"Superman: "The Terrible Toyman"": The Toyman seemed like a kind old toy maker that made children laugh. But when Lois and Clark go to write an article about him, they discover the Toyman was actually a genius thief!
Appearing in Superman: "The Terrible Toyman"
- The Toyman (First appearance)
- Perry White (Cameo)
- Celia (A little girl) (Single appearance)
- Joe (Armored truck guard) (Single appearance)
Synopsis for Superman: "The Terrible Toyman"
The Toyman seemed like a kind old toy maker that made children laugh. But when Lois and Clark go to write an article about him, they discover the Toyman was actually a genius thief! Toy soldiers armed with gas pellets send the downtown bank staff into a deep sleep. So busy is Superman in rescuing the bank inhabitants, that he has to let Toyman get away. The next day, Lois gets a letter from the Toyman himself, hinting at another crime she'd be remiss not to be present for.
A small toy firetruck rolls down the street and crashes into an apartment complex, unleashing incendiaries that set the whole building ablaze! Firefighters respond to the alarm, while another toy truck, this one being ridden on by the Toyman himself, enters the scene. He hops on a tiny ladder equipped with pogo springs and leaps to a balcony high up. It was the suite belonging to a rich gem collector, all of which now fell into the Toyman's bag. Once again, Superman is too busy saving all the people trapped in the building to catch the fleeing Toyman. Lois doesn't get the big scoop this time, having been beaten out by Clark. Another chance comes to her, though, when she receives another message from the toy making madman. An armored truck carrying half a million dollars will head across East Bridge, if she wanted her next story she should be there.
The authorities have all been alerted to the Toyman's threat, and send an armed escort with the truck. As it reaches the bridge, Lois Lane watches from a canoe down below. Shortly, a miniature version of the armored vehicle rolls past the guards. They are about to open fire when a voice from above halts them. Superman scoops the little toy up and covers it with his body just as it blows up. He had seen the explosives tucked inside with his x-ray vision. At that moment, another toy tuck comes rolling down from the opposite side of the bridge! The explosion makes the bridge collapse, sending the armored truck over into the water. Superman's able to save the guards and tie the support beams under the bridge together. When he dives into the river, he finds a group of divers opening up the back of the truck with acetylene torches.
Meanwhile, Lois spots the Toyman exiting from a sewer tunnel in the concrete embankment. He has no choice but to take her hostage, since she had seen the secret water entrance to his workshop. Superman is unable to find Lois or the Toyman anywhere nearby, so he backtracks to the toy maker's closed down shop for clues. Lois is currently tied to a chair in Toyman's hideout. He shows her his specially made dolls, with needle-point fingertips dipped in poison. She screams wen the dolls start to crawl towards her. Superman crashes through the roof, destroying the dolls as he lands. The Toyman moans as his workshop is destroyed. He is dropped off at the police station, while Lois is taken back to the Planet. She is still tied to a chair when the man of steel leaves. Clark Kent walks in moment later, and promises to untie her... as soon as he finishes writing up the story.
Appearing in Vigilante: "The Treasure of Dead Man's Key"
- Jim (Single appearance)
- Chopper (Single appearance)
- Poison (Single appearance)
- Jed Cantrell (Single appearance)
- Cinthy Cantrell (Single appearance)
- Hezekiah (Single appearance)
- Vigilante's Lasso
- A sailboat
Synopsis for Vigilante: "The Treasure of Dead Man's Key"
Jed Cantrell and his daughter Cinthy sail to the Dead Mans Keys, an island off the coast of Florida, in search of a pirate's treasure. It seems, however, that the island is currently inhabited by men dressed as 17th century pirates. They paddle a rowboat out to meet Jed, who lets it slip that he's here for the treasure. The pirates are intrigued, holding him at gunpoint and demanding Jed tell them more. To their sudden surprise, a rope appears, loops around their bow and capsizes them. Vigilante and Stuff appear, having seen the exchange while fishing nearby. They dive in, punching and dunking, until the pirates retreat back to shore. The crimefighters are helped aboard by Jed and Cinthy.
The treasure chest lies almost directly under the boat. Jed offers a split with Vigilante if he'll continue to keep them safe from those pirates. But no reward was necessary for Vig, he helps any who are in need. Stuff stays on board with Jed and Cinthy, whom he thinks is pretty swell, while Vigilante goes ashore. He follows the light of a campfire until he hears the pirates talking. It turns out, to no surprise, the "pirates" were actually bank robbers in hiding. They were using the ghost stories surrounding the island to scare folk away, although Jed was the first one who didn't fall for it. Now, they wanted to add the pirate treasure to their own haul. Vig heard enough, he leaps out at them fists flying. One of the crooks is able to knock him out with the butt of his gun. And with that, they now had a bargaining chip. The morning sun penetrates the crystal clear water. Jed, Cynthi, and Stuff are able to see to the bottom. The treasure chest was right where Jed said it was, half buried in the sand, lying among the ribs of an old wrecked ship. Just then, the crooks return, with Vigilante being held at gunpoint in their boat. They made a deal with Jed, the treasure for Vigilante's life.
Vigilante and Stuff are sent down to get the chest. Vig realizes the criminals would just kill them all as soon as they had the treasure, so he had to think of something! A large swordfish swam by, investigating these intruders in its domain. Vig grabs hold of the creature and attempts to straddle it like a horse. The swordfish flips and swerves, Vig never letting go! He sticks his spurs through its scales and leads it to the surface. The crooks are treated to quite a sight as the huge swordfish leaps out of the water, Vigilante on its back! The fish falls on the boat, whipping the crooks with its tail and poking them with its nose. Vigilante and Stuff finish thing by knocking them out.
Soon, the treasure chest is hauled up to the deck. Jed can't contain his excitement. But when the lid is opened, there was nothing but seawater within. Vigilante cheers Jed up by telling him the crooks had a mighty big reward on their head, enough so that he could send Cinthy to school. Cinthy tells stuff she's going to miss him, but she'll be visiting whenever she can. Stuff is over the moon at that, though he plays it humble.
Appearing in Congo Bill: "The Inquisitive Ostrich"
- Vant Helder (Single appearance)
Synopsis for Congo Bill: "The Inquisitive Ostrich"
On a journey through the African veldt to bring a message to the Commander at Fort Bixby, Congo Bill's vehicle breaks down. After a weary trek, he comes across an ostrich farm and its owner, Vant Helder. Bill gets offered a ride to the nearest town. Gunshots go off and the ostriches run in fear, one of them sticking its head in the ground right in front of Bill. Helder comments how stupid the birds are, believing they can escape danger by hiding their heads in the sand. A strange comment coming from an ostrich farmer, when Bill knew that ostriches were actually smarter than people commonly thought. Something wasn't right. Vant has the car ready, but Bill decides to stay the night, under the pretense that he was afraid to travel in the dark. Vant seems reluctant, but he allows it.
Later that night, Bill finds an expensive home radio in the farmhouse and takes it apart. He fashions a homemade transmission set from the parts and sends out a message to the U.S. military base. Helder and a group of Nazis find Bill and prepare to shoot him. An ostrich was nearby, so Bill mimics a distress call so the bird comes over and attacks the Nazis with its beak and talons. He then hitches a ride on the bird, leading it to where he saw the other ostrich stick its head in the ground before. Bill digs in the same spot,finding a grenade that the bird must have though was an egg. When the Nazis close in on him, he tosses the grenade in front of them, threatening there were more where that came from.
A roaring in the sky as U.S. army men parachute down to the scene. The Nazis are rounded up along with Vant Helder, who was not really a farmer but a German spy. Bill reveals how he knew; when Vant had mentioned the ostrich stupidity by hiding with its head in the sand. A real ostrich farmer would have known that ostriches only do that when their either searching for water, or hiding their eggs. That's why the ostrich had stolen their grenades, it had mistook them for eggs. The soldiers are happy to take Bill to Fort Bixby, so he can finally deliver his message.
Appearing in Americommando: "Peter the Small"
- Peter "Poppy" Populis
- Colonel von Gelb (Single appearance)
- Hermann (Single appearance)
- Peter (a little boy) (Single appearance)
- Peter's Mother (unnamed) (Single appearance)
- A Flame-Thrower
Synopsis for Americommando: "Peter the Small"
Tex Thompson and his companion Peter Populi, or "Poppy" as he likes to be called, travel through a small Russian province to meet up with the guerrillas, who need help fighting the Nazi occupation. They come across a woman in the road, who tells them her son Peter had been captured. Peter knew where the guerrillas were hiding out, and the Nazis were going to torture him until he told them. Tex wants to help the woman, so he puts on his Axis-fighting outfit and becomes the Americommando.
Americommando sneaks into the Nazi-occupied village, staying in the shadows until he finds the boy. Peter stands defiantly in front of Nazi Colonel von Gelb, bruises and lashes already mark his young body. He still refuses to give up the location of the guerrillas, so the Colonel decides to execute him. Tex steps in at this point, grabbing von Gelb's gun while Peter runs off for help.
Meanwhile, Poppy grows anxious, Tex has been gone too long. He heads into the village, even though Peter's mother tells him he'll only get in Americommando's way. Poppy finds a ladder and uses it to reach the rooftops, where he gets a better vantage point. By sheer coincidence, Tex is being held under the very roof he is standing on. Colonel von Gelb gets a report from his lookout that the guerrillas are on their way! He sends his men out to occupy the peasant's hut and fire from the windows when they come. A perfect ambush... Just as the Colonel turns his attention to Americommando, the ceiling starts to crumble. Poppy falls through, landing hard on one of the officers. The Colonel gets distracted and so Tex throws a kick and finishes it with a headbutt. Von Gelb is down, but they still need to warn the guerrillas of the ambush. There's a flame-thrower nearby;Tex sends Poppy for it. Back on the roof, they identify the hut with the Nazis and set it aflame! The Nazis scramble out into the street, right in front of the guerrilla forces.
Later, the villagers celebrate their liberation with Tex and Poppy. Americommando commends young Peter on bringing the guerrilla reinforcements.
Appearing in Zatara: "Quiet ... Thugs at Work"
- Bank Robbers (Single appearance)
- Ratsy (Single appearance)
- De-Amplifier Machine
Synopsis for Zatara: "Quiet ... Thugs at Work"
A group of simple crooks, while robbing a house, find a strange device that cancels out all noise in the surrounding area. A de-amplifier. Soon after, a series of bank robberies plague the city. Each time, the clerks and the customers find they are unable to make a sound, nor does anything else, including the alarms.
The great magician Zatara finds that even his magic is useless when he can't make a sound to cast the spell. He can still rely on fisticuffs to fight, though he is soon overwhelmed and knocked out.
The criminals make it back to their hideout where they switch off the machine. Zatara's voice suddenly comes out of the de-amplifier, "Esir pu!" This belated spell still holds its effect, the surprised crooks are sent flying up to the ceiling. Zatara manages to track them down by making their tire tracks glow. They are helpless to do anything in their current predicament. The crooks are sent to prison and the de-amplifier is returned to it's owner.
- The Terrible Toyman is reprinted in Superman: The Action Comics Archives Vol. 4 and Superman in the Forties.
- This issue also contains a 4-page humor story "Jitters Jeep" by Jack Farr.
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