Professor Challenger

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle dressed as Professor Challenger, complete with false beard, for an early publicity photoReal Name: Professor George Challenger

Identity/Class: Normal human

Occupation: Scientist and adventurer

Affiliations: Lord John Roxton, Edward Malone, Professor Summerlee

Enemies: Theodore Nemor

Known Relatives: Jessie (wife, deceased), Enid (daughter), Edward Malone (son-in-law)

Aliases: None known

Base of Operations: Based in England, active worldwide

First Appearance: The Lost World (Hodder & Stoughton, 1912)

Powers/Abilities: None, though his willpower and intellect are near superhuman.

History: Professor George Challenger was a Victorian / Edwardian adventurer and scientist. Described as "a cave-man in a lounge suit", he was known for his fiery temper and outrageous (but generally correct) scientific theories. He first came to wide-spread public notice when he led an expedition to a lost world of dinosaurs located atop a South American plateau.

Sometime after he returned from this adventure, he discovered a poisonous gas belt which was in Earth's path. Unable to convince people he wasn't insane when he tried to warn them, he sealed himself, and a select group of family and friends, in his house, protecting them whilst the planet passed through this spatial anomaly. For a while the people he had saved believed they were the only life left on Earth, but luckily the gas proved to have only rendered everyone else unconscious, not dead.

Challenger as he was depicted in the Strand MagazineLater Challenger came to believe that the Earth itself was a living being, and led a project to dig into the core to prove this theory. He followed this escapade with an investigation into a machine which could disintegrate and then reassemble matter.

In his later years Challenger investigated spiritualism, desiring to debunk the rising tide of charlatans (as he saw them). However, in spite of his innate skepticism, he eventually became a believer and went on to champion their cause with the authorities.

Comments: Created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

"A stunted Hercules whose tremendous vitality had all run to depth, breadth, and brain." Challenger gets on this list not so much because he himself demonstrates the requisite abilities to be a superhero, but because the type of adventures he has marks him out as belonging to a fantastical world. Where Conan Doyle's Holmes stories are mysteries, the Challenger tales are science fiction.

Professor Challenger starred in five stories. The best known of the Professor Challenger adventures is "The Lost World.", which has been adapted into movies and TV series. But Challenger also starred in "The Poison Belt", "When the World Screamed", "The Disintegration Machine" and "The Land of Mist", which while less well known are no less gripping.

The following biographical details for Challenger are given in "The Lost World" when another character checks into the background of the irascible scientist:

Bob Hoskins as Professor Challenger in the BBC's Lost World "Challenger, George Edward. Born: Largs, N. B., 1863.

Educ.: Largs Academy; Edinburgh University. British Museum Assistant, 1892. Assistant-Keeper of Comparative Anthropology Department, 1893. Resigned after acrimonious correspondence same year.

Winner of Crayston Medal for Zoological Research. Foreign Member of'--well, quite a lot of things, about two inches of small type--`Societe Belge, American Academy of Sciences, La Plata, etc., etc. Ex-President Palaeontological Society. Section H, British Association'--so on, so on!

`Publications: "Some Observations Upon a Series of Kalmuck Skulls"; "Outlines of Vertebrate Evolution"; and numerous papers, including "The underlying fallacy of Weissmannism," which caused heated discussion at the Zoological Congress of Vienna.

Recreations: Walking, Alpine climbing. Address: Enmore Park, Kensington, W."

Though Challenger's later adventures have tended not to be covered, his first tale, The Lost World, has been adapted many times into comics, TV shows and movies.

CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with

Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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