Superman's Radiation-Powered Menace in Action Comics #39, at Auction

The United States' entry into WWII seemed all but certain when Action Comics #39 hit the newsstands in June 1941 (with a cover date of August), and the cover by Fred Ray for this issue reflects that. The interior story did as well, indirectly — because the plot centers around a villain given powers by an accident during experiments with radioactive materials. Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the Superman story in Action Comics #39 was written by Siegel and Leo Nowak. Early issues of Action Comics are foundational in importance to the Golden Age, and have been in demand for decades, and this Action Comics #39 (DC, 1941) Condition: VG up for auction in the 2022 May 8-9 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122219 at Heritage Auctions is an affordable example of why.

Action Comics #39 (DC, 1941)
Action Comics #39 (DC, 1941)

This issue sets the reader up for the villain's use of radium in the opening sequence when a lab experiment gone wrong supposedly kills a scientist. Soon, people begin to die of radium burns while attempting to stop robberies — and Superman is blamed. But eventually, Superman discovers that the scientist thought to be dead during the lab accident has not only survived, but also become super strong and bulletproof.

Of course, such radiation-powered people would become practically commonplace in comic books in the decades to come, with characters ranging from the Hulk to Spider-Man and countless more. Important for its WWII themed cover by Fred Ray, the radiation-powered villain that squares off against Superman, and the simple fact that it's an early issue of Action Comics, there's an Action Comics #39 (DC, 1941) Condition: VG up for auction in the 2022 May 8-9 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122219 at Heritage Auctions.

Action Comics #39 (DC, 1941)
#39 (DC, 1941)

Action Comics #39 (DC, 1941) Condition: VG. Early World War II cover and art by Fred Ray. Bernard Baily and Sheldon Moldoff art. Tape reinforcing staples at centerfold. Overstreet 2021 VG 4.0 value = $628.

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About Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler. Machine Learning hobbyist. Vintage paper addict.
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