Read Showcase Presents: Challengers of the Unknown, Vol. 1 by Dave Wood Jack Kirby Ed Herron Online


Collects Showcase numbered 6, 7, 11, 12 and Challengers of the Unknown numbered 1-18 (1957-1959)....

Title : Showcase Presents: Challengers of the Unknown, Vol. 1
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781401210878
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 544 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Showcase Presents: Challengers of the Unknown, Vol. 1 Reviews

  • Joseph
    2019-04-08 18:55

    After reading the Jack Kirby collection of The Challengers of the Unknown, I picked up this Showcase Presents volume, which collects the Kirby stuff (four issues of Showcase, then the first eight issues of their own title) plus issues 9 - 17. So, I cheated a bit in reading this, because I had already read about half of it before, but whatevs, peeps.The premise of the Challengers of the Unknown centers around four guys who have cheated death, and decided to spend the rest of their life, living on "borrowed time," fighting strange phenomenon of all sorts. They are a group of adventurers, and their missions, very much a product of the time when this was printed originally (late 1950s/early 60s), are mostly B-grade science fiction with a bit of fantasy thrown in. If you enjoy hokey B movies from the same time period, you'll get a kick out of these comics. Some of the plots get repeated with slight variations, but overall,they're inventive enough and stand on their own.After Kirby left, veteran DC artist Bob Brown did the art, and while pretty good, lacks a lot of the visual "oomph" Kirby gave his pencils. The latter scripts are uncredited, unfortunately.Of course, these comics are exposition heavy, and there's not a lot of characterization, but they're fun to read. No overly complicated plots, just two self contained stories each issue. I'll be picking up the second volume soon, and hope DC continues the Showcase Presents series for the Challengers to collect the rest of their Silver and Bronze Age stories.

  • Stephen Theaker
    2019-03-28 20:57

    The Challengers of the Unknown live in a world where anything can happen, and, best of all, there aren't any superheroes flying around to grab all the fun. If something weird is going on in their world, they're the people you call. It doesn't matter that they're just four better-than-average humans - or five, once June becomes a very welcome distaff member - they're the best this world has to offer, and they always give it their best shot. You have to love the spirit of four guys whose go-to move, when confronted with giants of all varieties, is to run at them in a big gang shouting things like: "Let's all hit him -- together!"The big problem with this book is that it can be very difficult to tell the Challengers apart in black-and-white. In a colour book their hair would help (red, blonde, brown and that strange hair colour only found it comics, the Superman blue-black). In black-and-white, you've just two blonde guys (one beefy, one slim), and two black-haired guys (one beefy, one slim), all in identical costumes. It got very frustrating, to the point that I began to think about getting my daughter to colour them in for me.I never expected to say this about a comic, but it became much more readable once Jack Kirby stopped drawing it. What appalling heresy!At the time, I thought it was down to the change of artist (to Bob Brown), but looking back through the book, I'm hard pressed to spot a really significant change in the way the Challengers are drawn. It's more down to the (usually uncredited) writing.In the early issues the Challengers are pretty interchangeable, apart from their specialised skills (pilot, diver/boffin, climber, wrestler). Then for a few issues after Kirby leaves the art, they suddenly develop personalities, ones that oddly enough aren't a million miles away from those of the Fantastic Four (Kirby's next book). The climber develops a bit of a Johnny Storm look and attitude, and starts poking and teasing the wrestler, who's turned into a bit of a Ben Grimm. Towards the end of the book, unfortunately, they revert to being totally characterless, but by that point June's role has become more prominent, which balances it out.I'm a huge fan of the Essentials and Showcases. They've let me read and enjoy hundreds of comics that I would never have shelled out for in more prestigious and pocket-gouging formats like the Masterworks or the Archives. And as someone who grew up reading the black-and-white British comics of the seventies, I've never felt the lack of colour to be a huge problem. But in this case, it comes very close to spoiling the book.What saves it is the Kirby streak that runs through all his comics: the feeling of freedom, of imagination left to follow its nose. If you want to find out what lies beyond the realms of possibility, he's your man...

  • Jason Luna
    2019-03-28 19:02

    This the work of comic book legend Jack Kirby, or at least he co-created it. But all that's "legendary" about this comic is that it seems really old and dated and slow.It's like there are four guys who like going on adventures together, and they each have different skills that generally summarize into "likes running around while aliens like to to kill you". But for some reason Kirby really likes to obsessively place characters into their specific skills.It's not just that one Challlenger likes to skin dive, one likes to wrestle. He has to tell you in the beginning of each issue which one is which. And then he has to introduce to the reader again which one is which as the story goes on. Like "you know the skin diver, guess who's underwater now?" It makes what is already a single issue storyline resolution with repetitive use of aliens and generic thieves even more simple, giving a formula.I liked the stories that the book listed as being written by "UNKNOWN" and pencilled by Bob Brown better than the Kirby ones.It's basically that Brown loses the pretence that these four white guys with crew cuts are especially unique individuals, and just go and ahead and have them get straight to adventures. I also like Bob Brown's artwork better in this book, I guess it didn't help that the stories didn't seem as creative as the work that Kirby did much later with Marvel/DC.I don't know how I feel about the character of June. On the one hand, she is in fact a woman in contrast to the four dudes, and she goes on almost all of their adventures. But despite adventuring, they make a point of calling her an "honorary" member constantly. It's like feminism but not really? Also, she's not that much more differentiated as a character than the other dudes. She also likes adventures, generally wants good guys to win, etc.So in general, this seemed like a really bland attempt to make science fiction or rugged outdoor comics into superhero adventures, and seem really bland. Like a glass of milk.2/5 (mostly being kind because it read ok, even if it read that way because it was super simplified!)

  • Christopher Roth
    2019-03-26 23:01

    (Would be five stars if Kirby drew every page of it. Read on for explanation.) Downsides first: there's a reason most people haven't heard of the Challengers of the Unknown: the storylines here are puerile and wince-makingly scientifically incoherent in a 1950s way, and in black-and-white format at least it is almost impossible, even after 30+ adventures, to tell the four main characters apart, part of DC Comics' now-70-years-old unswerving commitment to shunning all character development whatsoever. For historical interest, this is indeed, in 1957, the proto-launching of the Silver Age, with a premise that prefigures 1961's Fantastic Four premiere almost point by point, all the way down to an inaugural plane crash and four-way solemn oath and adoption of team name. “Challengers” also prefigures the similarly premised TV series “Run for Your Life” by about seven years. But the most impressive thing about this volume is that it is an unexpected place to find what one could argue is among Jack Kirby's best work. His lines had sharpened and his detail deepened considerably from Golden Age days, his compositions are as kinetic as his Capt. America work, and his inker, the incomparable Wally Wood, with whom he never worked again, was a perfect complement to Kirby—especially when compared to the late (1970-ish onward) Kirby, whose work was really overwhelmed, heresy though this is to say, by the heavy, unrealistically blocky inking of Royko and especially Joe Sinnott. The difference that comes halfway through the volume, when Bob Brown took over the pencilling from Kirby, is night and day: Brown's style is typical lame DC: static figures, inexpressive faces, and blank backdrops in alternating primary colors. By contrast, Kirby's panels have figures always caught in mid-motion, rich textured backgrounds, inventive and never repetitive perspectives, dramatic foreshortening, and wildly varying concepts for monsters and landscapes. That having been said, the stories Kirby actually scripted remind us—with their wooden humorless dialogue and high concepts that drown out characterization—that in many ways by 1959 he was still just awaiting his Stan Lee.

  • Adam Graham
    2019-04-08 23:02

    This collections follos the Adventures of the Challengers of the Unknown, originally created for DC by the great Jack Kirby. The basic plot: Four adventurers survive a plane crash, declare they are on borrowed time and set off on a series of fantastic adventures. They later are jointed by a woman named June who becomes an honorary Challenger.The collection is a bit hit and miss. On the plus side, most of the stories represent the truly amazing fun of 1950s Science Fiction with strange monsters, aliens, weird magic, etc. One of the highlights of this book is the introduction of Multi-man. In addition, the art of Jack Kirby makes these stories a treat. In many ways, the series would seem to be a precursor to the Fantastic Four which he'd create just a few years later with Stan Lee.The downside is the lack of characterization. With the books in black and white, it could be a challenge to tell the characters apart, although the pugnacious Rocky became fairly easy to distinguish. As for the rest of them forget it. They also seemed to think the same and talk the same. So this was Fantastic Four minus superpowers and characterization. In addition, some of the plots could get repetitive as someone was changed into creature/given Amazing powers and then Challengers defeats them and destroy whatever technology/magic was at the root of it.So, mixed feelings. There were some fun moments reading this collection, but it didn't leave me wanting to read Volume 2.

  • Fizzgig76
    2019-04-10 01:03

    Reprints Showcase #6-7, 11-12, and Challengers of the Unknown #1-17. Ace, Red, Rocky, and Prof defy death and set up to explore the mysteries of Earth. The Challengers of the Unknown combines a sci-fi, creature of the month type comic with aspects of super-hero comics. The stories are sometimes inspiring and other times are just repetative. They do have a classic comic feel to them, but don't come looking for a plot...the Challengers can beat any obstical.

  • Glen
    2019-04-07 18:01

    A collection of comic book tales that is excellent as long as Jack Kirby is involved, but loses some steps when he leaves for Marvel. The feature never really recovered, despite several attempts at revival.Four daredevils that live on borrowed time, have all kinds of adventures, usually involving some form of magic or super-science, including extraterrestrials.

  • Travis
    2019-04-15 18:46

    Four guys in purple jumpsuits work together to protect the world from an enormous amount of aliens, giant monsters, natural disasters and mad scientists.Lots of fun as Kirby is just telling lots of great pulpy sci-fi adventures.Only complaint is that the early stories are not big on characterization, so in black and white it can be hard to tell the guys apart.

  • Sesho Maru
    2019-04-16 18:59

    Pretty representative of the awful comics DC was putting out in the late 50s and early 60s.....except for Jack Kirby's always masterful art. He's in classic form here in the first half of the book until no nome hacks take over the stories. Ugh. Would have given it one star but Kirby made it go up one notch.

  • Rick
    2019-03-30 18:56

    This collection starts off fantastically. The issues that Jack Kirby was involved with are delightfully fun. Unfortunately once Kirby felt things went downhill fast; really fast and very far downhill.

  • Stephen
    2019-04-10 20:46

    good adventure comics.

  • Debra
    2019-04-09 17:45

    Nothing will defeat the Challengers!!!