"Superman: "The Million-Dollar Marathon"": Millionaire Truman Treadwell lies on his deathbed. His two nephews are with him to learn who will inherit his millions when he's gone. Roger is a doctor at a children's hospital, he says he'd donate every cent to their charity where it would do the mo
Appearing in Superman: "The Million-Dollar Marathon"
- Brandon Treadwell (Single appearance)
- Tug Moxton (Single appearance)
- "Marblehead" (Member of Tug's gang)(Single appearance)
- Perry White (Cameo)
- Truman Treadwell (Only appearance; dies)
- Roger Treadwell (Single appearance)
- Lawton (Single appearance)
- Martha (Single appearance)
Synopsis for Superman: "The Million-Dollar Marathon"
Millionaire Truman Treadwell lies on his deathbed. His two nephews are with him to learn who will inherit his millions when he's gone. Roger is a doctor at a children's hospital, he says he'd donate every cent to their charity where it would do the most good. Brandon had a roguish reputation, where he'd be likely to spend all the money on wine, women, and song. Truman liked Roger's philanthropic character, but he was also fond of Brandon, who reminded him of himself at that age. Rather than split the estate between them, the senior Treadwell had a far more interesting idea. He agreed to give two million to the children's hospital, but then he gave another million to Roger under the guideline that he must spend it all within twenty four hours. He must not spend over a thousand dollars at a time, or give any money away. If he has even a cent left at the end of the day, the inheritance goes to Brandon. Two days later, Truman Treadwell passes away, and every newspaper headline reports the odd conditions written in the will. Lois Lane is sent to interview Roger Treadwell, while Clark Kent meets with Brandon.
Roger is at a loss on how to spend a million dollars in just one day, especially with the specific rule that he's not allowed to go over a thousand with any purchase. Lois knows just the person to help. Meanwhile over at Brandon's apartment building, Clark looks through the walls with his x-ray vision to see Brandon chatting with Tug Moxton, a notorious gangster. He wanted to ensure that Roger didn't get their uncle's millions. An airplane flies overhead, making a trail of smoke spelling the words "Superman Needed at 24 Marr Ave". Lois explains her idea to Superman when he arrives. With the man of steel's help, Roger will be able to find all sorts of noble causes to spend the money on. They start right away by first buying a load of expensive lab equipment for the hospital. Superman then flies Roger to an old couple who are about to be made homeless because they can't pay their mortgage. With exactly one thousand dollars, combined with the elders savings and change borrowed from a shoeshine boy, Roger pays the mortgage in full, allowing the couple to continue living there. Later, Lois takes Roger for a walk in the city to show him other ways to spend the money. One of Tug Moxton's men suddenly grabs the case of money out of Roger's hand and flees. Luckily, only a hundred and a half grand was inside. Superman would get it back, but first there was more spending to be done! Roger mentions he had always wanted to buy a ship and mount an expedition to the Mediterranean, where rare plants exist that can cure many childhood diseases. But a ship would cost way more than the thousand dollar spending limit. Superman says they can bypass that problem by making many small payments for parts to build a ship. After a quarter of a million spent on the parts, supplies, and labor, the ship is completed thanks to Superman's help. Then, sneaking under the hull, another of Moxton's men attaches a bomb to the vessel. By the time Superman notices, it's too late! The ship explodes, destroying all that effort. But then again, it presents an opportunity to spend more on the rebuild!
The day grows shorter, and Roger still had a few hundred-thousand left to spend. An auction was starting, Superman told him to bid exactly one thousand on every item. Tug Moxton was also at the auction, however. He and his boys planned to outbid Roger by a dollar each time. Of course, Superman puts a wrench in their plan when he swoops them out of the room one-by-one every time they make their bid. When they don't show up to pay for the items they bought, it goes to the next highest bidder, which is Roger. Superman takes the money stolen from before, which the gang didn't have time to spend yet, and the drops them off in a dumpster where the police can pick them up. When Roger steps outside, he has a worried expression. Not all of the money has been spent, and time was almost up! Superman flies him to the Treadwell's lawyer. Brandon was already there when they entered the office. With the lawyer present, the man of steel handed Roger his bill of service. It came out to the exact amount left over. Which meant that the children's hospital would be granted it's charity check, and Brandon would just have to get a job to support his lifestyle.
Lois and Clark wave Roger off as he leaves on his expedition. Clark offers to buy some cheap hot-dogs for lunch. Lois complains that she wishes he were more like Superman, who would think nothing of spending a million dollars.
Appearing in Vigilante: "The Bard of Banditry"
- "Two-Gun" Phidias (Single appearance)
- "Muscles" Rembrandt (Single appearance)
- Henry (Single appearance)
- Little Bohemia
- Vigilante's Lasso
Synopsis for Vigilante: "The Bard of Banditry"
Rhyming criminal and former henchman of Rainbow Man, Shakes gets out of prison and gathers his own crew together. Together they pull a jewelry store robbery, attracting the attention of Vigilante and Stuff. Vig pays off a paperboy to shout a fake headline about the robbery, knowing that crooks are often vain about the jobs they pull. The ruse pays off; one of the crooks steps out of the hideout to check the paper. Vigilante and Stuff tackle him and run inside! Shakes hit Vig with a stone bust, knocking him out. Stuff is tied up and the Vigilante's rope is put around his neck. The other end is tied to a large stone slab leaning over the Vigilante with only a wood prop keeping it up. If he moves, the prop will be knocked loose, the slab will crush Vig, and Stuff will hang.
Vigilante starts coming around, and Stuff explains their current predicament. With careful movement and precision aiming, Vig shoots off the ropes binding his partner. Then Stuff helps hold up the slab finding a heavy stand to put under it, so Vigilante can crawl free. Vigilante remembers the bust he was hit with, noting how it looked like the president of the Ninth National Bank. That's where Shakes and his crew are going to hit next!
The bank vault is wide open, while the guards sleep off a bad headache. Shakes and the gang are about ready to make of with thousands of dollars, when they turn around and become shocked to see two ghosts! They quickly learn that Vigilante and Stuff weren't apparitions, when a solid fist makes them drop the loot. Another strike and the poetic villain and his goons are taken out of commission. In the end, Shakes decides that rhyming in verse wasn't the way to go after hearing Vigilante and Stuff try their hand at poems about his capture.
Appearing in Congo Bill: "Storm over the Bering"
- Fishing Pirates (Single appearance)
- Mr. Paul (Single appearance)
- Fishing Boat
- Coastguard Cutter
Synopsis for Congo Bill: "Storm over the Bering"
Flying his plane over the Bering Sea, Congo Bill comes across a boat of fishermen in distress. He lands his plane nearby to try and help, but it was too late. Their last words mentioned pirates. Bill heads to the harbor to find out more. There have been several pirate attacks on fishing vessels, stealing their hauls and often murdering any who resist. And the coastguard are spread too thin with the trouble from the Japanese over on Attu island keeping them busy. It looked like if he wanted to stop the pirates, Bill would need to do it himself. Most ships don't dare leave port, but Bill finds one whose crew was still keeping busy. He convinces them to hire him as a spare crewman.
That night, as the schooner plows through the choppy water, another ship comes within sight. The crew start arming themselves, and that's when Congo Bill realized these men were the fish pirates! He had to warn the other boat! But they catch him before he can reach the flare, and knock him unconscious. He wakes up later, in the ship's brig, surrounded by crates of fish. The pirates have been busy, apparently. But now he had to escape... Bill rips his shirt into tatters and bundles them in a corner. With a match, he starts a small fire. Smoke begins billowing out onto the deck, the pirates grab the emergency hose and head below. This is just what Bill wanted. As soon as the door opens he knocks the first guy down, following up with a swift haymaker to the last two. Outside, the smoke attracts the attention of a nearby coastguard cutter. The pirates captain tells his remaining crew to prepare the diesel engine, which will get them away faster than the sails. Bill grabs the flare and uses it to burn the mainmast ropes. The boom comes loose, spinning around and crashing into the crew, knocking them overboard! The coastguard catches up just as the last man is incapacitated. A quick explanation later and the fish pirates are all taken into custody. Thanks to Congo Bill's efforts, focus can be put back to fighting off the Japanese.
Appearing in Americommando: "Schickelgruber's Nightmare"
- Professor Hrja (In dream sequence only) (Only appearance; dies)
- Hrja's Freezing Weapon (In dream sequence only)
- Nazi Bombers (In dream sequence only)
Synopsis for Americommando: "Schickelgruber's Nightmare"
In conquered France, Adolf Hitler looks out upon the planes parked in the field, massed for the upcoming greatest air blitz in history, wiping out England with one blow. The Fuehrer is in good spirits as he heads to the dining hall. But as he sits down to eat, doubts linger in his mind: What would he do if the Americommando got wind of his plan? Could he crush him, even when the greatest assassination expert Dr. Ito failed?
- The Fuehrer receives a whispered report; Americommando is captured and being brought before him! Hitler stares down the Allies' costumed hero. He shouts that now there was nothing he could do to prevent the Reich's attack on England. Americommando replies that he has a secret weapon that can still stop their dirty work. Before the Fuehrer can press him further, he flips the table! Americommando escapes out the window and takes refuge inside a small cottage. Inside, a frail old man greets him. It is Professor Hrja, an escaped prisoner from the concentration camp. The professor finally has a chance to pass his secret weapon on, a gun that freezes anything, literally motionless. Hrja succumbs to his wounds sustained from many beatings. Tex vows not to let his death be in vain.
- Back at the Nazi headquarters, Hitler gives out the order to launch the planes for the attack. Moments later he gets strange news, that he needs to confirm for himself. Looking out the window, he see that it is true: all the planes are frozen in midair! It must be the Allies' secret weapon! At that moment, Hitler's soldiers freeze in place, unable to move! Americommando appeared on the balcony, sending the Fuehrer scurrying. The chase is on. Up the stairs to the roof, he tries to get away, but Americommando is right behind him! Hitler slips and falls over the edge, grabbing hold of the only thing he can, the silk flag of the swastika. Adolf pleads for Americommando to save him by freezing him with the gun. But Tex shakes his head, the gun was a symbol for truth, and would not work on the lies of evil. The flag tears away,and Hitler falls.
The Fuehrer shouts as he wakes up! It had all been a dream! He is still sitting in his chair at the dinner table. All is well... until one of his soldiers rushes in, saying the Allies have found and set fire to all their planes! Hitler runs away before the Americommando leads the troops in to invades the hall. The rest of the Nazis are rounded up and taken prisoner.
Appearing in Zatara: "The Riddle of the Tired Thespians"
- "Arsenic Al" Andrews (Single appearance)
- Professor Quintus Norman (Single appearance)
- Mr. Street (Single appearance)
- Jimmy Hudson (Single appearance)
Synopsis for Zatara: "The Riddle of the Tired Thespians"
The youths of Sunny Point were excited to put on the annual summer theater performance. But they were struck with an epidemic of tiredness. Kids would fall asleep without warning, even while doing tasks such as swimming. Zatara was the kids director this year, yet he found himself spending most of the time repeatedly having to wake them up. At this rate, the play would have to be postponed due to rehearsals taking so long. The truth was, a gang led by "Arsenic" Al Andrews found a way to keep the magician out of their hair during a robbery they had planned. By keeping Zatara busy until September, they could pull the biggest job of their careers. None of it would be possible without Professor Norman's masks, however. The psychologist was completely unaware that his yawning expression masks were being laced with a sleeping powder. He simply thought the gang were playing a friendly gag on Zatara.
Zatara learns from young Jimmy about the masks the Professor gave him and the other kids. He finds the powder that's been sprinkled in the masks and goes to interrogate Professor Norman. The professor was a good man at heart, never meaning to do any harm. Zatara learns the identities of the men who put Norman up to it, recognizing them as two of Arsenic Al's gang.
A bank in the city was being robbed in the dead of night by Arsenic Al and his crew. They were speeding away in their getaway car when everything goes wrong! The car takes on a life of it's own. The seats grow arms and hold the crooks in place, while the wheel steers itself. The car parks outside a theater. Al and the boys then step out of the vehicle and walk reluctantly inside, their legs working against their will. They take a front row seat as the great Zatara appears on stage. The police are waiting nearby, as well. The criminals still had the loot on them, so there was no doubt of the charges. More importantly, it seemed like the kids would be able to finally focus on their play.
- The Million Dollar Marathon is reprinted in Superman: The Action Comics Archives Vol. 4.
- This issue also contains a 2-Page "Jitters Jeep" humor story by Jack Farr.
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