Posts tagged ‘Bill Finger’

Action 282 – adventures of a Superman robot, and Supergirl heads to the future

act_282

Bill Finger and Al Plastino split the cover story for Action 282 (Nov. 61) between Superman and one of his robots.

act_282_001

Superman is too busy to be Clark Kent, so he has one of robots fill in for him, working alongside Lois.  The robots metallic hands get exposed early on, and he has to resort to a variety of methods to conceal them.

act_282_002

This completely steals the show.  Superman’s feats are big and showy, but it’s the robot for whom the stakes are high.

act_282_003

Superman does come to the aid of his creation, fashioning new skin for his hands split seconds before the Clark Kent robot must shake hands.

act_282_004

Supergirl makes another effort to restore her powers in this Siegel and Mooney tale.

act_282_005

Since heading into the past did not work, Superman sends his cousin to the distant future.  You have to kind of wonder why he didn’t send her to the time of the Legion of Super-Heroes, so she would have people to hang out with.  Lesla-Lar is displeased, as her monitors cannot broadcast from the future.

act_282_006

Supergirl winds up in a totalitarian era, with a tyrant who denies people the freedom to read and be educated, and helps overthrow his regime.

act_282_007

But her trip to the future has no more success than the one to the past.  Back in the present, Linda runs into Dick Wilson, now adopted, and with the last name Malverne.  They go swimming, and Linda reflects that, even is she had her powers, she would let him win, because men “enjoy” feeling superior to women.

act_282_008

And though Supergirl still has no idea she exists, Lesla-Lar gets arrested for illegal experiments, while Luthor wait and wonders what has happened to Supergirl.

act_282_009

The story ends as Supergirl’s powers miraculously return, as well as an invulnerability to kryptonite.  This weird change of events is due to Mr. Mxyzptlk’s magic.

The story continues in the next issue.

Action 277 – Luthor’s multi-coloured kryptonite, and Supergirl judges the super-pets

act_277_010

The Battle of the Super-Pets really does happen in the Supergirl story in Action 277 (June 1961), but first, the Superman tale.

act_277

Bill Finger, Curt Swan and John Forte pull off one of the best Lex Luthor tales from the era in this story.

act_277_001

Luthor escapes from prison, and heads to his own version of the Fortress of Solitude, Luthor’s Lair, located in an abandoned museum, complete with trophies, a lab, monitoring devices and statues of his heroes.

Luthor’s Lair will return in a number of stories in the next few years.

act_277_002

Luthor announces his plans to rob Fort Knox, luring Superman there. Luthor has a machine that shoots out a variety of coloured kryptonite balls.  Sadly, despite the colours, none of these have any of the effects of true coloured kryptonite.  The fourth dimensional arm he uses to steal the entire fort is impressive.

act_277_003

Luthor rejoices over his triumph, especially because the kryptonite balls were fakes.  But all that turns sour when he finds out that he did not defeat Superman, just one of his robots.

Infuriated, Luthor returns Fort Knox and all its gold, and even goes back to prison.  Defeating Superman is the one and only thing that really matters to him.

act_277_004

Siegel and Mooney have a lot of fun finally fulfilling the long-delayed promise to pit the Superman/Krypto team against the Supergirl/Streaky team.

act_277_005

Trouble starts when Krypto saves Supergirl from being adopted (oh, no!) and Streaky gets jealous when Supergirl thanks him.

act_277_006

Powering himself up, Streaky attacks Krypto.  Their masters get involved, and even pit the animals against each other to see which will win.  Because of the potential for peripheral destruction, Supergirl takes the animals to a far-off planet to compete in a series of tests.

act_277_007

Each competition gets interrupted by bizarre and unusual events.

act_277_008

Supergirl discovers that the planet was set-up by Mr. Mxyzptlk, and none of the odd things that happened were actually attacks.  Although no winner is proclaimed, one sequence did see Streaky come to the rescue of Supergirl and Krypto, when they believed themselves endangered by kryptonite, which Streaky is immune to.

act_277_009

The story ends as Beppo, the Super-Monkey, shows up.  Beppo was recently introduced as a pet sidekick for Superbaby, this marks his first appearance in the “present.”

You gotta love Streaky’s reaction “Gaaa!  ANOTHER rival!”

Action 248 – Jimmy and Clark in prison, and Congo Bill becomes Congorilla

act_248

Congorilla gets to share the cover of Action 248 (Jan. 59) with Superman.  This is only the second time Congo Bill has been represented on the cover of this book, despite a run of over 15 years.

act_248_001

The Superman story, by Finger, Boring and Kaye, has Clark Kent investigating a secret base on an island, which turns out to be run by a former Nazi.  Jimmy Olsen has tagged along, and he is captured and imprisoned, along with Clark.  Jimmy isn’t much use in the story.  He is around largely to make it more difficult for Clark to change to Superman and back.

act_248_002

The Nazi is building a spy satellite.  Superman saves Jimmy from being executed, but they just stick him in the rocket that will launch the satellite.

act_248_003

Superman rescues Jimmy.  Before he rounds up the Nazis, he makes them think their satellite would not function, so as to ensure no one else repeats it.

act_248_004

Robert Bernstein scribed this Howard Sherman tale, as the Golden Gorilla returns.  He is the living god of a tribe, lead by the chief Kawolo.

act_248_005

As Kawolo dies, he passes a sacred ring on to Congo Bill.  This ring, when rubbed, allows the wearer to switch minds with the ape.

act_248_006

Congo Bill accepts the ring, but doesn’t really believe the tale.  When he gets trapped in a cave-in, he gives it a chance, and it works.  In the Golden Gorilla’s body, he digs his Congo Bill body out.

act_248_007

The movie producers are after him, and briefly cage Congorilla – the name given to the merging of the Golden Gorilla’s body with Congo Bill’s brain.  Bill manages to escape, of course.

Janu does not appear at all in this story.

Action 211 – the International Daily Planet returns

act_211

Finger, Boring and Kate revisit the International Daily Planet in Action 211 (Dec. 55).

act_211_001

Curiously, Perry White refers to this as the anniversary of the first editions, which were shown in the earlier story, but lists different countries.  France is still there, but now alongside Greece, Italy, Holland and Japan.  One can only guess the editions in England and India were not successful.

act_211_002

At Perry’s request, Superman flies from country to country performing super-stunts to be photographed.  Superman expects to see these on the front pages of the various editions, but they never wind up making the papers.

act_211_003

Superman starts to worry that he is no longer news, and his stunts become larger and more outrageous.

act_211_004

As it turns out, all the pictures were being collected for a cover montage, which makes Superman very happy.

 

Action 210 – Superman Land

act_210

Superman, his home world and friends, get a theme park about them in the Finger, Boring and Kaye story in Action 210 (Nov. 55).

act_210_001

By and large, this story functions as an introduction to the character and his origin.  I noticed, though, that this story also opens the floodgates for the Daily Planet orb. It had appeared before, most recently in the Mr. Mxyztplk story a couple of issues ago, but had not been a regular feature on the building.  In this story, the globe appears prominently on the cover, as well as on the model of the Daily Planet building in Superman Land.

act_210_002

Luthor shows up, in disguise, with another piece of synthetic kryptonite that he has made.  It’s a half-hearted attempt to kill Superman, though, and is largely there to provide some dramatic tension, and to include both Luthor and kryptonite in this overview of Superman.

act_210_003

And, in an indirect way, this story also explains why, from now on, everyone seems to know of Superman’s origin, and the properties of kryptonite.

Action 194 – the return of Mala, Congo Bill brings Janu to Africa, and Tommy Tomorrow chases a ship

act_194

Mala and his two brothers, Kizo and U-Ban, make their second and final appearance in Action 194 (July 1954), in a story by Finger, Boring and Kaye.  These Kryptonian villains had been introduced a few years ago in the pages of Superman.  Found guilty of crimes on Krypton, they were put into a rocket and shot into space in suspended animation, which is a fairly extreme form of punishment.  They got free, and caused problems for Superman, who imprisoned them at the end of that tale.  After a brief re-introduction, they get free again, and Mala heads straight for Earth. The other two don’t show up until the end of the story.  Maybe they stopped to get something to eat.

act_194_001

Although he has no idea of Superman’s alternate identity, Mala decides to impersonate Clark Kent, whom he knows as Superman’s friend.

act_194_002

Clark begins acting much tougher and more dynamic, which of course draws Lois Lane’s attention.  Not realizing that he is actually speaking the truth, Mala reveals that Clark Kent is Superman.  And where is the real guy?  Mala has been stealing and replacing monuments from around the world, and Superman is busy examining them, trying to figure out what Mala is up to.  Far more important than stopping a crazed Kryptonian from hanging out with those he loves.

act_194_003

Sadly, this story gets even worse, as Mala reveals his true self to Lois Lane before shooting her off into space.  Superman rescues her, and takes her back to Earth, which they discover is unpopulated.  It doesn’t take Superman long to figure out that this is a fake Earth, built by Mala.Presumably Mala thought they would just stay there forever, without questioning the situation.

act_194_004

Superman then rounds up Mala and his brothers, seals them in a bubble permeated with kryptonite, and sends them out into space.  TO DIE!  The bubble is coated in kryptonite for goodness sake!  He doesn’t say that he intends them to die, but what else are we to think?  The characters never appeared again.

Of course, the reason they didn’t appear, except in some comprehensive life story of Superman tales, was that they were soon supplanted by the Phantom Zone villains.  And the fact that Superman killed them.

act_194_005

Congo Bill is clearly back in Africa in the Miller and Smalle story in this issue.  A lion is central to the tale, after all.  And while in previous stories Congo Bill would run into Janu in the wild, in this one Janu accompanies Bill.  So it’s safe to say that, just before this issue, Bill persuaded Janu to travel back to Africa, and has been taking care of the boy since then.

act_194_006

That’s really the primary reason I included this story, which deals with a man selling fake charms against danger, but travelling around behind the guy he sold it to, shooting blowdarts into any animals that threaten him.  It’s hardly surprising that Congo Bill figures out the scam.  It’s more surprising that anyone would go to so much trouble to sell a fake good luck charm.

act_194_007

The Tommy Tomorrow story, now with art by Jim Mooney, deals with a dangerous, thieving space ship that seems to have no one at the controls.

act_194_008

The ship turns out to be controlled by a brain in a jar, which comes from an entire planet of brains in jars.  I only point this out because later Legion of Super-Heroes stories would also feature brain in jar creatures, possibly the same.

 

 

Action 136 – Superman’s super-ego, and Tommy Tomorrow finds Argo City?

act_136

Ok, I know this cover.  Action 136 (Sept. 49) is a take-off of something famous.  But what is it from?  Was this a cover of Life?  Vogue?  If you recognize it, please let me know!

act_136_001

It’s of more interest to me than the story inside, frankly.  Finger, Boring and Kaye tell an early version of a common tale, which felt old the first time it went around.  Superman does all sorts of odd things, which appear to be self-aggrandizing.

act_136_002

Lois finds herself getting increasingly disenchanted with the hero, instead of assuming that he probably has some good reason for the unusual things he is doing.  He is Superman, after all.

act_136_003

And, in fact, he had a very good reason.  He was constructing a very complex device to lure away a meteor shower before it did huge damage to Earth.  Gotta learn to trust this guy, Lois.

act_136_004

The Tommy Tomorrow story, by Binder, Swan and Kaye, has the Planeteer colonel out choosing interesting objects as the Seven Wonders of Space.  It’s not a great story, and most of what he chooses is, frankly, not that memorable.  But two things stand out.

act_136_005

Both appear on the same page.  The first is a domed ghost city, floating randomly through space.  Its dome was shattered at some point in the past by meteors.  This is unquestionably Argo City, where Supergirl was born, despite the fact that it would be a decade before Argo City was thought of.  Tommy Tomorrow makes no mention of the kryptonite radiation that killed the inhabitants, but it’s been so many years (or not, he’s still in 1989) that the radiation would have depleted.

The second is a planet of intelligent plant life.  This is J586, a planet first “seen” in Green Lantern, and later in Swamp Thing, Starman, and other comics.

Tag Cloud