The Chronological Superman

Oct 01

Sep 30

Action Comics vol.1 #83 - Cover date April 1945
The erudite but self-deluding Doc and his thick-headed pal Flannelhead comprise the magical duo of Hocus and Pocus (assisted by their exceptionally intelligent pet rabbit “Moiton”), somewhat incompetent street performers who receive a few coincidental assists from the Man of Steel. 
Convinced that they have legitimate magical powers in addition to their mere slight of hand, they decide to use them for the benefit of society by becoming private detectives - Superman, of course, returns to provide the bulk of the apparent wonders.
Comedy sidekicks were routine in comics, but Superman hadn’t much needed one - Hocus and Pocus make only a few appearances in the Superman titles, and always as an excuse for Superman to perform super-deeds invisibly…

Action Comics vol.1 #83 - Cover date April 1945

The erudite but self-deluding Doc and his thick-headed pal Flannelhead comprise the magical duo of Hocus and Pocus (assisted by their exceptionally intelligent pet rabbit “Moiton”), somewhat incompetent street performers who receive a few coincidental assists from the Man of Steel. 

Convinced that they have legitimate magical powers in addition to their mere slight of hand, they decide to use them for the benefit of society by becoming private detectives - Superman, of course, returns to provide the bulk of the apparent wonders.

Comedy sidekicks were routine in comics, but Superman hadn’t much needed one - Hocus and Pocus make only a few appearances in the Superman titles, and always as an excuse for Superman to perform super-deeds invisibly…

Sep 25

More Fun Comics #102 - Cover date March-April 1945
The pre-adolescent Clark Kent of Superboy is a different creature from the full-grown adult version occupying his mature counterpart’s comic. For one thing, Clark hasn’t yet adopted the key component of his civilian disguise, as he is seen here going around without glasses. More than that, however, young Clark Kent doesn’t share his adult self’s reputation for cowardice and mild manners - to the contrary, he’s a game, brave kid who is well-liked around town. 
Undoubtedly, the idea was that a cowardly kid hero would be difficult for the young audience to identify with, so Clark gets to show a spine despite the presence of his dual identity.
For instance, in this story, a pair of jailbirds on the lam hijack the raft which Clark and his pals are using to lazily sail down the river, playing pirates. Defending his friends, Clark steps in front of a crook’s bullet and goes plummeting over the side of the vessel, eliciting cries of shock and misery from his compatriots (Superboy shows up to fix everything, of course).

More Fun Comics #102 - Cover date March-April 1945

The pre-adolescent Clark Kent of Superboy is a different creature from the full-grown adult version occupying his mature counterpart’s comic. For one thing, Clark hasn’t yet adopted the key component of his civilian disguise, as he is seen here going around without glasses. More than that, however, young Clark Kent doesn’t share his adult self’s reputation for cowardice and mild manners - to the contrary, he’s a game, brave kid who is well-liked around town. 

Undoubtedly, the idea was that a cowardly kid hero would be difficult for the young audience to identify with, so Clark gets to show a spine despite the presence of his dual identity.

For instance, in this story, a pair of jailbirds on the lam hijack the raft which Clark and his pals are using to lazily sail down the river, playing pirates. Defending his friends, Clark steps in front of a crook’s bullet and goes plummeting over the side of the vessel, eliciting cries of shock and misery from his compatriots (Superboy shows up to fix everything, of course).

Sep 24

Superman vol.1 #33 - Cover date March-April 1945
Don Cameron pens an inventive twist on Mxyztplk’s still-spanking new motif, as Lois pronounces the imp’s name backwards - in defiance of Superman’s warning - and finds herself trapped in the topsy-turvy land of Zrrrf. The absurdity of the place is in service to its menace - the comical-looking fifth-dimensional imps consider mere three-dimensional beings to be less than animals, worthy only of study and captivity, while the addled King of the land plays with blocks and his daffy court jester sits on the throne, punch-drunk and dangerous. 
The remainder of the issue is more quotidian - Lois unravels an entire criminal enterprise while following up on a stolen piggy bank, while in two subsequent adventures the Man of Steel must impress on a young doctor the value of his father’s sacrifices as a “mere” country doctor, then solve a seagoing murder mystery by traversing the globe performing wonders of strength and ingenuity.

Superman vol.1 #33 - Cover date March-April 1945

Don Cameron pens an inventive twist on Mxyztplk’s still-spanking new motif, as Lois pronounces the imp’s name backwards - in defiance of Superman’s warning - and finds herself trapped in the topsy-turvy land of Zrrrf. The absurdity of the place is in service to its menace - the comical-looking fifth-dimensional imps consider mere three-dimensional beings to be less than animals, worthy only of study and captivity, while the addled King of the land plays with blocks and his daffy court jester sits on the throne, punch-drunk and dangerous. 

The remainder of the issue is more quotidian - Lois unravels an entire criminal enterprise while following up on a stolen piggy bank, while in two subsequent adventures the Man of Steel must impress on a young doctor the value of his father’s sacrifices as a “mere” country doctor, then solve a seagoing murder mystery by traversing the globe performing wonders of strength and ingenuity.

Sep 23

World’s Finest Comics vol.1 #17 - Cover date Spring 1945
Sometimes the ancillary characters in the individual Superman stories are the most interesting parts of the tales, such as with the case of the escape artist GODINI - formerly a second-story man and safecracker, gone straight after being released from jail and returning to the his previous career as a daredevil and escapologist. Crooked associates find Godini and pressure him into returning to his lawless ways, which ends up getting Superman involved as the Man of Tomorrow helps keep Godini on the straight and narrow - not only by scooping up his criminal tormentors, but by participating in Godini’s all-star return to the limelight.

World’s Finest Comics vol.1 #17 - Cover date Spring 1945

Sometimes the ancillary characters in the individual Superman stories are the most interesting parts of the tales, such as with the case of the escape artist GODINI - formerly a second-story man and safecracker, gone straight after being released from jail and returning to the his previous career as a daredevil and escapologist. Crooked associates find Godini and pressure him into returning to his lawless ways, which ends up getting Superman involved as the Man of Tomorrow helps keep Godini on the straight and narrow - not only by scooping up his criminal tormentors, but by participating in Godini’s all-star return to the limelight.

Sep 17

"Hitler’s Invitation" Superman Sunday Newspaper Strip - March 4, 1945 to March 25, 1945
Through neutral diplomatic channels, Superman is delivered an unusual invitation - from Herr Hitler himself! The Nazi high command have hit upon the singular idea of subverting Superman’s mission against crime and injustice by inviting him to join the German Supermen - Which is, of course, Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler and Goering in ersatz Superman uniforms. (Naturally, the invitation goes over about as well as you would expect)

"Hitler’s Invitation"
Superman Sunday Newspaper Strip - March 4, 1945 to March 25, 1945

Through neutral diplomatic channels, Superman is delivered an unusual invitation - from Herr Hitler himself! The Nazi high command have hit upon the singular idea of subverting Superman’s mission against crime and injustice by inviting him to join the German Supermen - Which is, of course, Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler and Goering in ersatz Superman uniforms. (Naturally, the invitation goes over about as well as you would expect)

Sep 16

"The Mystery of the Golden Nail" The Adventures of Superman Radio Serial - March 1945
Superman and Jimmy encounter a group of mystery surrounding golden nails, painted red to avoid detection. The resolution of the mystery is anyone’s guess, as vital parts of this radio serial remain missing.

"The Mystery of the Golden Nail"
The Adventures of Superman Radio Serial - March 1945

Superman and Jimmy encounter a group of mystery surrounding golden nails, painted red to avoid detection. The resolution of the mystery is anyone’s guess, as vital parts of this radio serial remain missing.

Sep 04

Sep 03

Action Comics vol.1 #82 - Cover date March 1945
Superman comes very close to finally facing another supernatural foe but, in a twist reminsicent of Scooby-Doo, we find a man under a rubber mask.
A dam project is interrupted and undermined by the sinister, sometimes-rhyming Water Sprite, a horrific fanged creature who claims to speak for supernatural forces invested in the running waters. When Superman intervenes, he discovers that the costume and posture are all a ruse, and the Water Sprite is actually the man responsible for building the dam - he evidently wanted to destroy it in order to hide the use of shoddy materials, then blame the event on the inhuman Water Sprite.
Most of Superman’s foes at this point are the lightly comical, from Toyman to Prankster to Mxyztplk, so an apparently mythological monster-man makes for an interesting break to the rhythm.

Action Comics vol.1 #82 - Cover date March 1945

Superman comes very close to finally facing another supernatural foe but, in a twist reminsicent of Scooby-Doo, we find a man under a rubber mask.

A dam project is interrupted and undermined by the sinister, sometimes-rhyming Water Sprite, a horrific fanged creature who claims to speak for supernatural forces invested in the running waters. When Superman intervenes, he discovers that the costume and posture are all a ruse, and the Water Sprite is actually the man responsible for building the dam - he evidently wanted to destroy it in order to hide the use of shoddy materials, then blame the event on the inhuman Water Sprite.

Most of Superman’s foes at this point are the lightly comical, from Toyman to Prankster to Mxyztplk, so an apparently mythological monster-man makes for an interesting break to the rhythm.

Sep 02

"The Obnoxious Ogies" Superman Daily Newspaper Strip - February 12, 1945 to March 31, 1945
The Superman staff is obviously having a great deal of fun with its assorted imps, gremlins, squiffles, pranksters and fibbers, so it’s no surprise that they add the colorful (or color-less, actually) Ogies, a pair of invisible and intangible sprites inherited by Superman thanks to the largesse of a grateful ship’s captain.
As the Ogies are unwilling to leave Superman’s company, the Man of Steel must come up with all sorts of clever plans to mask his dual identity from snooping eyes he can’t even see, and meanwhile must contend with the Ogies’ audible voices causing all sorts of misunderstanding (they fawn over Lois Lane, which the girl reporter mistakes for the otherwise bashful Superman’s own affection given voice), adding new levels of difficulty to his already-complicated life.

"The Obnoxious Ogies"
Superman Daily Newspaper Strip - February 12, 1945 to March 31, 1945

The Superman staff is obviously having a great deal of fun with its assorted imps, gremlins, squiffles, pranksters and fibbers, so it’s no surprise that they add the colorful (or color-less, actually) Ogies, a pair of invisible and intangible sprites inherited by Superman thanks to the largesse of a grateful ship’s captain.

As the Ogies are unwilling to leave Superman’s company, the Man of Steel must come up with all sorts of clever plans to mask his dual identity from snooping eyes he can’t even see, and meanwhile must contend with the Ogies’ audible voices causing all sorts of misunderstanding (they fawn over Lois Lane, which the girl reporter mistakes for the otherwise bashful Superman’s own affection given voice), adding new levels of difficulty to his already-complicated life.