Comic Treadmill on Challengers #82
Comic Treadmill is a long running blog discussion platform launched in 2003 by Mag and H. It was inspired by a series of email exchanges where H commented on comics from his collection in the process of his long overdue indexing of same. The commentary was engaging to the degree that it gave birth to one of the more well known sources for information and discussion in the comics blogoshpere.
H posted a commentary last weekend on Challengers of the Unknown #82 from 1977, which I penciled in 1976 (still Mike Nasser). It was inked by Josef Rubinstein and written by Gerry Conway. The issue also sports a one panel Swamp Thing appearance that was inked by Berni Wrightson – and a one page bio replacing the letters in that issue, indicating that DC was beginning to take note of my art. It was the second and only Challengers book I drew after issue # 81 that was inked by Bob Wiacek.
Barely 21 years old when I drew it, Challengers #82 was one of several turning points in my early career. The few books I’d previously penciled for DC were early training ground, while this issue took a sharp turn towards looking more like an exciting and professional comic book. It was the first time Neal Adams looked through one of my books and said: “This is a good comic book!”
In the post at Comic Treadmill, H recalls that Gerry Conway was not one of his favorite writers but that upon re-reading this book now while indexing it, he may have not have given the book its fair due in the past and that it was a good enjoyable story. H also comments on the art:
And I have always liked the art of Mike Nasser, who does the pencils with Joe Rubenstein inking. Sure, Nasser’s style owed more than a little to Neal Adams, but I like Neal Adams art and I like Nasser’s Adams-like style. The art demands the eye’s attention. Here are three good examples.
In a comment on the post, Keith adds:
The Challengers of the Unknown have never thrilled me, either. I DO love Mike Nasser’s artwork, though. Had I known of his involvement with this series, I would have picked it up years ago. Nasser’s an artist I never felt really got his due. I consider him one of the heavy-hitters of the 70′s, but I seem to hold the minority opinion. Thanks for shedding light on this forgotten series. I imagine that if I can find it, it won’t be terribly expensive to pick up. I’m sure you get this a lot, but I love your site. Quite happy I stumbled across it.
Kind gratitude, H and Keith, for the very nice words.