During April's Emerald City Comic Con, DC Entertainment announced a reboot of its 1985-1986 maxiseries DC Challenge.
The series, which was a round-robin featuring different characters and creators in each issue, featured some of DC's biggest talents working in a shared sandbox without the ability to talk to each other about what they were making. It featured most of DC's major superhero characters.
The new challenge will be set in the world of Jack Kirby's Kamandi, with 12 art teams and 12 writers pairing up to do a year-long project within the Kamandi map created by Kirby, the publisher announced. Today, the final list of creative teams was released, along with some details and preview art for the project, now titled The Kamandi Challenge.
The series will celebrate Jack Kirby's hundredth birthday, which will be on August 28, 2017. Kirby himself only lived to be 76, but because of his importance to the comics community, his family's continued involvement in the industry, and the esteem in which he was (and his work remains) held by creators and publishing professionals alike, numerous people and organizations typically put on events to celebrate "The King."
More details of the project will be discussed at the Meet the Publishers panel at New York Comic Con. DC Publisher Dan DiDio will write a prologue which will run in the series' oversized first issue, with art by his O.M.A.C. collaborator Keith Giffen. The finale will feature an epilogue by Len Wein and José Luis García-López.
Cover art for issue #1 will be provided by Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series), and a host of fan-favorite artists will provide the standard covers for future issues, with each issue’s interior artist provding the variant cover.
”Through the power of his imagination and seemingly endless energy and creativity, Jack Kirby made not just an indelible Kirby-Crackled mark on the world of comic books, but he ended up shaping the entirety of pop culture as it exists today,” said DC Publisher Jim Lee. “The vastness of Jack’s imagination and his powers as an artist and storyteller remain unmatched to this day. I sincerely doubt we will ever see the likes of Jack ‘the King’ Kirby ever again.”
DC characterized The Kamandi Challenge as one of "the first steps in an ongoing plan to recognize Kirby’s contributions to DC."
The KAMANDI Challenge consists of twelve teams, where one writer and artist are paired randomly and assigned one of 12 sections of Earth A.D., the post apocalyptic world inhabited by Kirby’s young hero, Kamandi. The first team begins the story in one section, while the last team ends the story in the same location. Each issue will take readers to a different portion of Earth A.D., and all teams are working completely independently of each other, so they have no idea what stories are being written. Some parts of Earth A.D. were fully developed by Kirby, while others weren’t, and it’s up to the creative teams to create stories worthy of Kirby’s character and the world he created.
”Over two dozen of the comic industry’s best and brightest talent have been selected to participate in one of the greatest comic book adventures of this, or any other decade, the Kamandi Challenge. Over two years in the making, we expect this series to reach heights of excitement and adventure worthy of ‘The King’ himself,” said DiDio.
Here's who DC has signed up:
- Issue #1 by Dan Abnett/Dale Eaglesham
- Issue #2 by Peter J. Tomasi/Neal Adams
- Issue #3 by Jimmy Palmiotti/Amanda Conner
- Issue #4 by James Tynion/Carlos D’Anda
- Issue #5 by Bill Willingham/Ivan Reis
- Issue #6 by Steve Orlando/Philip Tan
- Issue #7 by Marguerite Bennett/Dan Jurgens
- Issue #8 by Keith Giffen/Steve Rude
- Issue #9 by Tom King/Kevin Eastman
- Issue #10 by Greg Pak/Joe Prado
- Issue #11 by Rob Williams/Walter Simonson
- Issue #12 by Gail Simone/Ryan Sook
The roster is mostly the same as the rumored lineup from months ago, although a pair of notable names, which had Len Wein and José Luis García-López working on a full issue and confused those counting up the teams by looking like there were one too many comics on the list.
It's notable that Wein, Jurgens and Giffen will have participated in both DC Challenge stories, thirty years apart. Jurgens, who is currently writing the best-selling Action Comics and Batman Beyond, will provide his first interior art for a full issue since 2015's Convergence: Superman #2, although he has done some partial-issue fill-ins and covers, and he's currently providing some concept art for his Action Comics collaborators, apparently.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman's name is also on the list, marking his first DC work.
Jurgens has introduced a post-Flashpoint take on the world of Kamandi in Batman Beyond, a series he continues to write after Rebirth, albeit with Terry McGinnis and not Tim Drake in the lead at this point.
The Kamandi Challenge will begin in January 2017.