Posts tagged ‘Adolf Hitler’

Action 63 – Superman loses his memory, the Dummy times 3, the Three Aces end, and Americommando kicks Hitler in the face

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Quite the dramatic wartime cover for Action 63 (Aug.43).

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Don Cameron and Ira Yarborough come up with a new way to weaken Superman in this story.

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A collision of two stars in space sends cosmic radiation towards the Earth.  When it reaches the planet, Superman is literally knocked off his feet by it.  He falls to the street, and winds up with no memory of who he is.

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Some hoods see him fall, but as he is in his Clark Kent clothes, do not realize it is Superman.  But his strength and resilience, and lack of memory, make the hoods convince their hapless victim that he can impersonate Superman.  So Superman winds up joining a criminal gang.  Superman’s ethics do cause him doubts, but he believes he could not possibly be the real Superman, or he would not have lost his memory.

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Lois Lane gets involved, distressed to see Superman committing crimes.  A falling meteor, which he shatters, restores his memory.  Superman rounds up the thieves, and pretends that his time with them was  just an act to gain evidence.

A pretty lame explanation, but people are glad to accept it.

With no kryptonite yet, this story was an early attempt at weakening or altering his powers.

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Cameron and Meskin bring back the Dummy to pester Vigilante in this story.

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The Dummy is now part of an act, with two other identically dressed men – or are they actually dummies?  The story introduces this idea, but really doesn’t play on it much until the last few pages.  The set-up also has the Dummy and Greg Sanders performing at the same venue the same evening, but aside from the Vigilante seeing the three Dummies perform, nothing happens on that night either.

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Stuff gets captured, in typical sidekick fashion, and Vigilante discovers that the middle dummy really is a dummy.  The tallest one seems to be a real person, but we never get that confirmed, or find out who he is.  Definitely better in concept than in execution.

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The Three Aces have their final adventure in this issue, battling the Japanese.

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It’s a serviceable war story.  They hold off a Japanese assault.  All seems well for the three men, but since their series ends here, and they are never seen again, I believe this was their last successful mission, and they died on their next one.  They are all old enough to have fought in the World War 1, so their reaction time would not have been the best. Kind of amazing they survived in the war as long as they did.

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After travelling around through occupied Europe and helping out the resistance groups, the Americommando returns to Germany in this story by Greene and Baily.

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This story has Americommando’s greatest challenge, to steal plans that Hitler carries on himself at all times.  He succeeds by turning Hitler’s propaganda against him accepting a challenge to fight a Nazi champion in the ring.  Actual German heavyweight champion Max Schmelling appears in the story, although he is not the one to fight Tex.  This is sort of sad, part of the anti-Schmelling view the media played up during the war.  In fact, though he was drafted into the service, Schmelling was not a Nazi, and even risked his life to save two Jewish children.  At any rate, Tex triumphs in the ring, and not only escapes the Nazis after the match, but kicks Hitler in the face while stealing the plans.

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Tex gets a new sidekick in this issue as well, a Greek prisoner of war, Poppy, who is his assistant during the match, provided by the Nazis.  Poppy joins Tex on his next mission, in Russia, but is not seen after that.  I expect he returned home and worked with the resistance until war`s end.

Action 56 – Superman protects monuments, Vigilante fights for ownership, and Americommando is wanted by Hitler

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The cover of Action 56 (Jan. 43) loosely ties in to the story, although I have a suspicion that the cover was meant to be a World War 2 one, and only linked to the story afterwards.  The Sphinx and Great Pyramid appear on the splash page, but not in the story itself.

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Siegel, Sikela and Roussos begin this piece with Lois and Clark on a trip to Washington, DC.  A storm of lightning and massive hail threatens to destroy Washington Monument, and Superman springs into action to save it.

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Other notable structures in the US are also imperiled, but none outside of the US are shown.  Superman spends a lot of time doing damage control, literally, before he can get around to finding the bad guy.  There is also a plot line about people going missing.  Lois gets onto that story, which allows her to be captured and meet the villain.

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Emil Loring has been building a modern Tower of Babel, using the kidnapped people as slave labour.  He has also been causing the destructive storms, determined to wipe out anything that might challenge the greatness of his edifice.

I think Emil has a severe case of small dick-itis.

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Meskin and Roussos touch on the exploitation of song writers in this Vigilante story.

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It features a character almost identical to Billy Gunn.  A singer and wanna-be cowboy, the grizzled old man looks very much like Gunn, and even has similar dialogue when he explains that he has never been to the west.  Greg Sanders plans to hire him to write songs for him, but some sharks get the man to sign a contract for far less money.

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Vigilante gets into the action, scaring and threatening the men who signed up his writer.  It’s a little bit shady, as Vigilante is doing this simply to ensure that the man will write his songs for Greg, so he is directly profiting from this.  But it’s clear the old man is being used by the other men.

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Greene and Baily continue with the Americommando’s undercover mission in this story.

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Now that Americommando has revealed his presence in Germany, Hitler calls in Dr. Ito from Japan.  Also called the Little One, due to his height, he is given very high status to pursue the Americommando.

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And Hitler probably made a wise decision, as Dr. Ito takes only a couple of pages to determine that Otto Riker is a fake.  With his cover blown, Tex gets into Americommando garb and fights his way free.  He remains in Germany, and Dr. Ito remains his chief enemy.  But all the effort that was put in for his big impersonation of Otto Riker proved to be a waste of time.

Action 46 – Superman vs the Domino, Vigilante vs the Rainbow Man, Mr America vs the Queen Bee, and Zatara vs Adolf Hitler

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Hey, the cover of Action 46 (March 1942) reflects the story!  Lois and Clark go to a fair, which is being menaced by the Domino, in a story by Jerry Siegel and Paul Cassidy.

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The villain is masked – but it’s not a domino mask. It makes one wonder exactly why he chose that name.  His goal is force the fair to allow gambling, so I imagine he must be talking about gambling on dominoes, which would give a reason for that name.

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The Domino sets off all sorts of sabotage on the various rides, but Cassidy does not really play this to the hilt. It’s all rather tame in execution.  Lois gets captured, and must be rescued.  I think I could write that sentence blindfolded.

The Domino is unmasked and defeated, and never returns.

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The Vigilante, on the other hand, has his first match against the Rainbow Man, who would become one of his most frequent enemies,in a story by Weisinger and Meskin.

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The Rainbow Man looks and acts nastier than his name would imply.  He has his men commit crimes according to colour themes.

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The Rainbow Man captures Vigilante and Stuff, but his murderous machine is really just a colourful light globe, so it’s not too surprising that they manage to escape, and prevent his “white” crimes, as they pose as doctors.

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The Queen Bee returns in this Fitch and Baily story to menace Mr. America and Fat Man.

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The Queen Bee and her men have forced an inventor to build a giant robot, which emerges from a volcano as Vol-Kan, and heads through the city on a destructive rampage.  Fat Man sprays oil into the robots eyes, and it destroys itself trying to clear its vision.  Mr. America doesn’t slack, he takes down the Queen Bee’s men, but she escapes to return next issue.

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I haven’t cared much for the Zatara series since Joseph Sulman took over the art, but he and Gardner Fox have a story that definitely merits inclusion.  It was released in early January 1942, so must have been written and drawn before the attack on Pearl Harbour, but features Zatara wading right into the war.

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It is the Nazis that Zatara is fighting, along with Tong.  There is no mention of the Japanese.  Zatara makes bombs behave like humans (sort of), in one of Sulman’s better pages.

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The story culminates as Zatara faces Hitler.  Hitler admits defeat, calls off the war, and heads into exile.

Ok, so as this CLEARLY is not what happened, how to interpret the ending?

Going off of Roy Thomas’ later work, with the Spear of Destiny being used to insulate the Axis against beings with super-powers, I suggest that this story was one used by the German high command as a sort of “it could happen here!,” and to back up the use of the Spear to generals who might be doubting why such magic would be needed.

 

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