a tale set in the far-flung year 2000 from marvel comics' tales to astonish #44, june 1963:
(story by stan lee & art by steve ditko)*** warning: spoiler alert below ***
for some historical perspective, in 1964 guns killed 5,473 victims, a homicide rate of 2.9 per 100,000. by 2010 guns killed twice as many: 11,078 at a rate of 3.6. a decade and a half past the once-imaginary future, the "plague" is thriving. that open-carry is at least starting to look like a disease may be one prediction marvel got right.
stan "the man" lee, never one for subtlety in storytelling, seems to have pulled his punch in this twilight zone inspired tale; his unnamed "plague-carrier" not once inflicted his disease upon his apparently defenseless pursuers. while shooting unarmed police would have effectively demonstrated the terror of firearms, it's clear lee didn't want to give up any element of surprise before the final panel.
certainly the terror of firearms has been long self-evident, making demonstrations unnecessary, but perhaps the sacrifice of some drama was also unnecessary, since the reader, already inured to countless gun chases, would be unlikely to guess too soon that the gun itself was this parable's "mcguffin" and not merely the protagonist's means of escape.