THE VISIONMedium: Comic books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1940
Creators: Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
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The 1940s version of The Vision may not have been as famous as Fighting American, The Sandman or a lot of other superheroes Jack Kirby and Joe Simon
were behind — for that matter, he may not even have been as famous as Blue Bolt, Manhunter, or their other lesser-known creations. But he was a very early one (making his first appearance in Marvel Mystery Comics #13, November 1940, four months before Captain America himself), and he left an enduring mark on the Marvel Comics Universe.
The Vision was a "vision", all right. He had green skin, and wore a skin-tight green costume with a huge, flowing cape and a high, rounded, red collar. He was an extra-dimensional creature, an immortal inhabitant of a realm of smoke and mist, who gave his name as "Aarkus, Destroyer of Evil". He'd been drawn into our world by a device invented by Dr. Enoch Mason, a scientist who had devoted his life to discovering the scientific basis to occult phenomena. The device gave Aarkus the ability to enter the mortal realm by emerging from any smoke or mist that might happen to be around. The Vision's first act in our world was to put a stop to a mobster's attempt to extort money from Mason.
As sometimes happened with minor characters, new writers and artists gave The Vision new origin stories. Later on, he was a "Keeper of the Law" in his home world, here to guard over humanity. Later yet, he was an immortal Tibetan monk who left Shangri-La to fight the Japanese.
It's possible The Vision was a knock-off of DC Comics' character, The Spectre. At least, the dates match up, with nine months between The Spectre's first appearance and that of The Vision. Whether or not there's a connection, he didn't match the so-called Ghostly Guardian's staying power — Marvel Mystery was the only place his series appeared, and he was gone from there after a couple of years. He was last seen in #48 (October, 1943). But apparently, he made an impression on a later Marvel writer, Roy Thomas, who in 1968 created a new Vision character, very similar in appearance except for the coloring, as a member of The Avengers.
In more recent decades, the original Vision has been seen now and again in guest appearances, but only in stories set in the 1940s. What he's been doing since then is anybody's guess.