Scrubbing the Comet?

Our fourth Archie hero is the Comet. His Impact series lasted the longest (at 18 issues), and I know I ever sent the mag a letter near the end (as it was never published, I have no idea what it said). However, it's probably the Impact book I have the least feeling about (neither good nor bad). Maybe if I crack open a few covers.

THE COMET
Background: The original Comet was perhaps the first superhero to die, which he did in 1941, though he was later resurrected for the Red Circle Comics revival (after spending some time on an alien planet). He was really John Dickering, who injected himself with gases that gave him flight and "dissolvo-vision", and then went on a criminal-killing spree until his death at the hands of mobsters. Wow, Golden Age violence.

Revamp Method: Start from scratch.

Why Keep the Impact Comet?
1. He came clear with his girlfriend
I thought it was interesting that in the first issue, the new Comet Rob Connors tells his girlfriend, clichéed comic book hot investigative reporter Victoria Johnson everything. She's his confidant from the word go. A mature relationship between twentysomethings in the superhero set? Very rare. And when they do happen, you just know the devil's gonna make it unhappen.

Why NOT Keep the Impact Comet?
1. Entirely too much like the Will Payton Starman
I find that the Comet reads as if plotter/artist Tom Lyle got to do everything he would have liked to do on Starman, but couldn't because he wasn't its writer. Same kind of origin (with the same kind of true origin reveal). Similar-looking powers. Similar alter ego (except with short hair).

2. The helmet
I didn't like the stars and moons alchemical look on the original Comet, but that helmet... that helmet... yeah.

The Comet had some relatively strong superhero action elements, but a lot of soap opera too, and ultimately one twist too many. He's one hero I wouldn't mind seeing a new spin on, because I'm really not attached to anything. But maybe you have fonder memories...

Tomorrow: The Web.

6 comments:

rob! said...

wow, these b-w/color Impact ads were pretty nice! i don't remember those at all...

Siskoid said...

I pulled them all from the Impact Annuals. I have a feeling they didn't run anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

You didn't like Will Payton?

Siskoid said...

I didn't say that. I meant that the Comet lacked originality.

Diabolu Frank said...

I thought The Comet was the second best !mpact book. At the time, I thought it was really cool to have a cosmic hero's first villain be a serial killer. Applejack, wasn't it? Didn't he have mystical abilities, or possess people's bodies? Great way to negate the hero, by using his supporting cast against him.

Anyway, the art was especially good, which helps explain why Tom Lyle went on to fame and mucho royalties on the Robin mini-series. Whatever happened to that guy?

Siskoid said...

His Robin work was actually before The Comet. After that, he went on to Marvel Comics work (Spider-Man, Punisher) and according to wikipedia, currently teaches at a graphic art school.

As for Applejack, he was cool and all, but for me there was a disconnect between matching a science based hero with a supernatural villain. I prefer a bit more thematic genre coherence within a title.

 

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