64 – The Man of Tomorrow at the World’s Fair

In April 1939, DC also published a 96-page one-shot, the New York World’s Fair Comics. This featured stories of several established characters like Superman and Zatara promoting the 1939 World’s Fair. This was also the first time that Superman’s vision powers were mentioned as Superman stood atop the Trylon looking for Lois Lane.

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61 – Wonder Man

Fox Feature Syndicate published Wonder Comics #1 in March 1939. Wonder Man was Fred Carson, a timid radio engineer and inventor. While in Tibet, a yogi gave him a ring which granted him super strength and invulnerability. He was created by Will Eisner. You can already see Eisner’s innovative layouts with Wonder Man’s arm extending […]

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60 – Loathsome Wretch!

In early Superman stories like Action Comics #10 (February 1939), Jerry Siegel made sure that Clark Kent was the mask, cooking up situations where Clark had to appear cowardly or have less integrity. In this story, Clark gives up his source, an escaped convict from a brutal prison where the superintendent tortured the inmates. In […]

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59 – Hiding In Plain Sight

The idea that Superman may be hiding in plain sight as a regular guy is voiced for the first time in Action Comics #9, January 1939. I like how Jerry Siegel seems to be building this world that Superman inhabits month-by-month, even if the story ideas themselves are sometimes a bit ludicrous. I also love […]

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57 – Super Hearing

In December 1938, Action Comics #8 featured the first time Superman used his super hearing power, setting the stage for what was to be a gradual widening of Superman’s powers to god-like abilities. Action Comics #8 also featured Superman deciding that the right way to set a bunch of wayward kids straight was to demolish […]

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55 – The Man of Steel Gets Famous

By October 1938, Superman’s fame is beginning to spread both in the real world and in the fictional world of the DC universe. The Daily Star dubs him the “Man of Steel”. It leads to a fun story where a promoter claims he is Superman’s manager and uses a fake Superman to garner promotional revenue. […]

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53 – Lois, Lois Make Up Your Mind

Lois kisses Superman for the first time in Action Comics #5 (September 1938) and their relationship shows some continuity as this is clearly their second meeting. With this story, Jerry Siegel beautifully sets up a trope that would power Superman’s supporting cast for 50 years: Lois is in love with Superman and can barely give […]

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51 – Superman: Champion of the Weak

Action Comics #4 (August 1938) brought the most unusual Superman story thus far. It seems clear that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were still experimenting with this character at this time. In it, Superman tries to capture a hit & run drunk driver, but in the process the driver has a heart attack as his […]

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49 – Bulletproof

Superman‘s powers grew over the years, but being bulletproof was one of the few that were there from the beginning (the other two being increased strength and speed). Above is a panel from Action Comics #2 (June 1938).

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47 – When Lois Met Clark

The Golden Age of Comic Books begins in May 1938 with the single most important comic book ever published:  Action Comics #1 and the debut of the first full-fledged superhero:  Superman.  Crime fighter for justice.  Crazy costume.  Super powers.  Secret identity.  A supporting cast of two Daily Star employees: his un-named editor and his romantic […]

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