Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Average Day of a Newspaper Reporter

Perry White fires or threatens to fire Jimmy Olsen an awful lot, but Jimmy always ends up staying with the Daily Planet. This is just as well, because if he ever had to look for another job, I'm pretty sure his resume would be roughly the size of the unabridged War and Peace.

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #83 (March 1965) provides evidence of this. It shows that even setting aside whatever role Jimmy may have had in other Superman books, we can see he has a busy month. He prevents Metropolis from being looted by thieves, visits an alien planet and helps foil a mass murder attempt. Any one of those accomplishments are worth mentioning when hunting for a new job.

"The Nostradamus of Metropolis" involves (apparently) the real Nostradamus, who was put to sleep by a magic spell and only now wakes up. He meets Jimmy and then starts making odd predictions: All the water in Metropolis will freeze; all the trees will suddenly fly into orbit; etc. When these come true, everyone immediately believes Nostradamus when he predicts the city will be destroyed by an earthquake. But it's all a trick--a crook working with Luthor is using a power crystal to make the weird predictions come true so that they can loot the city after the populace flees.

It's Jimmy who saves the day, realizing the guy is a fake after seeing him recognize and use a piece of modern technology. Superman traps the gang and the day is saved. Oddly, the normally verbose Luthor has no dialogue.

"The Great Miss Universe Contest" is one of those stories where providing a plot summary simply can not do justice to the glorious silliness of the tale. Suffice to say that Perry White is accidentally rendered invisible, Jimmy falls for a girl who turns out to be an alien, then gets taken to another planet and turned into a protoplasmic creature. Fortunately, Invisible Perry rescues him and brings him home.

Apparently, piloting a flying saucer across interstellar space is something Perry can list on his resume.

"Jimmy Olsen's Captive Double" begins when the Daily Planet staff receives a bomb threat while Superman is away on a mission in space. But the Daily Planet staff has an established procedure for this sort of thing: call the Kandorian L.A.S. (Look Alike Squad) to take their place until the bomber is caught. Since the Kandorians have superpowers while under a yellow sun, the bomber can't hurt them.

But it's all a trick. Ar-Rone, Perry White's double, is a traitor working with the Superman Revenge Squad to kill the Look Alikes. He uses a Super-Hypnotic beam to command Jimmy to kill the Squad. Jimmy promptly does so.

Except that's a trick also! Kandor's Espionage Squad had been on to Ar-Rone all along and the whole Mad Bomber thing was just a sting to get him to give himself away.

And, remember, this all happened within the space of a single month. Jimmy was doing this sort of thing all the time.

I wrote once before that I think of Jimmy Olsen as the Johnny Appleseed or Paul Bunyon of the DC Universe, living out stories that are tall tales even within the confines of a comic book universe. At their best, the Jimmy Olsen stories stretched Comic Book Logic to its breaking point, but never failed to entertain us. These yarns are textbook examples of pure fun.

{Writer and Artist credits for this issue can be found HERE.}

1 comment:

  1. Perfect description: tall tales. No wonder I loved these as a kid. Don't question the logic or physics, just enjoy the fun of the telling.


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