This month's Do You Even Comic with Logan Naugle is "Challengers of the Unknown Must Die," graphic novel by the dream team of character books Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.
The DC comics property 'Challengers of the Unknown' was created in 1957 by non other than Jack Kirby. The comic is about a quartet of adventurers who survive a plane crash and decide to do something more with there lives while living on "borrowed time." The series itself would go off in one-shot adventures in a very 1960's style of comic book fashion. The team would often face paranormal cases and fantastical enemies. They would often face unknown challenges from time to space and creatures from out of this world.
Please note: This was created before the Fantastic Four (1961) and Jack Kirby admits to using some concepts from The Challengers when he and Stan Lee created the Fantastic Four.
The book got a soft relaunch (1991) by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. This was the first book for the team who went on to do Batman: The Long Halloween along with several other acclaimed titles.
This run sees the four man team as middle aged and retired, following a tragic and mysterious accident. The four main characters are Ace, Red, Rocky and Prof. It takes place years after their glory days of adventuring. Some still live in their mountain side headquarters called Challenge Mountain. What set this story in motion is the reemergence of a former foe and what proceeds is unknown.
Why this book?
Let me admit that this book won't be for everyone, it has flaws, it was also intended to be ongoing and the end of the book will feel rushed. But I love the artwork and what made me love the story was the concept of living on borrowed time. This idea that you owe the world because you got lucky and survived a plane crash, and the way they play with that concept of time catching up, really stuck with me. Jeph Loeb doesn't hit his stride in this first book but it is one of his and Sale's most experimental, and I love the story of one last adventure.
It was my brother that recommended Challengers to me, I was already a huge fan of Tim Sale's artwork. My brother Introduced me to many books I would inevitably recommend and I still look to him for the next great book to read. Now I had already read "Long Halloween", A book by this same team and one of the greatest Batman stories out there but when I picked this book something clicked and I was hooked.
If this sounded like a book for you then get it here: