Who's Captain Comet?

Who's This? A man born before his time.

The facts: In the Golden/Silver Age scheme, Captain Comet almost stands apart. He's a cross between Buck Rogers and the superhero set, created in the interim between "Ages" in Strange Adventures #9 (June 1951) by Julius Schwartz, John Broome and Carmine Infantino (so very much with Silver Age DNA). If Buck Rogers was a man of today sent to the future, Comet was a man of the future, born today. He woud appear in 38 issues of Strange Adventures, through to 1954. The character isn't revived until the mid-70s where he fights the Secret Society of Super-Villains, and is then used only occasionally until he joins L.E.G.I.O.N. in the early 90s. In the mid-2000s, he was one of the principals in the Rann-Thanagar War and Mystery in Space, then becomes a member of R.E.B.E.L.S. again.
How you could have heard of him: Grant Morrison used him in the New52's Action Comics (as simply "Comet"), as part of an organization training planetary champions in Supergirl, and then turned up as a supporting character in Telos (oh, sorry, right, this section is about how you could have HEARD of him).
Example story: Strange Adventures #13 (October 1951) "When the Earth Was Kidnaped!" (sic) by John Broome, Murphy Anderson and Seymour Barry (team under the pseudonym Edgar Ray Merritt)
Though considered "mobile" in the entry, Adam Blake does have a "secret identity" as Midwest City Library's information clerk (truly, a waste of his talents). Hm, any relation to MidWAY City? My Atlas of the DC Universe holds no answers. Anyway, the citizens of Midwest City use libraries in unusual ways, crashing the place en masse to get answers about "stone creatures" sighted in Geyser Park, Wyoming (if they care but phrase it that way, Midwest City must be close to, but not in Wyoming). Blake is all, like, why you bothering me with this, peeps? But as Captain Comet, of course he cares. And soon...
I'm probably not as "startled" as John Broome wants me to be at Adam Blake's "transformation", but Captain Comet jumps into the Cometeer and is greeted by park rangers who show him three stone statues that he perceives as alive. Meanwhile, his friend Professor Zackro notices the sun is getting smaller in the sky, and as night comes...
...we're passing Mars! And then Saturn! With no ill effects! Final destination: Orbit around Alpha Centauri! That's where the laws of physics completely break down.
Comet goes out and grabs everyone who's floating upwards towards certain death. Over Midwest City anyway. The rest of Earth is on its own. And he makes a radio broadcast telling people to wear lead-soled shoes. Sounds reasonable (but you know anti-lead-sole crazies are out rioting in the stratosphere). Speaking of crazies, a mob assembles at Geyser Park wanting to lynch the three stone men. Captain Comet breaks up the riot, and deduces, from the volcanic ash on the stone men's shoulders, that they're not from space, but from Inner Earth. No time to call Cave Carson and borrow his Mighty Mole, no need when you have "futuristic muscles".
Captain Comet indeed finds a fantastical city down there, under immense air pressure, and all the inhabitants are in a rocket ready for launch! Futuro-muscled Adam Blake keeps the rocket from launching and forces a parlay. Turns out, it's a big misunderstanding.
They didn't know we were here! Onslan explains that Alpha Centauri and Sol once passed each other and that a bit of A.C. was left on the then-forming Earth. That bit was the stone people. The few that survived this cataclysm bid their time until their science could use gravity to move the Earth back to their home system, from which they could fly back to their planet. Comet brings their three lost men home and lets the rocketship leave for stonier climes, then uses the gravity machine to put Earth back where it should be. The end.

Captain Comet's original stories were mostly like this, big idea space opera told in a minimum of pages, wild science with a vague sheen of factual accuracy, and no character development. Very much of its time, but you can see how these "SF" elements will be applied to superheroes by many of the same creators in a few years' time when DC ushers in the Silver Age of comics.

Who's Next? The Big Red Cheese.



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