Action Comics #14

DC ⋅ 1939

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Key Facts

1st appearance of Clip Carson

2nd appearance of Zatara, the father of Zatanna

Issue Details




Fred Guardineer


Jerry Siegel


July 1939


SUPERMAN MEETS THE ULTRA-HUMANITE Superman travels down into the subway where a tunnel has collapsed. He discovers that a wall was constructed of inferior materials. Farther up the track, he sees someone also inspecting the wall, who is beat up by some thugs and thrown into the path of an oncoming train. Superman saves the gentleman. The man tells hm that he is City Inspector Hughes, who believes that the Star Company, which built the tunnels, used improper building materials. He also believes that the two thugs were associated with the Star Company.   Superman travels to Star, Inc. and comes across the two thugs who roughed up Inspector Hughes. He threatens their boss by dangling him out the window. As he does so, the two men throw him and the boss out the window. He cushions the boss' fall then grabs him and jumps back up to the window. He makes the boss write out a confession, but the two men have already escaped. He tracks them down, and just as he's about to catch their car, it becomes invisible. But he notices some tracks heading to a deserted shed, and sure enough, inside he feels the outline of an invisible car. As he wonders about this, a trap door opens which drops him into a machine, which encases him in crystal. We discover that Star, Inc. is a company run by the Ultra-Humanite. He reveals that the last time he met up with Superman, he escaped via parachute. As he is talking, however, Superman revives and destroys his crystal prison. He approaches the Ultra-Humanite, who presses a button and drops through the floor. Superman destroys the floor to get at him, but he is unable to find him. He grabs the two thugs, and discovers that the invisible car has disappeared. He turns the two men in to the police, but what of the Ultra-Humanite? THE JOURNEY HOME PART II The tramp steamer carrying Pep home was quieter now that Sindra and his boys had been rounded up. Or so they thought, but a single member of Sindra's gang had hidden himself aboard. He finds a cabin he can hide in until they reach shore. Unfortunately, the cabin belongs to Pep. He finds the lone mutineer hiding under his cot, and yells for the captain. The sailor attacks, but Pep sends him reeling back with a kick to the chest! Captain Johnson and his officers arrive and subdue the man. He is thrown in the brig until the proper authorities can take care of him. A storm has picked up, Captain Johnson asks Pep if he'd like to join him on the bridge and watch him weather the ship through.   An hour later, one of the captain's officers enters the wheelhouse with news of an S.O.S. from a clipper plane. Its engines have failed causing it to land in the ocean, and the pilot and passengers need immediate rescue. Captain Johnson turns in the direction of their last known location, and sets off full speed through the stormy waters. They see a flare go off in the distance, and as they steer toward it the crew sights a man in the water trying to get the ship's attention. He is brought aboard and tells Pep that he tried to swim out for help. The rest of the plane's crew were still alive and located a quarter-mile off. The first mate picks out a rescue team to take out in the lifeboats to try and find the others. Pep volunteers to go along.   Pep discovers rowing a boat in the storm is more difficult than he imagined, but together with his crewmates, they make it to the plane's passengers. Pep helps them into the boat, when one of them shouts that the pilot was still trapped inside the plane! Pep leaves the crew to load the rest of the people aboard, diving in the water and swimming to the half-sunken plane. Inside, the pilot was still knocked out from the impact of the landing. Water is seeping in fast, and the pilot's leg seems to be broken. Pep grabs the pilot under one arm and swims for the safety of the lifeboat. He has rescued the pilot just in time, too, as the plane finally sinks beneath the waves. Everyone is taken back aboard the ship. The captain orders food to be prepared for the survivors. At dinner that night, Pep hopes that everyone has an uneventful trip back to the states from here on out. THE ADVENTURES OF MARCO POLO PART XIV Marco has bought his freedom from the old farmer, and now rushed his way back to the walled city to rescue his family! He hitches a ride on a hay cart after paying the owner a large sum of coins. He is hidden inside the haystack where the slavers won't spot him. After some time, they make it back to the city. The hay cart is driven into a barn, where the Chinese owner tells Marco it was safest up in the loft for now. When the cart departs, Marco risks a peek through a crack in the boards. He sees his uncle Maffeo being forced to work the fields by a cruel master. When Maffeo is sent into the barn to fetch some hay, Marco calls to him. Maffeo can barely believe it. Marco? Here? But there he was, though their happy reunion will need to wait, as the slave driver was just outside. Marco helps his uncle gather the hay, and tells him to meet him back here again tonight, together with his father. The slave driver yells, threatening Maffeo with a whipping if he doesn't hurry along. Marco sadly watches as his uncle leaves with the hay, berated by the cruel slaver the whole time. His blood then begins to boil with what he sees next. A cage is rolled forth, and his pet cheetah within, the slave master shouting curses at it. It had apparently clawed him earlier, and the slaver now wanted revenge, snapping his whip at the animal!   That night, Nicolo sneaks into the barn, calling for Marco. Maffeo keeps a lookout as father and son reunite. Nicolo asks him how he got here, but there is no time for explanations at the moment. They need to escape. Maffeo grabs a ladder from the barn, while Nicolo sneaks over to a drowsy guard and takes him out! Marco, meanwhile, tip-toes over to the cheetah's cage, and begins picking the lock. The cheetah awakes, and begins growling happily at the sight of his master. Marco tries to shush him as he undoes the lock, fearing he'll wake the guards. Nicolo and Maffeo had already made it to the top of the ladder and were making their way over the wall. Marco and his cheetah run across the courtyard to the base of the ladder when a yell from the guards informs them they've been spotted! THE PHARAOH'S TREASURE PART 1 Clip Carson, adventurer, gun for hire, and thrill-seeker. is roaming around Cairo, Egypt, looking for his next big adventure. Sounds of a scuffle reach his ears. Around the corner, a few rough-looking Arabian thugs are attacking a young man. Clip enters the fray, helping to fight off the thugs until they've all been knocked out. The local authorities arrive, led by Captain Beatty, and the thugs are arrested and taken back to the barracks. The young man Clip helped introduces himself: Jim Blake, archaeologist. He offers to buy Clip a drink at the bar, as he recounts his tale.   It all started when Jim had uncovered a small stone slab a week ago, while on a dig at an old tomb that once housed the son of a Pharaoh. The slab had writing on it that, after being deciphered, told the location of the boy's father within a secret chamber in the great pyramids. A chamber that the tablet said also held an enormous treasure. Somehow a band of thieves had found out about the tablet, and that Jim had possession of it, so now they were trying to kill him to get it. Nevertheless, he still plans to set off for the pyramids tomorrow, despite the danger. Tonight, he plans on visiting the barracks, to question the prisoners and find out who had sent them to kill him.   As the two of them step outside the tavern, Clip hears a noise and, reacting instantly, pushes Jim out of the path of a knife thrown by another of the bandit thugs. Clip chases the man down and tackles him! He takes the bandit back to Jim for questioning, but the man is too afraid to tell them who sent him. Clip uses the bandit's own knife to threaten him, but just when they are about to get an answer, the man arches back in pain and falls to the ground, dead from a gunshot! Their only hope now is to get back to the barracks to question the other bandits being held there.   Clip and Jim find that the barracks are in a state of high alert. Beatty comes running over to explain that the prisoners have escaped! Someone used explosives to blast the wall of the guardhouse, and the bandits escaped through the hole! He warns Blake that he'd be putting his life on the line if he left now. But Jim remains adamant about the journey tomorrow. The threat of the bandits won't be enough to scare him away from finding the hidden chamber! Clip announces that he'll join Jim Blake in the search, as danger and excitement are his forte.   The next morning, Clip and Jim ride off into the desert on horses. By noon they close in on the pyramids, but Clip spots a band of riders approaching, and he and Jim take cover behind a sand dune. Thanks to their unerring aim, some of the riders are taken out, and they start to fall back. Clip watches as the bandits dismount and begin to surround their hiding spot, swords at the ready. To make matters worse, a deadly sand storm is creeping up behind them. Storms in the desert can send sand flying like little razors that can shred a man to bits. The duo are in a tough spot, and neither of them can see a way out. THE MISS ABELARD AFFAIR While Bob is out of town visiting relatives, Tex runs an ad in the paper, seeking adventurous errands to undertake. He stays at that same hotel while replies trickle in. Days later, the concierge at the front desk hands Tex a bundle of reply mail. He reads through the letters, until he finds one that looks promising. It's from a Miss Elanor Abelard, who was requesting his aid, saying she feared for her life. Tex heads to the address of the hotel where Miss Abelard is staying, and heads up to her room. The young woman seems relieved that he has shown up, eagerly inviting him in so she can explain herself. She is the daughter of a government official. Recently, she overheard important information that could give America's enemies an advantage if it leaked out. Because of this, she is constantly being followed and watched. Suddenly, two men burst into the room, one kidnaps Miss Abelard, while the other whacks Tex on the back of the head, knocking him out!   Tex wakes up in a room he doesn't recognize. He is greeted by a doctor and asked how he is feeling. Tex demands to know where Miss Abelard is. The doctor tells him the woman he was with is in the adjoining room. Tex rushes through the door to make sure she is okay, but the woman on the other side wasn't Miss Abelard. Still, both she and the doctor insist that she had indeed brought Tex in last night after he had gotten drunk. Tex grows increasingly agitated. He knows what happened last night, he wasn't drunk, and Miss Abelard was kidnapped right before he was knocked out! But the doctor dismisses it as a drunken hallucination, he gives Tex the address of his office, advising him to pay him a visit soon. For now, Tex returns to the other room to think about what he should do next. Something is very wrong here, and he still had no idea what happened to Elanor Abelard...    A few minutes later, the door opens, and Bob peeks his head around. He had a feeling that Tex was in trouble, after their hotel manager told him he had moved to a new address. So Bob has tracked Tex to here. Tex fills his friend in on the strange events so far, leaving Bob perplexed. Their next move is to pay a visit to the doctor, who had to be involved in all this. At his office downtown, the doctor invites Tex and Bob inside, while he's just finishing up with a patient. His orderly wheels a gurney, carrying a patient who that was completely bandaged from head to toe, into the next room. Tex follows the doctor to his office, then they are left to wait as the doctor goes to check that his patient is resting comfortably. While they're alone, Tex tells Bob that he's solved the puzzle. The patient in the next room has to be Elanor Abelard, tied up and hidden underneath the bandages! Bob is unsure, but Tex believes he's right.   When the doctor returns, the two of them keep their suspicions to themselves. They are offered cocktails, the doctor having his orderly bring them two glasses. The orderly tells him he is needed for something, and once again the doctor excuses himself from the room. This is their chance! Tex and Bob find the patient in the next room, and Tex begins undoing the bandages, even though he knows that, if he is wrong, it could mean the person's death! The doctor appears in the doorway and orders Tex away from his patient. That's when Tex tells him his suspicions, that the person underneath was, in fact, Miss Abelard! Tex is surprised when the doctor suddenly pulls out a gun and points it at him! He is correct, the doctor confirms, but he won't live long enough to tell anyone. By absolutely pure luck, just as he's about to fire, his orderly clumsily knocks into him while trying to open the door. Tex grabs the gun and holds it on the doc while Bob unwraps the bandages on the girl. She is shaken, but alive.   After they tie up the doctor and the orderly, Miss Abelard comes clean to Tex. She is actually a government agent, herself, and the men that kidnapped her were foreign spies. She previously gained their trust, enough to learn their country's plans, which she was going to relay to her superiors. But the doctor had found her out before she could make it back. Now that Tex and Bob have rescued her, she can get back to her bosses. Tex and Bob offer to escort her, after summoning the police to pick up the doctor and his assistant. They take the spies' car and race to the government administration building. Once there, Miss Abelard hurries inside to make her report.   Later, back in Tex's own hotel room, Elanor Abelard pays him a visit to personally thank him for all he has done. She leans in and kisses him goodbye before leaving. Bob hurries to the phone so he can put his own ad in the paper, hoping for a similar reward. THE 4-G GANG PART 14 Riding with Virginia, Chuck sees Zebe fighting with Wolf. Wolf moves to meet this new threat, but Chuck punches him in the face and tackles him to the ground. The men begin a life-or-death struggle, but the arrival of Zebe defeats Wolf, who is tied up. They mount their horses and continue their way to the ranch.   Discovering Chuck has tricked them, Baldy and Speck quickly follow his trail. They find Pedro tied up, release him, and continue on to find Wolf. Meanwhile, Chuck, Zebe, and Virginia are fired on by Wolf, who has managed to escape. Chuck stays behind and sends the other two toward the ranch. He ambushes the gunman and incapacitates him. The other outlaws arrive and rescue Wolf, resuming their pursuit of Chuck and his friends.   Noticing the following outlaws, Chuck tries to escape, but his horse trips in a gopher hole, putting Chuck in harm's way. Meanwhile, Zebe and Virginia have circled back and taken up position in the hills. They fire on the outlaws who believe they are outnumbered, causing them to flee. Again, Chuck turns the tables and ties up Wolf. With the gunmen defeated, the trio finally reach the Diamond-H ranch, where they go their separate ways. THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH At their Carolina plantation, Fred and Eleanor Hodges introduce Zatara to Jeb Standish, a retired industrial leader and millionaire. Mr. Standish has a quest that an adventurer would find irresistible: he wants Zatara to find the fabled Fountain of Youth and to bring him back a gallon of the fountain's water so that he can be young again. Standish believes that the fountain's location is in South America, hidden somewhere in the jungle. Zatara is intrigued and sets out for another adventure.   After a week of preparing, Zatara and Tong sail to Rio de Janeiro. Local natives refuse to provide transport up the Amazon, claiming that a curse hangs over that path. So Zatara uses magic to levitate them into the air, they quickly change their minds! Later, Zatara and Tong ride in canoes paddled by the natives, won over by the magician's powers. They enter an area rough with rapids, so Zatara makes the boats fly in the air, above the raging river. The flying boats soon come across a lost city, its walls built in red sandstone. The natives paddling the boats are too exhausted to go on, so Zatara and Tong continue on alone into the city. The beating of drums announces their presence, and a bunch of angry-looking natives pour out of the red city, carrying spears. Zatara utters a spell that turns their spearheads into harmless clouds. With the lost tribe pacified for the moment, Zatara and Tong continue into the city, and up the temple steps to the throne room within. A woman's corpse sits, perfectly preserved, on the throne.   Amazingly, the corpse begins to speak, casting judgment upon the pair. Venomous snakes slither out of a hole at the bottom of the throne. Zatara conjures up some mongooses to combat the deadly vipers. He then turns to the corpse and commands whoever was trying to fool them to come out. A hatch opens above, and a tiny, impish man (Geas the Ugly) comes hobbling out. This creature is proof that the Fountain of Youth was real, looking haggard and unwell, yet still alive after centuries of living. Looking into his mind, Zatara discovers that the entrance to the Fountain is directly beneath them. A tunnel, older than the city itself, leads down further and further, then opens into a wide chamber, where the fabled Fountain sits in the center, with water gushing in an endless geyser. Tong excitedly runs forward, eager to get a taste of everlasting youth firsthand! Zatara tries to stop him, sensing that something is wrong. He uses his magic to prevent the water from reaching his servant's lips. Disappointed, but still willing to complete their quest, Tong fills the canteen with the youth-restoring liquid. They both then return to the palace, where they are seized upon by a hundred warriors led by Geas. A spell is woven, and the natives all turn to stone! But Zatara isn't too cruel, in an hour, the spell will wear off. In that time they'll both be well on their way back to South Carolina...   Fred Hodges meets Zatara at Jeb Standish's estate. He sadly reports that Mr. Standish had passed away yesterday. It may have been just as well. Zatara doubts anyone is meant to live forever. Seeing the effects a few hundred years had on the imp convinced him that eternal life may be more of a curse than a blessing.

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