Challengers of the Unknown (alternate series)
Challengers of the Unknown is the title of a comic book series used on various occasions by DC Comics. Most of these series dealt with the original Challengers of the Unknown. The concept behind this team was a group of individuals surviving a disaster (a plane crash with the original group) and deciding to collectively do something with the "borrowed time" they have left.
On two occasions DC used the name and concept, with a new set of characters, as the basis for a new series. The first of these two, intended to be an ongoing series, was published from late 1996 to mid-1998. The second was a six-issue limited series published in 2004.
Started as a part of DC's Weirdoverse group of titles, the 1996 series was published for a total of eighteen issues -- cover dated February 1997 to July 1998. The characters were a mix of races and were, like the original group, the only survivors of a plane crash:
- Kenn Kawa: A man of Japanese heritage and originally a game designer.
- Clay Brody: A white male, originally a race car driver.
- Brenda Ruskin: A white woman, originally a physicist.
- Marlon Corbet: An African American man, originally the pilot of the plane that crashed.
COTU (as I took to calling it, to distinguish it from the Jack Kirby's original Challengers of the Unknown, nicknamed "The Challs") actually started a year earlier, when I was brought in to create a new COTU for a TV pitch DC wanted to make to Warners. Yes, it can now be told, and I freely admit, that we threw out the original team because, Space Cowboys aside, trying to pitch a concept built around four aging white guys to a TV market focused on a youth audience and pushing a veneer of multiculturalism (plenty of activist groups argue it's a pretty thin, even invisible, veneer, and they make a good case) would have been flat-out stupid, a waste of everyone's time and money. So: out with Ace, Rocky, Red and Prof; in with Brenda, Kenn, Marlon and Clay.
The 2004 series was a six-issue limited series, written and drawn by Howard Chaykin. Unlike the other two versions this group didn't originate in a plane crash, instead, it was made up of survivors of a large scale terrorist attack in Long Beach, California:
- Zach Dyamond
- Tessa Crowne
- Rydell Starr
- Kendra Harte
- Holden Crosse
Chaykin's series have been collected into a trade paperback: