""Superman and the Purple Plague"": Clark rides an ambulance from the police headquarters, to pick up a patient, a man in a stupor, from which he can't be aroused. The doctor on duty acknowledges he's never seen anything like this.
Action Comics #19 is an issue of the series Action Comics (Volume 1) with a cover date of December, 1939.
- 1 Synopsis for "Superman and the Purple Plague"
- 2 Appearing in "Superman and the Purple Plague"
- 3 Synopsis for Pep Morgan: "The Train Robbery"
- 4 Appearing in Pep Morgan: "The Train Robbery"
- 5 Synopsis for Chuck Dawson: "The Boot Thieves"
- 6 Appearing in Chuck Dawson: "The Boot Thieves"
- 7 Synopsis for Clip Carson: "The Ivory Safari (Part 1)"
- 8 Appearing in Clip Carson: "The Ivory Safari (Part 1)"
- 9 Synopsis for Tex Thomson: "The Zombies (Part 1)"
- 10 Appearing in Tex Thomson: "The Zombies (Part 1)"
- 11 Synopsis for Three Aces: "Murder in the Air"
- 12 Appearing in Three Aces: "Murder in the Air"
- 13 Synopsis for Zatara: "The Gorilla King"
- 14 Appearing in Zatara: "The Gorilla King"
- 15 Notes
- 16 See Also
- 17 Recommended Reading
- 18 Links and References
Synopsis for "Superman and the Purple Plague"
Clark rides an ambulance from the police headquarters, to pick up a patient, a man in a stupor, from which he can't be aroused. The doctor on duty acknowledges he's never seen anything like this.
The disease quickly spreads as a plague, killing dozens of people. Prof. Henry Travers, a scientist who's a friend of Clark, finally finds a cure to the disease, but then he's suddenly knocked out and abducted by the Ultra-Humanite's henchmen. Superman hurries after the crooks, but they throw the scientist off a cliff to get Superman off their backs. Superman manages to save the scientist, and soon learns that the Ultra-Humanite is behind the artificial plague. Unfortunately Travers' first formula fails to cure the plague.
Superman confronts the evil old mastermind, but is injured by Ultra's electric-gun. The Ultra-Humanite attempts to electronically mind-control Superman into distributing more of his Purple Plague, but Superman was only pretending to be mind-controlled, and he destroys the villain's stockpile of plague serum. Ultra tries to shoot Superman again with his Electric-Gun, but this time Superman pulls him in front of the weapon, which seemingly kills him.
Dr. Travers soon develops a workable cure for the Purple Plague, and the epidemic is stopped.
Appearing in "Superman and the Purple Plague"
- Prof. Henry Travers (Single appearance)
- Ultra-Humanite (Apparent Death)
- his henchmen
- Dr. Greenley (Single appearance)
- Purple Plague victims
- Ultra-Humanite's Purple Plague Serum
- Ultra-Humanite's Electric-Gun
- Ultra-Humanite's Mind-Control equipment
- Ultra-Humanite's Airship
Synopsis for Pep Morgan: "The Train Robbery"
During his drive back home to Ardale, Pep gets waylaid by a gang of train robbers. They keep him tied up while they board the train, but Pep breaks free and, with the help of the engine crew, turns the train on full speed so the hoodlums can't jump off. They send a message to the next station to get a police force ready, that there are hijackers aboard. As soon as the locomotive comes to a stop, the crooks try to jump off and get away, but all except two are arrested.
The next day, when Pep is finally back home, the two gangsters that escaped swear revenge. Pep is followed home and kidnapped by the men. He is forced into their car and given a ride. But the gangsters didn't count on Pep being so well-known in Ardale. the local traffic cop recognizes Pep in their vehicle and tries to stop it, spooking the driver and sending the car crashing into a wall. Pep gets out, unscathed, shouting at his kidnappers as the cops come running and take the last members of the train-robber gang to prison.
Pep mentions going to a gangster movie with his friends. After all, it'd be just as exciting, but without the danger!
Appearing in Pep Morgan: "The Train Robbery"
- train robbers
- Pep's Mom and Dad
Synopsis for Chuck Dawson: "The Boot Thieves"
Chuck is riding down a gully, when he is lassoed and pulled off his horse by two roughnecks! They tie him up and start exchanging his boots for another, fancier pair. Then they ride off, leaving Chuck very confused. Luckily, he trained his horse to untie knots, so with Blacky's help, Chuck is soon free. Making a mental note of the direction the boot bandits took, Chuck continues on to the small town of Deposit Gulch.
A crowd is gathering around the sheriff's office in town as Chuck approaches. The local shopkeeper spots him and points him out as one of the gang that robbed his shop and killed his employee, the boots on Chuck's feet identified him as such, as they were the same boots that were just stolen. Chuck manages to fight his way past the crowd, back to his horse. He rides out of town fast... back towards the gulley where the two bandits attacked him.
Chuck follows the tracks the bandits left to the bank of a mountain stream. Climbing atop a ledge, he soon spies the men pass down below. He leaps from the ledge, landing behind the surprised bandits, with a quick jab and a left hook, he overpowers them! Chuck draws his gun and demands they first give him his own boots back before he marches them to the sheriff.
Appearing in Chuck Dawson: "The Boot Thieves"
- Blacky (Chuck's horse)
- Killers (Single appearance)
- Speck (Single appearance)
- Deposit Gulch's Sheriff (Single appearance)
Synopsis for Clip Carson: "The Ivory Safari (Part 1)"
Clip Carson is hired by a man named Colton, to help him deliver ivory to the African coast, where a steamer awaits. All other parties he sent with the ivory have disappeared at the hands of Wolf Lupo, a renowned criminal. Clip agrees to help, and almost immediately the attempts on his life begin. One burly man in a bar tries to knife him, but Clip outmatches the brute easily. He and the natives hired by Colton hike through the jungle, carrying the ivory in a crate, and when they set up camp for the night, someone releases a deadly cobra in Clip's tent. Luckily, his unerring aim hasn't failed him yet, and the snake is dispatched with a single shot.
The next day, the group enters dangerous territory, where they are met by the cannibalistic Wanangi tribe. Clip speaks in their native language, offering them a gift of harmonicas (Which he brought along just in case he needed a bargaining chip) for safe passage. The chief is delighted with the pleasing music the harmonicas make. He gladly accepts these gifts and announces Clip and his group to be friends to the Wanangi. They will be allowed to pass without fear.
But Clip knows that Wolf Lupo is still out there with more tricks up his sleeve.
Appearing in Clip Carson: "The Ivory Safari (Part 1)"
- "Wolf" Lupo (Behind the scenes)
- Colton (Single appearance)
- Wanangi Tribe (First appearance)
- Zambi (First appearance)
- Warriors (First appearance)
- crate of ivory
- case of harmonicas
Synopsis for Tex Thomson: "The Zombies (Part 1)"
Tex Thomson and his friends, Bob and Gargantua, head to Egypt in search of Mr. Barryless' son, Bart, who was leading an expedition, when his letters abruptly stopped coming. Tex finds that Bart's expedition has been attacked by the Fuzzy-Wuzzy tribe, famous for turning unsuspecting enemies into mindless zombies. A tribal warrior attacks Tex and crew, chasing them over a gorge where the rough landing sends them into unconsciousness. When they awaken, none other than Bart Barryless himself is standing before them, also being a helpless prisoner of the Fuzzy-Wuzzy. He explains that the tribe's chief was planning to use the zombie serum to turn all of the world into his mindless slaves. The rest of Bart's expedition had already been given the serum and made into a zombie. The only way to counteract the effects was with salt, which he had none of. But Tex does! He has a package of salt in his knapsack!
Tex, Bob, Gargantua, and Bart are forced to line up in front of the chief. Each of them secretly hid a lump of salt in their mouth, to swallow immediately after being administered the serum. The chief begins inoculating each with a shot of "zombie potion". Will the salt save them from its mind-numbing effect?
Appearing in Tex Thomson: "The Zombies (Part 1)"
- Fuzzy-Wuzzy Tribe (First appearance)
- Bart Barryless (First appearance)
- John Barryless (Single appearance)
- Zombie Formula
- Steamer ship
Synopsis for Three Aces: "Murder in the Air"
During a nine-plane bombing run, Fred, one of the pilots, loses control and crashes to the ground a flaming wreck. Fog, Gunner, and Whistler believe Fred was sabotaged, and begin investigating. They find out there were traces of battery acid on Fred's flight suit. Days later, at the park, Fog calls Gunner and Whistler over to the bushes, where they eavesdrop on Jeffrey, the plane mechanic, and Bell, the wife of the deceased, making out. They talk about how soon they'll have a fortune to themselves. This raises the Aces' suspicions. Could those two have had anything to do with Fred's death? They'd need to test them to be sure.
The Three Aces visit Jeffrey in the hangar. They talk about the death of Fred, whom Jeffrey called a friend. Gunner lays the bait at Jeffrey's feet by casually mentioning that the detective in charge of the case believes it was murder. Whistler and Fog add to it by saying how they heard traces of battery acid were found, and how the police already had a pretty clear idea who was behind it. The Aces laugh it off as they leave, but Jeffrey suddenly turns pale.
The Three Aces bring a police officer along as they drive to Bell's apartment. They sneak inside and hide themselves as Bell and Jeffrey discuss what he heard in the hangar. The police were onto them! Jeff tries to convince Bell to leave with him, to escape the police. But she refuses, she'll never abandon her home and her life. Jeffrey is dumbfounded that she could treat him this way after he killed her husband for her! He pulls out a gun, but it's wrestled out of his grip by Gunner, leaping out of hiding. The confession was made in front of a police officer, so both Jeffrey and Bell are taken into custody.
The court finds them guilty of murder, and they both receive life sentences.
Appearing in Three Aces: "Murder in the Air"
- Jeff (Single appearance)
- Bell (Single appearance)
- Lew (First appearance)
- Mac (First appearance)
- Fred (Only appearance; dies)
Synopsis for Zatara: "The Gorilla King"
A string of robberies across the world are being committed by what seems like a band of gorillas. Explorer Ivan Meldoff meets with Zatara to tell him that he knows where the beasts came from. A doctor by name of Herbert Handers had been working from a hidden walled city in Mexico, placing the brains of humans into the bodies of gorillas. Meldoff came across the city by accident, barely escaping with his life.
Zatara and Tong head to the jungles of Mexico with Meldoff, who leads them to the city of gorillas. By making himself invisible, Zatara is able to sneak through the streets, which are crowded by gorilla guards. In a dungeon below, he finds men locked up, doomed to have their brains placed in the body of a gorilla by the mad doctor Handers. Zatara appears visible to them, asking if they'd like to have their revenge? he sets the men free, they instantly begin razing the city, killing the gorilla guards who tormented them. Herbert Handers runs to his lab, with Zatara chasing right behind. Handers begins to activate a self-destruct lever, but Zatara stops him in place with magic. He leads the prisoners out of the city to safety before releasing the spell, and once Handers pushes the lever, the entire city blows up!
There will be no more gorilla crime waves plaguing the world, thanks to Zatara!
Appearing in Zatara: "The Gorilla King"
- Gorilla King (Only appearance; dies)
- Ivan Meldoff (Single appearance) (Flashback and main story)
- Buck Travis (Single appearance)
- Published by Detective Comics, Inc.
- Clip Carson speaks and understands the East African Wanangi language.
- Superman and the Purple Plague is reprinted in Superman: The Action Comics Archives Vol. 1, from which edition this title is taken, and Superman Chronicles Vol. 2. Like most Golden Age comics stories, it was not originally titled.
- The Ultra-Humanite was last seen in Action Comics #17; this is his fourth appearance. At this story's end he has seemingly been killed, but next issue, he returns.
- Formerly completely bald, the Ultra-Humanite is drawn with some hair in a few panels in this story.
- Herbert Handers is the third mad medical scientist to transplant a human brain into a live ape's body, in a DC comic book. The first was Roskoffin, in New York City, the second was Doctor Kichung, in coastal China.
- The Gorilla City in this issue's Zatara story is in Mexico and on Earth-Two, and is not the same one (in Africa and on Earth-One), that is home to highly intelligent gorillas as first seen in The Flash #106.
- Superman Recommended Reading
- Action Comics (Volume 1)
- Action Comics (Volume 2)
- Adventures of Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- DC Comics Presents (Volume 1)
- Superman (Volume 1)
- Superman (Volume 2)
- Superman (Volume 3)
- Superman (Volume 4)
- Superman (Volume 5)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- Superman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Superman: The Man of Steel (Volume 1)
- Superman: The Man of Tomorrow (Volume 1)
- Superman/Wonder Woman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)