Religion: compulsive gambler
Name: unnamed gambler
Classification: supporting character
First Appearance: Action Comics (vol. 1) #16 (Sep. 1939): "Superman and the Numbers Racket"
Creators: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster
Number of Appearances: 1
Note: Superman told him to stop gambling
An unnamed gambler is featured on page 8 of Action Comics #16. Superman's encounter with the gambler is intended to further illustrate the problems and misery caused by gambling and the reasons Superman is waging war against the evil practice in Metropolis.In panel 1 we read: "Down to Earth streaks the Man of Steel, beside a ramshackle residence."
Panel 2: He is about to move on, but pauses as voices raised in heated altercation rach his ears . . ."
Superman thinks: "Hm-m! This may prove worth listening to!"
Panel 3: "Within the house . . ." A tired woman, cooking a meal while surrounded by clearly impoverished surroundings, says to her sitting husband, "I tell you, if you throw out any more of your money on horse racing or the numbers racket, I'll leave you! I mean it!"
The husband replies, "Honest, Honey! I won't throw away my payroll on gambling any more. Believe me, please!"
Panel 4: "Later . . . as the man emerges from his home, he is trailed." We see Superman carefully following the man as he heads out. Superman thinks, "I think I'll check up on him and see if he sticks to his resolutions!"
Panel 5: "The errant husband glances guiltily about him before slipping into a neighborhood barber shop . . ."
Panel 6: A man in the barber shop writes down a man's bet on a pad of paper, saying, "How much'll you bet today?"
The errant husband answers, "Make it five bucks . . . an fergoshsakes . . . keep it quiet! If my wife should find out!"
Panel 7: Superman enters the scene and holds out his hand toward the errant husband. He demands, "Quick! Hand over your watch!"
The errant husband, who is clearly a compulsive gambler, says, "A holdup, eh?"
Panel 8: Superman takes the man's pocket watch and crushes it with his super strength. Superman tells the man, "See how easily I crush your watch in my palm? If you don't quit gambling I'll look you up and give your neck the same treatment!"
The gambler responds, "I get it! Y-- You're that fella Superman I've been readin' so much about! Leave me alone! I'll cut it out . . . I will!!"
Superman lets the gambler leave. After all, the man claimed he would cut out his gambling, which has clearly been impoverishing his family. But will he really stop gambling. Superman is apparently unaware of how difficult it can be for compulsive gamblers to stop. Based on how real-world gamblers behave, it is unlikely that the "errant husband" will actually stop gambling simply because Superman threatens his life.
Perhaps knowing some of this, Superman is not content to simply threaten gamblers to stop. He wants to shut down the illegal gambling operations themselves in order to deprive gamblers of the opportunity to gamble at all. Can such a plan succeed? Superman spends the rest of this issue trying to end all of the city's gambling, starting with the illegal operation run out of the barber shop he is already at.
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