"Superman: "The Life Insurance Scam"": Lois Lane visits the home of Mrs. Davis, an elderly woman, with Clark Kent. Lois learns that another woman, Mrs. Bradford, has died recently. Clark discovers that the woman's aspirin has been poisoned and believes the death was done for the insurance money.
Appearing in Superman: "The Life Insurance Scam"
- Martin (Single appearance)
- Tom Bruce (Single appearance)
- Gram (Single appearance)
- Sergeant Casey
- Mrs. Davis (Single appearance)
- Mr. Fullerton (Only appearance; dies)
- Mrs. Grady (Only appearance; dies)
- Mrs. Bradford (Mentioned only)
Synopsis for Superman: "The Life Insurance Scam"
Lois Lane visits the home of Mrs. Davis, an elderly woman, with Clark Kent. Lois learns that another woman, Mrs. Bradford, has died recently. Clark discovers that the woman's aspirin has been poisoned and believes the death was done for the insurance money. Investigating, the reporters visit Gram's Drug Store, which sold the aspirin. They find no evidence as they are thrown out of the store, and they witness a hit-and-run accident in the street which kills another woman. A mob then attacks the drug store which forces Superman to intervene to stop the riot. Later, Lois and Clark call on the insurance agent, Mr. Fullerton. He is angered by the allegations and throws them out. Lois returns however to find Tom Bruce, Mrs. Davis' neighbor and initiator of the riot, in Fullerton's office. Lois is captured, but Superman rescues her. Superman trails the hoods, while Lois confronts Fullerton again. Fullerton brings Lois to his own Political Boss Martin, who is also the boss of the hoods. Martin reveals he is behind the insurance scam, and he was trying to pin it on Fullerton. Superman arrives too late to save Fullerton, but he does save Lois and catch the crooks.
Appearing in Pep Morgan: "Summer Vacation in Cambodia"
- Ted Rock (Single appearance)
- Prehistoric Beast (Only appearance; dies)
- China Charlie (Single appearance)
- A Ship
Synopsis for Pep Morgan: "Summer Vacation in Cambodia"
Pep goes on an expedition to the jungles of Cambodia to seek out a legendary beast said to lurk there. With him are Ted Rock, the expedition leader, and China Charlie, their guide. They encounter a dinosaur.
Appearing in The Black Pirate: "The Red Raiders"
- The Red-Raiders (First appearance)
- Black Pirate's crew
- The Sea Queen (Valor's ship)
Synopsis for The Black Pirate: "The Red Raiders"
The Sea Queen and her crew are overtaken by raiders dressed in red! Jon Valor escapes capture, following the red raiders to their camp where he sets his men free. But they are discovered and attacked!
Appearing in The Three Aces: "The Missionary and the Cannibals"
- Cannibals (Single appearance)
- Wilkin (Single appearance)
- Recording Machine
- The Aces' Planes
Synopsis for The Three Aces: "The Missionary and the Cannibals"
The Aces are sent to Africa to find a lost missionary.
Appearing in Tex Thomson: "The Washington Spy Ring"
- Senõr Janzes (Single appearance)
- Borin (Single appearance)
- Unnamed State Department Official (Single appearance)
- Streamliner Train from NYC to WDC
Synopsis for Tex Thomson: "The Washington Spy Ring"
Tex and Bob are on a train headed toward Washington. The Secret Service has requested their help, through D.A. Maloney, with a top secret mission. The door to their car opens, and in walks the district attorney's daughter, Peggy! She apparently needs to go to Washington as well, to ask for more money for her social services group. At the other end of the car, two men watch Tex and Bob closely. They are carrying a briefcase between them and are clearly up to no good, whispering to each other that Tex matches the description given them. At the next stop, the men walk by Tex to leave, casually leaving their briefcase behind. Five minutes later the train pulls out again. In the silence that follows the trip, Peggy comments that she can hear the ticking of Tex's watch... except, he wasn't wearing a watch. The sound was coming from behind them, a few seats over, where the briefcase left behind by the two men was laying. Tex orders Bob to open a window quickly, as he rushes over, grabs the case, and hurls it out of the train car! The case explodes only seconds later, the train shakes from the shock, briefly stopping to check for any damage. Tex uses the time to go out and investigate the scene of the explosion. Finding nothing but a small piece of metal, Tex pockets it and returns to the train.
Washington, D.C. at last! Tex and Bob say goodbye to Peggy, then take a rented car out to the Secret Service building. The official in charge of their mission is relieved to see Tex and Bob are still in one piece. Word of the attempted bombing reached him, but his operatives weren't fast enough to prevent it. The Secret Service rep give Tex and Bob the rundown; confidential messages from operatives planted all over the world were being smuggled right out of the Service's own file room, which points to an inside job, but there haven't been any clues to who the culprit might be. That's why Tex and Bob were called in. Tex hands over the piece of metal from the exploded briefcase for the lab boys to analyze, then he and Bob retire to their hotel for the night.
The next day, Tex and Bob spend their time in the file room, playing the part of new hires. As the day closes, the file clerks have to strip down and have their clothes checked for smuggled messages. No trace is ever found, and they continue on for each day. During one of these inspections, Bob accidentally bumps against the back of another file clerk, Borin, who becomes angry at the little man's clumsiness. Bob thinks it odd, but soon forgets about it as he and Tex head to the ball being held at the Syronian Embassy that night.
Most of the capital turns out for the formal ball. Bob notices Peggy in the crowd, and dancing with her was a man who looks just like one of the bombers from the train, but with glasses! Peggy introduces him as Tex and Bob approach, Senõr Janzes of the Syronian diplomatic staff. Janzes scowls as Peggy excuses herself to talk with Tex out on the terrace. Once they are alone, she tells Tex that her father's connected with many of Washington's congressmen, which is how she got an invite. Just then, she cries out as Tex just barely dodges a knife thrown, its blade sticking instead to the wall behind him. The thrower escapes out the front doors into his car, speeding away before Tex can identify him.
Back at the hotel room, Tex frustratingly fails to find any fingerprints on the knife handle, while Bob tries to relax under his UV lamp. A message is delivered from the lab about the metal piece that Tex found. It was foreign made, from the country of Syronia. Bob gets up to look at the letter, when Tex sees something printed on his pal's back! It's a fragment of some kind of coded message, exposed on Bob's skin by the ultra-violet light. Something tells Tex that they need to return to the Syronian embassy.
The mysterious Miss X is already there, and gives Tex the address of the guy they're looking for. Tex thanks her and, after several wrong turns, finally finds the place she gave him: the home of Syronian diplomat Janzes. The boys sneak in the top floor window, when a cry for help echoes through the house! Tex and Bob rush downstairs to find Peggy being threatened by Senõr Janzes and Borin, the secret service file clerk. When Janzes spots Tex, he rushes him with a knife, but Bob conks him from behind with a lamp. Janzes falls to the ground, letting Tex focus on Borin.
After the foreign diplomat and his accomplice are taken away by the Secret Service, Tex explains how their operation worked. Borin would print the encoded files on his back with special ink that only UV rays could expose. That's how he got them past securities strip search. Then, a meeting with Janzes to transcribe the message back onto paper so the diplomat can decode it for his country. Thanks to Miss X, Tex and Bob were able to find them before the next exchange. Bob wonders who Miss X really is. Tex reveals he may already have figured it out...
Appearing in Clip Carson: "The Crooked Cop"
- Inspector Standish (Single appearance)
- Standish's gang (Single appearance)
- Commissioner John (Single appearance)
- Unnamed Mayor (Single appearance)
Synopsis for Clip Carson: "The Crooked Cop"
Clip Carson was on vacation at the lake off Carmos City limits, when a call comes in from the police commissioner. A vicious crime ring has been menacing the community, and the mayor wanted Carson to come down and help the police find the ringleader.
Appearing in Zatara: "Captain Kidd's Treasure"
- John (Single appearance)
- Betty (Single appearance)
- Tala (Single appearance)
- Tala's henchmen (Single appearance)
- Unnamed captain (Single appearance)
- Captain Kidd (Resurrected by Zatara's magic)
- Captain Kidd's Treasure
Synopsis for Zatara: "Captain Kidd's Treasure"
While walking along the Brooklyn Bridge, Zatara comes across a suicide jumper. He quickly utters a spell to make the man stop in midair, then brings him floating back up to the bridge. He offers to help the man with whatever was bothering him. The distraught young man, John, tells Zatara that he recently went to see his girl, Betty, but found only a tomb. John believes Betty is dead, which makes his life is meaningless. Zatara senses there is more to the story than is being told. He asks John to take him to Betty's place to look around for himself, to which John reluctantly agrees, not seeing what good it would do.
As John and Zatara walk on the sidewalk through the city, they near a tenement building that a woman named Tala, and her henchmen, occupy. Seeing John with the famous magician, she orders her thugs to drop a couch out the window as soon as they pass underneath. Before they can get hit, Zatara turns the falling couch into a penny, placing it in his pocket for good luck. He then summons the entire room of the couch-dropping culprits down to street level. He questions the woman about her relationship with John. She reveals that he was an explorer who found Captain Kidd's famous treasure, which she wanted for herself. If John gave it to her, she would bring his beloved Betty back from the dead. Him trying to commit suicide was an unexpected move. Zatara sends their room back up to where it belongs and takes John around the block. He tells John that Betty is likely being held captive, and they would need to follow Tala and her goons if he wanted to find her. He turns John into a taxi cab and, disguising himself as a common cab driver, drives up to Tala's building. Tala takes the bait, and has Zatara drive them down to the docks, talking about getting to "the cellar" the whole time. On arrival, Zatara waits until Tala leaves with her henchmen, then turns John back to normal. He makes John wait outside while he enters the cellar as a sunbeam, all the better to scout the place with. Tala and the others are interrogating a young woman about the treasure John found. Just as Zatara thought, Betty was alive after all! He casts a spell to transform her into a metal bar. Then, changing a horseshoe he found hanging on the wall into a magnet, Zatara whisks Betty away from her captors, and back to John. The three escape in a car they found, an angry Tala watching them go.
It was time to teach Tala a lesson. Zatara told John and Betty that he would help them get Captain Kidd's treasure. They hire a boat from a captain who takes them out to a small island off the coast of Carolina. Once on the island, John concentrates on remembering the directions from the map. They follow all the paces John recites, until they come to the spot the treasure lies. Zatara summons up some self-digging spades to do the work for them.
Meanwhile, another boat pulls up to the island. Tala and her men step off, having followed Zatara, John, and Betty from a distance. Tracks in the sand lead them on the same path their quarry took, more determined than ever to steal the gold for themselves!
Hours later, the digging stops. Kidd's treasure has been unearthed! There's hardly time to celebrate, however, when Tala's group arrives, guns drawn. Zatara and the two young lovers are forced back, so Tala herself can get a look at the treasure inside the chests. A whispered spell brings the infamous pirate, Captain Kidd, back to life! And he and his crew aren't happy about Tala's unworthy hands touching his gold. He shoots the guns out of their hands, then knocks out the two thugs, letting his "friend" Zatara decide Tala's fate. Being a man of mercy, Zatara thinks jail would be the best thing for such a wicked woman. The resurrected pirates help carry the treasure chests back to the boat. Zatara stops them before they reach the beach, though, as pirates carrying chests full of gold might startle the sailors. He turns the pirates and the treasure into individual seashells, which he ties into a necklace for Betty to wear.
A few days later, after everyone is safe back home and Tala is placed in jail, John and Betty get married. As a gift of congratulations, Zatara surrenders his share of the treasure, feeling the adventure itself was payment enough.
- The Life Insurance Scam is reprinted in Superman: The Action Comics Archives Vol. 2, Superman Chronicles Vol. 4, and Limited Collectors' Edition C-31.
- In this issue's Superman story, Lois Lane is kidnapped for the 7th time.
- At the end of the 1930s and the beginning of the “golden age” of superheroes, as shown in several early Superman stories and at least one Green Lantern story, the municipal and state governments of Metropolis were riddled with corruption.
- Tex Thomson:
- Aside from the stories above, this issue contains:
- "The Puppet Murder Case" by Gardner Fox (text story)
- No trivia.
- Write your own review of this comic!
- Discuss Action Comics Vol 1 29 on the forums
- Cover gallery for the Action Comics series