"Superman: "The Reformation of Nancy Thorgenson"": At the Daily Planet, Lois brings an article in the paper to Clark's attention; it is a message asking for Superman's help! She drags Clark along to the location indicated so they can grab the
Action Comics #40 is an issue of the series Action Comics (Volume 1) with a cover date of September, 1941.
Synopsis for Superman: "The Reformation of Nancy Thorgenson"
At the Daily Planet, Lois brings an article in the paper to Clark's attention; it is a message asking for Superman's help! She drags Clark along to the location indicated so they can grab the story, but when they arrive, Clark ditches Lois and changes to Superman. A car is waiting for him, which then drives the Man of Steel to a mansion where billionaire Morgan Thorgenson waits. Thorgenson is worried about his wild daughter, Nancy, who likes to spend money and get herself into all kinds of scrapes. But where his hired detectives have failed, Mr. Thorgenson hopes Superman will succeed in setting her on the straight path. Thorgenson's butler reports that Nancy was just spotted in the Purple Fawn nightclub, brawling with another of its patrons. By the time Superman gets there, she has already won the fight and is back in the gambling room. Though she has already lost forty thousand at the roulette table, it doesn't matter to Nancy. What was the point of her father making money if she wasn't allowed to spend it how she wished? From outside, Clark's x-ray vision shows him that the game is fixed. Once the roulette wheel operator goes on his break, Superman grabs him through the window and flies up higher and higher. Once they've risen above the tallest building, he lets go of the operator. Before the terrified man hits the ground, Superman catches him. Clark threatens to keep dropping the operator over and over again, unless he allows Nancy Thorgenson to win back all the money she's lost.
As the day goes on, the roulette operator keeps his word, as Nancy celebrates her sudden winning streak. Mr. Parello, the owner of the crooked club, isn't too happy. After Nancy leaves, Parello and his hired thugs follow her in their car. Just before they intercept her on the road, the vehicle begins to rise into the air! Superman has a grip on the bumper, dumping the crooks out of the car, then tossing them into a nearby lake.
Nancy is reluctantly taken back to her father's mansion. She is furious that her dad would hire a brute like Superman to keep an eye on her, and storms up to her room. From there, Nancy gives local playboy Freddie Taylor a call. She knows he is only after her money, but still she promises to elope with him if he'll drive up to her window with a ladder. Of course, Freddie never makes it there, since Superman meets him first and leaves him hanging on a tree in Metropolis. Seeing her plan fail, Nancy changes tactics. Superman is momentarily startled when Nancy begins to flirt with him, but is unimpressed by her advances, and she shuns him once it's clear her ploy won't work.
At that moment, without warning the swollen Cathel River breaks a hole in the dam, causing a sudden flood! The rushing water carries with it several homes, including the Thorgenson residence! Superman catches the mansion before it gets smashed apart, and lifts it to higher ground. But there are still others who need help. With his super speed and strength, Superman digs a trench in the earth, to divert for the bulk of the flood. As he flies away, a change occurs in Nancy. She is concerned for her neighbors and runs away from her father's side, to the smashed homes where victims are struggling. She works tirelessly to help out, until she eventually passes out from exhaustion.
Days later, Clark Kent is back at the Daily Planet, when the story of the spoiled heiress-turned-hero makes a hit with Metropolis. Checking up on Nancy and her father, Clark learns that Superman had quite an effect on her. Nancy now devotes her time to charity work and aiding the unfortunate.
Appearing in Superman: "The Reformation of Nancy Thorgenson"
- Parello (Single appearance)
- Lou (Single appearance)
- Nancy Thorgenson (Single appearance)
- Morgan Thorgenson (Single appearance)
- Freddie Taylor (Single appearance)
- Pinkley (Single appearance)
- Thorgenson's assistant (Single appearance)
Synopsis for Pep Morgan: "The Summer Job"
Pep looks for a job at the pier, but instead he finds trouble as he saves a foreign diplomat from being shot! The diplomat, Don Alvera, hires Pep to be his bodyguard during a most important mission to save his home country.
Appearing in Pep Morgan: "The Summer Job"
- Tratos (Single appearance)
- Don Alvera (Single appearance)
- President Cardanes (Single appearance)
Synopsis for The Black Pirate: "The Death of Avilla"
Jon Valor confronts Captain de Avilla in his room. He has him at sword point, demanding to know where Bonnie was taken! Avilla points him to a map that shows the location of a dungeon. When the pirate's back is turned, the Captain makes his move, but it's his final mistake, as Valor pierces him through the chest.
Map in hand, Valor takes a horse and travels into the woods, to the entrance of the dungeon, which is a narrow hole in the ground, where Bonnie can be heard from within. he Black Pirate helps his lady-love climb out from the damp quarters, and together they ride to Gibraltar, where Jon's ship is waiting.
Appearing in The Black Pirate: "The Death of Avilla"
- Don De Avila (Final appearance; dies)
Synopsis for Three Aces: "In the Bering Straits"
The Three Aces fly across the Bering Strait, aiming for Siberia. Along the way, they discover an island that wasn't on any maps, sparking their adventurers' curiosity.
Appearing in Three Aces: "In the Bering Straits"
- Bali Bill (Single appearance)
- Carol Grable (Single appearance)
- Aces' Planes
- Whaling Ship
Synopsis for Mr. America: "The Purple Gang"
In the quiet town of Serena, newspaper editor Weston is kidnapped from his home by a band of thugs wearing purple hoods. Luckily, Tex Thomson overhears the scuffle, from the next house over and donning his Mr. America outfit, follows the trail of the purple gang.
Weston is tied to a post set up in the woods as the gang threatens him with violence for his "anti-American activities". A red, white, and blue feather whisks into view. The five thugs turn to see Mr. America, and quickly rush him, but Tex has little problem knocking them all to the ground. He unties Weston, asking him what the Purple Gang meant by his "anti-american activities." Weston believes these were phony patriots, and declares that his articles have always been advocating the American way. Recently the gang tarred two farmers for selling wheat to friendly powers. Weston published a piece praising the two farmers, and helped them get the wheat to their buyers. This was probably why the Purple Gang attacked him today.
Weston leads Tex back to his office, where a man, Mr. Stromb, one of the wheat buyers, awaits them. Stromb takes his leave just as a flare of light outside the window catches Tex's attention. Townsfolk are racing toward the warehouse. Someone has set it ablaze! Mr. America hurries to the scene to see if he can help. On the roof, the silhouettes of two figures are spotted; they seem to be arguing. Into the burning building rushes Mr. America, coming out moments later with two unconscious men under each arm. Weston recognizes them as Joe and Ralph, the former a respectable farmer. When they came to, Joe tells them that he had just joined the Purple Gang, and they wanted him and Ralph to set fire to the wheat stock. Joe didn't want to, but the Purple gang's leader forced him into it. He told Tex that the gang was staging some big event tonight down on Maple Grove.
Tex has a suspicion, so he pays a visit to Mr. Stromb's home, first. There is an uncooperative thug at the door of Stromb's residence, so Tex punches him out. Searching Stromb's bedroom, Mr. America comes across a briefcase with a false bottom, which holds several documents, which reveal Stromb as a foreign saboteur. He founded the Purple Gang under the pretense of serving America, and tricked all its members into helping him further his goal to destroy the country from within.
A rally of Purple Gang members chant as their leader, wearing a cloth mask over their face, denounces Mr. America as an anti-American troublemaker. When Mr. America himself shows up, he tries to tell everyone that they are being lied to, by their so-called leader. A flying leaps lands Tex right in front of the Purple Gang's leader, and he unmasks him. It's Stromb all right. The crowd is stunned into silence when Tex and Weston explain to them what Stromb has been up to. The remaining members of the Purple Gang willingly disband, and vow to do only activities that will help America grow.
Appearing in Mr. America: "The Purple Gang"
- The Purple Gang (Single appearance)
- Stromb (Single appearance)
- Joe Gorden (Single appearance)
- Ralph Bolt (Single appearance)
- Weston (Single appearance)
- Mr. America's Bullwhip
Synopsis for Congo Bill: "The Adventure of the Prehistoric Valley"
On an expedition deep in Africa, Congo Bill encounters a strange lost world, where dinosaurs still roam. He is chased up a cliff by a Brontosaurus, where Bill finds the entrance to a cave. Inside was an old man and a beautiful young woman. His name was Doctor Hanlen, who came here yesterday with his niece, Sheila. Their native guides had turned tail and ran off, leaving them stuck in this cave. Doctor Hanlen keeps muttering to himself about this land being the discovery of a lifetime, over and over. Sheila confides in Bill that her uncle's lust for fame and glory has driven him mad. Suddenly, doctor Hanlen turns on them, pulling a gun on them in a rage. They were trying o steal his discovery, and he had to stop them! Bill fights off the crazed old man but doctor Hanlen manages to knock Bill out. Laughing in victory, Hanlen hurries outside to survey his new land. A Pterodactyl swoops in and scoops him up! Sheila's horrified shriek wakes Bill up.
Bill and Sheila stuck together as they looked for a way out. Too many dangerous beasts lurked below where Bill had climbed, so they decided to follow the mountain path going up, instead. On the other side of the mountain, there was a waterfall that splashed into a small lake. Bill and Sheila follow it down. Amazingly, they end up a few kilometers from where Bill had set up camp. Professor Joe Kent finds them, and finds himself treated to a heck of an amazing story on the way back to camp.
Appearing in Congo Bill: "The Adventure of the Prehistoric Valley"
- Professor Joe Kent
- Doctor Hanlen (Only appearance; dies)
- Sheila Hanlen (First appearance)
Synopsis for Zatara: "The Duped Daughter"
Old Walter Grew is in a jam. His daughter Ann is dating a guy who's been filling her head with ideas about having him committed to an insane asylum. Bucky Moor didn't really care for Ann, but he knew her father owned a huge property worth a hefty sum, he just needed him to sign over the deed. But Moor's plan gets complicated once Walter asks Zatara the magician for help.
Appearing in Zatara: "The Duped Daughter"
- Bucky Moor (Single appearance) (Flashback and main story)
- Jim (Single appearance)
- Hank (Single appearance)
- Walter Grew (Single appearance) (Flashback and main story)
- Ann Grew (Single appearance) (Flashback and main story)
- Published monthly by Detective Comics, Inc.
- The Black Pirate story continues from last month and is continued next month.
- Superman: The Reformation of Nancy Thorgenson 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.
- Also appearing in this issue of Action Comics were:
- "Middy the Marine"
- "Birds of a Feather" (text story) by Robert Stowe
- For some reason various sources list this comic as the first appearance of Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy despite them not appearing in the comic.