Hidden Gems: Obscure but Underrated Series from the Library!

Found something obscure but awesome? Post it here!

My Picks
  • One favorite of mine is the 1986 Captain Atom ongoing, particularly the first 44 issues written by Cary Bates and Greg Weisman (well, just Bates up through #9). Honestly, Weisman’s changes in #45-50 after Bates left are kind of abrupt and awkward and don’t make a ton of sense compared to how Bates and Weisman were developing things together, but it’s still a reasonable conclusion. Regardless, the bulk of the series is brilliant stuff, sort of deconstructing and then reconstructing classic superhero tropes with a lot of pathos about Nathaniel’s situation. And Wade Eiling of all people is a brilliantly devious villain here in his original showing. Can’t recommend this series enough. At least… up through #50. The last seven issues aren’t especially worth reading.

  • Another one I unexpectedly really enjoyed is the original '88 Checkmate series by Paul Kupperberg. It’s cliched but fun spy stuff with decent action, an interesting premise with how it shifts to a different Knight’s perspective every story, and some fantastic art by Steve Erwin. Art aside, I can’t point to any one thing that’s specifically all that exciting about it, and yet I had an absolute blast reading it.

  • Then, of course, there’s The Question by Denny O’Neil. This one isn’t quite as obscure as the last two, but it’s brilliant stuff regardless. Not quite as much flashy spectacle as the first two, but a very thought-provoking look into one of the grimmest worlds ever created for a superhero to inhabit. Now if only we could get those quarterly issues…

  • On the subject of O’Neil, there’s also Azrael (Or Azrael: Agent of the Bat as it was called in the second half of its run). It’s not as good as the Question. In fact, I can’t quite decide whether it’s good at all, but it has a certain scrappy underdog charm that makes you want it to succeed even though it never quite does, much like its own main character. Jean-Paul Valley had served his purpose as the antagonist of the Knightfall Saga, but I found his quest for redemption and inner peace over the course of his own series immensely compelling.

Your turn now: What do you wish more people had read?

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If you want a good hidden gem that’s perfect for Spooky Season, I’ll recommend I, Vampire. It lasted for about 20 issues, has limited cross-over (outside of one with Justice League Dark), and is overall a great, tragic love story…with a lot of good vampire killing. It’s also I think the book that introduced comic readers to artist Andrea Sorrantino, who will later go on to do Jeff Lemire’s Green Arrow and the Old Man Logan series over at Marvel.

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Jim Lee fans need to read this, as it’s his magnum opus.

image

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I bought that on comixology a while back, way before it got on here. I need to get into that one of these days.

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@Jay_Kay When reading Divine Right for the first time in digital, the trade is the definitive route to go, as it features the Divine Intervention: Gen13 and Wildcats one-shots along with the Wizard #1/2 books that aren’t yet individually available in digital.

For anyone curious, you can fully read Divine Right #'s 1-12 on DCU and absolutely get the overall story just fine, no problem. The Wizard #1/2 books are just set up that isn’t crucial, while the Divine Intervention books are somewhat crucial, but not 100%. You’re basic tie-ins, more or less.

I’ll second this. I had never heard of the character, but read it back when New 52 came out. I don’t think I ever finished the series, but I did enjoy the first couple issues as something different from the norm.


The series follows the adventures of the Pre-Zero Hour version of Lar Gand, aka Mon-El, one of the members of the Legion of Super-heroes in the present day.

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Not obscure, but an issue many probably aren’t aware of: Batman #321: The Joker’s Birthday. Art by Walt Simonson, cover by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez (uncredited) and a tight, one issue story. It’s one of the reasons I got in to collecting.

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@dogwelder9,

I bought Valor as it was being published. However, I don’t have many memories of the series, other than that the final issues led into Zero Hour. That said, I’ve always liked Lar Gand and wish he could have kept the Valor name (it’s noble sounding and fits his character).

As for myself, I’ve always preferred lesser known, “second tier” titles and characters. However, I also feel like many of my favorite DC titles are not that obscure (Outsiders, Infinity Inc., Booster Gold, the post-Crisis era of DC).

That said, I’m going to list obscure titles that I want to read (or should read), as they were either cancelled before I could read them, or they didn’t appeal to my interests at the time of their publication. You’ll see a there’s a fantasy trend.

  • The Warlord
  • Arion, Lord of Atlantis
  • Arak, Son of Thunder
  • Jemm, Son of Saturn
  • House of Mystery/House of Secrets
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Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, the limited run edition
Demon Knights
Arcudi’s Doom Patrol

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Amethyst is a literal hidden gem.

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The Metal Men by Giffen and DeMatteis that didn’t even get it’s own series. It is a backup in the 2009 Doom Patrol series. It’s very similar to their Justice League series, so fans of that will like this one too.

Hourman by Peyer just finished being added to DC’s digital library, so it’s not as hidden as it was a few months ago. This is a great comic that is very character focused, kind of like Robinson’s Starman. It is also one of the funniest super hero comics on DC Universe.

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@redarrowslinger.99141
@BatJamags

Count me in as another Amethyst fan! Amethyst’s regular series (1984-86) was the first series that I attempted to collect month to month (back in my spinner rack days). She’s definitely a great underrated, and powerful, character.

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@Jay_Kay I totally forgot that I, Vampire series existed. It was pretty solid for it’s short life.

I always recommend the Power Girl series that started in 2009 as a “hidden gem.” It’s one of my all-time favorites. Even going trough several creative teams, it stands as a pretty solid arc.

https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/power-girl-2009/c148f767-6b6f-47f4-b3e5-5b8b36f850bb

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Agreed on Power Girl! Specifically, the first twelve issues written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Grey, and drawn by Amanda Conner are the truly iconic parts of that run, though I vaguely remember the Judd Winnick arc after it being decent enough, though semi tied into an even that was going on at the time called Justice League: Generation Lost.

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@Jay_Kay Justice League: Generation Lost is an awesome hidden gem as well! I loved that series.

As for Power Girl, the Sami Basri art during the Winnick arc is SOLID. I’ve been a fan and follwer of his work since. The capper on the Power Girl run are the two final issues from Lillah Sturges. They are pitch perfect. Pretty much what one-shot issues about any Kryponian should be.

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Truly was one of the underrated gems of the New 52. This and Team 7 were the 2 books from that era I wish had run longer.

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One that I was just reminded of is the 2010 Zatanna series by (mostly) Paul Dini. It’s a lot of fun, though it does have a bit of an issue with not being very clear what the actual rules are for how magic works.

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Earth-2, Earth-2 Society, and Earth-2 At World’s End. I don’t know if they’re quite hidden but very few have read them and I enjoyed them.

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Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.

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