The Obscure Adventures of Comics' Greatest Generation!
"What has been will be again, what has been done
will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."
-Ecclesiastes 1, verse 9
When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created Cyclops for their 1963 X-Men title, you'd think a character who shoots destructive eye-beams through a protective visor was something truly unique in the "nothing new under the sun" world of comic book superheroes.
Actually, MLJ Magazines (later known as Archie Comics) beat Stan and Jack to the punch more than 23 years earlier with a character named The Comet, who made his debut in Pep Comics #1 (1940).
Written and drawn by future Plastic Man creator Jack Cole, the Comet was actually scientist John Dickering, whose repeated injections of a mysterious gas gave him lighter-than-air leaping ability (yay!) and eyebeams that could completely disintegrate anything (yikes!). Fortunately, Dickering designed a special visor made of glass to block his deadly optic rays (much like the ruby-quartz visor of Cyclops) and decided to use his powers to benefit humanity.
Like most Golden Agers, The Comet had a brusk, no-nonsense way of dealing with bad guys, as this little scene illustrates:
(click on the panels for a larger view)
However, that pales in comparison to the story's thrilling climax, as a vengeful Comet raises his visor wide open to melt the thugs into nothingness!
WHEW! Justice....Golden Age Style! Ironically from the guy best known for the wacky and whimsical adventures of Plastic Man!