A "receiver and fence for stolen goods" and "loathsome corrupter of youth" who viciously lures underprivileged youths into working for him as thieves; forces them to endure all the risks of arrest and incarceration while keeping for himself the lion's share of their loot; callously abandons them in the event they are arrested; and even informs on them to the police once he feels that they have become expendable. Put out of business by Superman in January 1939, Gimpy is important in the chronicles less as a villain than as the man responsible, albeit indirectly, for the remarkable crusade against juvenile delinquency and the slum conditions which produce it that is undertaken by Superman during this period.
Convinced that the rampant juvenile delinquency about which society professes such concern is caused mainly by the stifling slum environment in which many city youths must dwell, Superman sets to work to ameliorate the problem, first by persuading Gimpy's youthful proteges to abandon crime and delinquency in favor of lives of honesty according to the Superman code, and then by addressing himself to the deplorable conditions of poverty and neglect that he views as the basic cause of their delinquent behavior. "...It's these slums—your poor living conditions," muses Superman, "—if there was only some way I could remedy it--!"
Then, as luck would have it, the headline on a local newspaper catches Superman's eye. "Cyclone hits Florida," it screams. "Cities laid waste!" The story beneath the headline details plans by the U.S. government to erect modern housing projects on the sites of buildings destroyed by the cyclone.
Inspired by the newspaper article, Superman passes the word to the residents of the city's slums to gather up their possessions and evacuate their homes immediately. Then, with the dilapidated slum dwellings safely emptied of their occupants, he whirls through the area like "a one-man cyclone," single-handedly demolishing every structure in sight with the hammerlike blows of his mighty fists. "So the government rebuilds destroyed areas with modern cheap-rental apartments, eh?" says Superman to himself. "Then here's a job for it—When I finish, this town will be rid of its filthy crime-festering slums!"
Superman's radical approach to slum clearance, however, does not endear him to the authorities, and as word of of his devastation spreads, scores of policemen and firemen, a contingent of National Guardsmen, and finally "a squadron of aerial-bombers" are ordered into the disaster area with orders to annihilate Superman and put an end to the destruction. But the machine-gun bullets of the National Guardsmen merely bounce off Superman's chest like pebbles, and the bombs unleashed by the bombers serve only to hasten the completion of his remarkable task.
Nimbly, he races thru [sic] the streets, explosions dodging his footsteps as the frantic aviators seek desperately to eliminate him...
And then finally, his task completed, "SUPERMAN vanishes from sight. Behind him he leaves what were formerly the slums, but now a desolate shambles...."
Soon afterward, as Superman had anticipated, the federal government initiates a campaign of massive aid in the disaster-stricken area. "Emergency squads commence erecting huge apartment-projects...and in time the slums are replaced by splendid housing conditions."
Officially, of course, this unauthorized act of slum demolition has made an outlaw of Superman, but even the authorities are privately elated. "...We'll spare no effort to apprehend SUPERMAN, vows the police chief, "--but off the record...I think he did a splendid thing and I'd like to shake his hand!" (Act No. 8) (See Detective Captain Reilly) (TGSB)