"The Sneer Strikes!" Superman Daily Newspaper Strip - June 28, 1943 to August 21, 1943
More than a few fictional characters toured the Japanese-American internment camps which dotted the west coast after 1942, the goal of their tours largely being to console the uneasy consciences of Americans troubled by the objectionable actions of their government towards literally tens of thousands of their fellow citizens. Clark and Lois visit one camp and - following a superficial tour - find it good, effectively stamping the entire controversial endeavor with Superman’s approval. A low point in Superman’s history. 
Making their judgment call from the tourist perspective, Clark and Lois find the interned citizens of Japanese descent to be “decent, hard-working, honest Americans” … for the most part. Fifth column activities - unsurprisingly, given the circumstances - nonetheless pop up in the camp, necessitating Superman’s intervention.
This time, last year, in the newspaper dailies, Superman was clashing with the insidious Japanese agent The Leer, who destroyed himself rather than risk capture. Now, the Leer is back — or so it seems, as it’s actually the original agent’s lookalike brother, his face also contorted in a permanent rictus.

"The Sneer Strikes!" Superman Daily Newspaper Strip - June 28, 1943 to August 21, 1943

More than a few fictional characters toured the Japanese-American internment camps which dotted the west coast after 1942, the goal of their tours largely being to console the uneasy consciences of Americans troubled by the objectionable actions of their government towards literally tens of thousands of their fellow citizens. Clark and Lois visit one camp and - following a superficial tour - find it good, effectively stamping the entire controversial endeavor with Superman’s approval. A low point in Superman’s history. 

Making their judgment call from the tourist perspective, Clark and Lois find the interned citizens of Japanese descent to be “decent, hard-working, honest Americans” … for the most part. Fifth column activities - unsurprisingly, given the circumstances - nonetheless pop up in the camp, necessitating Superman’s intervention.

This time, last year, in the newspaper dailies, Superman was clashing with the insidious Japanese agent The Leer, who destroyed himself rather than risk capture. Now, the Leer is back — or so it seems, as it’s actually the original agent’s lookalike brother, his face also contorted in a permanent rictus.

10 notes

"The Nefarious Noname" Superman Daily Newspaper Strip - April 19, 1943 to June 26, 1943
Superman has pledged to patrol within America’s borders for fifth columnists and saboteurs, but Clark meanwhile - remember that he had previously tried to enlist in the Army, but been rebuffed - jockeys for the coveted position of overseas war correspondent for the Daily Planet.
Uncovering a spy ring leads Superman to the doorstep of the four-eyed giant Noname. Aligned - for unexplored reasons - with the Axis, the well-dressed titan is also possessed of tremendous mental abilities, and spends a few episodes of the strip rebuffing the Man of Steel behind an impenetrable wall and generally buffeting him about with telekinetic force. 
The unusual character of Noname is never truly explained - where he comes from, from where he derives his amazing powers, whether he’s even human and what a creature of such amazing abilities gains from allying himself with the Axis - but the breakneck demand for new menaces sometimes makes the answers to these questions a luxury …

"The Nefarious Noname"
Superman Daily Newspaper Strip - April 19, 1943 to June 26, 1943

Superman has pledged to patrol within America’s borders for fifth columnists and saboteurs, but Clark meanwhile - remember that he had previously tried to enlist in the Army, but been rebuffed - jockeys for the coveted position of overseas war correspondent for the Daily Planet.

Uncovering a spy ring leads Superman to the doorstep of the four-eyed giant Noname. Aligned - for unexplored reasons - with the Axis, the well-dressed titan is also possessed of tremendous mental abilities, and spends a few episodes of the strip rebuffing the Man of Steel behind an impenetrable wall and generally buffeting him about with telekinetic force. 

The unusual character of Noname is never truly explained - where he comes from, from where he derives his amazing powers, whether he’s even human and what a creature of such amazing abilities gains from allying himself with the Axis - but the breakneck demand for new menaces sometimes makes the answers to these questions a luxury …

24 notes

"The Villainy of the Voice" Superman Daily Newspaper Strip - December 21, 1942 to April 17, 1943
The Man of Steel faces off against, effectively, an invisible man – The Voice, an Axis agent who operates almost exclusively by means of radio broadcasts. The Voice, otherwise unseen – and those who see The Voice, DIE – even makes a sneaky appearance as part of the supporting cast for this arc.
With 1942 wrapping up, you may have noticed a theme running through many of Superman’s newly-minted pseudonymous villains in the daily strips. Here, we meet The Voice, and previously in the daily strip we met The Monocle and The Leer. Seems we narrowly avoided The Mustache, The Glance and The Molar.

"The Villainy of the Voice" Superman Daily Newspaper Strip - December 21, 1942 to April 17, 1943

The Man of Steel faces off against, effectively, an invisible man – The Voice, an Axis agent who operates almost exclusively by means of radio broadcasts. The Voice, otherwise unseen – and those who see The Voice, DIE – even makes a sneaky appearance as part of the supporting cast for this arc.

With 1942 wrapping up, you may have noticed a theme running through many of Superman’s newly-minted pseudonymous villains in the daily strips. Here, we meet The Voice, and previously in the daily strip we met The Monocle and The Leer. Seems we narrowly avoided The Mustache, The Glance and The Molar.

64 notes

"Hollywood Victory Caravan" Superman Sunday Newspaper Strip - December 13, 1942 to March 21, 1943
Now a bona fide movie star in his own right, Superman certainly earned a spot in the Hollywood Victory Caravan – a real-life tour of celebrities which was used to bolster War Bond sales across the US. Of course, Superman is only present with the Caravan in the disguise of Clark Kent, covering the campaign for the Planet and defending the celebrity tour against threats of danger (while hobnobbing with some celebrity semi-lookalikes, for good measure)

"Hollywood Victory Caravan" Superman Sunday Newspaper Strip - December 13, 1942 to March 21, 1943

Now a bona fide movie star in his own right, Superman certainly earned a spot in the Hollywood Victory Caravan – a real-life tour of celebrities which was used to bolster War Bond sales across the US. Of course, Superman is only present with the Caravan in the disguise of Clark Kent, covering the campaign for the Planet and defending the celebrity tour against threats of danger (while hobnobbing with some celebrity semi-lookalikes, for good measure)

87 notes

"Santa Claus Kidnapped!" Superman Daily Newspaper Strip - November 23, 1942 to December 19, 1942
Hitler, Tojo and Mussolini hatch a scheme to undermine Allied confidence during the holiday season by abducting the beloved symbol of the season, Santa Claus. Although expressly a fantasy tale, even in the context of Superman’s extensive fiction – what we’ll later come to call “Imaginary Stories”, as though that somehow distinguished them from the otherwise-authentic imaginary stories – the fact that Superman can co-exist with Santa Claus marks a radical change for the character. While there may have been monsters, mad scientists, underground empires and murderous mer-people prior to this story, Superman’s adventures were largely rooted in the mundane world – physics, however loosely, still applied and the foundation of his fantastic feats were rooted in routing gangsters, thugs and rats. With the introduction of Santa Claus – much like the earlier Superman comics story wherein Clark and Lois watch a real-world Fleischer cartoon on the screen – anything goes.

"Santa Claus Kidnapped!" Superman Daily Newspaper Strip - November 23, 1942 to December 19, 1942

Hitler, Tojo and Mussolini hatch a scheme to undermine Allied confidence during the holiday season by abducting the beloved symbol of the season, Santa Claus. Although expressly a fantasy tale, even in the context of Superman’s extensive fiction – what we’ll later come to call “Imaginary Stories”, as though that somehow distinguished them from the otherwise-authentic imaginary stories – the fact that Superman can co-exist with Santa Claus marks a radical change for the character. While there may have been monsters, mad scientists, underground empires and murderous mer-people prior to this story, Superman’s adventures were largely rooted in the mundane world – physics, however loosely, still applied and the foundation of his fantastic feats were rooted in routing gangsters, thugs and rats. With the introduction of Santa Claus – much like the earlier Superman comics story wherein Clark and Lois watch a real-world Fleischer cartoon on the screen – anything goes.

74 notes

"The Monocle Menace" Superman Daily Newspaper Strip August 10, 1942 to November 21, 1942
Superman has been impersonated on a couple of occasions, but this time around the Man of Steel’s likeness is used to decorate a heavily stylized bomber, spreading fear and undermining the effectiveness of America’s secret weapon against sabotage. The Nazis return to the forefront of the daily newspaper strip under the guidance of The Monocle, an enemy saboteur busy at work keeping the Man of Steel battling his quasi-robotic lookalike.

"The Monocle Menace" Superman Daily Newspaper Strip August 10, 1942 to November 21, 1942

Superman has been impersonated on a couple of occasions, but this time around the Man of Steel’s likeness is used to decorate a heavily stylized bomber, spreading fear and undermining the effectiveness of America’s secret weapon against sabotage. The Nazis return to the forefront of the daily newspaper strip under the guidance of The Monocle, an enemy saboteur busy at work keeping the Man of Steel battling his quasi-robotic lookalike.

84 notes

"The Steel Mill Poet" Superman Daily Newspaper Strip - May 25, 1942 to August 8, 1942
Taking a rest from the seemingly tireless parade of Axis saboteurs invading Metropolis under his watch, Superman embarks on another whimsical – but eventful – adventure involving a henpecked husband who needs a guardian angel of steel. The Canby Steel Mill is being driven into the ground, courtesy of the owner’s overbearing wife and her poetry-spouting cousin, the latter of whom seems intent of driving factory morale into the ground with interminable open-microphone nights on the production floor.
On top of this, there’s a budding, star- crossed romance mixed with a false accusation of embezzlement and a few thugs storming around the place for good measure, indulging in a bit of industrial espionage. In the end, Superman straightens everything out and gets the steel mill back on track, complete with a government contract, since the war continues to be much on the public’s mind…

"The Steel Mill Poet" Superman Daily Newspaper Strip - May 25, 1942 to August 8, 1942

Taking a rest from the seemingly tireless parade of Axis saboteurs invading Metropolis under his watch, Superman embarks on another whimsical – but eventful – adventure involving a henpecked husband who needs a guardian angel of steel. The Canby Steel Mill is being driven into the ground, courtesy of the owner’s overbearing wife and her poetry-spouting cousin, the latter of whom seems intent of driving factory morale into the ground with interminable open-microphone nights on the production floor.

On top of this, there’s a budding, star- crossed romance mixed with a false accusation of embezzlement and a few thugs storming around the place for good measure, indulging in a bit of industrial espionage. In the end, Superman straightens everything out and gets the steel mill back on track, complete with a government contract, since the war continues to be much on the public’s mind…

93 notes

Lair of the LeerSuperman Daily Newspaper Strip - February 16, 1942 to May 23, 1942
Over in the radio serial, Clark may have been drafted into the Espionage Division, but here in the daily newspaper strip he’s opting for the more direct method of serving his adopted country – he’s off to enlist! Unfortunately, while daydreaming about the red boot he plans to put up Nazi behinds, he idly reads the wrong eye-chart (one of the perils of X-Ray vision, evidently – who knew they had different stuff printed on different eye charts?) and is escorted out the side door with a fresh 4-F stamp for his troubles.
Still, Superman is hard to dissuade, and before long he’s managed to call a joint session of Congress (!) in order to announce that he’ll be staying stateside to rout all the fifth columnists and spies who have been skulking around U.S. shores. I wasn’t aware that you were allowed to sort of tell the government how exactly you wanted to help the war effort and they had to go along with it, but apparently that’s how it works. 
It’s a good thing, too, because Superman promptly spies some lookalike senators in the gallery who turn out to be disguised enemy agents – sporting dynamite vests! Besides making short work of the suicide bombers, Superman also ends up facing THE LEER, a Japanese agent whose face is transfigured in the rictus of a terrifying grin, and who – much in the vein of Batman’s popular nemesis The Joker – poisons his victims with a signature chemical that leaves them with macabre grins upon their lifeless faces. 

Lair of the Leer
Superman Daily Newspaper Strip - February 16, 1942 to May 23, 1942

Over in the radio serial, Clark may have been drafted into the Espionage Division, but here in the daily newspaper strip he’s opting for the more direct method of serving his adopted country – he’s off to enlist! Unfortunately, while daydreaming about the red boot he plans to put up Nazi behinds, he idly reads the wrong eye-chart (one of the perils of X-Ray vision, evidently – who knew they had different stuff printed on different eye charts?) and is escorted out the side door with a fresh 4-F stamp for his troubles.

Still, Superman is hard to dissuade, and before long he’s managed to call a joint session of Congress (!) in order to announce that he’ll be staying stateside to rout all the fifth columnists and spies who have been skulking around U.S. shores. I wasn’t aware that you were allowed to sort of tell the government how exactly you wanted to help the war effort and they had to go along with it, but apparently that’s how it works. 

It’s a good thing, too, because Superman promptly spies some lookalike senators in the gallery who turn out to be disguised enemy agents – sporting dynamite vests! Besides making short work of the suicide bombers, Superman also ends up facing THE LEER, a Japanese agent whose face is transfigured in the rictus of a terrifying grin, and who – much in the vein of Batman’s popular nemesis The Joker – poisons his victims with a signature chemical that leaves them with macabre grins upon their lifeless faces. 

131 notes

Superman’s Hollywood DebutNewspaper Dailies Episode 19 (November 17 1941- February 14 1942)
With the menace of Scientists of Sudden Death now in the dire and dramatic past, the Superman strip ends the year with a lighter-hearted affair surrounding the announced production of a Superman movie in Hollywood!
Lois and Clark are sent off to get the scoop, and immediately Clark runs into trouble – the film’s talent scout notices that Clark perfectly resembles his movie’s subject, Superman! Lois doesn’t see the similarity, herself – she has to push her imagination to its limit, she argues – but nonetheless, Clark’s dual identity stands exposed before her. It’s the closest he’s yet come to having his secret exposed.

Noting his resemblance, Clark is hired to star in the Superman movie (his cowardice and timidity prove to be problems on the set) and from there it’s intrigue, murder and headstrong starlets competing for Clark’s affection aplenty…

Superman’s Hollywood Debut
Newspaper Dailies Episode 19 (November 17 1941- February 14 1942)

With the menace of Scientists of Sudden Death now in the dire and dramatic past, the Superman strip ends the year with a lighter-hearted affair surrounding the announced production of a Superman movie in Hollywood!

Lois and Clark are sent off to get the scoop, and immediately Clark runs into trouble – the film’s talent scout notices that Clark perfectly resembles his movie’s subject, Superman! Lois doesn’t see the similarity, herself – she has to push her imagination to its limit, she argues – but nonetheless, Clark’s dual identity stands exposed before her. It’s the closest he’s yet come to having his secret exposed.

Noting his resemblance, Clark is hired to star in the Superman movie (his cowardice and timidity prove to be problems on the set) and from there it’s intrigue, murder and headstrong starlets competing for Clark’s affection aplenty…

120 notes

The Blonde Tigress RegretsDaily Newspaper Strip - Nov 3 - Nov 15
The Scientists of Sudden Death Part 8: The League to Destroy Superman is gutted. Most of its membership lies dead by their own hands, destroyed by the deadly tools they constructed to end the crime-fighting crusade of the Man of Steel. Carlos, Block and Fant, all dead; Coker and his Super-lookalike Jenks, dead; the “deadly dwarf” Slag, dead. The million dollar bounty upon Superman’s head remains, at least for this moment, unclaimed.
Now there is only Ralph Roland, the crooked land developer who began the whole murderous affair, and his most zealous recruit, Lil Danvers, a.k.a. The Blond Tigress. Hell-bent on avenging her father’s murder for which she mistakenly blames Superman, her passion for revenge is tempered by a growing attraction to the Man of Tomorrow’s courage and strength. Superman has saved her from the explosion which claimed the life of her associate Fant and rescued her from blindness at the hands of Sleez’s terrible electric rod, but still her hatred burns purely.
With nothing left to lose, Roland and Danvers work together to destroy the Man of Steel at last, but Superman hasn’t been idle in the interim; he’s been investigating the murder of Danvers’ father and has finally identified the culprit – it was Ralph Roland all along, The Blond Tigress’ partner, the founder of the Scientists of Sudden Death!

Danvers turns on Roland, in desperation Roland levels a pistol at the Man of Steel and fires, and sacrificing herself possibly as an act of contrition or madness – a bullet, after all, could not kill Superman – Lil Danvers throws herself between the deadly projectile and its intended target. She dies in Superman’s arms, Lois looking on in shock as she shares a kiss with Superman before dying – and with her, the League to Destroy Superman…

The Blonde Tigress Regrets
Daily Newspaper Strip - Nov 3 - Nov 15

The Scientists of Sudden Death Part 8: The League to Destroy Superman is gutted. Most of its membership lies dead by their own hands, destroyed by the deadly tools they constructed to end the crime-fighting crusade of the Man of Steel. Carlos, Block and Fant, all dead; Coker and his Super-lookalike Jenks, dead; the “deadly dwarf” Slag, dead. The million dollar bounty upon Superman’s head remains, at least for this moment, unclaimed.

Now there is only Ralph Roland, the crooked land developer who began the whole murderous affair, and his most zealous recruit, Lil Danvers, a.k.a. The Blond Tigress. Hell-bent on avenging her father’s murder for which she mistakenly blames Superman, her passion for revenge is tempered by a growing attraction to the Man of Tomorrow’s courage and strength. Superman has saved her from the explosion which claimed the life of her associate Fant and rescued her from blindness at the hands of Sleez’s terrible electric rod, but still her hatred burns purely.

With nothing left to lose, Roland and Danvers work together to destroy the Man of Steel at last, but Superman hasn’t been idle in the interim; he’s been investigating the murder of Danvers’ father and has finally identified the culprit – it was Ralph Roland all along, The Blond Tigress’ partner, the founder of the Scientists of Sudden Death!

Danvers turns on Roland, in desperation Roland levels a pistol at the Man of Steel and fires, and sacrificing herself possibly as an act of contrition or madness – a bullet, after all, could not kill Superman – Lil Danvers throws herself between the deadly projectile and its intended target. She dies in Superman’s arms, Lois looking on in shock as she shares a kiss with Superman before dying – and with her, the League to Destroy Superman…