Posts tagged ‘Three Aces’

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

act_37

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.

act_37_001

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.

act_37_002

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.

act_37_003

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.

act_37_004

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

act_37_005

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.

act_37_006

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.

act_37_007

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.

Action 32 – the Krypto-Ray Gun, Pep Morgan gets a friend, the Black Pirate vs Captain Treble, and the Three Aces find the Dalai Lama

act_32

Boy, the cover of Action 32 (Jan. 41) really really looks like a scene from a story, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not.  Nor will any of the 1941 covers reflect the Superman story inside.  So I’m going to stop pointing that out.

act_32_001

Jerry Siegel and Jack Burnley tell a story in this issue that begins by resembling one of the early social commentary stories, before become just a gigantic ad.

act_32_002

A gambler’s attempted suicide is prevented by Superman, and Clark takes his story to the Daily Planet.  George Taylor assigns him and Lois to get the goods on the Preston Gambling Club, but that is easier said than done.  The mayor is on the side of the club, and gives them advance warning before Clark arrives.  Lois manages to get in, but is discovered to be a reporter, and given a drink that removes her memory.

act_32_003

The super-hypnotism that Superman uses to restore Lois’ mind will pop up occasionally over the years, often as a deus ex machina.  But more significant (for this story) is Clark’s creation, the Krypto-Ray Gun.

act_32_004

It’s basically a camera than can reverse and also project pictures, and though it is used to show proof of the club’s crimes, it’s a pretty limited invention.

act_32_011

But look, you can buy one yourself!

Lame.

The name of the device is also a bit of a problem.  At this point, Superman had no idea where he came from.  He would not learn about Krypton for another 8 years!  So his use of the word “krypto” in the name of the gun is meant to be a total coincidence.  Although if he had never heard of Krypton, one wonders why he would use part of its name in the first place.

act_32_005

Pep Morgan’s college roommate, Slim, is introduced in this George Papp story, and will stick around for a while.  Slim is also an athlete, and comes from a very wealthy family.

act_32_006

Slim invites Pep to join him at his uncle’s cabin in the country, where they can hunt down escaped convicts.  That’s not actually part of the invitation, it’s not a regular weekend hunt or anything.  Just what happens in the story.

act_32_007

Sheldon Moldoff keeps the Black Pirate hopping in his adventures.  In a few pages, Jon Valor finds and defeats Captain Treble, frees his enslaved miners, and makes them his new crew.

act_32_008

The first ship they attempt to takeover turns out to be run by a woman, who simply refers to herself as the Queen of the Seas.  The Black Pirate has too much chivalry to take her ship from her.  Besides, she looks like she could be (and will be) a more interesting recurring character.

act_32_009

The Three Aces are in Tibet in this issue, preventing a kidnapping of the new Dalai Lama, in a story that must have been very timely.  The Dalai Lama had been “found” in 1937, not too much earlier.

act_32_010

The art on the series definitely goes up a notch with this story.  One subtle note about this strip. Up to this point, the characters would refer to their days fighting in the Great War, but as the Second World War grows, those references get dropped.  Likely because it makes the characters seem too old.

Action 28 – Superman and the strongman, Black Pirate on the run, the Three Aces on Easter Island, and the Gorrah is the Eye

act_28

There is little point in repeating my flying comment in relation to the cover of Action 28 (Sept. 40).  Just give in and admit Superman can fly.

act_28_001

Jack Burnley does the art on this Jerry Siegel story, and would be one of the major Superman artists from this era.

act_28_002

George Taylor is looking mighty old now, as the editor of the Daily Planet. He sends Lois Lane and Clark Kent out on a story about a number of thefts committed by a someone dressed as a circus strongman.

act_28_003

They see a poster for a circus with a similarly dressed strongman, Herculo, and go to check it out.  Superman confronts Herculo in the ring, humiliating him.  Superman then does a page or two of circus tricks.  Just cause.

act_28_004

And poor Herculo isn’t even the guilty party.  He has been set up by the clown.  Nothing spectacular, but at least the bad guy was not as obvious as he night have been.

act_28_005

Jon Valor is being pursued in this Moldoff story, assumed to have stolen the jewels he purchased his ship with. And, you know, he did steal them.  Just from a pirate who had stolen them first.

act_28_006

The Black Pirate eludes his pursuers, and sends a note to Jeanne explaining the situation, and telling her he will return.  But we never see Jeanne again.  Love’em and leave’em.

act_28_007

The Three Aces stories have, up to now, been really kind of dull.  They completely ignore the war in Europe, which feels odd for a series about war pilots.  But this issue sparks up a bit, as they head to Easter Island.

act_28_008

TI’m not sure the artist ever saw any pictures of what the stone heads actually look like, but the story doesn’t really feature them much anyway.   The Three Aces discover an ancient city under the island, and discover that the original islanders were giants who became fossilized after a comet passed close to the earth thousands of years ago, and the mysterious heads on the island are the actual heads of the giants who lived there.

act_28_009

Tex Thompson and Bob Daley come to the aid of a blackmailed heiress in this Bernard Baily story.

act_28_010

They track down the Dawson gang, who are working for a mysterious leader known as the Eye.  Unsurprisingly, this turns out to be the Gorrah.  This must be the most roundabout revenge scheme possible, as there was really no way for the Gorrah to know that Tex would even be called in on this case.

 

 

 

Action 19 – Superman and the purple plague, Pep Morgan goes home, Clip Carson goes to Africa, Tex Thompson vs the Zombies, and the Three Aces solve a friend’s murder

act_19

Superman is back on the cover of Action 19 (Dec. 39), and will stay there from now on.

act_19_001

A purple plague hits Metropolis.  The doctors are baffled, and the death toll keeps on rising.

act_19_002

Clark Kent is shown to be immune to the plague, because of his “super-resistance” to disease, another new attribute of his powers.  Though what really strikes me about this page is the horse drawn cart full of rotting bodies.  This seems anachronistic, but I expect that it is not.  Movies from the time period show horses and carriages in towns, so perhaps they were still used this way.

act_19_003

The Ultra-Humanite is behind the plague, and makes an appearance relatively early in the story, rather than being saved for the last few pages.

act_19_004

The Ultra-Humanite is trying to kill the doctor researching a cure for the plague, but Superman rescues the man, falling into the hands of the Ultra-Humanite himself.  An electric gun is capable of knocking Superman out, though not seriously wounding him.  The villain attempts to use a mind-control device on Superman, but it fails.

act_19_005

The Ultra-Humanite really seems to be dead at the end of this story.  Is he?

act_19_006

Pep Morgan, back in the US, heads home to Ardale in this story by Fred Guardineer.  But nothing seems to go smoothly for Pep anymore.

act_19_007

Escaping thieves hop the train he is taking, though Pep alerts the police, who are there and ready to capture them when the train pulls into town.

We briefly get to meet his parents, and another boy, who seems to be his younger brother.

act_19_008

The gang the thieves belong to try to take vengeance on Pep, but he evades that, and the gang gets captured.

act_19_009

Clip Carson heads to Kenya (spelled Kenye) in this Bob Kane story.  He gets hired to protect a shipment of ivory from a notorious raider, Wolf Lupo.

act_19_010

Clip must be considered quite a threat, as Lupo’s men try to kill him the first night, putting a cobra in his tent.  Clip falls into the hands of some cannibals, but manages to win them over by playing a harmonica.

The story continues in the next issue.

act_19_011

Bernard Baily also sends his hero to Africa, with Bob Daley and Gargantua T Potts tagging along.  There was just no space for Ali Baba.

act_19_012

Tex is asked to help find a missing son, who left behind a note announcing that he has been attacked by zombies.  Now, zombies in the 1940s were not exactly the way we envision them now.  The whole brain eating thing was not a part of the concept.  Zombies were slaves, unable to act of their own volition.

act_19_013

There is an appallingly awful sequence with Gargantua befriending a monkey, which I am not even going to show.

The story continues in the next issue.

act_19_014

The Three Aces return.  They are flying in formation with their fellow reservists, when one dies mid-flight.  They discover his widow in the arms of one of their buddies, and fake them out into confessing murder.

act_19_015

Although there is some aerial action at the start of the story, the rest of it reads like any other mystery.

Action 18 – X-ray vision!, Pep uses his throwing arm, the Gorrah controls Tex Thompson, Three Aces debuts, and Zatara visits Atlantis

act_18

An unusual air battle on the cover of Action 18 (Nov. 39), with Superman firmly ensconced in the corner of the page.

act_18_001
A rival newspaper, the Morning Herald, is introduced in this Siegel and Shuster story.

act_18_002

While Clark Kent, and to a lesser degree Lois Lane, are always shown to be respectful of those they interview for the Daily Star, the Herald reporter is quickly shown to exploitative.

act_18_003

Worse than that, the reporter featured also uses the information he gets to set up a politician to be blackmailed.  Clark learns about by using his x-ray vision, and “super-sensitive” hearing, for the first time.  Indeed, it’s curious to see how slow and detailed the first use of the x-ray vision is, explaining how the wall melts away and allows him to see what is going on inside.

act_18_004

When the editor of the Morning Herald insists on printing the story and pictures, despite evidence of then being faked, Superman takes extreme action,  First he destroys the paper’s entire delivery fleet, including all the paper already printed, and then demolishes their printing press!

I certainly hope Clark got a raise for wiping out the competition.

act_18_005

Pep Morgan continues to hang out at Mr. Smith’s ranch in this Guardineer story.  It begins with he and Mary taking a ride together, and could easily go towards romance.

act_18_006

But Pep is far more interested in a local dispute over a watering hole, and an attempt to frame an old loner for murder, to acquire his land rights.

act_18_007

Pep saves the day, even using his pitching skills to knock out a man escaping on horseback.  I really like that his athletic abilities are actually used in this story.

act_18_008

Tex Thompson remains a prisoner of the Gorrah, as Baily continues this storyline.

act_18_009

The Gorrah has constructed obedient robots, which Tex calls “things.”  The Gorrah seems impressed by this clever word, and takes to calling them “things” himself, showing that he has the same lack of creativity as Tex.  On the other hand, his scientific skills seem impressive, as he forces Tex into a mind-control machine, making the hero his slave.

act_18_010

Tex heads back to the Prime Minister, getting a map of all the ships in the harbour, and then goes around planting bombs on all of them.  Bob Daley and Gargantua T Potts both notice how odd Tex is acting.  Their attempt to follow him simply winds up putting them into the Gorrah’s hands.

act_18_011

Tex is ordered to kill them, and only then does he reveal he is not really under the Gorrah’s power.  You might have thought he would reveal that before planting dozens of bombs, but no.  The Gorrah appears to kill himself, but will return.  Ali Baba is barely seen in this part.  Three sidekicks are just too many to fit in the story.

act_18_012

The Three Aces are Fog Fortune, Gunman Bill and Whistler Will,all pilots who bonded while fighting in the Spanish Civil War (which side is not mentioned). They are now US navy reservists, travelling the world in their biplanes, seeking out adventure.

act_18_013

The first story sees them in Baghdad, where they learn of a number of planes that have gone missing while flying over the desert.  A distraught young woman enlists them in flying over the desert in search of her father, Inspector Higgins of Scotland Yard, who had gone missing while looking into the case.  They fly out, and spot a lost caravan, land, and are ambushed.  Gunner manages to get back in the air, calls for the British airforce, and circles until they arrive to rescue his comrades and the inspector.

act_18_014

Zatara has barely left Ophir when Sepat materializes on his ship in this Guardineer story.

act_18_015

They head down to find the lost city of Atlantis.  At first Sepat stays on deck, but pirates threaten her, and Zatara heads back up to save her, and take her with him.  They also bring along Barnacle Bill, who proves more of a menace than a help, as he wants to steal some Atlantean treasure.

act_18_017

In fact, there is almost just too much going on in this tale.  A giant bizarre looking octopus attacks, giving some focus to the conclusion.  Sepat decides to stay in Atlantis, obviously hoping for a romance with their leader.  It’s a bit surprising how content Zatara is to work with this woman, who was trying to kill him only one issue ago. But he was also content to work with the Tigress, so I guess one shouldn’t judge him too harshly.

 

Tag Cloud