another comic book I want to write someday

August 24, 2012

I wrote recently about my discovery of my new favorite comic, Planetary, and how it makes allusions to about a million other comics, books, movies, and so on.  One of the things it references is a primarily Silver Age comic called Challengers of the Unknown, about four heroic American dudes rendered largely invincible by a freak airplane accident.  They use their freak invincibility to basically go around, you know, challenging the unknown and stuff.  Axel Brass’s group in Planetary is kind of a cross between the Challengers and the League of Extraordinary Gentleman.  The Planetary group itself is partly inspired by the Challengers.  That comic’s fingerprints are all over Planetary.

So I wanted to get my hands on some Challengers of the Unknown, which I knew about but had never read.  I can always count on my comics friend Max to come through for me — he’s got the DC Archive Edition, and I got to work reading it, and it’s about what you’d expect in a comic featuring four true-blooded heroes battling the weird.  It’s, you know, weird.  As usual, though, I got hung up on something completely different, right on the first page, and it hasn’t let me go.

As the story opens, the four men who are to become the Challengers — Ace, Red, Rocky, and the Professor (yes, I know) — are on their way to a radio station to be interviewed about their amazing achievements so far.  This is what’s happening in the radio station before they get there:

And that’s the only time we ever hear about these four women.  BUT I WANT TO KNOW WHAT THEY DID!!  Who are they?  Where did they come from?  What happens to them next?  What secret lives do they lead when they aren’t being interviewed on radio shows?  WHO ARE THEY?!!!!!!!

They are the Challengerettes of the Unknown.  And I want to write a book about them.

7 Responses to “another comic book I want to write someday”

  1. ArcLight Says:

    What a coincidence. I’d like to read a book by you about them.


  2. You write it, I’ll read it. Promise!

  3. Andrew Says:

    It’s just a hunch, but I don’t think you’re going to get much objection here.

  4. Beth Says:

    While we are on the comic book subject, I came across this today and thought of you! http://www.abramsbooks.com/Books/The_Horror!_The_Horror!-9780810955950.html

  5. ltpen315 Says:

    I’ll read it!! Barb

  6. James Targett Says:

    While I would like to learn more about the fate of the Challengerettes of the Universe, I thought a large part of the background of the Four from Planetary was based on the Fantastic Four. Space accident / experiment / electromagnetic storm empowers them, and then the Planetary Four have the same powers as the Fantastic Four through Ellis’s twisted lens.

  7. carriev Says:

    That’s the beautiful thing — yes, the Four was the evil Fantastic Four, but I’m talking about the groups opposing the Four — Axel Brass, Planetary, the “extraordinary people coming together” trope.


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