Posts tagged ‘Professor Kent’

Action 44 – Superman vs a caveman, the Vigilante vs the Shade, and Congo Bill stays behind

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The US was not yet part of World War 2, but Superman seems to have chosen a side on the cover of Action 44 (Jan. 42).

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Siegel, Nowak and Dobrotka helm this story, in which a caveman is discovered in the ice, and thawed out and revived.

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Lois Lane and Clark Kent are there covering the story when the “dawn man” breaks free.  Lois, trying so hard to succeed in a “man’s” profession, has no trouble playing on her gender when it gets her what she wants .  “Ladies first!”

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The caveman goes on a murderous rampage, but it turns out there are really two of them.  A real caveman, but also a fake one, committing intentional murders that are blamed on the neanderthal.  Superman figures it all out.

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The two Morts pull off another great Vigilante story in this issue, bringing back the Shade.

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The Shade is having his men kill horses, for unknown reasons.  Vigilante tries to protect the animals,but winds up accused of killing them himself.

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Billy Gunn comes to Vigilante’s help when he’s being accused of being the horse killer, and Betty Stuart is also around, but does little.

The Shade gets captured, and is revealed to be a radio announcer, who had been around throughout the last couple of stories.  The horses had been used to smuggle in maps of stolen bonds.  This Shade never appears again.

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Fred Ray brings about some changes in the Congo Bill strip this issue.

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Bill continues to work with the British against the Germans in Africa.  Professor Kent winds up his research, and heads back to the US, and Sheila Hanlen goes with him.  I guess they hit it off between panels. Neither character will appear again, but it’s nice that they were formally written out.

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As for Congo Bill, his series shifts from adventure stories to war stories.

 

 

 

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Action 41 – Superman and the saboteur, Pep Morgan ends, the Black Pirate chooses to forget, and Congo Bill battles for loyalty

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Very nice cover for Action 41 (Oct. 41).  I like the puff of steam at the side of the train, helps convey forward motion.  I can’t draw for the life of me, and spotting those kind of “tricks” always impresses me.

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Jerry Siegel and Paul Cassidy turn out another story about foreign saboteurs in this issue.  The politics and motivation of those behind it are kept muddy, though.

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Sergeant Casey is featured again.  He is no longer hunting Superman, and they are buddies again.  Casey tracks down the man who planted the bomb which began the tale, and Superman winds up having to protect him, while tracking down his boss, who is trying to have him killed.

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Lois Lane gets captured, and must be saved, but the whole sequence is so quick it seems almost jammed in because it “had” to be there.

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Pep Morgan’s series comes to a close with this issue, which follows from the previous story. Don Alvera brings him to his ranch in the country, where Pep is pitted against the local bandit king, Tuerto, whom he kills.  Don Alvera seems to actively be trying to set up Pep with his daughter, though Pep’s first comments to her are about her father’s wealth.

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The last we see of Pep he is embracing the prone Juanita, as her father Don Alversa looks on approvingly.  After his failed gay relationship, his failed professional baseball career, and his many failed attempts at college, Pep settles down in Chileanos, becoming the muscle behind the powers the run the country.  And after marrying Juanita, and becoming heir to Don Alvera, Pep was sure to rule like a warlord.

I imagine, in the end, Pep was unable to accept the frailties of age, and attempted some fight or daring act when his body was no longer capable of it, and died stupidly.

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The Black Pirate is given a one-issue tale by Moldoff in this issue, which seems derived from Haggard’s novel She.

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Jon docks the ship, and goes ashore, discovering an albino “goddess,” and her giant black slave.  He doesn’t have time to do much more than break a jar and run back to his ship.  He decides to forget about the adventure, and never tell anyone about it.  If it wasn’t for Moldoff’s art, I probably would have forgotten about it, too.

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I probably should have written about Congo Bill’s adventure in the previous issue, as it introduced Sheila Hanlen, who continues as a supporting character.  The story was a silly one, though, about finding a valley of dinosaurs.  I guarantee it is not going to be the only story in which Congo Bill finds dinosaurs, and I’m sure there are better versions than the one by Fred Ray.  But Sheila is back in this story anyway, which deals with World War 2 again.

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Congo Bill and Professor Kent, along with Sheila, return to a British fort, and discover that a German agent is trying to rouse the natives against the British.  Bill goes out to fight the man, as apparently the natives will follow whoever wins.  It’s kind of insulting, really, and ignores the huge reasons the Africans had for not siding with their alien overlords.

Action 37 – Clark Kent, Police Commissioner, the Three Aces head to Atlantis, and Congo Bill begins

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The cover of Action 37 (June 1941) would have been perfectly suitable for last issue’s Superman story.  Ah well.  There is no Black Pirate story in this issue, but it returns next month.  I assume this was because nothing at all happened during the voyage to Spain.

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Crime and city corruption are at the core of this story, by Siegel and Cassidy, as the Police Commissioner is drummed out, but every new one appointed gets murdered by the mob.

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The mayor is in a panic, and decides to appoint Clark Kent as Police Commissioner.  Lois Lane actually backs up the idea, surprisingly, pointing out that, as a reporter, Clark has been a crusader for justice.

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The mobsters attempts to kill Clark fail, because, you know, that whole Superman thing. The mob then go after the mayor, trying to burn him alive, but Superman rescues him.  The former Police Commissioner is revealed as the leader of the mob.  Sergeant Casey has a very small role in this.

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The Three Aces head to the Azores, where they are enlisted by a friend, Ingrid, to explore the lost city of Atlantis.

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She has found a massive hole in the Earth, a “pit” big enough for the Aces to fly down into – and also big enough for cool looking Atlantean rockets to emerge from.  Though aside from flying out to show themselves, the Atlanteans don’t do anything, just fly back down, it seems.  The Three Aces fly down into the pit.

The story continues in the next issue.

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Congo Bill moves over from More Fun Comics, effectively trading places with Clip Carson.  But while Carson would have a short run in his new book, Congo Bill’s run in Action would last almost two decades. Indeed, he would outlast every other series currently running in the book, aside from Superman.  The jungle adventurer made a solid home here.

Frank Long and Fred Ray launch his series, which brings Professor Kent along.

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They stop off at a military post run by a friend of Kent’s, which has been seriously depleted of men due to plague.  They worry about an attack from an enemy post while they are at their weakest, and Congo Bill helpfully leads an attack on the camp, rescuing the major’s daughter and capturing the enemy leader.   It’s a World War II story, frankly, although it avoids specifying who the white rival combatants are in Africa.

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