearly destroyed him.

Picking up after the events of The Valiant (expect spoilers for that book if you haven’t read it), Colorado opens with a monologue telling you who Bloodshot was juxtaposed against images in stark contrast to who he is now. Lemire wastes no tie in showing you that a  man who was forced to kill for others has, seemingly, wasted his opportunity at a second chance for a normal life. Within a page or two, you’re hitting rock bottom with the man formerly known as Bloodshot. You can feel his guilt and shame emanating  from the paper as you turn the page, and not once do you blame him for what he’s going through.

This is a man who was broken, and who doesn’t know how to move past what he was. Who woke up from a nightmare only to understand that he was the monster, and now wears the question of whether he deserves to move on as an armour.

Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado is an origin story, of sorts, for Ray Garrison. Which means you don’t need to have read Bloodshot prior to picking up this comic (and, really, although the first series post Valiant relaunch is good, it pales in comparison to the more psychological horror take on the character that Lemire presents us with). This first volume in the series is a brilliant read; I devoured it in one sitting and immediately wanted to read more. I am a huge fan of Jeff Lemire, and think his take on the character is a vastly underrated one when looked at in the grand scheme of the comics read world.

Lemire’s take on Bloodshot is my favourite version of the character, but the opening of his story takes more from the horror genre than one would initially expect. The character’s inner turmoil is obvious and very clear to the reader as Ray Garrison struggles to discover who he is now that he’s no longer a monster; and his biggest fear, and one he must confront as the volume progresses, is that he’s nobody. Without the monster, he is a shell of a man.

Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado is a book I can’t speak highly enough of (were this a review I’d be giving it a solid 10; the art is every bit as impressive as the story), and it genuinely surprised me that I hadn’t heard much about it prior to reading it myself. Maybe that was part of the magic, that unexpected kick in the teeth, but this first volume of Bloodshot Reborn needs to find its place on your shelf – whether physical or digital.


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

Underrated: Comics Not In Diamond’s Top 100 For March ’19

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: Comics not in Diamond’s top 100 sellers for March 2019


It has been a a while since we’ve looked back at the previous month’s sales numbers in Underrated, so this week we’re going to be jumping back to March. April will follow once the numbers are available on Comichron.

This week we’re going to be looking at a list of comics that are all pretty good, but don’t get the attention that they deserve. Now I’m not even going to pretend to have a definitively exhaustive list of underrated comics here, because we’re hoping  that you decide to check at least one of these series out next time you’re looking for something new either online or at your LCS, and giving you a huge list to check out would be counter productive to that. Instead, you’ll find four to six comics that are worth your attention that failed to crack the top 100 in sales. The only hard stipulation for this week: not one of the comics made it into the top 100 for March’s comic sales, according to Comichron, which is why they’re Underrated.


Disney Comics and Stories #4 (IDW)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 319/2,027*
Why You Should Read It:
You could easily write this comic off as a kids comic that isn’t worth your time, but at the end of the day this is an enjoyable diversion that more of us could do with in our lives.

Black Badge #8 (Boom)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 279/3,293
Why You Should Read It: 
Boy scouts trained as assassins. That’s what sold me on the comic (and I think I started with the sixth issue before circling back), although finding out Matt Kindt wrote it would have had the same effect. As with any Matt Kindt book, there’s more layers to this than a tiramisu, and part of the excellence here is that you get to slowly unpack all of the details on multiple readings.

Incursion #2 (Valiant)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 221/5,634
Why You Should Read It: 
One of my favourite miniseries being published right now, with the third issue already on the shelves, this is a story that is FAR better than the traction it’s getting in the sales charts.

Black Hammer: Age Of Doom #9 (Dark Horse)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 166/10,080
Why You Should Read It:
Jeff Lemire has created some of the most interesting stories with his creator owned superhero universe. While this may not be the best place to start reading, it is a great reminder to go back and pick up the first trade.

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Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t cracking the top 100.

Underrated: Fantastic Four (2015)

Before you start yelling at me for writing a column about why the worst reviewed Fantastic Four movie doesn’t entirely suck, I’m not saying the movie is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s not. But it is unfairly shit on by so many of us, and that’s the whole point of Underrated. 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.

fantastic four featured

This week, because one of the most anticipated comic book movies ever has recently come out,  I wanted to revisit an older column and talk about the much derided Fantastic Four movie from 2015. Or Fant4stic, as the stylized logo goes, which is how I’ll be referring to the movie from here on out. The flick was directed by Josh Trank and starred Micheal B. Jordan as Johnny Storm, Miles Teller as Reed Richards, Kate Mara as Sue Storm, Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm and Tobey Kebbel as Victor Von Doom. The relatively unknown director Josh Trank had previously directed the cult hit Chronicle and one other movie that I’ve never seen before being handed the reigns to Marvel’s first family, but based on Chronicle there was hope that Fant4stic would be on par, with, or better than, the other superhero flicks of the year.

Obviously that wasn’t the case. But was the movie really as bad as we think it was?

Sure it was certainly disappointing when it came out, almost entirely failing to meet the vast expectations heaped upon on it – of course, I’m being facetious, because almost from the get go it seemed this movie was doomed to fail. From the way people turned their nose up when talking about the rumours swirling about choices made around Doom’s origin, at one point he was supposed to be a Russian hacker called Victor Von Domashev; the reprehensible reaction to the casting choice of Micheal B. Jordan as the Human Torch (yes, there were some who were more worried about the lack of perceived blood relation between the Storm siblings rather than the colour of their skin, but the sense that many – myself included – got was that the outcry was a bit more racially tinged); and the dreaded Studio Involvement toward the end of the filming and editing process.

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of the strife between the director and the studio (if you haven’t there’s a good account of it here), but when Trank tweeted his frank tweet about Fant4stic you could hear geekdom cry “I knew it! It’s so bad even the director hates it!” And Tobey Kebbel seemed to agree with Trank in an interview given last year, saying that “the honest truth is [Trank] did cut a great film that you’ll never see.That is a shame. A much darker version, and you’ll never see it.”

tranktweet

Kebbel goes on to say that much of the footage of Doom in the movie isn’t him, due to the amount of the film that was reshot “I played Doom in three points: Walking down a corridor, killing the doctor and getting into the time machine, and lying on the bench. They were the only times I played Doom. Everything else was some other guy, on some other day… doing some other thing. I was infuriated that he was allowed to limp like that!”

With all the vitriol surrounding the movie prior to it’s release there was realistically no hope for the movie (indeed it barely made enough money to cover the budget, let alone the marketing costs), and many people took a rather large shit on the movie because they felt that they had the right to do so – whether they’d actually watched the movie or not.

Almost a year after the movie came out, I sat down and watched it on Netflix for the first time. And you know what? It wasn’t anywhere near as terrible as I expected it to be.

Fantastic Four The ThingNow I did go in with some pretty low expectations but, dare I say it, I actually enjoyed the movie; even though it seemed to do everything possible to prevent that from happening. Yes, there are moments that seem contrived only to move the plot from point A to B in the most straight forward manner, and there is a sense that there are two visions on display here due to the reshoots, but this isn’t as bad a movie as you’d expect based on the hatred and criticism that Fant4stic received upon it’s release.

While some of the acting is questionable, the performances of Jordan and Teller (and Bell’s vocal performance) are pretty solid. While we’ll never get to see the original version of the movie, the one we did get does have a visual punch that’s better than you’d think. As a slow burning action movie, this isn’t too bad.

Was this a great Fantastic Four movie? Hell no.. but it’s not as bad as you’d think, and if you look at it as a movie very loosely based on the Fantastic Four rather than an actual Fantastic Four movie, then it’s actually watchable.

That’s why it’s Underrated.

Underrated: Cowboys And Aliens

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: Cowboys And Aliens.


I picked this book up from my LCS primarily because of how fondly I remembered the 2011 Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford movie of the same name. Although that movie generally received mixed reviews from critics and fans alike, it was one of those films that I thoroughly enjoyed because I had very little expectations when going into it.

When I saw the comic/graphic novel from which it was adapted sitting on the used shelf at my LCS, I picked up thinking that if I enjoyed the movie, surely I’d enjoy the book. And while for the most part I did enjoy the comic, this marks one of those times that the first place a story is experienced ends up being the stronger version.

That said, the messaging within the comic gives you more time to digest and process than the movie did.

Whereas the comic has a more traditional human verses alien angle where the humans are much more easily able to overcome the odds (the alien threat never really feels anything more than mildly troubling), the movie tries a more grim and gritty approach (that arguably doesn’t always work, but the antagonists come across as more dangerous). However that being said, the comic, written by Andrew Foley and Fred Van Lente, doesn’t shy away from calling out the European settlers for doing to the Native Americans exactly what the aliens are trying to do to the humans. It is within these moments that the comic truly shines through its foibles; Van Lente and Foley make no bones about their message, and while it can (and arguably should) be uncomfortable to read, it remains a surprisingly powerful moment in a book that otherwise doesn’t shine as brightly as it could.

Cowboys And Aliens is an entertaining story, whether you read the book or watch the movie. Despite having enjoyed the movie quite a bit, the original story deserves your attention if only as an example of how good science fiction can give you a renewed perspective on the world around us.


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

Underrated: Smaller Comic Conventions

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: Smaller Comic Conventions


If you’re reading this then I have no doubt that you’ve heard of the cons that run across multiple days, but on the off chance I’m wrong take a few minutes to google San Diego Comic Con, New York Comic Con or C2E2 as an example of those multiday conventions. Now the three that I’ve mentioned are also well known for having a ton of industry reveals emerging from the various panels, as well as an imperial fuckton of guests and exhibitors all competing for your attention and money.

C2E2 sign

These major conventions are usually full of a great expansive mass of humanity pouring over comics and, let’s be frank, pop culture in all its lovely various forms that can be both exhilarating and incredibly overwhelming. They are a place for thousands of fans to gather and share a love of all things geek, but can often be tough to navigate, expensive and very crowded – and sometimes they may not be the best place for a person to experience their first con – which is where the smaller conventions can often be the unsung gems of the comics world (at least on paper) by allowing fans to get a feeling of what a con is like, albeit on a much smaller scale.

There’s something that should also be said for the conventions that have a specification, or are geared to one form of fandom over another; whether that’s comics, anime, gaming or Star Trek. These are also going to be far more accessible to those who want to avoid the crowds while still getting a con experience.

C2E2 Show Floor

For logistical reasons, I don’t make a point to travel to every con I can get to regardless of size, the smaller ones do have some advantages the larger ones don’t.

  • Firstly it’s unlikely you’ll be overwhelmed at the size of the convention. By their very nature these events aren’t geared toward an army of fans which means that you’ll be able to swing a cat if you so choose [editor’s note: Don’t swing a cat].
  • The admission is usually pretty affordable.
  • Because the cons are smaller, and usually in small to medium sized cities and towns, more often than not it is easier to find accommodation and parking near the venue itself.
  • You can see everything on offer (assuming you don’t arrive ten minutes before the doors close). Although there is always the chance that what’s on offer for you to buy isn’t great, you’ll never leave thinking that you missed the best buy of the con because you didn’t go down every aisle. That said, if there are any panels during the day, you may still want to plan at least a part of your day if you intend to attend said panels.
  • They can often have the feel of a craft fair about them as exhibitors who can’t afford to travel to larger events can show their products. I picked up an interesting modge podge display piece that had pages from an old comics pasted over a block of wood for a friend at a con last year (that I never took a photo of before giving it to them). Smaller conventions often have lower exhibitor fees, which means you’re more likely to see small scale creatives in attendance.
  • They’re often put together out of love and not always for a profit (this may not always be a good thing).

I’m aware that the smaller cons have a drastically different flavour than the larger cons  and while that flavour may or may not be to your liking, I’ve noticed that there really aren’t as many folks talking about the smaller cons in general verses the industry giant ones (granted for obvious reasons), and I wanted to express some love for the single day conventions that we don’t always talk about after we attend – myself included – but are often the surprise hits of our summer convention season.


Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t cracking the top 100.

Underrated: Comics Not In Diamond’s Top 100 For February ’19

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: Comics not in Diamond’s top 100 sellers for February 2019


It has been a a while since we’ve looked back at the previous month’s sales numbers in Underrated, so this week we’re going to be jumping back to February. March will follow once the numbers are available on Comichron, but we’ll just ignore the fact we never looked at January.

This week we’re going to be looking at a list of comics that are all pretty good, but don’t get the attention that they deserve. Now I’m not even going to pretend to have a definitively exhaustive list of underrated comics here, because we’re hoping  that you decide to check at least one of these series out next time you’re looking for something new either online or at your LCS, and giving you a huge list to check out would be counter productive to that. Instead, you’ll find four to six comics that are worth your attention that failed to crack the top 100 in sales. The only hard stipulation for this week: not one of the comics made it into the top 100 for February’s comic sales, according to Comichron, which is why they’re Underrated.


Grumble #4 (Albatross)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 354/2,356*
Why You Should Read It:
Think Constantine mixed with Howard the Duck. The first issue was good, but the next ones have been batter. At only around 2,500* (reported to Diamond) sales, this book has been criminally under read. It’s easily one of the most enjoyable comics being published at the moment; one free from the constraints of a major line, huge crossovers and editorial oversight, allowing Rafer Roberts and Mike Norton free reign to blow your mind with the off beat humour and surprisingly powerful emotional undertones.

*I had originally noticed this book in the rankings at #473 with 749 sales. It turns out that was a second, more expensive, version of this book, but since I had already set the top of the column up, I decided to break the descending format and leave Grumble at the top once again because it’s such a brilliant comic.

Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1 (Valiant)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 324/1,986
Why You Should Read It: 
I may be slightly biased toward this book, seeing as how the series was, and remains, one of my favourite runs of all time, but this reprint of the first issue is only $1. A DOLLAR! You can’t buy (half decent) coffee for that price anymore, and as an exploratory step into the world of the Earth’s immortal guardian you can’t go wrong with this.

Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey (Tokyopop)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 289/3,194
Why You Should Read It:
Who doesn’t love a Christmalloween themed comic in April? Plus, it’s pretty enjoyable.

Black Badge #7 (Boom)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 280/3,370
Why You Should Read It: 
Boy scouts trained as assassins. That’s what sold me on the comic (and I think I started with the sixth issue before circling back), although finding out Matt Kindt wrote it would have had the same effect. As with any Matt Kindt book, there’s more layers to this than a tiramisu, and part of the excellence here is that you get to slowly unpack all of the details on multiple readings.

God Of War #4 (Dark Horse)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 244/4,880
Why You Should Read It:
Because it’s a video game tie in comic that’s actually pretty decent, amazingly enough. I’ve been enjoying the ride so far.

Incursion #1 (Valiant)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 184/7,613
Why You Should Read It:
Valiant’s miniseries are frequently some of the best published, and the first issue of Incursion was utterly sublime. One of the most accessibly awesome entries into the Valiant universe with a story about an immortal trying to save his ward while simultaneously preventing the world being drained of its life force. But which is his priority?

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Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t cracking the top 100.

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