(January-February 1957)

DC, 1956 Series
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Price:
0.10 USD
Pages:
36
Indicia frequency:
bi-monthly
Indicia / Colophon Publisher:
National Comics Publications, Inc.
Brand:
Superman DC National Comics
Editing:
Jack Schiff
Color:
color
Dimensions:
standard Silver Age US; then standard Modern Age US
Paper Stock:
newsprint
Binding:
saddle-stitched
Publishing Format:
was ongoing series

Challengers of the Unknown (Table of Contents)

Challengers of the Unknown / cover / 1 page (report information)

Script:
?
Pencils:
Jack Kirby
Inks:
Jack Kirby ?
Colors:
?
Letters:
?

Genre:
adventure
Characters:
Challengers of the Unknown [Ace Morgan; Prof Haley; Red Ryan; Rocky Davis]
Reprints:

Indexer Notes

Nick Caputo believes someone other than Kirby inked the cover. The linework on characters faces, hair and clothing is unlike Kirby's known inking style.

The Secret of the Sorcerer's Box [Chapter 1] (Table of Contents)

Challengers of the Unknown / comic story / 6 pages (report information)

Script:
Jack Kirby (plot, script); Dave Wood (script)
Pencils:
Jack Kirby
Inks:
Jack Kirby ?; Roz Kirby (blacks)
Colors:
?
Letters:
Ben Oda

Genre:
adventure
Characters:
Challengers of the Unknown [Ace Morgan; Prof Haley; Red Ryan; Rocky Davis] (introduction for all, origin); un-named sailors; un-named citizens; Mr. Morelian (villain, introduction, death)
Synopsis:
Four heroes are being flown to appear on the radio show "Heroes" when their jet crashes in a storm. Miraculously, all four survive unharmed, even down to a working watch. Since they are "living on borrowed time", they vow to make the best use of it, taking risks to benefit others, challenging the unknown. In their first official case, they are summoned by Morelian, a descendant of Merlin, to open four chambers of a dangerous alchemist's box and "witness things not seen on this Earth since the dawn of Man!"
Reprints:

Indexer Notes

First appearance of the Challengers of the Unknown. According to Joe Simon and Jack Kirby historians, Jack Kirby brought the proposal for the Challengers to DC. DC bought the concept and folded it into Showcase.

Credits updated by Bob Hughes. Previously the inker listed was Marvin Stein. Per Stein's conversations with Greg Theakston, he did not ink any Challengers stories.

An epilogue occurs in Secret Origins 12 (1987), when the Challengers are reunited with the box to solve its final mystery.

Letterer credit from Rodrigo Baeza via the editor e-mail list on 2007-3-5.

["Whew! That sun is hot!"] (Table of Contents)

Shorty / filler / 0.67 page (report information)

Script:
Henry Boltinoff
Pencils:
Henry Boltinoff
Inks:
Henry Boltinoff
Colors:
?
Letters:
Henry Boltinoff

Genre:
humor
Reprints:

Whistle Magic! (Table of Contents)

filler / 1 page (report information)

Script:
Mort Drucker
Pencils:
Mort Drucker
Inks:
Mort Drucker
Colors:
?
Letters:
Mort Drucker

Genre:
non-fiction
Reprints:

Dragon Seed! [Chapter 2] (Table of Contents)

Challengers of the Unknown / comic story / 6 pages (report information)

Script:
Jack Kirby (plot, script); Dave Wood (script)
Pencils:
Jack Kirby
Inks:
Jack Kirby ?; Roz Kirby (blacks)
Colors:
?
Letters:
Ben Oda

Genre:
adventure
Synopsis:
The Challs relocate the box to a tropical island and draw straws. The first chamber releases a "Dragon's Egg" that hatches a stone giant of legend. It wreaks havoc on ships, even resisting an atom bomb. What to do? While back on the island, Rocky's ready to crack the next chamber.
Reprints:

Indexer Notes

Credits updated 10/06 by Bob Hughes. Previously inker listed as Marvin Stein. Per Stein's conversations with Greg Theakston, he did not ink any Challengers stories. Letters credit from Rodrigo Baeza via the editor e-mail list on March 5, 2007.

Buzzy's Famous Books Quiz (Table of Contents)

public service announcement / 1 page (report information)

Script:
Jack Schiff
Pencils:
Ruben Moreira
Inks:
Ruben Moreira
Colors:
?
Letters:
Ira Schnapp

Genre:
non-fiction

["This is getting very uncomfortable."] (Table of Contents)

Moolah the Mystic / filler / 1 page (report information)

Script:
Henry Boltinoff
Pencils:
Henry Boltinoff
Inks:
Henry Boltinoff
Colors:
?
Letters:
Henry Boltinoff

Genre:
humor

The Freezing Sun! [Chapter 3] (Table of Contents)

Challengers of the Unknown / comic story / 6 pages (report information)

Script:
Jack Kirby (plot, script); Dave Wood (script)
Pencils:
Jack Kirby
Inks:
Jack Kirby ?; Roz Kirby (blacks)
Colors:
?
Letters:
Ben Oda

Genre:
adventure
Synopsis:
Picked up by sailors, Red returns to the island to find the second chamber open and Rocky frozen stiff. The menace is a sentient freezing sun from parts unknown that sucks up all heat, freezing people. Alone, Red cobbles a vacuum chamber and lures the sun inside, trapping it. Meanwhile, out on the water, Prof realizes that, since the Dragon Seed Giant can't be harmed by anything, it must be a thought, so he "thinks" it out of existence. All the while, Morelian flies overhead, watching.
Reprints:

Indexer Notes

Credits updated 10/06 by Bob Hughes. Previously inker listed as Marvin Stein. Per Stein's conversations with Greg Theakston, he did not ink any Challengers stories. Letters credit from Rodrigo Baeza via the editor e-mail list on March 5, 2007.

I Fought the Phantom Planes (Table of Contents)

text story / 2 pages (report information)

Script:
?
Pencils:
?
Inks:
?
Colors:
?
Letters:
typeset

Genre:
war

The Whirling Weaver! [Chapter 4] (Table of Contents)

Challengers of the Unknown / comic story / 6 pages (report information)

Script:
Jack Kirby (plot, script); Dave Wood (script)
Pencils:
Jack Kirby
Inks:
Jack Kirby ?; Roz Kirby (blacks)
Colors:
?
Letters:
Ben Oda

Genre:
adventure
Synopsis:
The third menace is a tube that releases a whirling weaver. Out of control, it spins ribbons that snarl entire cities. The Challs pursue, then discover a dial on the weaver's tube and slow it to a halt. Returning to the island, they find Morelian has opened the fourth chamber for his own selfish reasons. He got a diamond ring of immortality: he'll live forever. Except the inscription on the box is vague, "contained in me, find immortality". Morelian flies off, but his plane stalls and crashes, killing himself and destroying the box. The box granted immortality: the ring was certain death. The Challengers fly off, asking, "I wonder what what's ahead of us now?"
Reprints:

Indexer Notes

Credits updated 10/06 by Bob Hughes. Previously inker listed as Marvin Stein. Per Stein's conversations with Greg Theakston, he did not ink any Challengers stories. Letters credit from Rodrigo Baeza via the editor e-mail list on March 5, 2007.

Editing

Table of Contents

  1. 0. Challengers of the Unknown
    Challengers of the Unknown
  2. 1. The Secret of the Sorcerer's Box [Chapter 1]
    Challengers of the Unknown
  3. 2. ["Whew! That sun is hot!"]
    Shorty
  4. 3. Whistle Magic!
  5. 4. Dragon Seed! [Chapter 2]
    Challengers of the Unknown
  6. 5. Buzzy's Famous Books Quiz
  7. 6. ["This is getting very uncomfortable."]
    Moolah the Mystic
  8. 7. The Freezing Sun! [Chapter 3]
    Challengers of the Unknown
  9. 8. I Fought the Phantom Planes
  10. 9. The Whirling Weaver! [Chapter 4]
    Challengers of the Unknown
This issue was most recently modified by:
  • Tony R. Rose
  • Nick Caputo
  • Clayton Emery
  • Jim Van Dore
  • Craig Delich
  • Gene Reed
Issues in this series have been indexed by:
  • Gene Reed
  • Donald Dale Milne
  • Clayton Emery
  • Mike Nielsen
  • Ed Boner