The Howling Coyote
The Adventures of Superman Radio Serial - December 1940
Clark and Jimmy are sent off by Perry White to investigate strange – and seemingly supernatural – happenings at the oil fields of Perry’s good friend Comanche Joe (who’s not SO good a friend that he doesn’t prank Perry with a death threat and a water pitcher-centric take on the old William Tell routine).
Comanche Joe’s properties are under secret assault from a pair of crooks trying to scare him into selling his land cheap, rigging avalanches and disasters and utilizing an old myth about a banshee-like coyote spirit who howls in advance of certain death. What follows is a mash-up of Native American practices so generalized as to effectively be made of whole cloth, including Jimmy and Clark being ceremonially inducted into the local tribe (Jimmy’s “Comanche name” is appealingly “Little Laughing Squirrel”, and Clark’s is essentially “Ol’ Coke Bottles”).
Excepting the cultural portmanteau, the portrayal of native culture in this serial stands head-and-shoulders above the previous portrayals of Incas, Mayans and Inuits, owing in no small part to the fact that the Comanche are the good guys this time around (Joe himself is one of the nation’s richest men, for that matter). Still, it’s far from complete redress of the ethnic excesses of the serial to date.
Prior to that, Jimmy suffers a serious injury and becomes the second cast member (after Lois, in the comics) to receive an emergency blood transfusion from Superman himself. Nothing except sudden health and vitality results from the transfusion – Jimmy isn’t leaping over tall buildings or anything – but still Superman’s blood appears to harbor some pretty spectacular curative properties.