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Oh, that guy on the cover of Action 5 (Oct. 38) is in lots of trouble!  He cannot possibly have survived.  That’s probably why there is no story about him in the comic.

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Superman as a character had now been around for a few issues, but the stories to this point did not have the feel of what the series would become.  That changes now.  Siegel and Shuster craft the formula here, in its earliest and purest form.

A dam is in danger of collapse from a flood.  George Taylor, the harried editor of the Daily Star, wants Clark Kent to cover it, but Kent is not around.

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Lois wants the story, but Taylor refuses, as it is “no job for a woman.”  This infuriates Lane, so she cons Clark, sending him after a fake story, and heads out to the dam herself.

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Clark realizes he has been set-up by Lois, and rushes out to the dam.  He tries to hold it together, but it collapses, and the wave threatens Lois.  She, for her part, has taken a cab abandoned by its driver, who possessed common sense.

Superman swoops in and saves Lois from certain death.

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Once again showing her assertive side, Lois kisses Superman, an extremely forward act for the time.

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The story ends with Lois being a total shit to Clark.

There are some interesting concepts of male and female roles in this.  The editor looks extremely masculine and dominant, and feels he has the power to determine gender roles, forbidding Lois to cover the story.

Lois shows herself able to outcon a man, and take another man’s vehicle.  But this drive is her downfall, leading to her near-death.

Superman has all the power, all the “ideal” male qualities, and is pursued by Lois, although in kissing him she takes the “male” role.

And Superman does not want to be valued for those overt qualities, instead, he wants to be valued for his meekness and politeness – his low status – the status women are “meant” to have.  And Lois, always fighting to be free of that status, cannot possibly respect it, in Clark, or anyone else.

Anyway, that’s how I see it.

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Zatara travels the world,  more or less at random, at times during his series.  Sometimes mention is made of it being a vacation, though a vacation from what it’s hard to see.  Zatara is spoken of as a stage performer, but no stories show him doing this, or being at a theatre.

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Zatara is able to look into the memories  of a dying man, and learns that his entire expedition vanished into a colossal ancient statue.

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There is a secret cult, preparing for human sacrifice to bring a god to life, and a living statue.  Guardineer’s art, which I find dreadfully static when the characters are talking, shows a lot more spark when he gets to illustrate weird creatures and outfits.

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Zatara uses some not-backwards spoken magic to melt the statue, and end the cult’s reign of terror.

 

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