Much ballyhoo has long been made that the Golden Age of Comic Books began with the publication of Action Comics #1 and Superman's first appearance therein. While it's true that Superman was the major selling point and was the break-away character whose soon-to-be-burgeoning-popularity would spark the Super Hero revolution to come over the next decade (and well into today for that matter), there was another Super Hero that made his debut in that very same issue.
Zatara, the Magician! I find it a little ironic (though not a lot, really) that, later in the Superman mythos, the only other thing beside Kryptonite that could affect him was magic. The power held by the character who shared his debut.
Zatara was really just a rip off of Mandrake the Magician from the newspapers. He dressed the same and even had a big mook of a sidekick named Tong to assist him, much like Mandrake's Lothar. In this debut story, the only real differences are the color of the lining of his cape (Mandrake's is red) and Zatara is sans moustache. The moustache later came though.
The real difference is that while Mandrake's magic was all centered around his knack for quick hypnotism of his subjects to create illusions, Zatara actually had magical powers. His spells are cast by saying his commands backwards.
Reminds me of this Steve Goodman song:
OK. Enough dissertation. While Superman's premier story has been re-printed and re-printed over and over, the Zatara story hasn't. Here it is to read for yourself, "The Mystery of the Freight Train Robberies"!
Zatara's arch enemy...the beautiful and ruthless Tigress! You can tell she's the Tigress by her stripedy shirt:
You can tell The Tigress is evil. She kicks a man when he's down.
If you don't count Sargon the Sorceror. Or Ibis the Invincible. Or Doctor Fate. Or...
Oh hell. Let's face it. Zatara is best remembered for just 3 things.
1. He was a rip off of Mandrake.
Yes. But, "Hubba Hubba" who cares! Check out them gams!