December 1, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #262: The Comet

This guy doesn't stay dead.

I should probably clarify something first.  Yes, I did, way back in Case File #69, cover a hero named Comet.  That Comet was a supporting character in a Supergirl series.  So, to simplify things, I’ll refer to this week’s entry as the Comet.

Besides, this character came from Archie Comics.  You heard me right.  Archie.

See, back in the 40s, everyone wanted to make their own superheroes, and Archie Comics was no exception.  One such hero was the Comet.  First appearing in Pep Comics #1 from January of 1940, the Comet was the creation of Plastic Man creator Jack Cole, but he didn’t stretch or do cool stuff like that.

No, he straight-up killed bad guys with his special vision powers.

Here he is, killing some bad guys with his disintegrator vision.

OK, I am getting ahead of myself.

Scientist John Dickering discovered a gas that was actually lighter than hydrogen.  He discovered if he injected small amounts into his bloodstream, he could leap long distances.  Eventually, it also did something to his eyes.  His eyes now shot off beams that completely obliterated anything they hit aside from the special glass he wore in a visor over his face.  Seeing the destructive power of his new abilities, Dickering destroyed all of the rest of the gas.

A special visor holds back his deadly eye-beams?  That sounds a wee bit familiar.

Then again, if his eyesight was now impaired, that might explain why he looked the way he did in costume.

Now, it should be worth noting that this Comet did something unusual, something that had perhaps never happened to a superhero before:  he died in the line of duty.

That was in Pep #17.  His brother, the man he rescued, would go on to become a hero too going by the name of the Hangman.

So, that’s it, right?  The Comet is dead?  Not exactly.

For one thing, Archie seemed to revive its hero line every 20 years.  That meant the Comet returned in both the 60s and the 80s, sometimes joining the all-star hero team the Mighty Crusaders.  And in the 90s, DC Comics licensed Archie’s heroes with a line called Impact Comics, or sometimes !mpact Comics because exclamation points are cooler than the letter “I”.And there was a Comet there as a hero with his own solo title alongside some other Impact heroes like the Fly and the Jaguar.  Oddly enough, this line eventually had the Comet becoming something of a villain, but by then he had superstrength, flight, and shapeshifting powers.  No more weird vision powers for him!

That’s what happens when you destroy your home city.

Apparently, he destroyed his home city.

Wow, he sucked at his job, didn’t he?

So, that was the Comet.  It’s 2020, so he’ll probably be back again sometime this decade.  It’s his thing.