Snapshots of Jimmy Olsen #44: Jimmy Olsen from Jupiter

Source: Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #32 (1958)
Type: Transformation
Yeah, yeah, I'm kicking myself for not keeping "The Wolf-Man of Metropolis" for this Halloween entry, but how about an alien/mummy double-whammy? It'll have to do. The story starts with Jimmy enjoying his favorite science-fiction program, when...
It's only 1958, which perhaps explains why he's confused by the TV cutting from an establishing shot to an interior. Oh, okay, it's because the Jovians show up during the commercial break... and start talking to him directly! They give him instructions which he follows, plugging his TV to various appliances, to humor someone he thinks is an actor he knows who might pull this kind of prank on him. TV stops working; Jimmy goes to bed. The next morning there's a bit of a wardrobe malfunction with his dressing gown and...
With five days to go to somehow land the scoop of the year (it's like the Oscars, people have already forgotten the previous 11 months and 26 days), Jimmy's been turned into a Jovian. But why? Well, the Head Jovian shows up on TV again and tells him they want to colonize an Earth-like planet, but they don't know if their bodies can safely adapt to those conditions. So Jimmy's gonna be a Jovian for a week and test it out. In other words, this could have killed him on the spot. So why is everyone being so friendly when this is OBVIOUSLY a prelude to an invasion of Earth?! I guess Jimmy is just distracted by the nifty mind-reading powers his new species affords him, and the scooping possibilities they've opened up. Realizing he can't go to work looking like a lizard, Jim comes up with a lame story about losing a bet and spends the week dressed up as a mummy. Read my mind, Jimmy: That's a dumb idea!
Speaking of the Academy Awards, Jimmy apparently lunches at the same place as the critic who apparently knows all the winners. You know, from back before some lawyer had to walk around with a briefcase full of winners handcuffed to his wrist. Perry will publish this sourceless information anyway, because the Daily Planet wasn't known for journalistic integrity in the 50s and 60s, and jealous journalist Vince Regan vows not to be beaten by a young pup like Olsen. Haha, both these guys act like Clark and Lois aren't competing for Newsman(person) of the Year. Anyway, Jimmy spends the next couple pages finding trouble with his newfound powers, like a bomb rigged to a prison wall and a mobster on the lam, and Superman gets suspicious as to how Jimmy is making all these amazing guesses. Wary though he is, the Silver Age Man of Steel is still incapable of keeping his ego down:
Ouch! Given away by thoughts of how awesome he is! But though Regan goads him about finding Superman's secret identity, Jimmy will never tell, award or not. Aw. Finding a lost explorer whose location is only known by a random bum will just have to do as a last-minute scoop. He also confronts Superman with his knowledge, but Supes flatly denies it. Jimmy should have read his mind right there, but doesn't, because that would be awkward. What about Regan's scoop? Can it compete? What is it? Well, his chance comes when Jimmy realizes he hasn't bathed in four days and his bandages are getting stinky:
So Jimmy DOES win the award, but competition rules state (apparently) that a journalist can just stand up and claim the prize for himself by shouting out a new and better scoop! Regan is discredited when Superman takes Jimmy's bandages off and he's normal, not having realized a Jovian week is only 5 days, not 7. (Actual Jovian week is probably closer to 3 days, but since weeks are based on lunar cycles, who knows which of Jupiter's moons they're actually using to figure it out. But since we accepted Jupiter could have inhabitants that could live on Earth at the top of the story, why am I trying to understand the science?) And of course, Superman had long peeked at Jimmy with his X-Ray vision and made Superdick arrangements. And so, the Head Jovian - who is NOT planning an invasion of Earth to my great surprise, shame on me for being so cynical - thanks Jimmy by giving him one more shot of mind-reading ability and tells him to go to the movie theater, where...
Of COURSE. The marquee headlines newsfilm of Superman doing stuff, which makes EVERYONE imagine themselves as Superman. And of COURSE, Clark must've seen this propaganda movie. That explains it. Superman's secret identity is safe once more. Except on Jupiter, but he can trust the Jovians, they worship a giant statue of him and everything.

3 comments:

Brendoon said...

These old stories are GOLD!!

Siskoid said...

Must be why the pages tend to yellow ;).

Brendoon said...

Haha!
I also notice two things about these Jimmy tales:
1: they're primarily humour
2: it's not often fists get thrown about.

I enjoy Bruce Willis strutting his stuff and I swallow a steady stream of thriller novels, but I've noticed how often good writing can get away scott free *without any* violent conflict.

It's like a good fight can become the entertainment crutch to prop up a story.

It's also mildly embarrassing to note my hypocrisy: everything I love in those thriller novels I hate in real life. I suspect that if I was to write another comic it would lack the tension to get off the floor!

 

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