Cancelled Comic Cavalcade: The Challengers of the @#$%ing Impossible!
For three issues in 1990, Marvel replaced the Fantastic Four with their biggest selling characters at the time: Wolverine, Ghost Rider, a suit wearing Grey Hulk, and Spider-Man. Today, in 2016, the Fantastic Four has been cancelled, there is no Ghost Rider in print, Wolverine is deceased due to licensing issues with Fox, and there’s a new Asian American Hulk. The only character still appearing in Marvel Comics from that A-list sales roster is Spider-Man.
Which is precisely why the protagonist is taking his place on the team. With that change, none of the Challengers of the @#$%ing Impossible depicted above are in print by Marvel Comics. If you figured that out just by looking at the image, you get a No-Prize.
Also, let it be said clearly that the Challengers of the @#$%ing Impossible are obviously distinct from the Challengers of the Freaking Impossible, an indie comic that is being done locally here in Los Angeles. By no means am I suggesting that the Comics Ink schtick was grafted into that…it makes total sense that almost the exact same schtick would form independently, in the same general location. Of course I think that.
Moving on…I think that if these guys were the Challengers of the @#$%ing Impossible for a while, you’d want to send them all on Peace Missions. All of them have severe anger issues…in fact, the protagonist is the most even keel of the lot. Considering that she has a tendency to hurl things directly into the Sun, that’s not really a very rational group, you know? The biggest challenge would be getting them to sit still and agree on things, or compromise.
As a super team…they aren’t really that good. They fail the “well rounded” test. Even with Spider-Man instead of our hero…they kind of fail that test. We have a bunch of really tough, “beat ’em up” kind of superheroes here. Spider-Man brings his webbing to the table, but pretty much…they are strong, tough guys who can take a lot of licks, and dish out punching. No ranged powers…no real defense other than being mega tough. I think that worked for the three issues, but in terms of visuals and narrative, wouldn’t work much longer than that.
While doing the cover, I debated whether to use the Webster’s Dictionary spelling of “canceled” or the Oxford English Dictionary spelling of “cancelled”. My spell checker accepts both of them, but as an English Teacher, it’s important to me, despite the vexing typos that I find I make in the blog. It dawned on me that DC Comics gave me the answer in 1978, with the title of one of their publications. Let’s take a look at the pencils for that cover, shall we?
For those that don’t know (it’s obscure) “Cancelled Comic Cavalcade” featured a collection of unpublished stories which were originally slated as “next issue” stories for over thirty-five comic book titles which were discontinued as a result of the 1978 DC Implosion. The Implosion was the name for that obviously massive downsizing of publications. Still…the stories were already paid for, and the work done…so it was financially clever to put them in print, and recoup some of the loss.
I wanted today’s art to be dynamic, fun, and portrait layout instead of landscape. Also, I was still a bit cranky about the whole Challengers of the Freaking Impossible thing. The summer hasn’t gotten started yet, really, so I don’t really have Summer Content. Two summers ago, I had the Fantastic Four to fill that Content Gap (cancelled now, with most of the characters out of Marvel print) and last summer, by now I had my whole Arm Injury and New School Content. Out of that mishmosh of ideas came this…
The group is fun to draw…we might see them again as a result of that. As I mentioned in the caption…also very HARD to draw.
That being said…it’s back to the drawing board!