Action 73 – Superman and the Hobby Robber, Stuff gives money to the Fiddler, Congo Bill in Canada, and Americommando vs Dr Ito
Siegel and Citron pit Superman against the Hobby Robber in Action 73 (June 1944). The cover does not directly tie in with the story, but is generic enough that one could stretch it to be symbolic of it.
The Hobby Robber steals rare collections, and then ransoms them back to the owners. This story attributes Clark Kent as collecting clocks. Not that he has ever been shown to do this before, or after.
Siegel does craft a nice scene. Superman has laid a trap for the Robber, but Lois Lane has also picked up the trail, and sneaks into Clark’s apartment, hiding in one of his clocks. Superman spots her in time to keep his identity a secret, but must then allow himself to be knocked out. Lois gets discovered, and Superman figures he is sick of rescuing her, so he lets her die. No, just checking to see you’re still awake. He rescues her. Again.
At least the scene is a dramatic one, as the Hobby Robber tries to kill Lois by throwing her into a giant, man-eating plant.
Although this particular Hobby Robber never returns, Siegel will recycle the name later on for an early Superboy villain.
The Fiddler returns in this story by Samachson, Meskin and Paris.
The Fiddler teaches his gang to sing, part of his scheme to worm them into the house of a well-known millionaire with a soft touch. In fact, the man is so willing to help the needy that he gives Stuff $50 when he sees him on the street, assuming the boy to be a homeless waif. Perhaps Vigilante should buy Stuff some new clothes. The poor kid has been wearing the same thing for years.
Stuff then happens across the Fiddler and his men. In a really touching scene, Stuff gives the Fiddler the $50, in hopes that it will deter him from his next crime. It doesn’t, but you have to admire the simple faith of the boy.
The Fiddler and his men get taken in and fed by the millionaire, after hearing their plaintive songs. But this is just part of their plan to steal his art treasures. Stuff tells Vigilante about running into the men, and they arrive at the millionaire’s house just in time to stop the thefts.
Congo Bill heads to Canada in this story, with art by Smalle. You can tell it’s Canada because everything is covered in snow. He is dealing with a man who is illegally selling guns to the natives, attempting to stir up a “tribal war.” In Canada?
The story claims to be set above the Arctic Circle, but shows natives dressed as if they were living on the plains. They also seem impervious to the cold, running through the snow in loincloths. It’s not an awful story, but doesn’t show much familiarity with Canada.
Dr. Ito arrives in Tokyo to smoke out Americommando in this Greene and Baily tale.
Ito suspects Captain Brand almost immediately, as well he should. Americommando does little in the way of disguising himself, aside from his uniform. Tex does pull off a clever ruse to keep his identity safe – rigging a drop of leaflets at the same time he is with Ito as Brand.