Daily Panel | The Superman Power Trifecta

All from New York World’s Fair #1 (June 1939). Written by Jerry Siegel; drawn by Joe Shuster.

A seriously great comic in which Lois and Clark cover the New York World’s Fair and have a series of adventures related to it. Great banter between the two reporters (and Lois and Superman) and the short adventures are all fun and exciting.

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Daily Panel | ‘I declare war on reckless drivers!’

From Action Comics #12 (May 1939). Written by Jerry Siegel; drawn by Joe Shuster.

In an especially odd mission, Superman tries to put an end to automobile fatalities by destroying impounded vehicles, used car lots, unsafe manufacturers, and generally terrorizing careless motorists. Some of his actions – scaring a drunk driver into sobriety, for example – are noble, but others – like physically harming radio employees to bully them into letting him on the air to declare his war – are pretty awful.

Daily Panel | Black Gold. Texas Tea.

From Action Comics #11 (April 1939). Written by Jerry Siegel; drawn by Joe Shuster.

Superman fights probably his most despicable opponents yet: stock brokers who are selling shares of what they think is a dry oil field. I’m pretty sure that stocks don’t work the way they’re described in this story, but suspending disbelief, these guys are unrepentantly heinous.

Superman gets back at them by buying up all the bad stock, then personally drilling for oil on the property until he finds it. He then sells back the stock to the crooks for an enormous sum and destroys the well.

Daily Panel | ‘You loathsome wretch!’

From Action Comics #10 (March 1939). Written by Jerry Siegel; drawn by Joe Shuster.

Another undercover adventure for Superman, this time to a prison chain gang that’s being inhumanely run by a corrupt warden. Interestingly, Clark Kent learns about this from an escapee, but betrays the escapee’s trust – while also earning the disgust of Lois and all the other newspaper staff – by turning in his source. In the end, it’s an act of heroism on his part – willing to be hated because he thinks turning in the escapee is the best way to prove what’s going on at the prison – but it goes to show that though Superman always does what he thinks is right, that doesn’t mean that he always is.

Tarzan 101 | Tarzan of the Funny Pages

Celebrating Tarzan’s 101st anniversary by walking through Scott Tracy Griffin’s Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration.

In January 1929, the first Tarzan newspaper comic strip debuted, an adaptation of Burroughs’ Tarzan of the Apes by Hal Foster. That’s a sample above, via a wonderful tribute to Foster on the Collectors Society message boards. The adaptation was such a success that they kept it going with Return of Tarzan and beyond, though Rex Maxon was brought in to replace Foster, who got busy with other things.

The strip continued to adapt novels until it caught up with Burroughs and then moved on to adapting movies and even radio adventures. Griffin chronicles all of this and shows examples of strips from all the major contributors: Foster, Maxon, Burne Hogarth, Ruben Moreira, Bob Lubbers, John Celardo, Russ Manning, Gil Kane, Mike Grell, and Gray Morrow (who drew from freelance scripts, including one by Scott Tracy Griffin himself). The strip is still going and – according to Griffin – remains the fifth longest running strip today.

Here’s a quick chronology of who worked on the strip and when he started:

  • Hal Foster (daily: January 1929)
  • Rex Maxon (daily: June 1929)
  • Rex Maxon (debuted the Sunday color strip: March 1931)
  • Hal Foster (Sunday: September 1931)
  • Burne Hogarth (Sunday: 1937)
  • Ruben Moriera (Sunday: 1945)
  • Dan and Sy Barry (daily: 1947)
  • Burne Hogarth (Sunday: 1947)
  • John Lehti (daily: 1948)
  • Paul Reinman (daily: 1949)
  • Nick Cardy (daily: February 1950)
  • Bob Lubbers (1950; starting with Lubbers, one artist drew both daily and Sunday strips)
  • John Celardo (1954 )
  • Russ Manning (1967)
  • Reprints (1971)
  • Gil Kane (1979)
  • Mike Grell (1981)
  • Gray Morrow (1983)
  • Eric Battle (2001)
  • Reprints (2002)
  • Roy Thomas and Tom Grindberg (2012)