Superman: The Dailies 1941-42: written by Jerry Siegel, illustrated by Joe Shuster and Jack Burnley (1941-42; collected 1999): Fun, brisk year of dailies from the syndicated Superman newspaper strip. By this time, Joe Shuster’s eyesight made drawing on a regular basis nearly impossible. The capable Jack Burnley ghosts much of this volume. He’s one of the best, if not the best, of the early Shuster fill-ins.

Superman faces a bounty on his head of…one million dollars! A vengeful real-estate scam artist offers $1 million to anyone who can kill Superman. Mad scientists and assorted other riffraff come out nof the woodwork to attempt to collect the money. As Superman wasn’t as god-like then as he would soon be, some of the death traps actually hold at least the potential of killing him. Much fun is had by all. Oh, and Superman has to beat a murder rap as well.

Of course, Superman lived in a pretty violent world at the time. The death rate among his enemies, most if not all of them hoist of their own petard, is nearly 100%. This is what happens when you put a bounty on Superman’s head! The Man of Steel also visits Hollywood, where Clark Kent inadvertantly ends up playing Superman in a movie. Those eyeglasses can disguise anything!

Siegel’s scripting is breezy and fun, his Superman a far cry from the stuffed shirt father figure of the 1950’s. Burnley’s art really is solid — he’s one of my favourite Golden Age artists. Recommended.

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