Action Comics vol.1 #62 - Cover date July 1943
How long will Superman live? It’s a question with which the writers have often had to wrestle, If he does age, how long will his vitality and youth persist? Will his powers weaken with age? And what of Superman’s crusade against crime and injustice, is it a war he can ever win?
Since the Seventies, we’ve been comfortably presented with a minor parade of older Supermen gone gray at the temples - the Superman of Earth-2, the Superman of Kingdom Come, the Superman of Batman Beyond - but in this first foray into the concept, the Man of Steel hasn’t aged a day.
It’s the year 2143 - two hundred years into this story’s future - and Superman is not only as young and vibrant as his present-day self, but he has more leisure time; his war on crime has borne such fruit that the idea of villainy is unknown in this far-flung time. The champion Superman spends his days turning his terrific mind to scientific advancement and leisurely listening in as old acquaintances pass his legend on to younger generations.

Action Comics vol.1 #62 - Cover date July 1943

How long will Superman live? It’s a question with which the writers have often had to wrestle, If he does age, how long will his vitality and youth persist? Will his powers weaken with age? And what of Superman’s crusade against crime and injustice, is it a war he can ever win?

Since the Seventies, we’ve been comfortably presented with a minor parade of older Supermen gone gray at the temples - the Superman of Earth-2, the Superman of Kingdom Come, the Superman of Batman Beyond - but in this first foray into the concept, the Man of Steel hasn’t aged a day.

It’s the year 2143 - two hundred years into this story’s future - and Superman is not only as young and vibrant as his present-day self, but he has more leisure time; his war on crime has borne such fruit that the idea of villainy is unknown in this far-flung time. The champion Superman spends his days turning his terrific mind to scientific advancement and leisurely listening in as old acquaintances pass his legend on to younger generations.

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Action Comics vol.1 #61 - Cover date June 1943
Lois’ affections are won over by a charismatic, showboating man-about-town (and suspected crook), and Superman is left with only one solution - win Lois back! But first he must make her aware that his much-loathed civilian identity only masks the courage and power of Superman.
Unfortunately, contrivance follows contrivance in prohibiting Clark from successfully revealing his secret to a dubious Lois, and by the time he’s given up, her new paramour reveals himself to be a fraud. Still, it’s only last issue that Lois was dreaming of hooking Superman in matrimony, so the romance has come back to the book after a long absence amidst war and fantasy stories.

Action Comics vol.1 #61 - Cover date June 1943

Lois’ affections are won over by a charismatic, showboating man-about-town (and suspected crook), and Superman is left with only one solution - win Lois back! But first he must make her aware that his much-loathed civilian identity only masks the courage and power of Superman.

Unfortunately, contrivance follows contrivance in prohibiting Clark from successfully revealing his secret to a dubious Lois, and by the time he’s given up, her new paramour reveals himself to be a fraud. Still, it’s only last issue that Lois was dreaming of hooking Superman in matrimony, so the romance has come back to the book after a long absence amidst war and fantasy stories.

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Action Comics vol.1 #60 - Cover date May 1943
The supporting cast as superhero is a revered tradition in the superhero books, so while Jimmy (Elastic Lad) Olsen and Lana (Insect Queen) Lang might be the two most famous examples, it’s Lois Lane who starts the tradition.
It might be a bit of a cheat to pack a second dream sequence following last Action’s mashup of the Cinderella story, but there’s no other way for this issue’s debut of LOIS LANE - SUPERWOMAN to happen.
Injured and dreaming of having received a blood transfusion from the Man of Steel, Lois returns to vitality bursting with tremendous power. It’s not long before she adopts a lookalike Super-uniform of her very own and takes to the skies above Metropolis. Before long, she’s doing everything Superman does - playing guardian angel to a lovelorn couple, stopping errant vehicles, and clashing with her own supervillain - the leering Dr.Skowl!
Cowardly Clark even shows up in the dream to try and unmask Superwoman, but not before she has a chance to pin Superman down on the question of matrimony.

Action Comics vol.1 #60 - Cover date May 1943

The supporting cast as superhero is a revered tradition in the superhero books, so while Jimmy (Elastic Lad) Olsen and Lana (Insect Queen) Lang might be the two most famous examples, it’s Lois Lane who starts the tradition.

It might be a bit of a cheat to pack a second dream sequence following last Action’s mashup of the Cinderella story, but there’s no other way for this issue’s debut of LOIS LANE - SUPERWOMAN to happen.

Injured and dreaming of having received a blood transfusion from the Man of Steel, Lois returns to vitality bursting with tremendous power. It’s not long before she adopts a lookalike Super-uniform of her very own and takes to the skies above Metropolis. Before long, she’s doing everything Superman does - playing guardian angel to a lovelorn couple, stopping errant vehicles, and clashing with her own supervillain - the leering Dr.Skowl!

Cowardly Clark even shows up in the dream to try and unmask Superwoman, but not before she has a chance to pin Superman down on the question of matrimony.

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Action Comics vol.1 #59 - Cover date April 1943
With his war against crime and tyranny being largely well-trod ground, Superman finds himself at play in the realms of the imagination once more - this time, Clark dozes off while reading fairy tales to Lois’ troublesome niece Susie, and vividly dreams that his costumed alter-ego is providing enchanted godmother services to beleaguered Cinderella.
These occasional flights of fancy not only allow Superman the occasional breather from grim, quotidian menaces, they also stretch the ultimate boundaries of the Man of Tomorrow’s reality, regardless of their “imaginary” statuses. 

Action Comics vol.1 #59 - Cover date April 1943

With his war against crime and tyranny being largely well-trod ground, Superman finds himself at play in the realms of the imagination once more - this time, Clark dozes off while reading fairy tales to Lois’ troublesome niece Susie, and vividly dreams that his costumed alter-ego is providing enchanted godmother services to beleaguered Cinderella.

These occasional flights of fancy not only allow Superman the occasional breather from grim, quotidian menaces, they also stretch the ultimate boundaries of the Man of Tomorrow’s reality, regardless of their “imaginary” statuses. 

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Action Comics vol.1 #58 - Cover date March 1943
A badly aging movie star puts his fate in the hands of the ominously named plastic surgeon Dr.Menace, gaining a terrible new face in the bargain. Hiding the fading celebrity’s surgically altered features under a handsome, lifelike rubber mask, Menace blackmails his victim into committing high society crimes on his behalf in return for a second, restorative go under the knife.
The fakeout ending of this story - the reader never actually gets to see Adonis’ gruesome features - is unusual for the traditional Superman “beat”. Typically, we see the villain die or defeated, followed by a summary wrap up from Lois and Superman or Lois and Clark. 

Action Comics vol.1 #58 - Cover date March 1943

A badly aging movie star puts his fate in the hands of the ominously named plastic surgeon Dr.Menace, gaining a terrible new face in the bargain. Hiding the fading celebrity’s surgically altered features under a handsome, lifelike rubber mask, Menace blackmails his victim into committing high society crimes on his behalf in return for a second, restorative go under the knife.

The fakeout ending of this story - the reader never actually gets to see Adonis’ gruesome features - is unusual for the traditional Superman “beat”. Typically, we see the villain die or defeated, followed by a summary wrap up from Lois and Superman or Lois and Clark. 

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Action Comics vol.1 #57 - Cover date February 1943
The Prankster returns with possibly his greatest scheme in tow - and he outdoes Luthor, the Ultra-Humanite, Metalo, The Lightning Master, The Ghost and any dozen more of Superman’s swelling ranks of super-foes; he leaves Superman knocked unconscious on the carpet.
Prankster’s plot bears some resemblance to his earlier scheme - some seed cash from local crooks, what appears to be reverse robberies - but it’s spiced up with a celebrity glad-handing scam, the avenging ladies of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Ostriches and, best of all, Prankster tricking Superman into knocking himself out under his own misdirected superpower. 

Action Comics vol.1 #57 - Cover date February 1943

The Prankster returns with possibly his greatest scheme in tow - and he outdoes Luthor, the Ultra-Humanite, Metalo, The Lightning Master, The Ghost and any dozen more of Superman’s swelling ranks of super-foes; he leaves Superman knocked unconscious on the carpet.

Prankster’s plot bears some resemblance to his earlier scheme - some seed cash from local crooks, what appears to be reverse robberies - but it’s spiced up with a celebrity glad-handing scam, the avenging ladies of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Ostriches and, best of all, Prankster tricking Superman into knocking himself out under his own misdirected superpower. 

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Action Comics vol.1 #56 - Cover date January 1943
In this issue, Shuster may have invented comics’ first (and there can’t be many more) Mad Architect in the form of Emil Loring, a twisted architectural genius who engineers dire destructive threats against the world’s greatest monuments.
Giant hail stones pound the Washington Monument, a weird green laser chips away at Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty is threatened by a tsunami, and so on. It’s all part of Loring’s plan to destroy the competition to HIS great masterpiece, a tremendous sky-piercing tower - built by slave labor abducted from Metropolis’ eager labor force, no less (dynamically, the would-be slaves are sent to Loring’s remote, undisclosed building site via cartoon rocket).
Whatever his bona fides as an architect. the stunted, misshapen Loring obviously harbors a little mad scientist in his DNA, what with the weird lasers and weather controlling machines…

Action Comics vol.1 #56 - Cover date January 1943

In this issue, Shuster may have invented comics’ first (and there can’t be many more) Mad Architect in the form of Emil Loring, a twisted architectural genius who engineers dire destructive threats against the world’s greatest monuments.

Giant hail stones pound the Washington Monument, a weird green laser chips away at Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty is threatened by a tsunami, and so on. It’s all part of Loring’s plan to destroy the competition to HIS great masterpiece, a tremendous sky-piercing tower - built by slave labor abducted from Metropolis’ eager labor force, no less (dynamically, the would-be slaves are sent to Loring’s remote, undisclosed building site via cartoon rocket).

Whatever his bona fides as an architect. the stunted, misshapen Loring obviously harbors a little mad scientist in his DNA, what with the weird lasers and weather controlling machines…

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Action Comics vol.1 #55 - Cover date December 1942
Al Capp – creator of Li’l Abner – was arguably the world’s most famous newspaper cartoonist, but was he terribly well-liked? It’s hard to say if this parody of Capp – as an unscrupulous Daily Planet staff cartoonist who gains inspiration for his wildly popular comic strip by actively plagiarizing the antics (and then deliberately complicating the lives) of a group of friendly, well-meaning hillbillies – was inspired by a dislike for the man’s admittedly abrasive style, jealousy over his success, or was merely a satire much in the vein of Li’l Abner itself…

Action Comics vol.1 #55 - Cover date December 1942

Al Capp – creator of Li’l Abner – was arguably the world’s most famous newspaper cartoonist, but was he terribly well-liked? It’s hard to say if this parody of Capp – as an unscrupulous Daily Planet staff cartoonist who gains inspiration for his wildly popular comic strip by actively plagiarizing the antics (and then deliberately complicating the lives) of a group of friendly, well-meaning hillbillies – was inspired by a dislike for the man’s admittedly abrasive style, jealousy over his success, or was merely a satire much in the vein of Li’l Abner itself…

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Action Comics vol.1 #54 - Cover date November 1942
In a keen reversal of the “Superman as guardian angel” plot, we meet timid, meek, unambitious Stanley Fitchcomb who reluctantly finds his calling – not with the help of the Man of Steel, but instead the hectoring ghost of his vicious pirate ancestor Captain Ironfist! Possessed by Ironfist’s ghost, Stanley becomes a modern-day buccaneer and falls afoul of Superman.
As villains go, Stanley is surprisingly sympathetic – he’s the victim of his ancestor’s ghost. Left to his own devices Stanley would rather dedicate himself to the management of his amusement park, but he’s needled into a life of crime on the high seas, and ultimately perishes as the ghost of Captain Ironfist ultimately goes unpunished…

Action Comics vol.1 #54 - Cover date November 1942

In a keen reversal of the “Superman as guardian angel” plot, we meet timid, meek, unambitious Stanley Fitchcomb who reluctantly finds his calling – not with the help of the Man of Steel, but instead the hectoring ghost of his vicious pirate ancestor Captain Ironfist! Possessed by Ironfist’s ghost, Stanley becomes a modern-day buccaneer and falls afoul of Superman.

As villains go, Stanley is surprisingly sympathetic – he’s the victim of his ancestor’s ghost. Left to his own devices Stanley would rather dedicate himself to the management of his amusement park, but he’s needled into a life of crime on the high seas, and ultimately perishes as the ghost of Captain Ironfist ultimately goes unpunished…

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Action Comics vol.1 #53 - Cover date October 1942
The Class of 1942 has no member more dedicated to the archetypal super-villainous behavior of “committing to your theme” than THE NIGHT OWL, a gangly, bald-headed figure in coke-bottle glasses who commands his criminal empire crouched on a swinging perch. His weapons – the ability to plunge even the sunniest day into abject blackness, and the freedom to move confidently through it by dint of his specially treated goggles. He also commands trained attack owls. There was certainly still steam in the concept – perhaps The Night Owl could have returned with owl-like talons instead of hands, sort of some robot owls, owl-themed henchmen – you know, the usual. Too bad he never made it past this first appearance.

Action Comics vol.1 #53 - Cover date October 1942

The Class of 1942 has no member more dedicated to the archetypal super-villainous behavior of “committing to your theme” than THE NIGHT OWL, a gangly, bald-headed figure in coke-bottle glasses who commands his criminal empire crouched on a swinging perch. His weapons – the ability to plunge even the sunniest day into abject blackness, and the freedom to move confidently through it by dint of his specially treated goggles. He also commands trained attack owls. There was certainly still steam in the concept – perhaps The Night Owl could have returned with owl-like talons instead of hands, sort of some robot owls, owl-themed henchmen – you know, the usual. Too bad he never made it past this first appearance.

127 notes