Superman 26 – J. Wilbur Wolfingham debuts, and Superman vs Mercury

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Another war cover on Superman 26 (Jan/Feb. 44).

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Con artist J. Wilbur Wolfingham, who will become a major foe of Superman in this era, makes his debut in this story by Don Cameron and Ira Yarborough.

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The story deals with silent screen stars, no longer able to find work, trying to find financing for a new movie.  The characters are clearly based on Laurel and Hardy, the Keystone Kops, and Mae West, while Wolfingham is pattered on W.C. Fields.  He will come to resemble Fields even more closely in later appearances.  Wolfingham has been stealing from the actors, who he manages, and sells his stock in their production company to Lois Lane, stock he considers worthless.

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But with Superman’s help, Lois starts making a motion picture with the former stars, and the hero’s participation draws the attention of the media.

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Wolfingham tries to get his stock back from Lois, and when she refuses to sell, tries to sabotage the picture.  But all his schemes are for naught, and the movie becomes a success, the stars have a big comeback, and only Wolfingham is left out in the cold.

He will, however, return a couple of issues down the road.

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Superman goes up against the Roman god Mercury in this story, by Cameron, Sam Citron and George Roussos.

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A really massive blast of lightning blows up a church in Rome, which was built on top of a temple, in which Mercury has been sleeping for centuries.  As well as his super-speed, this story deals with him being the god of thieves, who he is delighted to see are still plying their trade so many years later.

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He adopts a human identity, calling himself the Quicksilver Kid, and rounds up a gang of his own.  Superman realizes that this is no ordinary gangster, and will not be so easy to defeat.

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Well-versed in mythology, Superman cuts the wings off of Mercury’s sandals, preventing him from flying.  He then convinces the god that it is in the best interests of his reputation to round up his former gang, and go back to sleep.  Mercury is surprisingly agreeable to this notion, probably upset about his wings.  Sadly, he does not make a return appearance.

 

 

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