"Superman: "Hypnosis by Radio"": A string of robberies is no unusual occurrence in Metropolis. But when the crimes are committed by an unassuming mailman, a bank manager, and even the Daily Planet's star reporter Lois Lane, then something is wrong.
Action Comics #38 is an issue of the series Action Comics (Volume 1) with a cover date of July, 1941.
Synopsis for Superman: "Hypnosis by Radio"
A string of robberies is no unusual occurrence in Metropolis. But when the crimes are committed by an unassuming mailman, a bank manager, and even the Daily Planet's star reporter Lois Lane, then something is wrong. Superman investigates the suspects' apartments, finding a small black radio receiver hidden by each of their beds. He deduces that the purpose of these radios was to send hypnotic commands to the sleeping victims.
Harold Morton, a specialist in psychology, has been putting people into trances, making them steal for him; afterwards they'd send the money to a specific address, where he'd later pick it up. Superman catches him in the act of recording the instructions for another crime. Morton tries to use his hypnosis on the Man of Steel, but Superman's will is too strong. Instead, the hypnosis backfires, and Superman sends Morton to the police station to give a full confession.
Appearing in Superman: "Hypnosis by Radio"
- Harold Morton (Single appearance)
- Tom (mailman) (Single appearance)
Synopsis for Pep Morgan: "Slim is Kidnapped"
Pep Morgan's best friend and roommate Slim is kidnapped by gangsters while riding to his uncle's house. After a few hours, Pep grows concerned and pays a visit to Mr. Pickens to find out what's going on. It's there that Slim's uncle tells Pep that he hadn't seen Slim at all. He did, however, receive a note from the kidnappers, who want ten thousand dollars in payment at a disclosed location before they give Slim back. It's a price that Mr. Pickens couldn't possibly meet. So Pep says he'll go find Slim himself.
Pep meets one of the kidnappers at the spot mentioned in the letter. The man doesn't expect it when Pep starts swinging at him, not letting up until he learns the location where they're keeping Slim. Dressed as the thug, Pep gains entry to the gangsters' hideout. He unties Slim before the ruse is discovered, and the two fight their way back out. The men offer very little resistance to the two college athletes. The only thing that aches when the boys make it back to their dorm is their fists, sore from all the punching.
Appearing in Pep Morgan: "Slim is Kidnapped"
- Slim Pickens
- Slim's Uncle (Single appearance)
Synopsis for The Black Pirate: "Don De Avila"
Jon Valor guides his ship to the Barcelona port, making sure to disguise his vessel as a merchant's ship to avoid any trouble. After all, he is a wanted man in these waters. Docking alongside him is a Spanish man o'war, whose captain looks very familiar to the Black Pirate. It is Don de Avila, an old comrade of Jon Valor! He swings over to say hello, and Avila is quite surprised to see him, after all the rumors he's heard. But still they speak as old friends, with Avila even inviting Jon to be his guest at a ball being held in the king's castle.
That night, Jon and Bonnie are all dressed up in expensive suit and gown, as they walk through the large castle gates to the ballroom. But de Avila had another plan in mind when he invited the Black Pirate. He was going to capture him, and gain favor with the king! He signals the guard, and the gate is closed and locked behind them.
Appearing in The Black Pirate: "Don De Avila"
- Don de Avila (First appearance)
- Jon Valor's crew
- Jeb (Single appearance)
- Valor's ship
- Spanish Man o'War
Synopsis for The Three Aces "The Treacherous Ministers of Atlantis"
The Three Aces bring the telepathic fugitive Sasha along as they fly back to Ingrid. Once the group are all back together, the woman from Atlantis tells them her story. She is the princess of the Atlantean royal family, and her brother was the king. He wouldn't allow her to marry or to be queen, however, for he feared the power it would give her. And now he had signed a decree ordering her death. Being the chivalrous adventurers they are, Fog, Bill, and Will take it upon themselves to help Sasha sort things out with her brother.
Back down into the depths of the chasm fly the Aces, with Ingrid and Sasha as passengers, on this return trip to the lost city! Their planes soar over the wall surrounding the palace, with a barrage of gunfire scattering the guards on patrol. Landing, they shoot their way through the remaining guards inside, until they reach the throne room. Bill is the first to see the king of Atlantis. It turns out he's no more than a young man, barely out of his teens, and frightened for his life! Ingrid comforts the king, while Sasha explains what really happened. Her brother Hagad's greatest fear was death. The elder Generals and Ministers of the court used that to their advantage, by telling him that if his sister Sasha took the throne, it meant he'd have to die. They wrote the death sentence for Sasha that Hagad signed, fooling him into thinking it was the only way to save himself. It would be far better, Sasha thought, if they were allowed to rule together. Bill, Whistler, and Fog come up with a plan to make the elders see their way of thinking; using only a spare fuel canister and a match.
A royal summons bring the people and the ministers to the throne room. Their king is nowhere in sight, unbeknownst to them he and Sasha are hidden behind the throne with the Aces. Whistler Will lights the end of a trail of powder, and soon the throne bursts into flames! The people are terrified, believing it to be the act of their goddess, Tanis. When the silhouettes of Hagad and Sasha are seen behind the fire, standing together, the frightened ministers take it as a sign that Tanis wished both siblings to rule the kingdom.
The time had come for Will, Fog, and Bill to take their leave. Hagad has asked Ingrid to remain with him and be his queen, which she accepts.
Appearing in The Three Aces "The Treacherous Ministers of Atlantis"
- Ingrid Svenson (Final appearance)
- the Royal Ministers (Single appearance)
- Princess Sasha (Final appearance)
- King Hagad (Sasha's brother) (Single appearance)
- The Aces' Planes
Synopsis for Tex Thomson: "The Gorrah Strikes at Libraries"
In the dead of night, a shadowy figure approaches a library, his thoughts on a sinister intent. Moments later, the building explodes, as the figure rushes back to his hideout! There, he reported back to the one who masterminded the destruction; An infamous one-eyed saboteur, who was none other than the Gorrah!
Meanwhile, Tex Thomson and Bob Daley have read about the latest in a string of library bombings, and decide it was time to get involved in the investigation. Bob heads to the nearest library to find a listing of all the libraries in town. He doesn't notice the Gorrah, in disguise, watching him from a reading table. The villain recognizes him as the partner of his old foe, Tex Thomson. He follows Daley once he leaves the building to see what he's up to. Bob knows he's being shadowed, and takes cover in an alley to ambush whoever it was. The last person he expected to see was the Gorrah. Taken by surprise as to the identity of his pursuer, Bob is knocked to the ground by the criminal mastermind. Luckily, a police officer hears the commotion and appears at the scene of the scuffle. The Gorrah slips away while the officer helps Bob up. Quickly he runs off back to the apartment. Their old enemy was alive! He had to warn Tex!
Tex listens as Bob tells him about the Gorrah. So he was the one behind the bombings. Tex dons his Mr. America get-up and, thanks to the list Bob had gotten, heads to the next library that was to be destroyed.
A librarian in charge that night is startled by the appearance of a red white and blue feather, the calling card of Mr. America! The masked fighter for justice swings in through the window. He warns the librarian that there may be a bomb in the building! After a few minutes searching, the device is found behind a bookcase. Mr. America douses the deadly explosive in a bucket of water, saving the library from being another pile of rubble. Believing the saboteur will return to see why the bomb didn't go off, Tex remains inside to catch him.
Meanwhile, Bob anxiously waits for his friend to come home safely. A noise on the fire escape made Bob think Tex had returned, but instead it was the Gorrah with a gun in hand! He orders Bob to give him the list he received earlier. Bob reaches for the gun on the desk, but is slapped by Gorrah's quick reflexes. Just then, a noise at the window! The Gorrah turns and fires at the figure who enters, discovering too late that it was one of his own men. The Gorrah escapes just as Mr. America swoops in, having sent the saboteur in first just in case. He first checks on Bob, then the dying man. He tells Tex that the Gorrah was hired to destroy all places of education. And tonight was the big hit, at an educators convention where all the top minds were to gather. The man dies then. Tex and Bob have no time to lose. They had to stop the Gorrah!
The educator convention is underway. The Gorrah has disguised himself as a philosopher in the audience while a speech is being given. Mr. America suddenly rushes in, interrupting the presentation. The Gorrah jumps on stage with a grenade, threatening that no one move, or else. Tex uses his trusty bullwhip to snatch the grenade out of his enemy's grasp. The Gorrah begins to run for it, and Tex gives chase. While running, Tex's foot accidentally hits the fallen grenade, sending it flying right into the path of the fleeing Gorrah. It explodes on impact. As citizens and police gather around the Gorrah's body, or what remained, they don't notice that their hero, Mr. America, had once again flown the coop. After all, there were other enemies of peace and justice still to be apprehended...
Appearing in Tex Thomson: "The Gorrah Strikes at Libraries"
- One-Eyed Gorrah (Final appearance; dies)
Synopsis for Congo Bill: "The Mines of Ophir"
While on an expedition in search of rare, tropical plants, Congo Bill and Professor Kent come across a dying man in the field. They attempt to help, as he whispers to them what happened...
The young man and his older brother, Alex Holberg, ran a trading post down near the river. Four months ago, a man riddled with fever had staggered out of the jungle and collapsed in front of them. The man was taken in to be treated, and that's when the Holberg brothers learned about the famous, biblical mines of Ophir, said to be loaded with gold. The man had discovered its location, and even had a map leading to it. Despite their efforts, the man had died later that day. Alex, his mind filled with visions of fortune and fame, threatened his younger brother to keep his mouth shut about what they had heard. Soon, a group was gathered for an expedition to find the fabled mines of Ophir, using the dead man's map. But the heat started to affect Alex, and he quickly became mad. He shot his younger brother down in the field, and led the expedition onward by himself.
The younger Holberg dies after finishing his story. Bill and Professor Kent decide they want to help find justice for the young man. And so, the expedition changes its course to track down the murderous Alex Holberg. Holberg's trail leads them to the Red Cliffs. They would have to traverse the dangerous trail. While the others rest, Bill volunteers to scout out a path. From above, Alex Holberg watches Bill climb the narrow mountain pass. Convinced that he was coming to steal his gold, Alex fires a shot at Bill, nicking him in the shoulder, which causes him to fall several feet down the cliff. Fortunately, Bill grabs hold of an overhanging branch that just stops his plunge, but leaves him a dangling target for the mad Holberg to finish off. But Holberg negligently kicks the satchel holding his dynamite supply, sending two loose sticks to drop into a small crevice behind him. The resulting explosion destroys the ledge, shreds Holberg and his map, and alerts Professor Kent to Bill's position. After helping his friend, the Professor and Bill scan the opposite cliff across the way. The ledge had been completely destroyed, along with Alex and the map, thus ending the madman's search for the gold mines of Ophir.
Appearing in Congo Bill: "The Mines of Ophir"
- Professor Joe Kent
- Alex Holberg (Only appearance; dies)
- Holberg (Alex's brother)(Only appearance; dies)
- Chief Gando (Single appearance)
Synopsis for Zatara: "The Rolling Fireball Menace"
The citizens of New York all glance up, as a large, round fireball falls from the sky. It lands on the street, melting the asphalt as it touches, and begins rolling, setting fire to anything in its path. The people run for their lives, but no matter where they go, the fireball seems to follow them, burning through walls, growing slowly bigger and hotter as it goes. Soon the commotion alerts the attention of Zatara, the great magician. His magic turns the fleeing people into asbestos, to keep them safe from burning, and then he forms a trench for the fireball to follow. Ending at the edge of the ocean, the fireball plunges into the water, becoming nothing but steam. But where did it come from?
High above, Zatara notices a strange type of air ship. He magically peeks inside to see a crew of thugs being led by Jonathan Klegg, a scientist who was planning to hold the entire country ransom. Failure to pay meant he would unleash his fireballs on every major city in the U.S.! While the congressmen in Washington D.C. panicked, out in Maine an old man and his daughter know of a way to stop the madness; for they are Jonathan's family, Gloria and her father, the latter of which had invented the fireball formula his son now uses. They bring another invention, the anti-fire machine, to Jonathan's hidden hideout in the forest, planning to stop him before he makes good on his threats...
Meanwhile, Zatara manages to find one of Klegg's thugs taking a break, and levitates him off the ground. Jonathan Klegg had taken his father and sister captive, and they were being held at a remote cabin. Gloria and her dad were bound to chairs, but to a magician, the knots are no problem at all. The father proclaims that his son, Jonathan, has made off with the anti-fire machine. All hope seemed lost! But all Zatara needed to do was grab an image of the device from Mr. Klegg's mind, and then make hundreds of copies magically appear. His spell sends the machines flying off to each American city, in preparedness for Jonathan's attack.
The villainous Klegg picks an army camp for his first target. The soldiers below are ready however, aiming their anti-fire machine directly at the incoming fireball. The device sends a freezing blast at the fiery mass, dissipating it before it can get close. Furious, Jonathan Klegg fires another fireball at a crop. The fireball stops in midair and turns, beginning to follow the air ship. As it lurks closer, the heat inside the craft becomes near-unbearable, causing the crew to pass out. Zatara appears through the wall just when Klegg is about to faint from exhaustion. He explains to Klegg that the heat was only an illusion he created with his spells, which he could have made much worse if Klegg had continued his ways... Zatara lands the craft so that the police can take Klegg away.
Appearing in Zatara: "The Rolling Fireball Menace"
- Jonathan Klegg (Single appearance)
- Karl (Single appearance)
- Gloria Klegg (Jonathan's sister) (Single appearance)
- Mr. Klegg (Jonathan and Gloria's father) (Single appearance)
- Fireball Launcher
- Anti-Fire Machine
- Klegg's Airship
- Published monthly by Detective Comics, Inc.
- The Black Pirate story is continued next month.
- Congo Bill:
- Bill gets a bullet wound in this story.
- Bill's villain gets blown up with his own dynamite.
- Mister America:
- Superman: Hypnosis by Radio is reprinted in Superman: The Action Comics Archives Vol. 3 and Superman Chronicles Vol. 6.
- On Earth-Two Clark Kent worked at the Daily Star under George Taylor while Perry White remained a reporter and Superman fought a red haired Luthor. However, there was a close hypertime reality (Earth-Two-A) which regularly interacted with Earth-Two resulting in distortions such as (but not limited to) Clark Kent working for the Daily Planet under editor Perry White and/or Superman fighting a bald Luthor.
- The Three Aces story is continued from last month.
- Aside from the stories above, this issue contains: