The Comet was created by Jack Cole for MLJ Comics, and has the distinction of being the first superhero to get killed. I may also add that he was the first superhero with a really garishly ugly costume.
John Dickering is a scientist who discovers a gas 50 times lighter than air, and decides that injecting himself with it is a good idea. It enables him to jump great heights and distances, effectively flying, and also causes beams to emit from his eyes, making anything he stares at explode. He wears a visor at all times to prevent destroying anything he looks at. Curiously, the beams have no effect on plate glass.
He wears an outift that covers his entire body, except for his face. It’s bright red all the way up to the arrow pointing at his face, but with black sleeves and shoulders, covered and yellow stars and crescent moons.
He is a fairly intense hero, who thinks nothing of using his eye beams to kill bad guys. This works against him, as he gets captured and hypnotized by Zadar in Pep Comics 3, who sends him out to commit thefts and murders. The Comet kills Zadar at the end of the story, but is wanted for the murders he committed while under hypnosis. Through the rest of his series the police are chasing him, and even though he gets credited with catching bad guys and stopping foreign agents, his name never gets cleared.
In Pep Comics 5 he meets reporter Thelma Gordon. She writes for the Daily Journal, or is it the Daily Star? (Pep 9). No, it’s the Daily Blast (issue 11). Sorry, the Daily Blare (12). No, I was right before, the Daily Blast (Pep 15).
Thelma believes his story about the hypnosis, and encourages John to modify his gas injections, so that he can pass as a normal person. We see him out of costume for the first time in Pep Comics 6, though he has to wear special glasses to negate his eye beams.
The stories themselves are nothing special, and the art seems to get worse with each issue. It is clear that Jack Cole only did the first story, and there is a wonderful use of the roof of a house as a panel border in the first story.
Although the Comet was the first superhero to die, this does not technically occur in his own series, which ends in Pep Comics 16. Pep 17 begins the Hangman series, and the Comet’s death occurs in that, so will be discussed in my entry on that character.
The Comet (a different incarnation) returns as part of DC’s Impact line in the early 90s.
The Comet: Pep Comics 1 – 16 (Jan 40 – June 41)