Posts tagged ‘Don De Avila’

Action 40 – Superman digs a ditch, Pep Morgan looks for work, the Black Pirate duels, and a preview of the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripsey


Interesting markings on the tank on the cover of Action 40 (Sept. 41).  They’re just crosses, but somehow manage to convey another symbol quite effectively.


Jerry Siegel and John Sikela contribute this little story, in which a millionaire enlists Superman’s help in reforming his party animal daughter.  Lois has a small role, trying to lay in wait for Superman and find out what the secret meeting is all about. But she gets Clark to go with her, scuppering her own plans.


The story is pleasantly diverting, but with little to it.  The girl appears to be a spoiled brat.  Superman prevents a crooked casino from taking her money, and stops her from eloping with a young wastrel.


Towards the end of the story a dam bursts, for no particular reason.  The girl winds up helping the victims of the flood, which makes her re-evaluate her life.


Pep Morgan is out of school, and looking for work, in this George Papp story.  The text tells us that this is summer vacation, but Pep must have already had seven or eight summer vacations during his run.  How many years has he spent in college?


Pep winds up taking another bodyguard job, this time for Don Alvera, from the South American country of Chileanos, who has come to the US to sell diamonds on behalf of the government.  Impressed with Pep, Don Alvera beings him back to Chileanos, just in time for Pep to rescue the president of the country from being kidnapped.


Moldoff wraps up the Don De Avila storyline in this issue.  Jon Valor waits until De Avila’s men have gone out hunting for him, then sneaks back into the castle and confronts his traitorous former friend.


They duel, though you get the feeling De Avila has given up before the swords are even raised.  And he dies.  The Black Pirate then frees Bonnie from the cell she had been imprisoned in.


This issue also includes a three page preview of the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy, shortly to headline the forthcoming Star-Spangled Comics.  The pair were created by Superman scribe Jerry Siegel (which explains why the preview was in this book), and Howard Sherman.  This marks their debut, although they don’t do much other than introduce themselves, both in their heroic identities, and out of them, as wealthy young Sylvester Pemberton, and his chauffeur Pat Dugan.  Neither had any powers.  The unique thing about this team is that the boy was main hero, and the adult the sidekick.

Action 39 – Superman vs a radioactive killer, Pep Morgan changes schools, the Black Pirate escapes, and Congo Bill patrols the coast


Another militaristic cover for Action 39 (Aug. 41).


Jerry Siegel and Leo Nowak craft a decent tale, pitting Superman against a radioactive murderer.


The story is also a mystery, as the killer is believed to be a scientist who died in a laboratory explosion. Did the radiation bring him back from the dead?


Superman is still having troubles with the police.  He does his best to save a cop from being killed by the radioactive man, but winds up getting blamed for the murder himself. Sergeant Casey is once again out to get him.

This has a more Batman-like solution, with the dead man not really dead, and the whole explosion part of an elaborate decoy in the murder scheme.


Pep Morgan is abruptly attending Midwest University in this George Papp story.  No word on what made him leave Midtown, and Slim is nowhere to be seen.  Those two facts must be connected somehow.  Curious that the kidnapping made them break up.  But a few issues earlier, there had been a story in which Slim’s gambling debts set off the problems.  Was the kidnapping a fake, intended to get money from Slim’s uncle?  It seems to me to be a reasonable conclusion, as I apparently have no faith in human nature.  And Pep ruined Slim’s plans, while at the same time Pep learned that his beloved Slim was not to be trusted.


So off Pep goes to another university, and once again winds up framed by gamblers who want to fix the game.  Pep winds up disguising himself as a bum to make it back to the field.  As has happened before, the story ends with the coach putting Pep back on the team, but this is the last Pep Morgan story to have a school setting, and I think he simply left under a cloud.


Sheldon Moldoff continues the Black Pirate’s reunion with Don De Avila in this story.  Bonnie’s suspicions about the man prove correct.  They don’t even reach the banquet table before De Avila orders Jon Valor arrested.


The Black Pirate manages to escape the castle, but Bonnie is held captive.  This is no victory at all for De Avila, who has lost a friend and gained an enemy, and it’s done nothing to restore his place at court.

The story continues in the next issue.


Fred Ray pushes neutrality to the limit in this month’s Congo Bill story. Bill is in Cairo, working with the British, who ask him to help patrol the coast for u-boats, as he is more familiar with the territory.  That’s an amazing realistic and logical opening to a story.


While the word “Nazi” does not appear in this story, and the country menacing north Africa is never named, the use of the term “u-boat,” as well as the fact that the evil army address each other as “herr” makes things pretty clear.  A Hitler moustache is even used on one of the characters.


Congo Bill finds the invaders, and sends them packing in short order.


Action 38 – Superman gets arrested, Pep Morgan hunts down kidnappers, the Black Pirate runs into an old friend, the Three Aces loot Atlantis, and Mr America vs the Gorrah


Lots of stories to talk about in Action 38 (July 1941), so I’m not even going to banter about the cover.


Jerry Siegel, Leo Nowak and Ed Dobrotka dish out a Superman story that gives Sergeant Casey a run for his money.


People are committing crimes with no memory of having done so.  The police are run ragged, and have no idea what is behind the rash of thefts.  Sergeant Casey and Lois Lane get locked in a bank vault, and though Superman rescues them, his presence at so many crimes scenes prompts Casey to arrest him – or at least try to.


Superman gets away, but then Casey decides that Clark Kent must be behind it, following similar reasoning.  Although not named, Jimmy Olsen cameos in one panel, looking more like himself.

Both as Clark and Superman, our hero must evade the police, until he figures out that the man behind it all is using radio waves to take over people’s minds.


George Papp puts Pep Morgan through the ringer in this story, when Slim gets kidnapped. His wealthy uncle whines about not having the cash on hand to pay the ransom, so Pep decides to fake out the kidnappers and rescue his friend himself.


Pep succeeds, and is reunited with Slim. The final panel shows them back in their college dorm, happily bantering.  Aww.


After skipping last issue (because of a boring Atlantic crossing), Jon Valor lands to rest and restock before continuing on to Barcelona.  Docked alongside him is the ship of Don De Avila, an old friend of the Black Pirate, who has fallen out of favour with the crown.


Don and Jon are happy to run into each other, and De Avila invites his friend to a banquet that night. Bonnie has misgivings, fearing that De Avila intends to imprison the Black Pirate, and turn him over for the reward, but Jon trusts in his friend.

He shouldn’t.

Nicely ominous ending, the walls of the castle.  The story continues in the next issue.


The Three Aces continue their trip into Atlantis in this story.


It reminds me a bit of Jack and the Beanstalk. Our heroes steal radium from the underground city, attack its leaders and leave the palace in ruins.  Hurrah!  Some triumph.


Although the Mr America series pits Tex largely against spies and saboteurs right now, the Gorrah makes his final appearance in this issue, working with Nazi agents, in this story by Ken Fitch and Bernard Baily. The Gorrah betrays them in the end, preferring to pursue his goal of vengeance over their plot against the army.


At first Gorrah believes Tex to have died, and is out to kill Bob, but he learns the truth, and the identity of Mr. America, just before perishing in the explosion intended for a educator’s convention.  It’s really odd to see the one-eyed character dressed in an ordinary suit.

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