Category Archives: Underrated

Underrated: Comics Not In Diamond’s Top 100 For April ’18

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 April.


This week we’re going to be looking at a list of comics that are all fantastic, 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 400 for April’s comic sales, according to Comichron, which is why they’re Underrated.


 

God Complex #5 (Image)
May Sales Rank/Units Sold: 270/4,719
Why You Should Read It: 
A science fiction themed reinvention of mythology? What’s not to love when it is packaged this well.

Bloodshot: Salvation #8 (Valiant)
May Sales Rank/Units Sold: 202/8,171
Why You Should Read It: 
Valiant have some amazing series out right now, and this is one of the best. Jeff Lemire weaves a brutal tale of a man trying to move away from his violent past, but has no faith he’s good for anything but violence… Bloodshot Salvation is also one of the best looking books on the racks right now – each page could easily be framed and displayed proudly within your house.

Thanos #18 (Marvel)
May Sales Rank/Units Sold: 192/9,014
Why You Should Read It: Because you’ve seen Avengers Infinity War and want more Thanos in your life. Plus Don Cates is a remarkable voice and one you should pay attention too.

Sex Criminals #23 (Image)
May Sales Rank/Units Sold: 192/9,014
Why You Should Read It: 
As a late comer to this series, I can honestly tell you that it is a brilliantly hilarious, starkly emotional and remarkably ingenious series.

Shadowman #2 (Valiant)
May Sales Rank/Units Sold: 165/11,738
Why You Should Read It: 
Because it’s awesome. SM2018_002_COVER-A_ZONJIC


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: Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior

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: Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior.



wotewThis week saw the release of a deluxe hardcover edition collecting the entire 14 issue run of Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior along with Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1. Fifteen comics presented in an over-sized hardcover along with 20 odd pages of bonus extras that add a lot for  those interested in the process of the creation of the series, all for $49.99. And yes, I did buy this myself (and happily so).

Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior didn’t start out as a series that wowed me. The first four issues seemed to struggle with pacing and the art style, especially given the series billing as a follow-up to the explosively exciting Book Of Death miniseries that (spoiler) ended in the Eternal Warrior’s death. It’s that death, and those that follow, that form the crux of the series, but without the first four issues you don’t realize the toll taken on the Eternal Warrior with each death and resurrection cycle. The issues that I felt struggled with pacing quickly became some of the most important ground-setting in modern comics – a lesson that I took to heart, and quickly so.

It would also be fair to say that the art team of Raul Allen and Patricia Martin were not immediately to my taste. In furtherance to that, it would also be fair to say that my taste quickly changed as the series progressed and the elegance and artistic genius of the husband and wife team gave me a new appreciation of the majesty of sequential art.  There are other artists who contribute to the series, all with a fantastic level of talent; it’s these contributions that give the series the honour of being one of the most visually stunning and diverse pieces of sequential art published by Valiant.

Robert Venditti has written some incredible comics in his time, but one of the finest examples of his work comes in the fourteen issue run of Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior. Taking you on a journey through history,  across continents and beyond death, Venditti weaves an incredibly deep tale that reveals a different layer upon each subsequent reading.

It’s also violent as all hell in places, which should satisfy the need we have for a bit of blood and conflict in our comics.

Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior is a fantastic series, and I envy those of you who get to read the entire thing in one sitting; the deluxe hardcover is worth picking up for that series alone, which is why I haven’t mentioned Eternal Warrior: Awakening at any point in this week’s column because that’s the cherry on top of the fantastic main course. Mixed metaphors aside, Awakening is another really good comic, and serves as another nice bonus for those who buy the collection.

I’ll  make no secret of my abject love for this series, indeed the fact I own both the individual issues and the deluxe hardcover when I also have access to the review copies should hopefully speak volumes to that love. It’s a love that I genuinely believe you’ll share when you give the series a chance – it’s an underrated gem.


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

Underrated: The Comic Book History Of Comics: Birth Of A Medium

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 Comic Book History Of Comics: Birth Of A Medium.



 

choc.jpgThere are numerous books on the history of comics, some of which sit partially read on my shelf, but there are very few comics or graphic novels about the history of comics. Enter Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey’s Comic Book History Of Comics. It is exactly what it says; a history of comics told in comic book form. But it’s more than just a history of comics, it also attempts to show the evolution of art into the sequential art we know today as comics; to show the differentiation from cartoons to comics. Originally published by IDW as a six issue miniseries, I picked up the collected edition a few months ago

and only finally read it this week.

Frankly, I was astounded that it had taken me this long to read it, and  little surprised that fewer people were talking about the project. After all, what better way to tell the early history of comics than in comic form? It almost makes you wonder why it hasn’t been done before.

The Comic Book History Of Comics: Birth Of A Medium packs a LOT of information into its 150 odd pages, but it isn’t a definitive history. How could it be with only 150 some pages of sequential art? But it is a fantastic introduction to some of the medium’s more architectural sons and, to a lesser extent daughters (but that’s an issue  with the book and the industry itself – Van Lente and Dunlavey do include sections entitled The Comic Book Herstory… but one gets the sense that these are far less prominent than perhaps they should be). That being said, this is a fun way to learn about the history of comics if you’re unfamiliar, and even if you think you have a good handle on things, I’d put money on Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey having unearthed something that you were previously unfamiliar with.

There’s a ton of information packed within these pages, but never once does the delivery feel stagnant or anything less than thoroughly entertaining. There are visual puns amidst the art, examples of Dunlavey literally showing you what Van Lente is talking about in terms of panel usage, and some wonderful caricatures of historical figures. I paid $24 for this book (I’m in Canada), and it was worth every penny and then some. Ultimately, this is a brilliant addition to my bookshelf, and one I will revisit more often than not.

I can wait to get the next volume.


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

Underrated: Ether Vol. 1: Death Of The Last Golden Blaze

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: Ether Vol. 1: Death Of The Last Golden Blaze.



ether vol 1.jpgSomehow Ether slipped through my radar back when the first issue was released in November of 2016. It wasn’t until the comic shop I frequent had a copy of the trade paperback on the counter that I noticed it. I asked the clerk what the book was about, and he spent a good twenty minutes selling me on it. He could have saved himself nineteen minutes a forty odd seconds with the words “Matt Kindt wrote it.”

It’s usually a safe bet that anything written by Matt Kindt (and Jeff Lemire, honestly) I am going to try. So what’s Ether about?

Taken from Dark Horse’s website, the blurb for issue one reads: “A science-minded adventurer gets mixed up in the mysteries of a fantasy world in this charming new adventure from an award-winning creative team. Boone Dias is an interdimensional explorer, a scientist from Earth who has stumbled into great responsibility. He’s got an explanation for everything, so of course the Ether’s magical residents turn to him to solve their toughest crimes. But maybe keeping the real and the abstract separate is too big a job for just one man.”

If that sounds cool, well, that’s because it is. Using modern science to explain magic provides a wonderful story idea, but it is the human story beneath the fantastical exterior that will pull you in. Boone Dias is a man who has devoted his life and professional career to the magical place known as Ether, but his scientific background gives him an almost godlike reputation among the less scientifically inclined denizens of the Ether. The driving factor of the plot in the first volume is a murder mystery within the Ether that only Boone seems capable of solving – despite the fantastical elements of the world, there’s a relatablility to the detective work and the process that’s followed. This gives the book a wonderful dichotomy that is further enhanced by David Rubin’s near psychedelic mindfucking attack on your eyes.

Ether is the rare book that exemplifies the comic book medium. It is a murder mystery story, a genre that could, and has been told in a multitude of mediums,  and adds a special dash of comic book magic that makes this ideally suited to the sequential art style of story telling.

There’s a reason Matt Kindt got nominated for an Eisner this year. It wasn’t for this book, but you can get a great feeling for his talent with Ether. It doesn’t hurt that David Rubin is also fantastic.


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

Underrated: Comics Not In Diamond’s Top 400

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.


This week we’re going to be looking at a list of comics that are all fantastic, 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 400 in sales.

Yup, top 400.

Where possible, I’ve also avoided comics that have appeared on the last version of this list, but the only hard stipulation for this week: not one of the comics made it into the top 400 for March’s comic sales, according to Comichron, which is why they’re Underrated.

7406691-the-consultant-4The Consultant #4 (Action Lab)
March Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 489 / 589
The final issue of a series that highlights the fallout of super battles, the central character is a former Navy S.E.A.L. who specializes in making the sins of superheroes vanish, so if you like the idea of Superman hiring hookers and somebody needing to cover that up, then this criminally under-read series is one you should be on the hunt for.

Lord Of Gore #4 (Devil’s Due)
March Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 467 / 718
Lord Of Gore, as I’m sure you can tell, won’t be for everyone. But the name comes from the B-Movie franchise within the comic, whose star murdered the young actress years ago. A series that takes a dark look at the entertainment industry and the procedure of Hollywood. Look beyond the horror sheen and you’ll find a fascinating story.

Call Of The Suicide Forest #1 (Amigo) 
March Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 458  / 780
A comic that follows a person about to end their life in the suicide forest of Japan, only for the denizens of the forest in both sides of life, to begin a war for her soul. Oddly transcendent, this comic should have a bigger audience than the numbers Diamond reported.

Vs #1 (Image)
March Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 424 / 1,278
Blending violence, dark humour and the juxtaposition of sport, science and social media, Vs presents a world where war is fought for entertainment. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so damn possible. A familiarly fresh comic – give this a look next time you’re shopping for comics.

 


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: The Fox: Freak Magnet/Fox Hunt

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 Fox.


freakmagnet.jpgOriginally appearing in MLJ Comics Blue Ribbon Comics #4, the Fox continued to feature in the title until it’s cancellation eighteen issues later with #22, although the character only had one cover appearance; issue #16’s ensemble featured every character featured within the comic.  MLJ Comics would eventually become Archie Comics, which brings us to 2014 and the release of the first issue of Freak Magnet.

Written by Mark Waid (Irredeemable/Incorruptible, Daredevil) and Dean Haspiel, who also provides the art, the modern miniseries evokes a sense of chaotic fun that harkens back to the Golden Age of comics, while  remaining fresh and relevant for today’s audience. Officially published by Dark Circle Comics, which is an imprint of Archie ComicsThe Fox had two miniseries by the same creative team; Freak Magnet and Fox Hunt. You can read them in any order, and I say that because I read the sequel, Fox Hunt, prior to Freak Magnet and never once felt as though I was missing out on anything.

 A lot of that is down to the quality of the comics, because Fox Hunt was honestly one of the best story arcs I had the pleasure of reading back in 2015. Fox Hunt seeks to explores the difficulty facing a superhero who just wants to retire, with Paul Patten Jr. steadfastly trying to retire as The Fox. Unfortunately due to his innate freak magnet he’s having a bit of a hard time doing just that (although the million dollar bounty on his head isn’t helping things either). 

fox UR.png

Haspiel packs the issues with some fantastic art sequences to complement the story.

Although he is another legacy hero (think RobinFlashUnion Jack, or any character who has taken over for the original hero – the current Fox is the original‘s son), with the way Mark Waid is writing the comic at the moment, the history of the character really doesn’t weigh on the story at all, allowing youto enjoy the two individual miniseries. With Fox Hunt, however, it would be a good idea to read the issues in order – or to wait for the collected edition that will inevitably be released following the conclusion of the first story arc – because this is a linear story.

If it sounds that The Fox is a fun series, well that’s because it is. When it comes to enjoying the comics we read, very few of the comics I have read have been as entertaining as this five issue miniseries. The art work isn’t quite family friendly (there’s the odd scene of mostly off panel violence that Dean Haspiel will highlight by having the odd bit of gristle or unidentified flesh appear on panel), but it’s a far cry from the gritty feel of many modern day comics. Waid and Haspiel‘s story telling is simply a joy to experience, and the light hearted tone never seems to go over the top into the realm of comedy, but certainly elicits a couple of chuckles from me each issue.

A spoiler free summary will not, and cannot, do the comics any justice, and I urge you to take the plunge and go check out either  Freak Magnet or Fox Huntwhen you can. It will absolutely be worth every minute you spend in this world.


 

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

Underrated: Lee Falk And The Phantom

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: Lee Falk and the Phantom.


phantom-311Born April 28th 1911, Leon Harrison Gross was a writer, theater director and producer perhaps best known by the name he would use after his college graduation: Lee Falk. He took the name Lee, a childhood nickname, and Falk the middle name of his stepfather. Falk was fascinated by the mystical arts and stage magicians as a boy, and as a result created Mandrake the Magician (who not coincidentally shared a resemblance to Falk himself) who debuted in 1934.

But it was Falk’s other creation, a strip he thought would only last a few weeks, that the writer is most well known for: The Phantom,  a character of a few notable “firsts.”

Looking back on the character with the benefit of history, and the internet, we are able to see his clear influence on so many of our favourite superheroes. First appearing in newspapers on February 17, 1936, the Phantom was the first character to wear the skintight costume worn by so many superheroes today. I won’t list them all.

The Phantom was also the first character to wear a mask with no visible pupils. Creator Lee Falk explained  that Ancient Greek busts inspired the idea of the not showing the Phantom’s pupils when he was wearing his mask, incorrectly believing that  the busts displayed no pupils (in fact they did; originally the eyes would have been painted on, and over time the paint had faded) which he felt gave them an inhuman, awe-inspiring appearance. In an interview published in Comic Book Marketplace in 2005, Falk said the Phantom’s skin-tight costume was inspired by Robin Hood, who was shown wearing tights in films and on stage.

Amazingly enough, The Phantom has been staring in new stories since his first appearance in 1936, predating the Man of Steel by a full two years (though one is decidedly more famous hand the other). However, not every Phantom story is about the same Phantom – there have been twenty one of them, and we have been given stories about a large number of the different Phantoms, making  The Ghost That Walks the first “legacy hero” (a mantle that has been shared by different characters; think Batman, Wolverine, Captain America).phantom strip.jpg

The first man to call himself the Phantom did so in 1536 when his father was murdered in an attack by pirates. Swearing an oath on the skull of his father’s murderer to fight evil, Christopher Walker became the first Phantom starting a legacy that would be passed from father to son for hundreds of years, earning a reputation of immortality, and nicknames such as The Ghost Who Walks, Guardian of the Eastern Dark, and The Man Who Cannot Die.

last phantom 5Whether the Phantom provided Bill Finger  with the inspiration for the Batcave or not the fact remains that the Skull Cave, the Phantoms subterranean hideout, predates Bruce Wayne’s fancy basement by a couple of years.  As with the body suit and mask, another standard of modern comics  can be found first in the Phantom strips – the legacy hero. One of the first legacy heroes in comics, the character’s origin establishes him as the 21st person to become the Phantom, predating the various Robins, Flashes, Captain Americas, and Captain Marvels by more than twenty years (the second Flash, Barry Allen, first appeared in 1956).

Although he has been in continuous publication in newspaper strips from the 30’s, The Ghost Who Walks has also appeared in several comic books throughout the last few decades – the most recent of which was Dynamite Entertainment’s The Last Phantom, a fantastic 12 issue modern take on this legendary character that I highly recommend. You can find the issues collected under The Last Phantom: Ghost Walk and Jungle Rules

In what is easily the longest run by any writer on any comic book character to date, and clearly a labour of love for The Man Who Cannot Die’s creator, Lee Falk continued to write the Phantom until his death in 1999, writing a huge number of stories starring his creation (he even dictated his final story to his wife from his death bed). Falk  has never really been given the credit that he, or his creation, deserved. Together, and through the characters that have taken inspiration from them, they have influenced millions of people over nearly a century. That is why they’re Underrated.



That’s all we have for this week, folks. Come back next time  when there’s something else Underrated to talk about.

Underrated: Six 90’s Comic Book Movies

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:  Comic Book Movies From The 90’s


With the cinematic landscape jam packed with comic book inspired movies these days, I had to wonder what the 90’s looked like, and whether any of those movies held up today. So I asked myself, I said “self, are there any movies that you feel are, for whatever reason, somewhat underrated?”

Turns out, there is.

A few things before we start; firstly, these comic book movies may have been well received when released, but may never have garnered as much attention as they deserved. Secondly, some of these movies I’m probably viewing with the rose tinted glasses of nostalgia so be prepared for some potentially foolish claims. Thirdly, this isn’t a complete, or inclusive, list and it is completely subjective.

phantom.jpgThe Phantom (1996)
This is probably one of the only comic book movie on this list with an actual spandex bodysuit in it, and Billy Zane does admirably well in the roll. I haven’t seen this movie since the 90’s, but not for lack of trying – it is very tough to track down for a reasonable price. The Phantom is a hugely enjoyable movie, so long as you take it for what it is (Guardians of the Galaxy, it is not), you can’t fail to not enjoy it. But do yourself a favour and skip the two part mini series released in 2010.

Batman Forever (1995)
Joel Shumacker ruined the Batman movie franchise with Batman and Robin, that’s no lie, but before he did that he made Batman Forever. I still enjoy this flick to this day. It echoes the Adam West TV show of the 1960’s, updating the camp foolishness of that time into a slightly more modern and darker time, bridging the gap expertly between Tim Burton’s films and the TV show. The movie stars because of its villains; Tommy Lee Jones’ Two Face and Jim Carry’s excellent portrayal of the Riddler.  No, the film isn’t the best batman movie out there, but it isn’t as bad as Shumacker’s other offering.

crow.jpgThe Crow (1994)
The Crow is a certified cult classic at this point, and with a new adaptation of the source material coming in the near future, I thought it would be worth familiarizing myself with one of my favourite movies (and was the genesis of this column). Brandon Lee is a revelation in this film, and the tragedy of his untimely death during filming only adds to the overwhelming sense of sadness and the themes of love that are woven through the movie. The film is a love story at heart, with just shy of half a dozen characters’ fates being intertwined through their actions; you’ll also notice some of the cinematography and visuals having an influence on some of the darker comic book movies that would follow.

rocketeer.jpgThe Rocketeer (1991)
A film in the vein of Indiana Jones and the adventure films of the 80’s, The Rocketeer is an entertaining romp set during the late 30’s as war brews in Europe. A stunt pilot finds a secret weapon, the jetpack, and struggles to win back his girl and stop the weapon from falling into the wrong hands. A genuinely entertaining film that you can watch with your kids (assuming you watch the adventures of Dr. Jones with them), The Rocketeer has long held a special place in my heart.

The Mask (1994)
Jim Carry’s rubber face is on full display in this outrageously fun and completely stupid offering. You can’t watch this without either laughing or rolling your eyes because The Mask is a movie that doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and nor should you take it seriously. Just watch it and enjoy the fun.

 



That’s all we have for this week, folks. Come back next time  when there’s something else Underrated to talk about.

Underrated: Comics Not In Diamond’s Top 300 For February

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.


This week we’re going to be looking at a list of comics that are all fantastic, 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 300 in sales.

Where possible, I’ve also avoided comics that have appeared on the last version of this list, but the only hard stipulation for this week: not one of the comics made it into the top 300 for January’s comic sales, according to Comichron, which is why they’re Underrated.

ARM_001_COVER-B_RYPTMNT Universe #19 (IDW)
February Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 213 / 7,429
A new story that feels freshly familiar to fans of the Turtles that acts as a showcase to some newer characters. This series has been consistently thoroughly enjoyable for some time, and this issue is no exception.

Bloodborne #1 (Titan Comics)
February Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 227 / 6,766
A series based on a video game that doesn’t suck? Believe it or not, yes. I read this before playing the game, and the comic was more than capable of standing alone as a creepy and intense setting, but after playing the game a little I can honestly say this comic is a brilliant adaptation.

Armstrong And The Vault Of Spirits #1 (Valiant) 
February Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 271  / 5,038
A one shot story about family, immortality, and bad luck. Armstrong brings his friends to his gargantuan vault of various wines and spirits to reminisce about days gone by, only to be attacked by an evil alliance of all of his enemies. Blending comedy and emotional impact seamlessly into an brilliantly fun comic, this should have been read by more people than it was.

Fence #4 (Boom!)
February Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 374 / 2,601
Innocent, entertaining and a perfect break from some of the more universe spanning multi-part epics from other publishers. A not so guilty pleasure of mine that reminds me of when I used to stab other people in white coats (though not nearly as well).

Fu Jitsu #1 (Aftershock)
February Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 442 / 1,204
An utterly crazy concept where the villain is Robert Wadlow (who didn’t die). I have no words for this series, other than it’s a blast.


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: Your Local Comics Scene

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:  Your Local Comics Scene


 

In a slightly different than normal entry to this column (read I forgot to write one and am instead repurposing something else) I wanted to take a look at something that most of us either ignore or are blissfully unaware of, and that’s the comics being published in your local area. Obviously your definition of “local area” will vary depending on where you live; New York City may have a much smaller local sphere than my hometown of Exmouth in the South of Devon, England. The local scene there could more reasonably stretch across the entirety of the county of Devon, much like how I’d consider Atlantic Canada to be my current local comics scene now rather than any specific city or province within the region simply due to the volume of independent comics that I come across. But regardless of the size of your local area, my question to you, dear reader, is how active is your local comics scene, and when was the last time you actively sought out local-to-you comics at your Local Comic Shop?

I’ve found a couple of really interesting stories that way (some are also available as webcomics – such as this one), and some… less interesting. But the thing is, because they’re created by people who visit the same shops as I do across the region, I wanted to give them a shot. And I don’t regret doing that with any of the comics I’ve picked up over the years, whether they are from my region or local to an area I have traveled to. 

There’s a chance that your local area may not have anybody actively creating comics for the mass market, but you can probably find a small pamphlet like comic produced locally in a small corner of the shop or a local convention. And if you do find one, then why not check it out? You’ll be supporting local talent, and who knows? Maybe you’ll find your next favourite series…



That’s all we have for this week, folks. Come back next time  when there’s something else Underrated to talk about.

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