Outrage Week Finale: The Challengers of the Freaking Impossible.
All week long, readers have been asking me about what grinds MY gears. It’s a solid question, that I have stayed away from until this, the finale post of Outrage Week.
For years, at Comics Ink, the “clubhouse” did schtick about an imaginary comic book with a Fantastic Four or Challengers of the Unknown style premise. Adventurers who are explorers and scientists, the Challengers of the @#$%ing Impossible have a unique perspective. When they find a task…they decide that it isn’t difficult enough, and then deliberately handicap themselves in order to make the task that much more epic in scope. That’s their whole thing.
For example…a diplomat needs emergency heart surgery, and to be on his feet ready to negotiate a peace treaty the next day. Already, a herculean challenge of intellect and skill. Not so for the Challengers of the @#$%ing Impossible. The Challengers would select the member least qualified to do open heart surgery…and that person is doing the job. They then have to drink a quart of tequila, put on oven mitts, and only receive surgical instructions in Mandarin. At that point, the Challenge is strong enough.
That was the schtick. We did it a whole lot, especially around the release of New 52, as a “new book” that we anted to pitch.
Heck…for Tales of Adequacy No. 800, I even did a “Challengers of the @#$%ing Impossible” cover, since the schtick was so important to the shop. I even drew the cover there at Comics Ink. For those of you who havent seen it, here we go…it’s a few years back in the hopper (July 15th 2014):
So…what about this really grinds my gears, and gets me to the point of Outrage? Glad you asked.
About a month ago, on Free Comic Dook Day, I got an e-mail from an old and dear friend. The e-mail had the URL for a Facebook page, and that Facebook Page was for the “Challengers of the Freaking Impossible.” An independent comic, done here in Los Angeles, I’m fairly certain. They had the booth next to my friend at the Mini-con in Culver City, and were handing out stuff. My friend correctly asked in a subsequent e-mail whether we would “strike down upon them,” which was pretty @#$%ing tempting. I mean, we’ve had our schtick turned into comics content before, multiple times: rage vomiting, Orange Hulk, maximum effort…but it has always been something where it seemed like the idea was fun, and logical…so someone else might have come up with it. On their own.
Here, the difference is changing the curse word in the title to the nearest possible non-curse word. One of the members is even a teacher. Seriously, a teacher, an Alien American, a cowboy and a robot. When presented to other members of the clubhouse, it was pretty much deemed a party foul.
I checked out their Facebook and Twitter. The art is good. There’s not a whole lot of it, but it’s good. Each member is introduced individually, with the slogan “Suddenly, a Challenger appears!” The first to be introduced is Boy Howdy (depicted above having his teeth knocked out) a cowboy that doesn’t age and can control gravity. Later we get O-Man (an Alien American) Expendable Man, and Doctor Impossible. There haven’t been that many updates.
I don’t resent anyone making a buck, or being creative. Really, I don’t. Still…this seems pretty on point as an effort to run with schtick that was done in good fun, by someone that may have heard it, but certainly isn’t anyone that we know. That seems uncool. Even a post or a Tweet that says something like, “I used to go to a comics shop where the regulars did this routine…that inspired me to do this project”…that would ease the gear grinding here. It’s not like we own the gag in any way, after all.
It think it’s on point that the Mini-con where they were slinging freebies about the “Challengers of the Freaking Impossible” was the one run by Comic Bug…the retailer that took over the space after Comics Ink ended. Seems pretty poetic, that. One group inherits the space, the other the content.
I considered doing today’s art in color, and also considered speech balloons. Upon reflection, I decided that the art spoke for itself…a sort of quiet Outrage. Plus, I wouldn’t want to hand off any more content to absorb and assimilate.
“Challenger” my @$%.