In Drawing Crazy Patterns, I spotlight at least five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics). Note that these lists are inherently not exhaustive. They are a list of five examples (occasionally I'll be nice and toss in a sixth). So no instance is "missing" if it is not listed. It's just not one of the five examples that I chose.
Today, we look at how Superman used to seem to be able to pull new vision powers out of thin air in the old days. I mean, I guess you could say that his X-Ray vision and his telescopic vision and his heat vision were all, in turn, pulled out of thin air, as well, but the big difference is that they have stuck around as opposed to some of these odder vision powers.
CHEMICAL ANALYZING VISION
Superman has long had microscopic vision, but a number of times, he has taken the microscopic part to an insane degree. For instance, this bit from Action Comics #29 (by Jerry Siegel and Jack Burnley), where he can look at a substance and, just using his vision, he can see if it is made out of different chemicals than it should be made out of.
This is just one example, this came up a lot back in the day, like when Superman would look at something and say, "Nope, my vision tells me that that is poison."
In a lot of ways, Superman's vision powers grew up alongside our understanding about how X-Rays work and how radiation can be bad for you. It is interesting to note, though, that for some reason, Superman's eyes are actually emitting real radiation...
So if his eyes can turn something radioactive (like he did in this Superman #63 story, drawn by Al Plastino), is he bombarding people with radiation every time he uses his X-ray vision?
LIGHT UP VISION
This one doesn't really make sense. The idea is that Superman is using his X-Ray vision to cause the entire ocean floor to light up...
I don't know how this bit in Action Comics #167 (drawn by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye, writer unknown) follows any sort of logic, but either way, there ya go!