Posts tagged ‘Howard Sherman’

Action 224 – Superman Island, and Congo Bill meets the Golden Gorilla


Superman Island, the cover story for Action 224 (Jan. 57), by Boring and Kaye, is one of those stories that just leaving you shaking your head in puzzlement.


Superman builds a giant island in the shape of himself, even colouring it appropriately, and then demands that no one set foot on it.  Of course, this is more than Lois Lane could possibly handle, and she sets out to get onto the island.


Some thieves, who figure Superman must be hiding something of value, have also found their way onto the island.  They capture Lois when they run across her, because everyone captures Lois.  They do find a hidden secret, which Lois has already figured out.


Superman has been gathering up all the kryptonite he could find.  It was intended to be used as a power source, but the experiment to convert it failed.  Superman tosses the island and all its kryptonite into space.  BUT  If you want to hide all the kryptonite and use it in an experiment, why build something that will attract so much attention?  Why not just put up a big sign saying SECRET STUFF HERE!

Aside from that annoying element, the important thing in this story is the amount of kryptonite shown to be on Earth. Up to now, it has been synthetic kryptonite, created by Luthor, that has been used in stories.  This tale makes it clear that there is more than enough lying around for anyone to use.


Congo Bill and Janu meet the Golden Gorilla in this Howard Sherman story. It bears a passing resemblance to the Congorilla story a while back, as the intelligent gorilla saves Congo Bill’s life twice.


The gorilla then embarks on a crime spree, but Bill continues to protect it.


It turns out there are two Golden Gorillas.  The real one, and a painted fake, trained to steal by thieves.  They figured they would play on Bill’s devotion to the animal that saved his life. In fact, the Golden Gorilla winds up saving Bill and Janu at the end of the story as well, taking down the criminals.


Action 198 – Lois Lane’s delusions of grandeur, Janu falls in love, and Vigilante ends


Lois Lane gets the cover and the core of this story, by Woolfolk, Boring and Kaye.


It opens as Superman flies out to help at a disaster, and discovers Lois Lane there, dressed as Florence Nightengale, and acting as a nurse.


Superman figures out that Lois has gone insane after seeing him change from Clark into Superman, and is taking on the identities of the various women she recently wrote about in a special article on notable women for the Daily Planet.

He pulls a trick to make her think she saw both men at the same time, which restores her mind.  Sigh.  These kind of stories need to be really fun to work.  This isn’t.


Congo Bill’s logo has changed in this story, for reasons I will mention a bit further down, but it’s worth noting that Janu the Jungle Boy now receives credit as well, although the creative team of Miller and Smalle do not.


The story has Congo Bill become concerned when Janu starts paying a lot of attention to a young girl as they guide her father on a safari.  But the story also has a man trying to kill Bill, and the father is really an impostor.  It’s very complicated for the few pages it runs.  But Bill is relieved at the end when Janu tells him he was only concerned for the girl’s safety, and not in love with her.  I guess Congo Bill still holds his heart.


Oh, remember my comment about the logo?  It has been changed to match that of Congo Bill’s new, short lived, book.  The ad is actually from issue 197.


Vigilante has his final story, by Howard Sherman, in this issue.


Greg Sanders is starring in a movie as a singing cowboy, but they are concerned that the stunts are too dangerous for him, and hire Vigilante to do them.  So Greg has to run around, pretending to be two people.  There is also a man trying to kill him, just to add to the drama.


Stuff does not appear in this story, he made his final bow in the previous issue.

At some point after this story, the Vigilante teamed with the other Seven Soldiers of Victory against the Nebula Man, and Vigilante got sent back in time to the old west, where he remained until rescued by the Justice League and Justice Society, in the big Unknown Soldier of Victory storyline in the early 70s. But another Vigilante, Greg Saunders (instead of Sanders), had already appeared by then, also in the pages of Justice League of America.

Stuff would not return until the Vigilante series in World’s Finest, in the late 70s.


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.

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