Photo via DC
I have been reading DC comics for almost as long as I have been able to read. With the DC universe being as large as it is, there are hundreds of great characters that have been left untouched by most mainstream media. While some of these characters have appeared in animation (and a couple in live action), most have only appeared in the comic so far. You likely have not heard of most, if not all, of these characters, which is why I am here to talk about how great they are and recommend you some solid reading material at the same time.
Created by Steve Ditko (the co-creator of Spider-Man), The Question started out as an aggressive investigative journalist when he debuted in Charleton Comics’ Blue Beetle (1967) #1. Acquired by DC in 1983, The Question morphed into a conflicted vigilante, often feeling conflicted about how to deliver justice. The Question struggles with the temptation to kill, afraid that he too will fall victim to the corruption surrounding his side of Hub City. I highly recommend checking out Dennis O’Neil and Denys Cowen’s run on the character, which is available here.
Shade, the Changing Girl
A member of the alien species known as the Metan, Loma steal the Madness Vest from a museum. The Vest allows her to possess a comatose teenager, Megan Boyer, of Earth. Created by Steel Castellucci and Marley Zarcone, Shade, the Changing Girl is an introspective book, exploring depression and xenophobia. The first volume of Shade the Changing Girl is available here.
Mother Panic is a relatively recent addition to the DC Universe, debuting in 2016 as a part of DC’s Young Animal line. Created by Jody Houser, Tommy Lee Edwards and Gerard Way, Mother Panic was envisioned to be the “anti-Batman,” as her vigilante guise is not just a simple act. Due to her darker nature, Mother Panic explores the darker underbelly of Gotham, facing crime and misfortune that is usually left to the reader’s imagination in most Batman stories. The first volume is fantastic and you can check it out here.
The superhero Blue Beetle has been around since 1939. However, the current Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes, first appeared in Infinite Crisis in 2006. A teenager living in El Paso, Texas, Jaime finds a scarab in an abandoned lot, bestowing him the power of the Blue Beetle. The scarab acts as an artificial intelligence, aiding Jaime in battle and granting him the ability to produce swords, shields, energy cannons, wings, grappling hooks and even communication devices from the armor. It can even produce specific types of energy, such as kryptonite radiation. If you are interested in reading more about the Beetle, I recommend starting with his first ongoing comic by Keith Giffen, John Rogers and Cully Hamner, which you can get here.
Created by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo during their New 52 Batman run, Harper Row first appeared as a minor character. This all changed in Batman #28, where she donned the name Bluebird and became Batman’s newest sidekick. She first met the bat when he saved her brother from being gay-bashed by bullies. This left a lasting impression on Harper as she attempted to fight crime on her own in Gotham. Besides being skilled in hand-to-hand combat, she also possesses a gift for electrical engineering. After discovering how Batman disables Gotham’s security cameras, she improves on the design. You can read all about Harper’s story in the pages of Batman (2011), the first volume of which is available here.
Originally appearing in Brave and the Bold #31 by France Herron and Bruno Permiani, Cave Carson and his team explored the mysteries beneath the Earth’s surface. Despite being introduced in 1960, Carson did not receive his own solo title until 2016. Written by Gerard Way and Jon Rivera, and with art by Michael Avon Oeming, Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye. Besides the weird eye, Cave Carson is just an ordinary man exploring the strange world that exists below us. You can check out the first volume of Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye here.
You may recognize Vibe from his appearance in CW’s Flash TV series. Similar to that version of Cisco Ramone, Vibe can create shockwaves powerful enough to effect the fabric of spacetime, allowing him to create dimensional portals. This loud and proud hero first appeared Justice League of America Annual #2, where he joined the new Justice League of America (JLA) after the original was disbanded by Aquaman. Remaining a team player for most of his time in the comics, Vibe finally received a solo series in 2013 titled Justice League of America’s Vibe by Geoff Johns, Andrew Kreisberg and Pete Woods. You can read the first volume here.
The first sidekick to Wonder Woman, the original Wonder Girl, Donna Troy, debuted in Bob Haney and Bruno Permiani’s The Brave and the Bold #60. She was a founding member of the Teen Titans when the team received their first book in 1973. Donna has appeared in numerous incarnations of the team, including 2016’s Titans Rebirth. Originally raised by Wonder Woman, Donna’s history was changed for the New 52 where she was created by an evil sorcerer to defeat Wonder Woman and replace her. Much like Wonder Woman, Donna possesses superhuman speed, strength and endurance. In some appearances she could even fly. She also wields the Lasso of Persuasion, which allows Donna to control those whose willpower is weaker than hers. If you are interested in reading more about Donna, you should try the first volume of Titans (2016), available here.
I only recently discovered Forager thanks to Young Justice: Outsiders and Tom King and Mitch Gerads’s Mister Miracle. Created by Jack Kirby, Forager debuted in New Gods #9 as a member of the insect nation of New Genesis. He worked together with the New Gods Orion and Lightray to defend his people from being slaughtered. As a New God, Forager has superhuman speed, endurance, strength and reflexes, as well as being immune to disease. He can also stick surfaces and shoot streams of burning acid. In 2016, as a part of DC’s Young Animal, Forager received his first solo series. Bug! The Adventures of Forager follows Forager as he awakens in a basement on Earth and must deal with his new unknown surroundings. You can read all six issues here.
Initially created by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily in More Fun Comics #52. The Spectre has had many hosts over the years, but the first and most notable is Jim Corrigan. After Corrigan is murdered by thugs, his spirit is refused entry into the afterlife. Instead he becomes the Spectre, seeking vengeance against those who murdered him. Once he achieves this, Corrigan continues to act as the Spectre whenever his vengeance is required. The Spectre is one of the most powerful characters at DC, possessing time-space manipulation, control over matter, invulnerability and limitless strength. His only real weakness is that he needs a human host. If you have any interest in reading about this vengeful spirit, the best place to start is John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake’s run. You can purchase the first volume here.
Is there a DC character you think I should have included? Comment below!