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Author Topic: In praise of Comet the Super-Horse  (Read 7095 times)
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JulianPerez
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« on: April 01, 2006, 01:34:51 AM »

Comet the Super-Horse was always my favorite of the Supergirl supporting cast.

Because I'm a sloppy, sucker for these sappy but beautiful "impossible" romances, the kind that Roy Thomas masterfully wrote between the Vision and the Scarlet Witch, which was later realized to its greatest extent by the brilliant "Stainless" Steve Englehart when the two were married. Ditto for the beautiful Alicia/Thing story.

And then we have the Comet/Supergirl story.

There was poor Comet, who instead of becoming human, was turned into a horse. However, he nonetheless has a human soul, and a human heart that can fall in love.

But whenever a comet passes by, he temporarily became human. But it never lasted. This reminds me of the Adam Strange tales in STRANGE ADVENTURES, where every time he was teleported to Rann (where he had a gorgeous dame that loved him, and everybody thought he was bigger than Cary Grant and Joe Dimaggio put together), he eventually lost the Zeta-Beam ray and had to go back to being a schlub shovel monkey back on earth.

Sure, Comet the Super-Horse has his moments. "GREAT PEGASUS! Crime Machines under REMOTE CONTROL!" back in "Revolt of the Super-Pets" has to be the greatest, most surreal thing ever said. Ditto for that time he horse-kicked a spaceship into orbit. And then we have the time that the Legion was attacked by space brains (then again, the hip-talking slangy Krypto, like a scene-stealing superpet version of Shatner, got ALL the best lines there).

But how many stories ended on Supergirl, with her tragically platonic love of her big pet, her arms wrapped around his neck, wondering when she would ever see Bronco Bill Starr again? And there was poor, lonely Comet, thinking "If only I was human...I could tell her how I feel."
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Russell
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2006, 01:59:54 PM »

Great, great stuff as always, Julian. (This is Mr. X from the CBR, just to let you know  Smiley)

I remember the brain globes thing quite well. Streaky gave one a "mild" dose of his heat vision and was boiling his brain fluid. That's pretty awesome right there.  Cheesy

Another tragic thing pertaining to the super-pets is Streaky potentially remembering his Pre-Crisis life. He's tried to take off from trees, seemingly attempting to fly, more than once.

Kind of sad. But then again, animals usually evoke emotional response in my somewhat easier than other people do.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2006, 02:49:08 PM »

Quote from: "Russell"
I remember the brain globes thing quite well. Streaky gave one a "mild" dose of his heat vision and was boiling his brain fluid. That's pretty awesome right there.  


The Superpets pulled the Legion's fat out of the fire an AWFUL lot of the time. The most surreal moment was back in "Hand of the Luck Lords," where they charged in to the rescue against spaceships. What was extra-cute about this, though, was Curt Swan drew the superpets as getting hit by all this blaster fire, and the pets kept these blank expressions on their faces like not only did they not feel anything, but also, they just didn't know what was going on.

Quote from: "Russell"
Kind of sad. But then again, animals usually evoke emotional response in my somewhat easier than other people do.


You just hit the nail on the head of something I think is one real strength of the superpets: they arouse sympathy much better than human protagonists.

There is a story about a documentary about urban poverty in the Rust Belt which featured both a rabbit being clubbed to death by a meatmaker, and a man being shot to death on camera. Of the two scenes, guess which one got the documentary an "R" rating?

The pets, besides Krypto, didn't see much use come the Schwartz years; hell, they didn't even get the dignity of an on-camera death in Crisis. I guess it's true what they say: old centaurs don't die, they just fade away.

Which I think is unfortunate because they don't have to be "thrown away." You can tell many types of stories with Superpets, and not just ones where they say "GREAT PEGASUS! Crime machines!" It is possible to do a superpet story without it being goofy. Hell, Maggin proved that with his Krypto novel, which was not about remote controlled crime machines, but was instead about this dog's very sympathetic loyalty, chasing his master halfway across the entire universe.

Same thing with Comet. Tell a story about his frustrated, futile love for Supergirl while his human mind and soul is trapped in an animal body.
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"Wait, folks...in a startling new development, Black Goliath has ripped Stilt-Man's leg off, and appears to be beating him with it!"
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« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2006, 02:52:53 PM »

There was a post-crisis Comet, but the less you know about him, the better.
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Russell
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2006, 03:31:05 PM »

Good stuff as always, Julian. It's great to be able to relate to someone in regards to these things.

Hell, Streaky's last appearance was, what, 1970 I believe? I'm glad we've at least gotten some fleeting Post Crisis moments with him.

Morrison's Animal Man, for instance, and the Krypto TV show.
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2006, 03:40:56 PM »

To tell the truth, I'm not a big fan of Comet---the changes to Bill Biron giving way to uhhh, odd thoughts to say the least---but I always thougth a perfect ENDING for his saga would be for Wonder Woman to take him to an island near Paradise Island, and have the gods reverse Circe's spell. As the last of the centaurs, he would have fit in well with the whole Paradise Island mythology bit, and he would have fit in a lot better with her Greek myth viewpoint than chasing a blonde teenaged alien---

---Al
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Al Schroeder III, former letterhack (met his wife through Julie Schwartz' lettercolumns) of MINDMISTRESS http://mindmistress.comicgenesis.com---think the superhero genre is mined out? Think there are no new superhero ideas?

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JulianPerez
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2006, 04:09:38 PM »

Quote from: "Russell"
Good stuff as always, Julian. It's great to be able to relate to someone in regards to these things.


I told you you'd like it here!  Cheesy  Incidentally, Mr. X, welcome to the forums.

Quote from: "Russell"
Hell, Streaky's last appearance was, what, 1970 I believe? I'm glad we've at least gotten some fleeting Post Crisis moments with him.


We also haven't seen much of Whizzy, either, who was Super-Cat's descendant in the 30th Century (meaning Supergirl never gave that darn cat some "Super Surgery").

While I understand why Julie Schwartz and the Schwartz writers wouldn't want to use Comet or the other super-pets - after all, they wanted to tell the sort of science fiction and space opera type stories that John Broome and Gardner Fox told with the Flash and Green Lantern, this does not mean there is no place for the superpets.

All you have to do is give the pets a personality. This is why Krypto was used so often: of all of them, his single-minded loyalty and Rin-Tin-Tin style heroism made him the best developed (that, and I suspect Julie was a dog person).

Since you brought up Streaky, for example, he seemed like another pet that had a personality, too. He was very, very vain and solitary. In "Revolt of the Super-Pets," where the aformentioned "GREAT PEGASUS! Crime Machines!" quote came from, for instance, Streaky was thrilled that the Thanlians lionize animal heroes, and was disappointed when they didn't get their clubhouse. Krypto, Comet, and Proty had problems leaving their respective masters of Superboy, Supergirl, and Chameleon Boy, but Streaky was just fine with it. There were moments in the Schaffenberger art where you could see Streaky looking at the others with a face that said, "hey, I'm dealing with it, why can't you?"

A tribute to Jimmy Shooter's gift for very, very subtle characterization.

Quote from: "Russell"
Morrison's Animal Man, for instance, and the Krypto TV show.


Gosh, I love the Krypto show! When I heard it was not going to be about Superman's dog, I was nervous, as was the fact it was going to be churned out by the Cartoon Network crap factory (incidentally, Boomerang, when did TWO STUPID DOGS become a "classic" cartoon? This is sort of like when AMC showed DUDLEY DO RIGHT, which was made in like, 1998). But all my doubts evaporated the instant they worked this into the scripts:

    "Dog star! Dog star! Bow wow wow!
    We'll fight evil now now now!"
    [/list]
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    "Wait, folks...in a startling new development, Black Goliath has ripped Stilt-Man's leg off, and appears to be beating him with it!"
           - Reporter, Champions #15 (1978)
    Russell
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    « Reply #7 on: April 03, 2006, 04:46:00 PM »

    Heh, Proty...

    Proty has always made me smile. If you don't find the interactions between him and Reep downright cute, you have no soul.  :lol:
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