Challengers of the Unknown: Archives - VOL 02 Hardcover – Nov 15 2004
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In 1957 comics legend Kirby created the Challengers of the Unknown, a team of four adventurers who, having survived what should have been a fatal plane crash, devoted their lives to heedless risk taking since they were, as the scripts repeatedly iterated, living on borrowed time, anyway. (They borrowed enough time for the comic to survive well into the 1970s.) Mixing sf, high adventure, nonstop action, and scant characterization, the series may be seen as a prototype for Kirby's far-more-successful Fantastic Four, which debuted in 1961 and owed much of its appeal to the heroes' vivid personalities, courtesy of writer Stan Lee. In the contents of the second book reprinting Kirby's entire Challengers run, fellow comics legend Wally Wood inked over Kirby's pencil drawings in a collaboration brilliantly yoking Kirby's power and Wood's high-tech sheen. The Challengers' longevity--attempts to revive the strip continue to this day--testifies to the strength of Kirby's concept. None of his successors, however, came close to matching his blend of visual pizzazz and unabashed derring-do. Gordon Flagg
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The Challengers of the Unkown were a group of adventurers who on the way to a tv show about them are involved in a horrible plane crash. They all survive and dedicate themselves to challenging the unkown, in the belief that they are now living on barrowed time.
EC and Marvel legend Wally Wood and oddly enough Kirby's wife Roz Kirby ink the tales in this volume to great effect. Wood refines and adds polish to Kirby's dynamic pencils.
The stories are on par with what was being done in DC's Mystery and Science Fiction titles of the time with more of an adventure twist.
Of note is the story "Menace of the Invincible Challenger" from Challengers of the Unkown #3. In the story one of the Challengers, Rocky, gains super powers from a space flight ala the Fantastic Four, but three years earlier.
Kirby eventually had to leave DC due to a problem over a comic strip he was producing, going over to Atlas, which would shortly become Marvel (and the rest is history).
Bear in mind that the Challengers of the Unkown primed both the pump for DC's and Marvel's silver age.
A good volume of seldom or never reprinted silver age stories.
a wonderful art read experience. that's what comics are is art reading and these two artists were great artists by any standards. However they could have made a larger edition and put the next few issues in there even though they weren't done by true greats like these stories were. The stories are science fiction with the challengers facing time travel and even a supervillian caused by space rocks. But like alot of comics of the era you don't get any real backstory or personality of the characters they don't have lives outside of these adventures and you don't see any detail into their personalities. BUT, that was true of most of comics anyway at the time and at least you get lots of action and this is alot of fun for any age reader to enjoy. The good guys are all good and the bad guys are all rotten and that's that. But I love golden and early silver age and I am glad to get to read these in a book that was remastered and not just scanned from old comics like d.c. does to some of it's newer titles. see starman vol 2, anyways this will bring some good old enjoyment to you and you get to admire two masters at work here, the only reason I didn't give it five stars is because they should have put a few more issues in the book. The next artist who drew the series was a good artist and the challengers are a simple fun read so why not?
But you do pay a lower price on this edition to get these classic comics in book form which looks better than the original comics ever did!
Here in this book you get to see just where Jack created the Fantastic 4 at Marvel. It all came from the genius of Jack KING Kirby who invented Stan Lee. Only Stan made the money in his lifetime and Kirby did not.