Challengers of the Unknown
Challengers of the Unknown #79, Mar-Apr 1973
Well it’s 2014, so a big HAPPY NEW YEAR to one and all. I hope it brings you every success and happiness.
I’m still hard at it, working on the second volume of the great A Distant Soil restoration project. As you might expect this has meant a curtailment of my Gorilla Daze posts. However, I’m still here and don’t intend to go anywhere anytime soon. So, as and when I have the time, I’ll continue to chatter endlessly about those fine old Silver and Bronze Age comics of yore.
First up this year we have a gorilla cover by that master of the scratchy pen line, Joe Kubert. By 1973 Challengers of the Unknown was a reprint title published purely to tie in with co-creator Jack Kirby’s then-current stint at DC. The covers were often new though—although Kirby himself didn’t do any beyond a separate Super DC Giant issue—and such is the case here. The cover delineates a fairly minor incident in the first story of the issue, which is a reprint from Challengers of the Unknown #2 from 1958. In this tale the Challengers go up against the fearsome villain Roc, who has misappropriated the power create anything with just the power of thought! At one point, in order to stop the Challengers, Roc conjures up a giant gorilla. It’s only around for half a dozen panels, but it clearly provides sufficient inspiration for a fun cover.
A second tale it reprinted from Challengers of the Unknown #1, and also included is a brief biography of Jack Kirby’s career—as shown below. It’s interesting to note that Kirby’s entire career at Marvel—where he created and/or co-created pretty much all of the publisher’s major super-heroes—is reduced to just a single short part sentence following a comma! (click on the image for a better look)
Images ©2014 DC Comics