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The Challengers of the Unknown is a group of fictional characters in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Jack Kirby, or co-created with Dave Wood[1] (sources differ), this quartet of adventurers explored science fictional and apparent paranormal occurrences and faced fantastic menaces.

Scripts for the first stories are often credited to Dick and Dave Wood, two brothers who also wrote other Kirby-illustrated material, such as the "Sky Masters of the Space Force" comic strip; but others have claimed that Kirby created the Challengers himself or together with former partner Joe Simon. The stories had weird menaces, fistfights, wild vehicles and gadgets, spectacular terrain, daring escapes, and a sense of humor.[2]

  1. {DC Database:Team Template
  2. | Title                   = [[Challengers of the Unknown]]
  3. | Image                   = Challengers of the Unknown 002.jpg
  4. | OfficialName            = Challengers of the Unknown
  5. | Aliases                 = [[Unknown Challengers]], [[Challengers]]
  1. | Status                  = Active
  2. | Identity                = Public
  3. | Universe                = Earth-One; New {Earth
  4. | BaseOfOperations        = [[Challengers Mountain]]
  1. | TeamLeaders             = None
  2. | CurrentMembers          = [[Walter Haley (New Earth)|Professor Haley]], [[Matthew Ryan (New Earth)|Red Ryan]], [[June Robbins (New Earth)|June Robbins]], [[Marlon Corbet (New Earth)|Maverick Corbet]]
  3. | FormerMembers           = [[Clay Brody (New Earth)|Clay Brody]], [[Lester Davis (New Earth)|Rocky Davis]], [[Kyle Morgan (New Earth)|Ace Morgan]], [[Kenn Kawa (New Earth)|Kenn Kawa]], [[Brenda Ruskin (New Earth)|Brenda Ruskin]], [[Zach Dyamond (New Earth)|Zach Dyamond]], [[Tessa Crowne (New Earth)|Tessa Crowne]], [[Rydell Starr (New Earth)|Rydell Starr]], [[Kendra Harte (New Earth)|Kendra Harte]], [[Holden Crosse (New Earth)|Holden Crosse]]
  4. | Allies                  = [[Doom Patrol (New Earth)|Doom Patrol]], [[Boston Brand (New Earth)|Deadman]], [[Swamp Thing (New Earth)|Swamp Thing]], [[Johnny Double]], [[Sea Devils]], [[F. Gaylord Clayburne III (New Earth)|Gaylord Clayburne]]
  5. | Enemies                 = 
  1. | Origin                  = 
  2. | PlaceOfFormation        = 
  3. | Creators                = Jack Kirby; Dave Wood
  • | First                   = Showcase #6

Publication historyEdit

The group debuted in Showcase #6 (Feb. 1957). The inspiration for the Challengers' adventures were drive-in movie fodder about skin divers, test pilots, acrobats, mountain climbers, boxers, and other adventurers. [3].

Comic books had a crying need for content. Superhero comics had mostly vanished from about 1949 to the mid-1950s. The revival of the Flash, seen as marking the return of the superheroes to popularity, had occurred only four months earlier, in Showcase #4. A team of larger-than-life adventurers with echoes of a World War II infantry squad were a natural fit.

The group's name may have also derived from a 1950 horror title, Challenge of the Unknown[2].

The most notable work that was influenced by this creation was Kirby's next major continuing series, The Fantastic Four, which was essentially the Challengers as a superhero family, complete with a similar origin. Both groups were quartets who resolved to band together after a crash landing; but the Challengers lacked the strong characterizations and much of the humor that distinguished the Fantastic Four. In Challengers of the Unknown #3, Rocky was shot into space and returned with multiple superpowers including invisibility, flame throwing, freeze-ray throwing, giant-growth, super-speed and super-strength.

The Thing (Ben Grimm) seems to be a somewhat composite of both Rocky and Ace - as Ben was a football star and war pilot. There are some minor similarities between FF's Reed Richards, the scientist - and Prof Haley, as well as some similarities between Red and June of the Challengers and Johnny and Susan Storm.

The series continued in Showcase for three more appearances (#7, 11, 12) then moved to its own title, considered among Kirby's most notable in that period. After 12 issues total, Kirby moved on, and the title continued through issue #75 (Aug.-Sept. 1970, followed by intermittent reprint and revival issues from 1973-78). The Challengers were canceled with issue #77 in 1971. In 1973, three reprint issues were put out (#78-80).

Various revivals Edit

In a short-lived 1977 revival, the Challengers were a four-man, one-woman team again. They first came back in Super-Team Family #8-10, before getting their own title back with #81. They were joined by Deadman and Swamp Thing. June Robbins got a uniform and official status. No explanation for Corinna Stark's departure, nor June's joining, was given.

Their title was canceled with #87 in 1978. In Adventure Comics Digest #493-497 in 1982, they did an expanded version of their origin.

The Challengers returned in a miniseries, Challengers of the Unknown vol. 2 (1991), by writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale. It ran eight issues and was reprinted in trade paperback as Challengers of the Unknown Must Die! (2004). Loeb planned a second miniseries to reset the Challs to youth and heroism,Template:Fact but it did not materialize.

In 2000, DC published a one-shot, Silver Age: Challengers of the Unknown, done in the style of the original Silver Age of Comic Books Challengers.

CountdownEdit

Prepublication solicitations for various Countdown tie-ins referred to the group of Donna Troy, Jason Todd, Kyle Rayner, and "Bob" the Monitor as "Challengers From Beyond". This group went on a quest through the newly formed multiverse in order to find Ray Palmer who Bob claimed was essential to the survival of the universe. Eventually the earth heroes were betrayed by Bob who sought to kill Ray Palmer, rather than protect him or acquire his aid. Palmer, Troy, Todd, and Rayner find themselves involved in a war between the Monitors and the forces of Monarch. Later they travel to Apokalips where they team up with Jimmy Olsen, Forager, Karate Kid and Triplicate Girl. After returning to Earth Troy, Rayner, Forager, and Palmer decide to team up again. They travel to the Monitors headquarters where they inform the shocked beings that they will be watching over them as a sort of interdimensional border guards.

The Brave and the BoldEdit

The 2007 revival of The Brave and the Bold series features a significant storyline involving the Challengers. In it, Destiny of the Endless reveals to Supergirl and Lobo that his book has changed because there were men who existed but were not recorded in the book, and their actions made the book unreliable. Destiny cast his book away, knowing that these men would be the proper safekeepers of it, but the book instead ends up on the planet Rann, being used in a plot by the Luck Lords to alter time for their own ends. The book is eventually recovered by Batman and Green Lantern with the help of the Challengers, who become the current holders of the book, being the four men who could not be tracked by the books pages. This development is explained by Batman, who states that the Challengers were supposed to die in a plane crash, a crash no one should have ever walked away from. By cheating death they altered their own destinies, removed themselves from the book, and thus became responsible for minor alterations to the book over time.

After this arc, the book remained in the Challengers' hands, who kept reading it and keeping track of the actions of the alchemist Megistus to gather powerful transformative relics and objects; among these were the Orb of Ra, the H-Dial, the Philosopher's Stone, the heroes Metamorpho and Firestorm, several ancient star charts, and Green Lantern's Power Battery. Upon doing so, they battle the Warlock of Ys in Challenger Mountain when he manifests through the pages of the Book of Destiny to form a hardened shell for himself, and the alchemist himself when he manages to seize the battery from Edwards Air Base; in this battle Megistus uses the body of Metamorpho to duel with the Challs. June accompanies them to the Megistus' solar base, and is pivotal in thwarting the alchemist's plans to infuse Earth with the irradiated cloud of cosmic energy that created Red Kryptonite to shield it against the Final Crisis by mutating humanity. However, her triumph causes her to vanish in a blast. The Challs assume she's dead, until Destiny comes to reclaim his book. All beg him to let them see into the book a final time to know June's final fate; however, it is shown she has been blasted out of the book much like the Challs did, cheating Death and living outside the Book of Destiny. The Challengers then begin to search for June, confident she's a true Challenger of the Unknown.

Alternate versionsEdit

Main article: Challengers of the Unknown (alternate series)

DC published two other series, also titled Challengers of the Unknown, featuring the original Challengers' concept combined with a new set of characters.

The Challengers were revamped by writer Steven Grant in vol. 3 (1997), which had a totally new group of characters and was one of four series making up the Weirdoverse group of titles. This ongoing ran 18 issues, through 1998.

One more revamp was done by Howard Chaykin in a six-issue miniseries (vol. 4, 2004-2005). This series had another new group of characters. This was collected in trade paperback as Challengers of the Unknown: Stolen Moments, Borrowed Time.

A revamp appeared in [[DC Universe Presents]] in 2012 written by [[Dan DiDio]] and drawn by [[Jerry Ordway]].

HistoryText             =

En route by plane to appear on the radio program "Heroes," Olympic westling champion [[Lester Davis (New Earth)|Lester "Rocky" Davis]], master skin diver [[Walter Haley (New Earth)|Walter "Prof" Haley]], circus daredevil [[Matthew Ryan (New Earth)|Matthew "Red" Ryan]] and War hero and jet pilot [[Kyle Morgan (New Earth)|Kyle "Ace" Morgan]], are caught in a storm and their plane crashes. Surviving the crash, the group agrees that they are living on borrowed time and they should working together, challenging the unknown as a team.


After making headlines with their exploits, the [[Challengers of the Unknown]] are offered a million dollars by the mysterious Mr. Morelian if they succeed in opening a Pandora's box. Taking the box out to an uninhabited island, each member tries opening the box. The team members unleash and stop terrors such as a giant stone warrior, a miniature sun and a whirling weaver. Afterward, Morelian appears, informing them that he knew of the dangers in the box, and set the Challengers to release them so he could get the true prize of the box: A ring of immortality. However, when Morelian tries to fly away, his plane crashes and he dies, the ring having been nonfunctional. The Challengers leave the island, wondering where their next adventure will take them.


Soon famous, the Challengers accept many "unknown challenges" from The Pentagon, mad scientists, and people with problems. Over time the Challengers establish the hollowed-out Challengers Mountain as headquarters. Later, they adopt an hourglass logo to symbolize time running out. They encounter genies, common and sophisticated thieves, fantastical creatures, aliens and robots. Their adventures later veer toward superheroics, and range in scope from occult menaces to unknown phenomena. The Challengers travel through space, time and other dimensions. They encounter the likes of the [[Doom Patrol (New Earth)|Doom Patrol]], [[Deadman]], [[Swamp Thing]], [[Johnny Double]], and the [[Sea Devils]], with whom they fight the criminal group Scorpio.<ref>{{c|Challengers of the Unknown #47}}</ref> June Robbins, a computer genius and archaeologist, joined the Challengers for many adventures as an "honorary" or "girl" Challenger.


When Red is killed,<ref>{{c|Challengers of the Unknown #55}}</ref> a teen rock star/engineering genius immediately wages a vendetta against the three-man team. "Tino Mannaray" turns out to be Martin Ryan, Red's kid brother, who blames the team for his brother's death. Red eventually returns. Though blown up, he had been dosed with shape-changing Liquid Light and rendered amnesiac, and nearly conquered the Pacific while believing himself to be a Tiki god.


As the team's challenges become more occult in nature, Red's brother Tino is blinded. Red donates an eye to his brother and dons an eye patch. Eventually, Red receives an eye transplant. Prof becomes possessed by an evil spirit and is shot by a villain. While he recovers, Corinna Stark, a mysterious blonde with mystical knowledge, invites herself onto the team. The Challengers fight occult alien-monsters in backwoods villages and dark dreams, and Rocky and Red fight for Corinna's affection.


The Challs are later semi-retired, their mountain a theme park, and their adventures disregarded as cooked-up articles in a tabloid, The Tattletale. The nearby town has renamed itself Challengerville, managing to thrive on the team's name. A cosmic entity, which prides itself as "the personification of all evil," influences the entity [[Multi-Man]] to blow up the mountain. The town is destroyed. Hundreds die, including, Prof and June. The surviving Challengers are placed on trial, but eventually freed with the testimony of Superman. They are, however, ordered to disband.


A tabloid reporter, Moffet, becomes involved with the group after several unexplained incidents. Moffet began to piece together many seemingly unrelated massacres. Red became a violent, vigilante mercenary. Ace became an addled mystic, losing new-found friends due to inattention and incompetence. Rocky became lost in a life of luxury and ended up in an insane asylum.


After some time, the three reunited and with Moffet's aid, found a strange portal near what was once Challengerville. They discovered Prof and the pregnant June, alive in a strange 'phantom zone.' The dark demon confronted them and the final battle came down to Moffet and one neutron bomb. The decision to attack was taken out of Moffet's hands by Multi-Man, who sacrificed himself to destroy the demon.


"The New Challengers of the Unknown," including ghostly Prof and June, were poised to take on menaces in the dark corners of the world.


Later, four new Challengers pursued more unusual and occult horrors. They are Clay Brody, NASCAR driver; Brenda Ruskin, physicist; Kenn Kawa, radical games designer; and Marlon Corbet, commercial pilot. This team was also born after miraculously surviving a plane crash. They stopped sacrificial wackos, drug-juiced zombies, vengeful ghosts, Amazonian cults, Lovecraftian monsters, mass suicides, humming buildings, and other oddities. They were advised by original team member Rocky Davis, older and grayer and alone. It was eventually revealed that the original Challengers had been dematerialized by a mad scientist's ray-weapon. The same ray caused both plane crashes, as well as others. Soon the original Challengers reappeared, helped the young Challengers defeat the madman, before walking back into oblivion (minus a wounded Rocky) to shut down a runaway Tesla field. The young Challengers vowed to fight on.


Superboy discovers the missing Challengers - Ace, Red, Prof, and June - in Hypertime. The team had been waging guerrilla war against Black Zero (a Superboy variant). With Black Zero defeated, the team returns to Earth, but loses Red along the way. Reunited with Rocky in Metropolis and hosted by Rip Hunter, the original Challengers vow to explore Hypertime, "the greatest unknown," in an attempt to find Red.


Two Challengers partake in Infinite Crisis. Rocky Davis and Prof Haley help stem the escape of prisoners from Blackgate Prison<ref>{{c|Infinite Crisis Special: Villains United #1}}</ref>. Rocky fights in the Battle of Metropolis. He is one of dozens of heroes fighting the opposing army of the Secret Society of Supervillains. The Society is ultimately defeated <ref>{{c|Infinite Crisis #7}}</ref>.


After the Infinite Crisis, the Challengers reformed partially, to man a space station and scan for a group of heroes who were lost in space. The group's subsequent adventures are unknown, but they were not seen to participate in [[World War III]].


{{Continued in The New 52|Challengers (Prime Earth)|Challengers}}


| Equipment               =  | Transportation          =  | Weapons                 =  | Notes                   =

* The original Challengers were scheduled to appear on the radio programme. When the origin was re-told in 1965, that was changed to a television show. 

* Their original origin stated that the plane crash was so devastating that even Red's watch was shattered and had stopped. Various recountings over the years occasionally changed that to having Red's watch survive the crash intact. 

*  Showcase #6 describes Ace as a heroic pilot during "the war", which war was left unsaid. In Challengers Vol 1 45, it was established that Ace was a US-AAF pilot during [[World War II]]. Later, in order to account for the passing of time without aging, his aviation heroics took place while he was a USAF jet pilot in the Korean War. 

*  Prof started as a master skin diver; however, within a dozen issues, that evolved to where oceanography was only his principle field and he was a genius in a large number of scientific fields. 

*  Red was initially presented as an expert mountain climber. Since, like Prof, that was a limiting field, it was established that he was also an electronics expert. Toward the end of the original series, to expand his talents even further, it was established that Red was raised in a circus and he had developed the all-around skills of a circus acrobat. 

* There are at least two other versions of the Challengers of the Unknown: one on [[Earth-21]] and one on [[Earth-33]].

| Trivia                  = 

* There is a story that, on a world without superheroes, a blogger, a hip hop artist, an eco-terrorist, and two others discover they have been genetically enhanced and chip-programmed to be soldier-pawns by the Hegemony, a cabal of billionaires who secretly run that world. Made slaves on a Moon base, three Challengers blow up the base, escape to Earth, and declare war on the Hegemony until (like a group of obliquely mentioned earlier Challengers) their "borrowed time" runs out.

| Recommended             = 

  • {{vnst|Challengers of the Unknown Vol 1}}
  • {{vnst|Challengers of the Unknown Vol 2}}
  • {{vnst|Challengers of the Unknown Vol 3}}
  • {{vnst|Challengers of the Unknown Vol 4}}

| Links                   = 

  • {{WP2|Challengers of the Unknown}}

* [http://www.challengersoftheunknown.com/ Challengers of the Unknown fansite]

* [http://www.toonopedia.com/chalngrs.htm Challengers of the Unknown at Toonopedia]

* [http://www.comics-db.com/DC_Comics/C/Challengers_of_the_Unknown/index.html Challengers of the Unknown at the BCBDB]

}}

{{Wikipedia|Challengers of the Unknown}}


{DC Database:Team Template

| Image                   = Challengers of the Unknown 005.jpg | OfficialName            = Challengers

| Aliases                 = [[Challengers of the Unknown]]

| Status                  = Active | Identity                = Public | Alignment               = Good | Universe                = Prime Earth

| BaseOfOperations        = [[Challengers Mountain]]

| TeamLeaders             = 

| CurrentMembers          = [[June Robbins (Prime Earth)|June Robbins]], [[Matthew Ryan (Prime Earth)|Matthew "Red" Ryan]], [[Walter Haley (Prime Earth)|Walter "Professor" Haley]], [[Marlon Corbet (Prime Earth)|Marlon "Maverick" Corbet]]

| FormerMembers           = [[Kyle Morgan (Prime Earth)|Kyle "Ace" Morgan]], [[Lester Davis (Prime Earth)|Lester "Rocky" Davis]], [[Brenda Ruskin (Prime Earth)|Brenda Ruskin]], [[Kenn Kawa (Prime Earth)|Kenn Kawa]], [[Clay Brody (Prime Earth)|Clay Brody]]

| Allies                  = [[Morgan Edge (Prime Earth)|Morgan Edge]]

| Enemies                 =  | PlaceOfFormation        =  | PlaceOfDefunction       =  | Creators                = Dan DiDio; Jerry Ordway | First                   = DC Universe Presents Vol 1 6 | Last                    =  | HistoryText             = The Challengers were formed for a reality television contest, when several notable people were assembled by archeologist presenter Clay Brody for his "Challengers" program. However, Clay, the contestants, producer June, and pilots Ace and Maverick, were lost in the Himalayas when their plane crashed under mysterious circumstances.


However, all but one of them showed up weeks later, remembering a recuperation in Nanda Parbat, in which the city's elder told them to beware the unknown, but also to challenge it. Returning to civilization, the group found a talisman that had led Clay to pick them, and a note explaining that it was one of a set.


The Challengers program was retooled to take advantage of the quest. With their home base on a Metropolis soundstage dubbed "Challengers Mountain", the group sought out the talismans is far-flung corners of the world, usually accompanied by some oddity, like warrior statues or giant-ant-spewing portals.


Their greatest initial challenge came when in a short period their show was cancelled and they were attacked by their dead friend, "Ace" the pilot. Though he killed two of them, they managed to defeat him, and the survivors vowed to find the rest of the talismans and save the world.

| Equipment               =  | Transportation          =  | Weapons                 =  | Notes                   =  | Trivia                  =  | Links                   = 

}}

HOME

CBR NEWS

EXCLUSIVE: DIDIO TAKES "CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN" INTO "DCU PRESENTS"

EXCLUSIVE: DIDIO TAKES "CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN" INTO "DCU PRESENTS" Edit

Thu, November 10th, 2011 at 6:00am PST | Updated: November 10th, 2011 at 11:20am

Comic Books

Kiel Phegley, Staff Writer

DC Comics' classic sci-fi adventure team the Challengers of the Unknown has had a way of escaping the grim death of comic book cancellation for too long. Since their mid-century heyday at the hands of creator Jack Kirby and the artists who followed him, the purple jump-suited adventurers have had a wide variety of relaunches and reinventions to bring them back to the market. But in 2012, DC's Co-Publisher has plans to test the team's survival rate in a whole new way.

Starting in February's "DC Universe Presents" #6,Dan DiDio will introduce a new era for the Challengers alongside artist Jerry Ordway. The second arc in the New 52 anthology title (a first arc starring Deadman by Paul Jenkins and Bernard Chang wraps in issue #5), the Challengers feature imagines a new start for the team where the entirety of its membership will play a role...and one where they may not all make it out alive.

This makes DiDio's second turn as creator in the New 52 as he's also writing "O.M.A.C." for artist Keith Giffen. And with the announcement of the "DCU Presents" arc with the Challengers, the Co-Publisher spokeexclusively to CBR News about the connections between the two books, why working with writer-artists makes this the best part of his job and how giant monsters, hidden cities and mysterious conspiracies all play into the fate of the Challengers squad.

CBR News: Dan, one would assume you've got a lot on your plate right now between the New 52 launch and writing "O.M.A.C." What about this Challengers story made you say, "Yes, what I need right now is another writing gig"?

Dan DiDio: [Laughs] I got a lot of things on the plate, but the best part of being able to do this job is that while working on "O.M.A.C." with Keith Giffen and with the incredible Jerry Ordway on "Challengers" is that in both cases, they do so much of the heavy lifting. They're really such a pleasure to work with that writing this is more relaxing than it is work to me.

Ryan Sook covers "DC Universe Presents" #6.

What was the origin of you and Jerry teaming on this franchise? Is this something you've been planning on at DC?

Yeah, I've been wanting to get a Challengers comic off the ground for a long time. This is one of the things we wanted to put into "DC Universe Presents" so people could get a taste and see how they liked it. Just like they used to introduce series in books like "Brave & The Bold" in '60s or "Showcase," I wanted to put this idea out there and see if there's a real interest and appetite for it. I had a particular idea in mind for what I wanted to do with the series, and it had a specific look and style. One of the things we're trying to do with "Challengers of the Unknown" is challenge some really huge unknowns -- like massive powered monsters and creatures that come out of places like mythology and hidden cities. The person that seemed to be the most natural artist for that was Jerry, so I gave him a call to see if he wanted to do it with me. Plus, Jerry is such an accomplished storyteller and writer in his own right that it makes it much easier to work with him on the project.

What's the core of this concept and version of the team? They've been shuffled up quite a bit since their original '50s stories.

Exactly. The funny thing is that there have been a couple iterations of the Challengers over the years. You had the core team, which gained some members along the way, and then there was the second team that was introduced by Steven Grant. What we're doing now is taking all the characters and putting them in one big group. But there is a big mystery to unfold and an almost survival aspect to what's going on with them now. While they survive the initial crash in issue #1, there's forces attacking them that leads us to believe that the team you're seeing at the start of the first issue won't be the same team that you see later on in the series.

Is there one cast member, be it Rocky or Red or the Professor, who take a lead role here, or is this more of an ensemble book?

We're having some fun with this actually. The whole concept stars with a reality TV show called "Challengers," and what you find out is that June Robbins is actually the producer of this show, and she's put together a rather eclectic group of people to star in this "Survivor"-style series. They're headed to the Himalayas where the plane crash occurs. Then you'll find out through the course of the story that all those people were not on the show by accident. They're all there for a particular reason. And they survive for a reason, but just because they survived the crash doesn't mean each one will survive the other challenges coming along.

"O.M.A.C." first, now "Challengers." I'm starting to see a Kirby theme in the books you're choosing.

[Laughs] You know, it's funny you say that because I didn't even notice that until someone pointed it out to me. I always gravitate to the things I enjoyed and the high concepts with bigger, stronger, crazier adventures. That's what makes comics fun. "O.M.A.C.," as we call it, is an action book pure and simple from beginning to end. We always want to make sure that at least 50% of the book is tied to a big battle scene, and with "Challengers" we really wanted to capture a lot of those 1950s-style monsters that populated comics in those days but give a nice contemporary spin to the Challengers team. I wanted them to have a sense of purpose of what their doing and for the mysteries they go out after.

These days, a lot of people tie conspiracy theory stories to more modern takes on the genre like "X-Files" or what have you, but that style of adventure story was built in the spy/Cold War era. Did those influences play a role here?

Really what you're trying to do is touch upon ideas that resonate with folks today. Realistically speaking, in "OMAC" the whole series is about control -- trying to regain control of your life or seeing if you have control when so many other forces are leading you towards your own decisions. With "Challengers," it's all about destiny. It's about why these people were destined or chosen to do this and whether or not you can change fate and what you've been predestined to do. And I think those themes can relate whether you've got a story set in the '50s, '60s or today.

I remember speaking to you about working with Keith when you first paired up on "Outsiders" and I assume this is true now with Jerry, but since you have writer-artists on the book, you're implying a more "plot-first" scripting style to let them do their own story choices on the page.

"O.M.A.C." meets "Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E." in January.

What I did with "O.M.A.C." and "Challengers" is create a series bible which lays out who the characters are, what they look like and their motivations. Then I pick an over-arcing theme for the first storyline and break that out into a plot. And for the first couple of issues, there will be a little more on the paper. But with Keith and I, we did a lot of the second issue and beyond on the phone where I'd pitch him the plot and he'd lay it out from there. That's one of the joys of working with Jerry is that I feel the same kind of relationships evolving here too.

In a book like "Challengers of the Unknown" particularly when monsters show up, one of the great joys is the ridiculous names for these mythic beasts. Will you be continuing that tradition here?

[Laughs] We're working on that as we speak! But what we did is went through books, and I was looking at some different places where we could have the adventures take place. We're going to some of the more forgotten civilizations or remnants of forgotten civilizations out there so we can have a lot of fun there. And you can count that we'll encounter some characters with stranger names as we go, that's for sure.

We've just got a cover from Ryan Sook to look at for the moment. What are you most excited to see in Jerry's pencils for the first issue?

There's a couple of things, but naturally for me, the big payoff is that confrontation with the first big monster in the Himalayas. I'm looking forward to Jerry knocking that out of the park. Our goal on this was really to get a bit of that sense of the high adventure you'd see in an "Indiana Jones." But its a mix of the crazy fighting of "Final Destination" with the creatures of a Ray Harryhausen film. That's what we're getting from "Challengers."

One of the selling points for the New 52 has been that the books are making a good jumping on points for new or lapsed readers. Do you feel a similar jumpstart creatively? Like you said, there have been a number of "Challengers" revivals. Do you feel more confident in their chances now?

Oh yeah. One of the best things about the New 52 is that some of the titles that might have been deemed "weaker" early on saw their first issues launch very strong. We're finding some strong footing in regards to how they're holding up across these first few months of sales. So what that means is that we feel even more empowered to take some risks on the more eclectic ideas that we've always had -- the things that always seemed exciting to us but could never get a foothold when we released them in the past. With the New 52 now, we're hoping that people have found a level of faith and belief in the fact that we're finding new ways to re-energize these characters. I hope that means they'll try some of the stranger ideas we have out there that can excite everybody.

"Challengers of the Unknown" take over "DC Universe Presents" this February. Stay tuned for more on DC's 2012 plans on CBR.

TAGS:  dc comics, dan didio, challengers of the unknown, dc universe presents, jerry ordway, ryan sook,o.m.a.c.

RELATED ARTICLES Edit

Fictional character biographiesEdit

When acquaintances miraculously survive a plane crash unscathed, they conclude that since they are "living on borrowed time" they should band together for hazardous adventures. The four — pilot Kyle "Ace" Morgan, daredevil Matthew "Red" Ryan, strong and slow-witted Leslie "Rocky" Davis, and scientist Walter Mark "Prof" Haley — became the Challengers of the Unknown. Soon famous, the Challengers accept many "unknown challenges" from The Pentagon, mad scientists, and people with a problem. Over time the "Challs" establish the hollowed-out Challengers Mountain as headquarters. Later they adopt an hourglass logo to symbolize time running out. They encounter genies, common and sophisticated thieves, rocs, aliens and robots good and bad. Their adventures later veer toward superheroics, and take in everything from occult menaces to Bermuda Triangle mysteries. The Challengers travel through space, time, and other dimensions. They encounter the likes of the Doom Patrol, Deadman, Swamp Thing, Jonny Double, and the Sea Devils, with whom they fight the criminal group Scorpio.[4] June Robbins, a computer genius and archaeologist, joined the Challengers for many adventures as an "honorary" or "girl" Challenger.

When Red is killed,[5] a teen rock star/engineering genius immediately wages a vendetta against the three-man team. "Tino Mannaray" turns out to be Martin Ryan, Red's kid brother, who blames the team for his death. Red eventually returns; though blown up, he had been dosed with shape-changing Liquid Light and rendered amnesiac, but still nearly conquered the Pacific as a Tiki god.

As the team's challenges become more occult, Red's brother Tino is blinded. Red donates an eye to his brother and dons an eye patch. Eventually Red receives an eye transplant. Prof becomes possessed by an evil spirit and is shot by a villain. While he recovers, Corinna Stark, a mysterious blond with mystical knowledge, invites herself onto the team. The Challengers fight occult alien-monsters in backwoods villages and dark dreams, and Rocky and Red fight for Corinna's affection.

The Challs are later semi-retired, their mountain a theme park, and their adventures disregarded as cooked-up articles in a tabloid, The Tattletale. The nearby town has renamed itself Challengerville, managing to thrive on the team's name. A cosmic entity, which prides itself as "the personification of all evil", influences the entity Multi-Man to blow up the mountain. The town is destroyed. Hundreds die, including, seemingly, Prof and June. The surviving Challengers are placed on trial, but eventually freed with the testimony of Superman. They are, however, ordered to disband.

A tabloid reporter, Moffet, becomes involved with the group after several unexplained incidents. Moffet began to piece together many seemingly unrelated massacres. Red became a violent, vigilante mercenary. Ace became an addled mystic, losing new-found friends due to inattention and incompetence. Rocky became lost in a life of luxury and ended up in an insane asylum.

Eventually the three reuinted and with Moffet's aid, found a strange portal near what was once Challengerville. They discovered Prof and June, pregnant, 'alive' in a strange 'phantom zone'. The dark demon confronted them and the final battle came down to Moffet and one neutron bomb. The decision to attack was literally taken out of his hands by Multi-Man, who sacrificed himself to destroy the demon.

"The New Challengers of the Unknown", including ghostly Prof and June, were poised to take on menaces in the dark corners of the world.

Later, four new Challengers pursue X-Files-like horrors. They are Clay Brody, NASCAR driver; Brenda Ruskin, physicist; Kenn Kawa, radical games designer; and Marlon Corbet, commercial pilot, who also miraculously survived a plane crash. They stopped sacrificial wackos, drug-juiced zombies, vengeful ghosts, Amazon cults, H. P. Lovecraftian monsters, mass suicides, humming buildings, and other oddities. They were advised by Rocky Davis, older and grayer and alone. It was eventually revealed the original Challengers were dematerialized by a mad scientist's ray-weapon. The same ray caused both plane crashes, as well as others. Soon the original Challs reappeared, helped the young Challs defeat the madman, then walked back into oblivion (minus a wounded Rocky) to shut down a runaway Tesla field. The young Challengers vowed to fight on.

Superboy discovers the missing Challengers - Ace, Red, Prof, and June - in Hypertime. The team was waging guerrilla war against Black Zero (a Superboy variant). With Black Zero defeated, the team returns to Earth, but loses Red along the way. Reunited with Rocky in Metropolis, hosted by Rip Hunter, the original Challengers vow to explore Hypertime, "the greatest unknown", to find Red.

Two Challengers partake in Infinite Crisis. Rocky Davis and Prof Haley help stem the escape of prisoners from Blackgate Prison,[6]. Rocky fights in the Battle of Metropolis. He is one of dozens of heroes fighting the opposing army of the Secret Society of Supervillains. The Soceity is ultimately defeated.[7].

Later, on a world without superheroes, a blogger, a hip hop artist, an eco-terrorist, and two others discovers they'd been genetically enhanced and chip-programmed to be soldier-pawns by the Hegemony, a cabal of billionaires who secretly run that world. Made slaves on a Moon base, three Challengers blow up the base, escape to Earth, and declare war on the Hegemony until (like the obliquely mentioned earlier Challengers) their "borrowed time" runs out.

Alternate versionsEdit

The Challengers make a brief appearance in the Elseworlds miniseries Conjurers, set in an alternate DCU where magic is a part of mainstream society. These are the "Volume 3" Challengers, but given the nicknames of the originals: Kenn is "Prof", Clay is "Rocky", Brenda is "Red" and Marlon is "Ace". (Since Kenn was always shown as the most "mystical" of the new Challs, it makes sense that he would be "Prof" in a magical universe, rather than Brenda, the team's scientist.)

During Superboy's trip through Hypertime, referenced above, he briefly visits an Elseworld in which the Challengers were himself, Ace, Guardian and Dubbilex. The June who arrives in the DCU at the end of that story is also an Elseworlds version, coming from a universe where she was a full Challenger from the beginning. She was apparently exchanged with the June of the main timeline when she was struck by Hypertime energies.

The Challengers also made brief appearances in JLA: Another Nail (when all time periods meld together) and Adventures of Superman Annual #7 (as part of a strikeforce of non-powered heroes).

They were prominently featured in Darwyn Cooke's DC: The New Frontier miniseries (2003-2004). Various members were essential in many battles against various menaces that arose throughout the series.

In the crossover series Amalgam Comics, the Challengers were merged with the Fantastic Four to become Challengers of The Fantastic.

'''''Challengers of the Unknown''''' is the title of a [[comic book]] series used on various occasions by [[DC Comics]]. Most of these series dealt with the original [[Challengers of the Unknown]]. The concept behind this team was a group of individuals surviving a disaster (a plane crash with the original group) and deciding to collectively do something with the "borrowed time" they have left.


On two occasions DC used the name and concept, with a new set of characters, as the basis for a new series. The first of these two, intended to be an [[ongoing series]], was published from late 1996 to mid-1998. The second was a six-issue [[limited series]] published in 2004.


==1996 series==

[[Image:ChallengersUnknownVol3No1.jpg|150px|thumb|Cover to issue #4<br>Art by [[John Paul Leon]] and [[Shawn Martinbrough]]]]

Started as a part of DC's [[Weirdoverse]] group of titles, the 1996 series was published for a total of eighteen issues -- [[cover date]]d February 1997 to July 1998. The characters were a mix of races and were, like the original group, the only survivors of a plane crash:


*Kenn Kawa: A man of [[Japan]]ese heritage and originally a [[game designer]].

*Clay Brody: A white male, originally a [[Auto racing|race car driver]].

*Brenda Ruskin: A white woman, originally a [[physicist]].

*Marlon Corbet: An [[African American]] man, originally the [[Aviator|pilot]] of the plane that crashed.


The 1996 series was originally conceived as the basis for a [[television]] series that never came about, as writer [[Steven Grant]] revealed in 2000:


{{cquote|COTU (as I took to calling it, to distinguish it from the Jack Kirby's original CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN, nicknamed "The Challs") actually started a year earlier, when I was brought in to create a new COTU for a TV pitch DC wanted to make to [[Warner Bros.|Warners]]. Yes, it can now be told, and I freely admit, that we threw out the original team because, [[Space Cowboys|SPACE COWBOYS]] aside, trying to pitch a concept built around four aging white guys to a TV market focused on a youth audience and pushing a veneer of multiculturalism (plenty of activist groups argue it's a pretty thin, even invisible, veneer, and they make a good case) would have been flat-out stupid, a waste of everyone's time and money. So: out with Ace, Rocky, Red and Prof; in with Brenda, Kenn, Marlon and Clay.<ref>Grant, Steven [http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=13467 Master of the Obvious] [[Comic Book Resources]], September 27, 2000</ref>}}


==2004 series==

[[Image:ChallengersUnknownVol4No1.jpg|150px|thumb|left|Cover to issue #1<br>Art by [[Howard Chaykin]]]]

The 2004 series was a six-issue limited series, written and drawn by [[Howard Chaykin]]. Unlike the other two versions this group didn't originate in a plane crash, instead, it was made up of survivors of a large scale [[Terrorism|terrorist]] attack in [[Long Beach, California]]:


*Zach Dyamond

*Tessa Crowne

*Rydell Starr

*Kendra Harte

*Holden Crosse

<br clear ="all">


===Collected editions===

Chaykin's series have been collected into a [[trade paperback (comics)|trade paperback]]:


*''Challengers of the Unknown: Stolen Moments, Borrowed Time'' (March 2006, ISBN 1-4012-0941-6).<ref>[http://dccomics.com/graphic_novels/?gn=4960 ''Stolen Moments, Borrowed Time''] at DC Comics.com</ref>


==Notes==

<references/>


==References==

{{refbegin}}

  • {{gcdb series|id=5732|title=''Challengers of the Unknown'' (1996 series)}}
  • {{comicbookdb|type=title|id=7588|title=''Challengers of the Unknown'' (1996 series)}}
  • {{gcdb series|id=12082|title=''Challengers of the Unknown'' (2004 series)}}
  • {{comicbookdb|type=title|id=7498|title=''Challengers of the Unknown'' (2004 series)}}

{{refend}}


[[Category:1997 comic debuts]]

[[Category:2004 comic debuts]]

[[Category:DC Comics titles]]

[[Category:DC Comics limited series]]

In other mediaEdit

NovelEdit

In 1977, author Ron Goulart penned the novel Challengers of the Unknown as part of a DC experiment in new venues. The original four and June Robbins trekked to South America to investigate Zarpa the lake monster. While on the case they encounter young men with old Nazi tattoos, ancient alien cults, a castle in the desert, a robotic dog, and a bomb in a piano crate. (ISBN 0-440-11337-7)

AnimationEdit

  • Although the Challengers have made no actual television appearances, the outfits worn by the watchtower workers in Justice League Unlimited are very similar to the team's classic uniforms.
  • The Challengers of the Unknown appeared in the animated film Justice League: The New Frontier. Ace Morgan (voiced by John Heard) in particular is spotlighted. He's sort of a mentor to Hal Jordan. Professor Haley is also in a cameo in the meeting of him, Agent Faraday, Ace Morgan, and Dr. Will Magnus. "Red" Ryan and "Rocky" Davis are also present during the battle and in the end.

AwardsEdit

The 1950-60s series won the 1967 Alley Awards for Best Non-Super-Powered Group Title and Best Normal Adventure Group.

Collected editionsEdit

DC has reprinted The early Challenger stories, including Kirby's run, in two hardcover DC Archives and paperback, black and white Showcase Presents:

  • Challengers of the Unknown Archive #1 (collects Showcase #6-7, 11-12, Challengers #1-2, 157 pages, August 2003, ISBN 1-56389-997-3)[8]
  • Challengers of the Unknown Archive #2 (collects Challengers #3-8, 168 pages, November 2004, ISBN 1-4012-0153-9)[9]
  • Showcase Presents Challengers of the Unknown Volume 1 (collects Showcase #6-7, 11-12, Challengers #1-17, 540 pages, September 2006, ISBN 1-4012-1087-2)[10]
  • Showcase Presents Challengers of the Unknown: Volume 2 (collects Challengers #18-37, 528 pages, May 2008, ISBN 1-4012-1725-7)[11]

The Loeb-Sale mini was reprinted as a trade paperback, Challengers of the Unknown Must Die! (December 2004, ISBN 1-4012-0374-4),[12] as was the Chaykin mini-series (March 2006, ISBN 1-4012-0941-6).[13]

FootnotesEdit

  1. [George, Milo (ed.) The Comics Journal: Jack Kirby (Fantagraphics 2002) p79 says "..depicted by Kirby and Dave Wood in 1957, the "Challengers of the Unknown"..."
  2. Template:Citation
  3. Movies of 1956 included BACK FROM ETERNITY about survivors of a plane crash and TOWARD THE UNKNOWN about test pilots entering space. Movies about skin divers, acrobats, mountain climbers, and boxers were also popular. See "You Might'a Been in Pictures: Possible Movie Sources for the Challengers of the Unknown[1]
  4. Challengers of the Unknown #47
  5. Challengers of the Unknown #55
  6. Villains United: Infinite Crisis Special #1
  7. Infinite Crisis #7
  8. Challengers of the Unknown Archive #1 at DC Comics.com
  9. Challengers of the Unknown Archive #2 at DC Comics.com
  10. Showcase Presents Challengers of the Unknown: Volume 1 at DC Comics.com
  11. Showcase Presents Challengers of Challengers of the Unknown: Volume 2 at DC Comics.com
  12. Challengers of the Unknown Must Die! at DC Comics.com
  13. Stolen Moments, Borrowed Time at DC Comics.com

ReferencesEdit

fr:Challengers of the Unknown pt:Desafiadores do Desconhecido

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