Derby Bowser

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A “one-time bootlegging czar,” released from the state penitentiary in Fall 1944, who decides to capitalize on the wartime rubber shortage by organizing a gang of criminals and entering the bootleg tire racket, hijacking trainloads of tires and stealing them wholesale off people's parked cars-- often in spite of the fact that they are worn out or otherwise defective-- and then selling them to selfish citizens eager to purchase scarce commodities on the booming black market. “Whenever there's a scarcity of something due to law,” explains Bowser to his henchmen, “there are always plenty of smart chiselers who are willing to pay stiff prices in order to get what they want. We’ll supply what they want—but soak them for it.”

The threat to America’s security posed by Bowser and his cohorts is a serious one, but perhaps not so dangerous as that posed by the otherwise patriotic, law-abiding citizens who willingly patronize the black marketeers in spite of the fact that to do so is literally “to sabotage the war effort.”

“What of it?” shrugs businessman Ben Stanger, when Superman accuses him of having purchased bootleg tires from the racketeers. “I’m only one of thousands determined no to let the war upset my everyday conveniences.”

“Nevertheless,” replies Superman, after giving Stanger a short lecture on patriotism, “by patronizing a black market racketeer, you are aiding the Axis.”

Derby Bowser’s henchmen are ultimately apprehended by Superman, but Bowser meets a fate he richly deserves when, as he attempts to escape in an automobile outfitted with some of his own defective bootleg tires, his getaway car suffers a blowout and he is killed in the resulting collision (WF No. 15: “The Rubber Band”).

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