Thursday, December 15, 2011

March 1940: Superman Daily Strip #289-354, Superman Radio Serial #9-21

SUPERMAN DAILY STRIP #289-354 (by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster):

This long-running story mashes up a lot of elements from previous Superman stories. It begins with the machinations of a group of foreign spies that is trying to manipulate the US into supporting their own country in a war. Clark Kent ends up entangled in their schemes, and pretends to go along with them, something he has done a few times before. Eventually he goes to Europe as Superman, and ends up kidnapping the two leaders of the warring nations and making them fight each other face to face, which is very reminiscent of one of his earliest stories. There's nothing particularly bad about this story, it's just a little too familiar to be enjoyable.


The Superman "transcription feature" covers a lot of ground in March of 1940. Episode 9 is the wrap-up to the Yellow Mask storyline, which sees the master criminal trying to destroy the Daily Planet building with a disintegrator ray. Following that is a six-part story in which two crooked businessmen are trying to cover up their involvement in selling worthless shares by murdering their secretary. After that is a two-parter in which the Wolf and Keno (the villains from the radio serial's opening story) stage a prison break and escape. Finally, there's a four-part story involving the Yellow Mask and his efforts to destroy the town of Dyerville. It's all mildly enjoyable, and a fairly accurate adaptation of the comics. The limitations of the form get a bit irritating; Superman talks to himself a lot about what he's doing, for instance. And the vacuum cleaner sound effect used to simulate Superman's flight gets a bit grating after a while.

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