There are scads of godawful Golden Age superheroes, but Hip Knox the Super Hypnotist is one of the worst. Not only is his costume eye-gougingly ugly, but he also uses his powers in profoundly creepy ways.
Hip Knox appeared in 1940's Superworld Comics 3, which was published by none other than Hugo Gernsback. The art in this strip is by Jack Alderman, and I have no clue if Hip Knox ever appeared after this adventure.
1.) His origin (above) defines incomprehensibility.
Most superheroes gain their powers from an alien, mystical, or metahuman heritage or sheer hatred of the criminal element. Hip Knox was taught by an unnamed "famous scientist" (who?) and really hates some guy named McFadden. We have zero reference who McFadden is, but we know he hangs out with "the city's worst characters." It's unclear how bad these characters or where this city is. For all we know, Hip Knox could be defending Lancaster County, PA.
2.) Hip Knox sleeps with a hairnet.
It could also be a hornets' nest. The art leaves things open to interpretation.
3.) Hip Knox slaughters the entire Andean condor population to save his own stupid life.
After putting Hip Knox in a computerized rocket programmed to plummet to Earth, Hip Knox finds himself cruising through South America. To prevent the rocket from crashing, Hip Knox hypnotizes thousands of cannon fodder condors. Hip Knox is the Johnny Cash of superheroes.
4.) Hip Knox uses his powers to enslave indigenous populations.
After sacrificing an entire species, Hip Knox uses his hypnotic power to force rainforest tribesman to return him to the city. I'd never thought I'd find a comic that makes Tintin in the Congo look tame.
5.) Hip Knox doesn't arrest or reform criminals — he publicly humiliates them.
Upon returning to New York (waddyaknow?), Hip doesn't arrest McFadden. No, he makes him act like a lunatic in front of an aghast crowd (seriously, look at that horrified woman in the upper right panel). It's not even specified if McFadden went to jail. I'm beginning to think that Hip Knox is secretly the supervillain of the piece.
You can read more Hip Knox at Pappy's Golden Age Comics. Does anyone know whatever happened to Hip Knox? If anyone's deserving of a gritty anti-hero reboot, it's this guy.
[Thanks for the tip, Chad!]