Action Comics #23

DC ⋅ 1940

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Key Facts

1st appearance of Lex Luthor, depicted with red hair

1st appearance of Black Pirate

First mention of The Daily Planet

[November 2023 - Nicholas Hoult has been cast as Lex Luthor in Superman Legacy]

Issue Details




Joe Shuster


Jerry Siegel


April 1940


EUROPE AT WAR PART 2 TROUBLE AT THE MINE Jim Bradley, manager of the Digby Mines, phones his old friend Pep Morgan for help. One of the miners, "Bull" Lock, is trying to force a strike by using his imposing figure to bully the others. Pep was never a fan of bullies, and agrees to help bring this agitator down. Believing that every bully is secretly a coward, Pep calls Bull down to the woods for a man-on-man fight. It doesn't take long after for Pep to send Bull tumbling to the ground, the big brute begging Pep not to hit him again. Pep tells him to leave town and not come back.   It's quiet the next day, the miners happily return to work, forgetting all about the strike that was forced upon them. But some among the men aren't very happy. Bull's boys haven't heard from their boss all night, so they take it upon themselves to cause trouble. Stealing some sticks of dynamite, they sneak into the mine after hours and plant some surprises for the others to find next morning. Pep notices the watchman was missing from the mine's entrance and goes inside to investigate. With the help of a large stick he finds on the floor, Pep fights off Bull's cronies, loading them into the mine cart as they fall. He marks the location of each dynamite stick for safe removal and heads back up to the entrance with his cart full of bad guys. DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES A ship sinks into the sea, having been scuttled by the dreaded Captain Ruff. Jon Valor, the Black Pirate, swoops down from the mast of the fearsome captain's ship, to save a damsel, as she's forced to walk the plank. He fights off the pirates as they attack, but in her panic, the girl jumps into the sea. Valor dives in after her, but he is unable to find her in the depths. The ship sails off, but fortunately Jon is able to grab hold before she goes full sail.   Late the next day, the ship comes to a small island. Captain Ruff orders his men to bury the treasure they stole from the other ship, so that they may come back to it later. The Black Pirate drops from his hiding place, landing on the island just as the ship departs. He finds the spot where the gold was buried, and waits. Captain Ruff will be back, some day, and he'll be here to greet him. THE LOST CITY OF GOLD The Three Aces, Gunner, Fog, and Whistler, fly over the Mexican Sierra Madre in search of a long-lost Aztec treasure. As they get closer to the site where the treasure supposedly lies, they are beset by enemy aircraft. Strangely, the pilots seem completely unaffected by their bullets. Soon, Fog and Whistler are both forced down while Gunner temporarily retreats, planning on rescuing his friends once he's clear.   Gunner Bill returns to the fight, this time focusing his aim on the other planes' engines instead of their pilots. It pays off, the planes crash and Gunner is free to begin searching for his friends. Their planes are found, but with no sign of them, meaning they've been taken somewhere. Gunner comes across the remnants of an old Aztec city, within which zombies were lurking, which answers the question of why the pilots didn't die when they were shot. The zombies notice Gunner and chase him over the wall. On the other side, he falls into a garden where Fog and Whistler are kept tied up, reporting they were being held prisoner by the wicked Quetzal, an evil native who planned on adding them to his collection of undead soldiers. Gunner isn't going to have it! He helps them undo their bindings, handing over their guns which he has brought along.   Quetzal is resting in his chambers when the Aces come upon him. He tries threatening them with talk of turning them into zombies, but with a few shots from their gats, the wicked one is fallen. He pulls on a lever just before he dies, opening a trap door beneath the trio! They fall into a room filled with Aztec gold! Gunner discovers an underground river that possibly leads out, and after Fog takes a small, solid gold statue, they follow it. Luckily, Gunner's hunch is correct. The river opens up to the outside in an area not far from where he landed. They all ride out in Gunner's plane, and Fog tells them he plans on selling the statue to pay for their adventure. THE MAN WITH THE RUBBER FACE Tex takes Bob and Gargantua up in his plane, searching for their next adventure. They have to make an emergency landing when a problem with the gas line is detected. Fortunately, they spot a house not too far from where they land and go to ask for help. A hideous figure, Enak, looms out of the home, inviting the trio in. He introduces them to his master. The house, it turns out, is the secret headquarters of a mad scientist whose body is made of a synthetic rubber of his own design. He throws them in the dungeon to be dealt with later. Tex and crew meet Delores Clark, a young woman, who was being held for ransom.   The horrible henchman returns to check on Tex and gang, and they take this opportunity to escape the cell! Tex knocks out the henchman and heads to the lab. The mad scientist is there with a gun. But he forgets to turn the safety off, so Tex rushes him, knocking the scientist into the vat of deadly chemicals!   With the adventure over and done with, Tex grabs a canister of gasoline from the lab to refuel his plane. The gang fly off together, Tex promising Delores to take her home. REVOLUTION IN VERDANIA PART 1 Clip is hired by the government of Verdania, in South America, to deliver half a ton of ammunition to a remote outpost, where a Verdanian garrison is under siege by a force of Revolutionists. He does so. Thus replenished, the Verdanian soldiers mount a successful counterattack, and the revolutionaries are routed. THE TREASURE TOWER Zatara meets up with an old childhood friend who asks his help in locating a famed treasure. A tower built by a man named Kartzoff is said to hold an emperor's fortune, if one could only get past the traps. Zatara, of course, is more than eager to try. But he is not the only treasure seeker, as his old foe, the Tigress also has her eye on the prize.

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