Synopsis for Superman: “The Strong-Man Robberies”
A series of robberies occur around Metropolis. Each witness describes the suspect as a muscular strong-man wearing a leopard skin leotard. Daily Planet editor George Taylor sends Clark and Lois out to cover the story. While walking the city streets, Lois spots a billboard advertising a circus that just rolled into town. The main attraction: Herculo, the strong man, who wore a leopard print just like the strong-arm bandit…
The two reporters meet with Mr. Jenkins, the circus owner. He lets Clark and Lois sit in on a show as they talk about the thefts. Jenkins admits that he himself has suspected Herculo, since every town the circus has been to have had similar incidents. Nevertheless, he brings Clark and Lois to meet Herculo, with Clark faking pain as the strong-man squeezes his hand in greeting. Herculo attempts to woo Miss Lane by boasting that he is the strongest man around, which Lois shoots down by saying that Superman could best him any day. Herculo says that he’d challenge this Superman guy to a test of strength, and his friend the circus clown offers to play ref if that ever happens. Clark goes to buy some tickets from Jenkins to give away to some orphaned kids, letting Lois deal with her muscle headed admirer. Once he is out of sight of everyone, Clark secretly sprinkles a fine powder over some bills, a precaution that may help catch the thief later.
On their way out of the circus, Lois and Clark come face to masked face with the strong-arm bandit, who grabs the wad of cash out of Clark’s hand and runs off. Lois is disgusted with Clark’s lack of spine and storms off alone.
Later that same day, Clark and Lois return to the circus accompanied by children from the Metropolis Orphanage to see the show. While Lois and the kids watch the show, Clark slips away to change into Superman. Herculo and the clown are preparing for the show in their tent. Superman uses his X-Ray vision to eavesdrop on them, but he is noticed by Herculo by the shadow he was casting on the tent. The strong-man charges Superman, being flipped on his back for his trouble. The noise brings Jenkins over to see what was causing all the commotion. On seeing Superman and his strongman engaged in a scuffle, the circus’ owner is thrilled. He decides to make him part of the act tonight, which Superman readily agrees to. The audience is given a surprise for the next act; Superman and Herculo in a contest of strength! Herculo puts forth his fiercest moves, but the Man of Steel takes it all in stride. It soon becomes obvious that Superman is the stronger of the two. Not content to leave yet, Superman decides to give the crowd a show in acrobatics and aerial feats.
Jenkins pays a visit to the Performers Tent while Superman wows the audience. He notices the clown trying to wipe something off his hands. Suspicious, Jenkins asks the clown to show his hands, seeing a red paint covering his palms. The clown pushes Jenkins out of the way, running out of the tent in a panic. So focused on getting away, the runaway clown fails to notice Herculo rushing towards him. A single uppercut lays the clown flat.
After Superman changes back into his Clark Kent duds, he wanders to the scene where Lois and Jenkins help make sure the clown doesn’t try to escape again. Clark explains he covered the wad of bills that were stolen earlier in a powder that turns flesh red when touched. The clown was once the circus’ original strongman, until Herculo arrived. Still jealous after all this time, the clown became the Strong-Arm Bandit to try and frame his replacement. Clark had told Jenkins about the powder, and that’s how he was able to tell who the real thief was!