Counting down the Most Underrated Comic Book Characters Of All Time; those superheroes and supervillains who deserve a bigger share of the comic and movie spotlight.
Here is a list of the most underrated Marvel, DC, and indie comic superheroes and super villains. As the criteria for this list includes any/all. A character that has never maintained its own successful series for an extended period of time. A character who is usually placed on a team with limited time to shine. A character who derided as being goofy or ineffectual. A character constantly referred to as a ‘second-tier’ character, who despite an ongoing series and a cult following just isn’t considered in the same league as Batman, Spider-Man, etc. A character who was skewered via a terrible comic book movie or TV show
#1 Dare Devil
First Appearance; Marvel’s Daredevil #1 (April 1964) The reason Daredevil is so underrated is hard to quantify. He got off to a tepid start, but was revived in the 80’s thanks to artist/writer Frank Miller’s gritty reinterpretation. But after Miller’s epic run ended, Daredevil’s story lines have varied in quality due to ever-changing creative teams.
#2 The Shadow
First Appearance: Radio, 1930. There would be no Batman without the influence of the Shadow. In the 40’s he was a mainstay in radio, serials, books and comics. He’s a black clad avenger with the power to cloud men’s minds. He’s everywhere and nowhere, disorienting villains into confessing their crimes with his powers of hypnotism. And his violent, unpredictable nature makes him a distinctive presence. But he’s no longer a household name , and a tepid 90s’ movie adaptation didn’t help matters. The Shadow is always a timely hero, and with some modern tweaking could be a great cinematic success.
First appearance: DC’s More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941) Heard any good Aquaman jokes lately? Always the butt of superhero put downs. But he’s a badass. Yeah, I said it, A BADASS. Why, you may ask? Well he can communicate with all sea life to do his bidding; that comes in handy. Plus he’s the King of Atlantis!
#4 Martian Manhunter
First Appearance: Detective Comics (vol. 1) #225 (Nov. 1955) Martian Manhunter has it all; a cool look, and awesome powers (telepathy, shape-shifting, super-strength, flight, to name just a few). He’s the last of his kind, trying to adjust to Earth life. But for whatever reason, DC often presents him as an ineffective character
#5 Black Panther
First Appearance; Marvel Comics Fantastic Four # 52 (1966) He’s the leader of African nation Wakanda, one of the most technologically and magically protected countries on Earth. In addition to political duties, he’s a crime fighter with excellent tracking abilities aided by special tech and mystical powers.
#6 Moon Knight
First Appearance; Marvel Comics Werewolf by Night #32 (1975) He’s Marvel’s Bat-Man minus the acclaim. This needs to change. Moon Knight is a former mercenary who after nearly dying in battle is saved when he becomes the embodiment of Egyptian God Khonshu. There’s been too many interpretations of the character; just focus on his eerie presence and violent ass-kicking skills, and you have dark thriller potential.
First Appearance; DC Comics The Demon #1 (August 1972) Legendary comic artist Jack Kirby created this unsung feisty anti-hero, who could make a very cool cinematic transition. Whenever a supernatural threat emerges, Jason Blood transforms into the demonic entity Etrigan. His immense power and enjoyment of pain makes him practically unstoppable and his wry rhyming dialogue makes him an endearing creep. He’s a surly presence, but usually fights on the right side.
#8 Captain Marvel aka Shazam!
First Appearance; Whiz Comics #2 (February 1940) A boy named Billy Batson is transformed into the world’s mightiest mortal simply by calling out to the wizard Shazam! His legacy has diminished due to convoluted story-lines with too many other ‘Marvel’ family members. And a lawsuit from Marvel Comics over his name didn’t help. This has cluttered beautiful simplicity. A clear-cut movie could be the key to reinvigorating this formerly iconic character.