Last week you had the opportunity to read the first part of a 1978 proposal for a revamped Captain Comet, including an explanation of his powers, his secret identity, his new job and supporting cast. This week, here are the story synopses for his first adventures…
STORY #1: “THE NEW CAPTAIN COMET”
This will be a short tale, showing how the old Captain Comet became the new Captain Comet.
Returning from the JLA satellite, Comet spots a comet soaring through space on a collision course with the Earth. He flies out into space to stop it and as he approaches it, he realizes that this is the comet which passed near earth on the day he was born. (It will be revealed here that the comet is partially responsible for the Captain’s powers.)
To stop the comet, CC must smash it, but as he does, the heat burns away all of his clothing and bleaches his hair white. He mentally creates a new costume for himself (surprising himself with the feat) and heads back to Earth, where Adam Blake has a meeting with S.T.A.R. officials.
On his way to the meeting, Comet is forced to intervene in a robbery and when the fleeing crooks fire at him,. He is startled to discover that he is no longer invulnerable. (He does have swift recuperative powers, however, and the bullet wounds are no great problem to him.) After wrapping up the crooks, he finds that he is glowing red, a result of the energy stored in his body – energy which he mentally expels – and which leaves him with a crimson streak running through his white hair.
Adam Blake appears at the meeting with the S.T.A.R. officials, who make a point of telling him that he’s 51 and where has he been all this time. If not for the JLA recommendation, Blake would not even be considered for this job.
Blake is introduced to his co-workers and this short tale is brought to an end.
STORY #2: “MAGMUS, THE MOLTEN MAN”
Story opens with Captain Comet soaring through the air over Project Verne in Nevada, located in the desert outside Las Vegas. After this flight to see the whole set-up, Comet returns to the base where he joins his co-workers for a night on the town in Las Vegas. We are introduced here to the man who will become Magmus, who does not join the rest because he has work to do.
The rest of the group goes into the city. Meantime, Magmus sets his plan into operation, but it results in the project system going wild… lighting up the sky and tipping off Blake that something is terribly wrong at the Project site. Blake slips away and switches to Captain Comet, racing to the scene where he is able to control the magma crisis. He locates Magmus in the raging inferno and tries to save him, only to be battled back. Magmus does not wish to be “saved” – this is all part of his plan. After a battle, Magmus escapes into the night.
Next day, Blake supervises repairs to the projec6t and is forced to cope with such problems as explaining the mess to S.T.A.R. , keeping the project’s budget intact, and getting the technicians back to work. He notices that Magmus’ alter-ego has disappeared, but does not make an immediate connection to the molten man he battled the previous night. (Comet thinks Magmus caused the crisis, not that the crisis created Magmus.)
A few nights later, Magmus reappears. His powers have been fading and he realizes that he must have periodic exposure to the magma to maintain his present state. A second battle with Captain Comet follows, a battle which destroys much of the plant. But in the end, Comet is able to stop Magmus and return him to his human form.
Story concludes with Blake and company trying to figure out how they can keep the project going with all the additional costs they’ve piled up in the past week. The co-director claims it could be done “by firing some excess personnel, particularly the over-the-hill has-beens.”
Okay, let me be the first to say it: Those stories are pretty lame!
But the late 1970s was a time when DC and Marvel were cranking out super-hero books by the ton, a time when how many different books you could get onto the newsstand was far more important than how good they were. (And it WAS the newsstand sales that mattered. The direct market and comic shops did not exist at the time.)
Until the time when the people upstairs took a look at sales (particularly percentage sell-through) and said, “You have too many books that are not selling. Cut the line back to twenty titles… period.” Thus was born, just a couple of months after the much-heralded DC Explosion, the infamous DC Implosion.
If not for that mandate, would we have seen Captain Comet in his own book? Or perhaps in a tryout in SHOWCASE? I’d like to think it would have happened. I’d also like to think that I would have taken the time to make the stories more interesting and exciting and original. There was a lot that could have been done with Captain Comet, particularly with that Omni-Blaster of his, and I would have liked the opportunity.
But that’s not the way the history of the comics business went. (Okay, you don’t have to say it, but maybe we’re all better for it!)
BOBRO’S TRIVIA QUIZ
Part 2 of the two-part theme…
11. Redwing, acquired in Rio de Janiero, is the “pet” of what hero?
12. Its four different “over-covers” were a first in the comics biz; what book was it?
13. Very confused, this red-head was a member of the JLA and the Superman Revenge Squad; name her.
14. Even though he wasn’t human, who married the Scarlet Witch?
15. Radiation from the Hiroshima bombing resulted in Shiro Yoshida becoming what hero?
16. Sons and daughters of the JSA joined forces as what team?
17. Seeking Nazi war criminals was the goal of the Wild Pack, led by whom?
18. Exposure to a comet’s energy allows Comet to become what rodeo star?
19. Andrew Dice Clay made his comics debut in what mini-series?
20. This old Quality hero might “light up your life”; name him.
BOBRO’S FUN FACTS TO KNOW & TELL:
1. The first Ford cars had Dodge engines.
2. Montpelier, VT. is the only U.S. state capital without a McDonald’s.
3. The Boston University Bridge (on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston) is the only place in the world where a boat can sail under a train driving under a car driving under an airplane.
As you read this, I’m beginning the final week of my six-week teaching stint in Maryland. The columns appearing during this time have been prepared in advance, but I’ll be back to handling new Answer Man questions after next week’s entry. You can send those question in by using the handy box in the column on the left.
The names of car models are to be found in all the answers in this quiz.
11. The FALCON
12. LEGENDs of the Dark Knight
14. The VISION
16. INFINITY Inc.
17. Silver SABLE
18. BRONCO Bill Starr
19. The Adventures of FORD FAIRLANE
Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.