Superman vol.1 #30 - Cover date September-October 1944
Lois stars in her third solo installment, and features prominently in the opening story to this issue (which involves Superman and Clark Kent switching roles, or at least pretending to, for Jimmy’s and Lois’ benefits), followed by Superman helping set a rightful heir to a foreign throne back in charge of the country which was stolen from his ancestor.
More importantly than any of these, though, is the comic book debut of Mr.Mxyztplk, and - unlike his newspaper appearance - this story focuses entirely on his peculiar brand of mischief.
Fans of the animated Superman series from the 1990s will recognize some of the elements of the story, from Mxyztplk’s bulb-headed, purple-suited appearance to his faking death after a truck collision and, of course, loudly awakening the forgetful “McGurk” (actually the famous Rodin statue The Thinker) at a Metropolis museum.
The incredibly popular imp causes a number of ruckuses around the city, engages Superman in a super-breath contest - not something that happens every day - and eventually laughs himself right back to the magical dimension of Zrrrf - for a short while, anyway, as he quickly proves to be one of Superman’s most popular foes.

Superman vol.1 #30 - Cover date September-October 1944

Lois stars in her third solo installment, and features prominently in the opening story to this issue (which involves Superman and Clark Kent switching roles, or at least pretending to, for Jimmy’s and Lois’ benefits), followed by Superman helping set a rightful heir to a foreign throne back in charge of the country which was stolen from his ancestor.

More importantly than any of these, though, is the comic book debut of Mr.Mxyztplk, and - unlike his newspaper appearance - this story focuses entirely on his peculiar brand of mischief.

Fans of the animated Superman series from the 1990s will recognize some of the elements of the story, from Mxyztplk’s bulb-headed, purple-suited appearance to his faking death after a truck collision and, of course, loudly awakening the forgetful “McGurk” (actually the famous Rodin statue The Thinker) at a Metropolis museum.

The incredibly popular imp causes a number of ruckuses around the city, engages Superman in a super-breath contest - not something that happens every day - and eventually laughs himself right back to the magical dimension of Zrrrf - for a short while, anyway, as he quickly proves to be one of Superman’s most popular foes.

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Superman vol.1 #28 - Cover date May-June 1944
J.Wilbur Wolfingham returns to ply his questionable skills as a con man on a town of unsuspecting rubes, only to have it blow up in his face - as always. It’s interesting to look back from this landscape of Superman villains - if you go back to 1942, Superman’s most persistent foes are Luthor, the Scientists of Sudden Death and a panoply of dynamic but short-lived villains. Go back just a year and Superman is facing a cadre of Nazi agents and a few colorful characters. Here, in 1944, he repeatedly locks horns with Toyman, Prankster and old J.Wilbur…
Elsewhere in this issue, Superman saves some ships - both models and real - from treasure-seeking ne’er-do-wells, Lois debuts in her own short-page-count strip, and (reminiscent of last issue’s crossover of Paul Bunyan and the Man of Steel), Superman travels to Ancient Greece and spawns the legend of Hercules (or so the champion fibber at the Liar’s Club gala attests)

Superman vol.1 #28 - Cover date May-June 1944

J.Wilbur Wolfingham returns to ply his questionable skills as a con man on a town of unsuspecting rubes, only to have it blow up in his face - as always. It’s interesting to look back from this landscape of Superman villains - if you go back to 1942, Superman’s most persistent foes are Luthor, the Scientists of Sudden Death and a panoply of dynamic but short-lived villains. Go back just a year and Superman is facing a cadre of Nazi agents and a few colorful characters. Here, in 1944, he repeatedly locks horns with Toyman, Prankster and old J.Wilbur…

Elsewhere in this issue, Superman saves some ships - both models and real - from treasure-seeking ne’er-do-wells, Lois debuts in her own short-page-count strip, and (reminiscent of last issue’s crossover of Paul Bunyan and the Man of Steel), Superman travels to Ancient Greece and spawns the legend of Hercules (or so the champion fibber at the Liar’s Club gala attests)

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"The Mischievous Mr. Mxyzptlk" Superman Daily Newspaper Strip - February 21, 1944 to July 19, 1944
It’s the debut of Mister Mxyzptlk (note the early placement of the “T” and “P”) as a puzzling nuisance to both Clark Kent and Superman, mysterious and magical, sly and silly, complicating poor Clark’s efforts to mask his dual identity and coming up with spontaneous dangers to test Superman’s super-prowess. 
However, oddly, the dimension-hopping imp promptly takes a back seat to another unusual menace, a callous and cruel beauty who goes under the unusual moniker of Miss Dreamface and whose incomparable loveliness makes gibbering slaves of men - including even Mxyztplk … and Superman! 
A little Mxyztplk apparently goes a long way, and he’s very soon the most in-demand member of Superman’s rogues gallery.

"The Mischievous Mr. Mxyzptlk"
Superman Daily Newspaper Strip - February 21, 1944 to July 19, 1944

It’s the debut of Mister Mxyzptlk (note the early placement of the “T” and “P”) as a puzzling nuisance to both Clark Kent and Superman, mysterious and magical, sly and silly, complicating poor Clark’s efforts to mask his dual identity and coming up with spontaneous dangers to test Superman’s super-prowess. 

However, oddly, the dimension-hopping imp promptly takes a back seat to another unusual menace, a callous and cruel beauty who goes under the unusual moniker of Miss Dreamface and whose incomparable loveliness makes gibbering slaves of men - including even Mxyztplk … and Superman! 

A little Mxyztplk apparently goes a long way, and he’s very soon the most in-demand member of Superman’s rogues gallery.

Action Comics vol.1 #69 - Cover date February 1944
The Prankster’s third incursion into Superman’s otherwise predictable world of tyrants and gangsters involves another convoluted plan making victims of Metropolis’ wealthiest citizens. In this case, it’s a triple-dip blackmail plot that involves the Daily Planet at both ends of the scheme, much to the consternation of Lois Lane and Clark Kent.
Appropriately,the Prankster receives a triple-punishment; besides ending up back in jail, he also receives a super-spanking and a paddywagon beating by his associates. 
It speaks volumes of the Prankster as a forceful - possibly even semi-protagonistic - character in the Superman mythos that, even after such a significant reversal in fortunes, he’s portrayed laughing indulgently at the scope of the “prank” which, ultimately, ended up being played on him, as though he’d won the day.

Action Comics vol.1 #69 - Cover date February 1944

The Prankster’s third incursion into Superman’s otherwise predictable world of tyrants and gangsters involves another convoluted plan making victims of Metropolis’ wealthiest citizens. In this case, it’s a triple-dip blackmail plot that involves the Daily Planet at both ends of the scheme, much to the consternation of Lois Lane and Clark Kent.

Appropriately,the Prankster receives a triple-punishment; besides ending up back in jail, he also receives a super-spanking and a paddywagon beating by his associates. 

It speaks volumes of the Prankster as a forceful - possibly even semi-protagonistic - character in the Superman mythos that, even after such a significant reversal in fortunes, he’s portrayed laughing indulgently at the scope of the “prank” which, ultimately, ended up being played on him, as though he’d won the day.

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Superman vol.1 #26 - Cover date January-February 1944
It’s the habit of this blog to credit the stories to Jerry Siegel (as credited in the original comics, and as was typical in the first few years), although in after he was drafted in 1943, it was usually a contribution in name only. Like Joe Shuster, Siegel had a collection of writers working under his pen name. It’s assumed that, early on, he at least had some editorial control or authorial approval over the stories he didn’t write, but even if hadn’t been serving in the military, the animosity between himself and publisher Jack Liebowitz had grown so intense that Liebowitz was disinclined to let Siegel have any significant control over his own creation once it had been wrested away.
So, not unusually, the stories in this issue of Superman are written by Siegel and his pseudonymous replacements - The legendary Bill Finger crafts a story of the guardian angel variety wherein Superman reinstates a former stuntman’s confidence and reunites him with his estranged son. Siegel contributes a dark story of blackmail, which seemingly reflects his mood.
Don Cameron contributes two tales, introducing another element of the fantastic by pitting Superman against the so-called “Quicksilver Kid” - actually the god Mercury - and introducing another of Superman’s unpowered nemeses, the blustery and mostly inept conman J.Wilbur Wolfingham.

Superman vol.1 #26 - Cover date January-February 1944

It’s the habit of this blog to credit the stories to Jerry Siegel (as credited in the original comics, and as was typical in the first few years), although in after he was drafted in 1943, it was usually a contribution in name only. Like Joe Shuster, Siegel had a collection of writers working under his pen name. It’s assumed that, early on, he at least had some editorial control or authorial approval over the stories he didn’t write, but even if hadn’t been serving in the military, the animosity between himself and publisher Jack Liebowitz had grown so intense that Liebowitz was disinclined to let Siegel have any significant control over his own creation once it had been wrested away.

So, not unusually, the stories in this issue of Superman are written by Siegel and his pseudonymous replacements - The legendary Bill Finger crafts a story of the guardian angel variety wherein Superman reinstates a former stuntman’s confidence and reunites him with his estranged son. Siegel contributes a dark story of blackmail, which seemingly reflects his mood.

Don Cameron contributes two tales, introducing another element of the fantastic by pitting Superman against the so-called “Quicksilver Kid” - actually the god Mercury - and introducing another of Superman’s unpowered nemeses, the blustery and mostly inept conman J.Wilbur Wolfingham.

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World’s Finest Comics vol.1 #12 - Cover date Winter 1943
Meek, mild Lester Link is the type of underweight doormat of a man whom Superman seems put on Earth to aid – but Lester doesn’t need Superman’s help! Fed up with a drab life of belittlement and obscurity, Lester throws a bottle of ink in his abusive boss’ face and quits, choosing to set himself up as a phony mastermind of a vast criminal empire, the enigmatic LYNX.
It’s all a bluff and mostly to benefit Lester’s ego, although even Superman is impressed enough with the clever old fella that he employs Lester and his manufactured criminal identity to capture some real crooks. 

World’s Finest Comics vol.1 #12 - Cover date Winter 1943

Meek, mild Lester Link is the type of underweight doormat of a man whom Superman seems put on Earth to aid – but Lester doesn’t need Superman’s help! Fed up with a drab life of belittlement and obscurity, Lester throws a bottle of ink in his abusive boss’ face and quits, choosing to set himself up as a phony mastermind of a vast criminal empire, the enigmatic LYNX.

It’s all a bluff and mostly to benefit Lester’s ego, although even Superman is impressed enough with the clever old fella that he employs Lester and his manufactured criminal identity to capture some real crooks. 

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"Little Susie’s Fibs" Superman Daily Newspaper Strip - November 19, 1943 to February 19, 1944
Preceding the malevolent imp Mxyztplk and peer to Luthor, Toyman and Prankster, mischief being her mantra, here stands one of Superman’s earliest nemeses - Lois Lane’s imaginative niece, Susie. 
Nemesis to the Man of Steel? The goddess of Rhamnous, after whom the term is coined, visited punishment on the prideful, bringing low those whose arrogance had seen them equate themselves with the gods. Even the most secular interpretation of the term suggests a foe against whom the protagonist can find no purchase.
So here’s Susie, a hyper-imaginative child whose inventions of the mind cause no end of trouble for Clark Kent in both of his identities. Susie, who witnesses Superman’s transition into Clark Kent, whose juvenile whims ground the Man of Steel, who cannot be laid low with a punch or a defiant circumvention of some fantastic scientific device. Susie - Superman’s greatest foe?

"Little Susie’s Fibs"
Superman Daily Newspaper Strip - November 19, 1943 to February 19, 1944

Preceding the malevolent imp Mxyztplk and peer to Luthor, Toyman and Prankster, mischief being her mantra, here stands one of Superman’s earliest nemeses - Lois Lane’s imaginative niece, Susie. 

Nemesis to the Man of Steel? The goddess of Rhamnous, after whom the term is coined, visited punishment on the prideful, bringing low those whose arrogance had seen them equate themselves with the gods. Even the most secular interpretation of the term suggests a foe against whom the protagonist can find no purchase.

So here’s Susie, a hyper-imaginative child whose inventions of the mind cause no end of trouble for Clark Kent in both of his identities. Susie, who witnesses Superman’s transition into Clark Kent, whose juvenile whims ground the Man of Steel, who cannot be laid low with a punch or a defiant circumvention of some fantastic scientific device. Susie - Superman’s greatest foe?

Action Comics vol.1 #64 - Cover date September 1943
Hot on the heels of the debut of The Prankster, it’s The Toyman, another clever nemesis whose comical appearance hides a devious criminal mind. In the Toyman’s case, it’s an inventive mind, and his preference is for seemingly innocuous toys turned into deadly weapons, peerless escape vehicles and robotic servants.
Although he’s been through a few iterations - what character hasn’t - the Toyman is essentially Superman’s third longest-lived foe, having maintained fairly regular appearances and a largely unchanged modus operandi for the better part of 75 years.

Action Comics vol.1 #64 - Cover date September 1943

Hot on the heels of the debut of The Prankster, it’s The Toyman, another clever nemesis whose comical appearance hides a devious criminal mind. In the Toyman’s case, it’s an inventive mind, and his preference is for seemingly innocuous toys turned into deadly weapons, peerless escape vehicles and robotic servants.

Although he’s been through a few iterations - what character hasn’t - the Toyman is essentially Superman’s third longest-lived foe, having maintained fairly regular appearances and a largely unchanged modus operandi for the better part of 75 years.

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Superman vol.1 #23 - Cover date July-August 1943
Behind a cover depicting an enraged Superman descending upon the terrified crew of a super-imperiled Nazi submarine, this issue chooses to ask the question “Is Superman needed for the war?” Possibly not – his loss to an American armed forces unit during maneuvers seems to indicate that the Allies are in good hands, thanks to our boys serving over there – but he sure is good for putting the fear of a living god into the Axis.
Elsewhere in the same issue, Superman becomes involved in stopping the murderous rampage of a college professor deranged by jealousy, then is pitted against a fashion-world neer-do-well operating under top hat, tuxedo and the amusing nom-du-crime of The Dude.
Lastly, Clark and Lois take in a baseball game where Superman makes repeated appearances. It’s one of those entertaining stories where Clark and Superman must dash about under any number of pretenses to keep Lois’ scrutiny from exposing his increasingly flimsy dual identity.

Superman vol.1 #23 - Cover date July-August 1943

Behind a cover depicting an enraged Superman descending upon the terrified crew of a super-imperiled Nazi submarine, this issue chooses to ask the question “Is Superman needed for the war?” Possibly not – his loss to an American armed forces unit during maneuvers seems to indicate that the Allies are in good hands, thanks to our boys serving over there – but he sure is good for putting the fear of a living god into the Axis.

Elsewhere in the same issue, Superman becomes involved in stopping the murderous rampage of a college professor deranged by jealousy, then is pitted against a fashion-world neer-do-well operating under top hat, tuxedo and the amusing nom-du-crime of The Dude.

Lastly, Clark and Lois take in a baseball game where Superman makes repeated appearances. It’s one of those entertaining stories where Clark and Superman must dash about under any number of pretenses to keep Lois’ scrutiny from exposing his increasingly flimsy dual identity.

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World’s Finest Comics vol.1 #10 - Cover date Summer 1943
Superman confronts the purple-clad, goggle-eyed Insect Master, who reasonably enough is able to command insects to commit his acts of evil. Saving Metropolis from a deadly swarm, the Man of Steel is nearly killed – or lengthily inconvenienced, anyway – by a quicksand trap at the Insect Master’s infested swampland hideout, the site of his own apparent death …

World’s Finest Comics vol.1 #10 - Cover date Summer 1943

Superman confronts the purple-clad, goggle-eyed Insect Master, who reasonably enough is able to command insects to commit his acts of evil. Saving Metropolis from a deadly swarm, the Man of Steel is nearly killed – or lengthily inconvenienced, anyway – by a quicksand trap at the Insect Master’s infested swampland hideout, the site of his own apparent death …

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