This is always Multiversity’s biggest cluster of a category, as overlooked can mean so many different things for so many different people. But to us, it means this:
By overlooked, we mean the books that are so good, it seems insane that everyone isn’t reading them or hasn’t been reading them. They may have a decent readership, but in our opinion, they should amongst the highest selling books in comics.
So what, in our opinion, were the most overlooked comics of 2014? Well we have some strong opinions about that. Find out our top five most overlooked comics from 2014 in below, and please, share your thoughts in the comments.
Note: All of Multiversity’s 2014 in Review awards are based off of all of the contributing writing team voting to decide each rank. Every list is combined with equal points for every voter, and the results are what you find below.
Looking for the rest of our 2014 in Review entries? Find them all here.
3 (tie). Trees
Why it made the list (Keith Dooley): More people should be reading “Trees” because of Warren Ellis’ intelligent writing and Jason Howard’s simple, yet powerful art. This is a science fiction title about mysterious and alien “tree”-like structures that landed ten years ago at different sites around the world. These “trees” have stood like sentinels and simply stood watch as humanity reacts to them in various ways. Despite dealing with such profound topics as love, sexuality, politics, and science, a quiet tension bubbles underneath Ellis’ story. Howard brings the characters to life on the page and adds an unexpected warmth to a title involving cold machines that loom unnervingly over humanity. This book is science fiction at its best because it enlightens as well as entertains and expresses the joys and fears that colors every human being’s experience.
3 (tie). Flash Gordon
Why it made the list (Brian Salvatore): Not all properties are created equal, and it is certainly true that not all properties are respected equally. For some reason, books like “Flash Gordon” can be unbelievably great, and do nothing sales wise, and not garner the critical praise that books 1/3 of its quality receive. Maybe that is because people hear Flash Gordon and think the Queen-soundtracked camp-fest from 1980; maybe people didn’t grow up watching Defenders of the Earth like I did. Or maybe, for whatever reason, people don’t like stunningly brilliant art, or clever and compelling dialogue, or the best pure adventure comic on the stands in years. I don’t know the reason why people didn’t latch on to this book, but they’re all worse for it.
3 (tie). Alex + Ada
Why it made the list (Drew Bradley): Every year, this is the hardest category for me to fill out on my ballot, mostly because it’s the most nebulous. I can whittle down the other best ofs by listing applicable books and asking myself a variation of “If these all came out the same week but I didn’t have money for all of them, which ones would I skip?” until I have ten left. I can’t do that for “most overlooked.” Instead, I look my pull list, sales numbers, scores on ComicBookRoundUp, and some other factors. It’s a very analytical process involving a complex algorithm, but the end result is a number that lets me quantitatively compared overlooked-ness of books and make a list.
That works really well until it’s time to write an explanation of why “Alex + Ada” made this list. Telling you it has an overlooked score of 8.09 won’t mean much to you, will it? I could say how great the book is, but we’ve been doing that all year and it’s sales are still not where they should be. So here’s what I’ve got: A perennial request from comic readers is for more variety. Despite its sci-fi trappings, “Alex + Ada” is a romance book. The characters are well written, and their relationship feels true. If you’ve ever disparaged the lack of diversity in comic genres, you owe it to yourself to support this book.Continued below
Seriously. This book’s overlooked score had better be below one next year.
2. MIND MGMT
Why it made the list (Jess Camacho): If there’s ever a comic series that should be actual required reading for fans it’s “Mind MGMT”. Matt Kindt is creating what is possibly the best ongoing being published right now. It’s definitely the smartest. “Mind MGMT” tells the rise, and subsequent fall, of a secret government organization that employed people with psychic abilities through the eyes of Meru, a former true crime writer who gets deep into the secrets and history of this organization. This year Meru finally came into her own and really starting kicking ass. It was huge payoff for longtime readers. “Mind MGMT” is the only monthly series that has quality work from cover to cover – literally. The covers are always fantastic and there are back up stories about agents that have come through the organization over its history. Even the letters column contains little secrets that enhance the series. Each issue acts as another piece to a bigger puzzle making it a book that actually feels like its going somewhere and not just spinning its wheels. Comics aren’t cheap but the gorgeous hardcover editions of “Mind MGMT” are worth every penny.
1. Rachel Rising
Why it made the list (David Harper): Right before the turn of the year, there was a movement out there to ensure the survival of this book that was simply “#SaveRachelRising” on social media. You see, this book was struggling, and the idea that Terry Moore might not be able to keep producing the book was very much a real one.
And to me, it’s insane that this was a necessary thing.
We’re talking about a comic by one of the greatest cartoonists in comics, Terry Moore, and not only that, but one of his finest works at that. “Rachel Rising” is the best type of horror tale, built from the ashes of a personal tragedy and developed into something all the more sprawling and impressive. It’s funny, scary, shocking and brilliantly drawn, with some of the best character work and – in my opinion – the greatest snow in comics (Terry Moore’s abilities to draw snow are maybe the most underrated skill out of any artist, he is so damn great at that). It’s an utterly brilliant comic, and if comics were a meritocracy, its sales would match the deaths of unkillable mutants and yet another situation where two superhero teams are fighting. If I could give you one recommendation for a book you should be reading that you almost certainly aren’t, it would be this one.
Long story short, don’t #SaveRachelRising. #ReadRachelRising.
You won’t regret it.