Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Captain Comet Bantam-Blog

If Superman had been created in the 1950s instead of the 30s, he might have ended up a lot like Captain Comet. Adam Blake agonized over why he never quite felt like he fit in with the human race, displaying mental and physical powers far beyond those of ordinary men. Seeking the help of physicist Emery Zackro led to a series of tests and the hypothesis that Blake was a mutant fluke. "You've heard, I'm sure, of human throwbacks-- men born today with the minds and bodies of the cavemen of 100,000 years ago! Well, think of the opposite of that... Scientifically, there's no reason why the opposite-- an accidental specimen of future man-- should not happen!" Aware of the dangers should Blake's abilities become public knowledge, the pair decided to keep them a secret. Still, Blake would act to benefit mankind under the guise of Captain Comet, naming himself for the mysterious celestial visitor that appeared in the sky the night of his birth.

From the June 1951 cover-dated Strange Adventures #9 until October 1954's 49th issue, Captain Comet starred (usually on the cover) in stories where he protected the Earth from one science fiction menace after another. Created after the super-hero fad that died in the late 40s and before its revival in the mid-50s, Captain Comet was a curious hybrid whose modest success turned into over twenty years out of the public eye, save for odd reprints. Blake finally returned in 1976's Secret Society of Super-Villains #2, as an ongoing foil. Having left Earth to explore space and "find himself" in his Cometeer spaceship, Blake returned to a very different time, adding a further layer to his disconnection to his own people. Aside from guest appearances, Captain Comet sat out another decade-and-a-half before becoming a member of L.E.G.I.O.N., an interstellar security outfit. Once again, once that book went the way of the dodo, Captain Comet vanished until the mid-aughts. Today, Comet has become one of DC's more visible sci-fi heroes, through a series of mini-series grouping him with more same. Having been murdered and moving his consciousness into a new body, Blake isn't as powerful as he used to be, trading out for a more youthful form.

While not the most exceptionally written character, Captain Comet fascinates me as a creation fluttering around the edges of the mainstream, a man out of sync with his proper space and time. Where Captain America clearly longs for the years he lost after World War II, he happily embraced a new life in the modern era. Captain Comet from birth was surrounded by upright monkeys evolutionarily beneath himself, sought understanding in the stars, but has yet to find a permanent place anywhere. Returning to an America left in the McCarthy era and found in the "Me Generation," Blake seemed to take our radical social upheaval in stride, a trifling thing by his standards. In an era largely without super-heroes, Captain Comet was one of the few we had, and carries with him a unique historical relevance and perspective. He remains bursting with untapped potential and deserving of more attention, if only from a Bantam-Blog...

1985 Who's Who Vol.IV: Captain Comet (6/85)
1991 Who's Who in the DC Universe Update #8 Captain Comet Profile

Strange Adventures #9: "The Origin of Captain Comet!" (June 1951)
Strange Adventures #10: "The Air Bandits From Space!" (July 1951)
Strange Adventures #17: "Beware the Synthetic Men!" (February 1952)
Secret Origins Annual #1: "The Secret Origin of Captain Comet" (1987)
DC Challenge #5 (2/1986)
DC Challenge #6 (April, 1986)

Secret Origins Annual #1: "The Secret Origin of Captain Comet" (1987)
The Comic Book Heroes: The Return of the Heroes

Captain Comet Postcard by George PĂ©rez
1990 Steve Lightle Captain Comet Sketch

Fan Fiction/Internet Adventures
John Jones in "Last Stand of the Lizard-Men"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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- Thomas


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