Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics

Action Comics #8

Action Comics #8

Cover date: January 1939

Writer: Jerry Siegel
Artist: Joe Shuster

Reviewed by: Micah Nichols

Issue #8 opens up with a session in Juvenile Court where Frankie Marello is charged with assault and battery. In his defense, Frankie says that he wouldn't have hit the man so hard if he would have just handed over his dough! Frankie's mother begs for his son to be released, but the judge says that Frankie must pay a debt to society, that debt being 2 years in the boys reformatory. Frankie's gang are spectators in the court-room and blame Gimpy and decide to meet in the alley behind their place to talk it over. Clark Kent is also one of the spectators and overhears their plans and the news about Gimpy.

Superman later clings about the Urchins' Headquarters to listen in. The Gang claims that Gimpy crossed them by not protecting them from getting arrested as he promised. When they pay him a visit, they warn him that he better give them the money they need to protect them. One of the boys grabs a large wrench and suddenly Gimpy acts as though he was going to give it to them all along. All he needs them to do is pull off a big job for him that night. They agree.

Gimpy decides he's going to tip off the police to get rid of those kids like he did Frankie. "They're getting too tough t' handle!" As he's making the call a hand reaches out and tears the phone from the wall with one easy movement. Gimpy is face to face with SUPERMAN. Superman smacks him in the face while Gimpy begs him not to hit him again, then Superman throws him into a shelf of fine china. Superman gives Gimpy one hour to get out of town and throws him into a tar bucket.

Superman hurries off to save the youngsters from getting caught by the police. He swoops down and grabs Box Ears right as the police spot him creeping on the lawn of a strange house. Superman was too late to catch Nick so he stops the police car and snatches him right out! He then snatches up the other two as they are thieving and takes them back to the tenements to talk. He tells them how Gimpy set them up and they get mad. At that moment a Shadowy figure which had crept forward and listened to every word, suddenly straightens erect and levels a rifle. Gimpy takes a shot at Box Ears, but Superman jumps in front of the bullet and saves him.

Superman grabs up Gimpy and says, "When I told you to leave town I meant business!" Superman then throws him into the river. While Superman's back is turned, Nick tries to slam Superman with a wrench... it bends. Superman decides to throw a little fear and humility into the kids. Superman grabs them up and jumps all over town doing somersaults and seemingly putting their lives in danger. They loved it though, they said they'd give anything to be like Superman, and that if being clean and honest was his code, that would be their code too.

Superman spots a newspaper stating that the government will rebuild destroyed neighborhoods, so he has the kids order everyone out of their homes while Superman destroys them all. Within weeks new projects are up leaving the old slums behind. Within the police chief's office, Clark Kent interviews the Chief who says, "You can tell your readers that we'll spare no effort to apprehend Superman, but off the record... I think he did a splendid thing and I'd like to shake his hand!"

4Story - 4: Over all it was a good story, but if it was written in this time period... I'd have a lot more "beef" if you will. Superman threw Gimpy into a tar bucket at one point. I love how these old comics don't explain anything... Why does Gimpy have a 4 foot tall bucket in his office full of tar? It's also an interesting twist that Superman is SAVING the kids from the police. I can see why, but it's just another way of showing that Superman is for Truth and Justice BEFORE he is an advocate of the local law. It's very strange that with all that's happened over the past few issues, Superman in the circus and in the Daily Star so many times, these kids haven't heard through the grapevine who he is. Everyone seems to be clueless about him, the boys, Gimpy, everyone.

As far as Superman destroying everyone's homes so that the government will build new ones goes... that would never work these days!

It was a cute story, but there is so much wrong in the end here, I can't even begin to go into it. I was laughing through the entire last two pages because it was so ridiculous! As a former reporter I can tell you that Police Chiefs will tell you things like the Chief told Clark at the end, as cheesy as it was. My favorite was the tip at the end of the story on how to acquire super vision. #1 glance at a distant object #2 then glance at a close object - repeat procedure...

5Art - 5: The art is looking darn good. The scenery is full and detailed, the characters look mostly the same throughout and Gimpy had such an interesting look, it must have taken a lot of study to get it right.

Cover Art - N/A: Another great cover not featuring Superman.

Pre-Crisis Superman Comic Book Reviews



  • Superman #76 (May/June 1952) - “The Mightiest Team in the World”
  • Superman #80 (January/February 1953) - “Superman's Lost Brother”
  • Superman 3D (1953) - “The Man Who Stole the Sun”, “Origin of Superman” and “The Man Who Bossed Superman”
  • Superman #87 (February 1954) - “The Prankster's Greatest Role”
  • Superman #88 (March 1954) - “The Terrible Trio”
  • Superman #89 (May 1954) - “Captain Kent the Terrible”, “Superman of Skid Row”, and “One Hour to Doom!”
  • Superman #91 (August 1954) - “The Superman Stamp” and “Great Caesar's Ghost”
  • World's Finest #88 (May/June 1957) - “Superman and Batman's Greatest Foes”
  • Superman #115 (August 1957) - “The Midget Superman!”
  • Superboy #65 (May/June 1958) - “The Amazing Adventures of Krypto Mouse”
  • Action Comics #242 (July 1958) - “The Super-Duel in Space”
  • Superman #123 (August 1958) - “The Girl of Steel”
  • Superman #127 (February 1959) - “Titano the Super Ape”
  • Action Comics #252 (May 1959) - “The Menace of Metallo” and “The Supergirl From Krypton”
  • Superman #129 (May 1959) - “The Girl in Superman's Past”
  • Superman #130 (July 1959) - “The Curse of Kryptonite!”, “The Super-Servant of Crime!”, and “The Town that Hated Superman!”
  • Jimmy Olsen #40 (October 1959) - “Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl's Pal”




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