Wednesday, March 30, 2011

November 1938: Action Comics #7

Cover by Joe Shuster

'Superman' (by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster): Superman joins the circus this month, trying to help a down and out circus manager from having to take crooks on as his partners.  This one's a little silly and kind of seems like a waste of Superman's time, but I like that he helps out the little guy.  This is also the first time we really see the reaction of the general public to Superman, and it just reinforces how impressive and unusual he is.  Plus, he wrestles a lion, which is always good.  Hell, even Lois Lane is palatable in this one.

'Chuck Dawson' (by Homer Fleming): Chuck helps fend off an attack by his enemies on the Diamond-H ranch.  There's a lengthy shoot-out, and when Chuck tries to draw the attackers away, his horse stumbles and lands him on his head.  I'll say this for it, at least there's something happening.

'Pep Morgan' (by Gardner Fox and Fred Guardineer): Pep is kidnapped by gamblers so that he can't play in a big football match, but he escapes and makes it to the game with four minutes to go.  And because he's so awesome, he wins the match.  What's the deal with Pep Morgan, anyway?  A few months ago he was middleweight champion of the world, now he's playing football in some podunk league.  It's weird.

'The Adventures of Marco Polo' (by Sven Elven): Marco and his party are trapped in a town overrun by bandits. Marco escapes and races for help, while the bandits prepare to torture the others for the murder of their leader.  It would be a good cliffhanger if I cared two beans about any of the characters.

'The Diddle Family' (by Paul Gustavson): The daughter has a date, and Jimmy is annoyed because she promised to drive him around.  Blah blah blah, grampa figures out a way for them to ride along on the date without being seen.  It's weird to think of, but I guess going for a ride in a car would have been a big deal in those days.

'Jungle Episode' (by Richard Martin): This is a prose story about two engineers in the Congo who are accosted by native cannibals when on their way to buy supplies. They trick the natives by throwing bullets into a fire, and there's a deeply unpleasant bit where the natives worship them and call them "White Lord".

'Tex Thomson' (by Bernard Baily): Tex is still in captivity due to his resemblance to the villain El Diablo, but he is freed with evidence provided by his buddy Bob Daley.  In pretty short order he has dealt with El Diablo, which is kind of disappointing, because I wanted this story to run for a bit longer.  The whole thing feels a bit too neat and tidy.

'Scoop Scanlon' (by Will Ely): Scoop deals with a bank robber who is amnesiac after a car crash. That could have been a good story, but it's not explored at all, making this yet another very average yarn.

'Zatara' (by Fred Guardineer): Zatara is in South Africa, where The Tigress is robbing diamond mines with her Zulu henchmen.  This is disappointing to begin with, because I thought Zatara and the Tigress were buddies now. The story is fun in the way that all Zatara stories are (i.e. you spend them wondering what ridiculous trick he will pull next) but this one was a little light on the magic.

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