Here it is, the column you've all been requesting in your sly, subtle ways for the past few weeks. I can't hold out against that much fervent demand! So mount up and ride along as we trace Supergirl's exciting adventures with Comet, the Super-Horse from CBG #1591 (May 14, 2004):

Supergirl’s Super-Horse!

Comet the Super-Horse was Kara's best friend in both human and animal form

Dear Mr. Silver Age,

Supergirl had a lot of good friends during The Silver Age. Which would you say was her very best friend?

Jimmy O.

Metropolis

Mr. Silver Age says: Kara Zor-El was a popular girl back in the day, Jimbo. Being a young, beautiful blonde with vast super-powers had to help that along. But I’d say that, hands down, her best friend was Comet the Super-Horse. After all, there aren’t too many friends who can read your mind, ride you on their backs and romance you! Or at least, there better not be.

The multi-persona friendship between Supergirl and Super-Horse had the oddest introduction of any member of the Super Family. We got our first glimpse of this extraordinary equine in Adventure Comics #293 (Feb 62).

To make a long story short, The Legion of Super-Heroes learned that the only way to defeat the mind-controlling Brain Globes of Rambat (one of my favorite villain names) was to use super-animals against them. So the team ranged through time and space to corral some.

 After scooping up Streaky and Beppo to aid Krypto, they headed for Asteroid Z, where Supergirl kept her pet Super-Horse in a corral. “Yes, readers!” the caption exclaimed. “This is a preview glimpse of a super-pet Supergirl will own some day in the future!”

It’s not known whether this was intended as a tryout or just a natural assumption that a super-girl would want a super-horse, but the horse looked exactly like Comet later would. He helped out but acted strictly as a horse, without even the typical English-language thoughts Krypto and Streaky always managed, much less the telepathy the real steel deal displayed.

That story promised a Legion of Super-Pets adventure soon, but it was quite awhile in coming. Instead, we first learned more about this mysterious Super-Horse—although even that introduction was accomplished a bit mysteriously too.

And the mysteries didn’t end even after his debut, which came in “The Super-Steed of Steel!” in Action Comics #292 (Sep 62).

In the story, Linda Lee Danvers fell asleep dreaming of owning her own horse, a wish that came true, at least in her dream. A white stallion (just like The Legion’s future Super-Horse) helped her defeat an alien invasion.

The dreams continued for several nights, until she suggested her family visit the Supergirl dude ranch for their vacation.

Sure enough, an exact twin of her dream horse was on the ranch! And when Linda took him out for a ride, he displayed amazing super-powers!

In the next issue, Comet revealed his telepathy and admitted that he’d been beaming dreams to her to entice her to visit the ranch. He explained that he was actually Biron, an ancient centaur who had been transformed into a horse rather than a human when Circe’s transformation potion was sabotaged by a revenge-motivated wizard.

To make up for the screw-up, Circe whipped up a potion that supplied him with super-powers, including the might of Jove, the speed of Mercury, the wisdom of Athena, the telepathic powers of Neptune, and the immortality of them all.

The wizard responded by imprisoning Biron on an asteroid for centuries until Kara’s rocket accidentally freed him. Grateful, Super-Horse followed the rocket to Earth and decided to team up with this beautiful super-blonde.

But then the ranch sold Comet to a Hollywood animal trainer, and Linda watched tearfully as her new buddy left for Tinseltown stardom.

In #294, Supergirl visited Comet on the movie set, but she was startled to discover he had developed amnesia. He not only forgot Linda but also how to use his telepathy and super-powers.

And so Super-Horse became a movie star but at the cost of Supergirl’s friendship—apparently creating an out in case fans didn’t care for Super-Horse and he needed to disappear.

But fans loved Comet (or at least the editor did), because he returned in Action #300 (May 63). As his memory slowly returned, two crooks pretended to befriend him and used him in their scheme. He finally regained his memory, helped Supergirl and Lena Thorul, and then was called by Superman to the Fortress.

In #301, he arrived fortress-side with Supergirl to learn that Superman wanted him to help a ruler on a red-sunned planet. Grateful for the aid, the ruler gave Comet the ability to become human whenever a comet passed by—but Super-Horse also lost all his super-powers in his new human form.

Upon returning to Earth, Comet reverted to human form and got a job with a rodeo.

Concerned when she didn’t hear from her horsy friend for awhile, Supergirl had Lena track him down, which led her to the rodeo.

There she met and saved the life of the dashing blonde-haired Bronco Bill, aka guess who. They were named King and Queen of the rodeo, allowing Bill to bend her over backward for a majestic smooch. He finally reverted to horse form and met up with Supergirl but didn’t reveal his secret identity.

The adventures continued in #302, when Comet was mind-controlled by an evil villain, causing all kinds of problems. He again reverted to human form, which hid him from the mind-controller.

He tried to warn Supergirl about the source of his problem, but she had changed into her Linda identity and was hanging out with Dick Malverne, so he had to be circumspect in his warning.

His plan worked, and when Super-Horse shortly reverted to horse form again, Supergirl kept him from being mind-controlled—but she didn’t figure out who the cute guy was who’d warned her of the plot.

By this time, Super-Horse was a member of the family, and he began appearing in cameo roles as well as supporting situations. He was mind-controlled again for a page while his super-pal battled Black Flame in #304 (Sept 63), but that and his later tipping off Kara that BF was hiding in Kandor were his only contributions.

Similarly, he was one of the members of the super-family allegedly killed by Kara’s death touch in #306, and he stood proudly by as she was honored later in the issue. As with Krypto, he made the transition from appearing only when the plot revolved around him to being just one of the cast.

Meanwhile, that Legion of Super-Pets adventure we’d been promised more than 1 1/2 years earlier finally arrived in Adventure #313 (Oct 63). The team didn’t get much face time, but they proved to be the secret weapon that defeated Satan Girl’s attacks (and they did it in only three panels).

The four pets then made a cameo appearance at the Superman Super-Spectacular honoring the Man of Steel in Action #309 (Feb 64), while Super-Horse played a small role in the Supergirl story in that issue, using his telepathic powers to help Supergirl determine if her parents were still alive (spoiler alert: they were).

Comet/Super-Horse/Biron/Bill was back romancing his super-pal in Action #311 (Apr 64) on “The Day Super-Horse Became Human!” Circe had perfected her centaur-changing potion, and she used it on her buddy Comet.

He returned to the present in his horse form but lost his memory in the process and then became human after inadvertently helping a robber. Suspected of being said robber, Bill coincidentally ran into Linda on a field trip and coincidentally saved her life (not that it really needed saving, of course, but the save kept her from revealing her identity or Weisingering up some goofy escape).

Recognizing her handsome savior as Bronco Billy, Linda gave him quite a little kiss of gratitude, and she gave him a repeat performance later when they went sightseeing. But then the law started chasing Bill, he asked Circe to turn him back into a horse to prevent him from being a fugitive, and Supergirl rode around on his bare back wondering what happened to her boyfriend.

Is anyone else finding this relationship just a tad weird by now?

Super-Horse was back in Action #312 to save Supergirl’s life again. Flying through outer space, he used the telescopic/x-ray vision of, um, some god, I’m sure, to learn that Kara had fallen into a kryptonite trap.

Fortunately, since Comet wasn’t from Krypton, the kryptonite didn’t harm him so he could save her. Unfortunately, a comet passed just then, changing him into the non-powered human Bill (thought he called himself by his centaur name, Biron), and he landed on an isolated asteroid.

Fortunately, the asteroid had once been inhabited and had a space suit (with face-hiding helmet) and fully-charged rocket pack in his size. Biron/Bill saved Kara and left quickly, leaving her once again wondering who her benefactor had been.

Taking a rest from all this human backing-and-forthing, Super-Horse went back to the future to help induct Proty II into his Legion gang in Adventure #322 (Jul 64).

Admittedly, as you can see, Comet was not especially welcoming when Proty suggested his own membership, calling him a “blob” and sneering at his credentials.

Frankly, as I've said many time, I think Proty should have been a member of The Legion itself, being a sentient being with super-powers, much like Bouncing Boy, only much more powerful. Super-Horse should have been too, although he wasn’t the predominant species on his planet, as all the other Legionnaires were, and maybe he liked being a big fish in a small (mental) pond, so to speak.

Needless to say, Proty proved his worth and his name was added to the roster of Super-Pets—and the only one native to the time period. That pretty well locked down the membership role for that august group, and they helped The Legion with a number of adventures.

But their appearances began to dwindle, especially after The Legion stopped having adventures in Adventure and moved their action to Action.

Super-Horse’s regular get-togethers with Supergirl also began to occur less often. After playing a minor role in Action #323 (Apr 65), in which Supergirl once again thought she’d killed her equine partner, Comet joined the other 20th century pets in establishing a shelter for homeless animals, thanks to the will of a wealthy man who left The Legion of Super-Pets to manage it in Superman #176 that same month.

It wasn’t explained how the man (whose relative had mistreated animals in his past) even knew of The Legion Pets, since they adventured in the 30th century. Was Superman telling newspapers about disasters that were going to happen 1,000 years in the future from which the Pets were saving humanity? I don’t even want to think about it. (Proty wasn’t part of the adventure, because, Superman surmised, he was probably off on a mission.)

That pretty much ended Comet’s days as a major player in stories. Circe showed up in Action #331 (Dec 65) to reminisce about him, and he helped Supergirl keep The Man of Steel out of the Fortress in #336 (Apr 66).

They also went for a romp when Supergirl feared she was losing her powers in #356 (Nov 67). But it was clear that Kara was losing her interest in equestrian sports. Even so, Super-Horse had a good long run with some quirky tales (and many identities) to help keep Kara’s life interesting.

-- MSA

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So part of our longing for the "good ol' days" of the Silver Age is very much tied in to our respect for creators who were in it for the long haul.

That's a good point. There was a certain level of consistency that we could rely on. It wasn't universal, but people tended to stay in one place and keep working. Of course, some of that was because it was a job to them, so writing Supergirl was no different from writing or drawing Lois or Green Arrow. It was this month's assignment.

The 70s was a time of huge upheaval at Marvel, because they believed in one overall editor, and nobody could handle that job. So there was a lot of chaos, resulting in missed deadlines and writer/editors who didn't have enough oversight. 

Today, nobody settles in for the long haul, they want to do their couple of TPBs' worth of stories and move on to something new after they've done the story they could think up. Waid has been on DD for quite some time, but even he doesn't usually stick on a title for an extended period. Those days are mostly over, I think, to the readers' detriment--unless the creators get bored so fast it's better that they go.

-- MSA

Our perception of what counts as the long haul may have changed. Ditko's run on Amazing Spider-Man (not counting Amazing Fantasy #15) lasted less than three and a half years, Simonson's on Thor (including the Sal Buscema issues) less than four.

The thing about Ditko's time on Spidey is that is was moving pretty fast. In three years, he graduated high school and went to college, where he expanded his supporting cast, got a regular job, picked up two girlfriends, dropped another, and fought many people who were totally unknown to him. He did more in his first three years than he's done since.

-- MSA 

He was practically aging real time back then. Makes you wonder how long that would have continued before Goodman or Stan would had said he was aging too much. Clearly Ditko wasn't worrying about what would happen with the character twenty or five years later.

Mr. Silver Age said:

The thing about Ditko's time on Spidey is that is was moving pretty fast. In three years, he graduated high school and went to college, where he expanded his supporting cast, got a regular job, picked up two girlfriends, dropped another, and fought many people who were totally unknown to him. He did more in his first three years than he's done since.

Ditko's run resulted in almost all of the classic Spider-Man villains. I never cared for the later Rhino. I liked the Kingpin.

And he got "loaned" to Daredevil, because how long can you worry about Hornhead fighting a guy on stilts?

Shocker was okay. And then...uh...well, there was the second Vulture, but he didn't last long. Man Mountain Marko? Silvermane?

Yeah, Ditko did come up with most of the best Spider-Man villains.

Blackie Drago! I'll never forget that name!

He managed to get into the first Spider-Man cartoon instead of Adrian Toomes. The high point of his short career. Today he'd get another identity and come back for revenge.

What? What about the Kangaroo?  The Gibbon?  C'mon, these were some of Spidey's best!

Ron M. said:


Yeah, Ditko did come up with most of the best Spider-Man villains.

And don't forget the Sorcerer from Marvel Super-Heroes#14. He's due for a come back.

"THE DAY SUPER-HORSE BECAME HUMAN!"

DC liked those literal titles.

Stan Lee would have called it "... And He Shall Walk Amongst Men" or something like that.

Stan loved to say "A World He Never Made!" That was the title of Silver Surfer#10 and I'm sure several other Marvel comics. That was also the descrition, I believe, Roy Thoman used when the Hulk met Jarella. What exactly does that mean, anyway?

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