Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Comet

Jack Cole is remembered for his creation of Plastic Man, but the stretchy superhero wasn't his first super powered savior.

Scientist John Dickering discovers a gas 50 times lighter than hydrogen. By injecting this gas into his blood he gains he the ability jump high into the air, achieving near flight. After his experiments continue he finds that by crossing his eyes he can focus beams to desegregate whatever is in his path. Knowing what this could do in the wrong hands, John destroys the formula and picks up a costume to become The Comet.
The Comet ran trough Pep Comics #17, but Jack Cole was only the writer as far as #5. Before Cole left he had John meet reporter Thelma Gordon, who remained his girlfriend till the end of his series.
Shortly before he meets Thelma, he is hypnotized into stealing and killing a police officer, becoming a fugitive. Thelma believes he is innocence and falls in love with him. For a while the two work together, by #17 she is asking him to turn himself in so they can live normally.

In #17 John's brother Bob is introduced and soon would become another big player in Pep Comics.

For More Information...
The Comet - Don Markstein's Toonopedia
The Comet (International Superhero)
Dangerous Origins, part 2
The Mighty Crusaders (The Comet was a member when revived later in comics)
Be sure to check the tags for more on The Comet.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Lil' Eightball

Three "Lil EightBall" cartoons were produced and distributed through Universal Pictures in 1939. Black Like Me: The History Of Black Comic Book Heroes Through The Ages Part One 1900-1968 by Dart Adams makes mention of one of the Lil Eight Ball cartoons and give a short background on the character with pictures. "A-Haunting We Will Go" provides more screen shots for the last of the cartoons with a light background.

Dell took the short-lived, animated character from 1939 and dropped him into the pages of New Funnies. Lil' EightBall is a black boy growing up in the rural south. It has all the racist stereotypes one might expect with that setting.

From New Funnies #106 (Dec 1945)
page 01 // page 02 // page 03 //page 04//page 05 //page 06 // page 07//
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More information...
Lil' Eightball (Big Cartoons Database)
Der Captain give his thoughts on Lil Eightball after seeing "A-Hunting We Will Go"
Here is the story of Lil Eight Ball B-17G-35-DL 42-107215 from the 709th Bomb Squadron which featured the character as it's nose art.
I am not sure who owns it now, but New Funnies is not in the Public Domain. It is safe to say Lil Eightball will never be re-printed, but you can still find the cartoons running around and unadvertised episodes on Walter Lantz's Cartoons DVDs.