Action 33 – Clark Kent becomes a lumberjack, Black Pirate has a drink, and Tex Thompson becomes Mr. America
The growing boom of super-heroes hits Action Comics with issue 33 (Feb. 41), as Superman is no longer the only masked hero in the book.
Siegel and Burnley open the issue with a story about a lumber millionaire, who intends to leave his fortune to fund a home for underprivileged youth. He gets murdered, and though it is fairly simple to figure out that his assistant is behind it, the story carries itself along well.
Perry White makes his first appearance, although one might note that he looks very much like George Taylor has come to look. And though both Taylor and the Daily Star had ceased to appear by the end of 1941, they would retroactively become defining features of the Earth-2 Superman, and return decades down the road.
Lois and Clark head out to the lumber camp to investigate the murder. Clark takes on a job as a lumberjack, while Lois becomes a camp cook. The camp is plagued by “accidents,” and while Clark easily survives these, Lois winds up once again in deadly danger, and must be rescued.
The Black Pirate gets a bit of a rest in this Moldoff story. The Queen of the Seas stays in his mind, and he hopes to encounter her again.
He doesn’t put much effort into it, though, preferring to hang out at an inn with his men and drink. Meanwhile, the Queen of the Seas takes on an Asian junk, and loses. She gets captured. And though Jon Valor cannot possibly know this, he sets out in search of her anyway as the story ends.
Tex Thomspn resigns from Maloney’s staff when he is given a special assignment by the war relief commission, to accompany a ship across the Atlantic, and prevent a plot to blow it up. He fails at that, the ship gets sunk and Tex is believed dead. Later, a black haired man wearing a red cape, white shirt and blue trousers, a domino mask and carrying a whip tracks down those behind the explosion and brings them to justice. He calls himself Mr. America, but Bob almost immediately recognizes him as Tex.
Tex decides to maintain the Mr. America identity, for some reason feeling that it’s important that the world believe Tex Thomson to have died when the ship sunk. In reality, of course, this simply reflects the growing popularity of costumed heroes. And the change in Bernard Baily’s series is really just on the surface. With no powers, there is little that makes a Mr. America story different than a Tex Thompson one.