Snapshots of Jimmy Olsen #2: Giant Turtle Boy

Source: Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #53 (1961)
Type: Transformation
Of Jimmy's many transformations, Turtle Boy is probably the most famous. It's Jimmy Olsen as Godzilla, or rather, Jimmy paying tribute to THIS pulp magazine cover:
How many Silver Age convolutions must he put himself through to make that cover happen? Well, let's see. It starts with the Daily Planet trio - Jimmy, Lois and Clark - on a 10-day cruise through the West Indies. I will assume the paper closed down for that period. At a scheduled island stop, Jimmy goes beach-combing and finds a chest with a strange raygun in it. So of course he starts shooting up the place.
It makes things big. Well, cool. Let's bring it along. There's no way it could accidentally go off, right? Not with Jimmy Olsen on the case. Oh right, this is the guy whose signal watch can accidentally go off.
Why does Superman trust him with that thing? So Supes comes back from his super-important mission in space (Clark had by then bowed out of the trip by letting himself get stranded on the island) to chide Jimmy about his poor signal watch skills and oh, by the way, don't fool around with that raygun. But butter fingers will be buttery. No really, his "finger slipped".
The ray goes through Lois' new pet turtle, which goes off into the sea to contaminate the ecosystem, and Jimmy isn't just made a giant, but a Turtle Man as well. Why does the enlarger beam do this? Because it's programmed to pay tribute to that Thrilling Wonder Stories cover! It also allows Jimmy to swim to Metropolis from the freaking West Indies so he can rip a bridge in half. BECAUSE TRIBUTE COVER!!!
And then he's throwing metal scrap into island volcanoes? He got to the Pacific overnight? Siskoid, my friend, stop asking questions! The Navy goes after him and get their subs melted down (worst use of submarines ever - they all float in shallow water where Turtle Boy can pick them up), but there's a good bit where Gamera-Jimmy rips the trans-Atlantic cable out of the ocean floor to rope a battleship.
And that's why long-distance calls to Europe are so expensive. Although the oceans of the DC Universe are so incredibly shallow, laying that cable down isn't nearly as expensive a public works project. Finally, Superman returns.
He punches Jimmy out (must feel good), gives him a massive wedgie (must feel particularly good), and brings him to Atlantis, simply assuming Jimmy can breathe underwater, just like Turtles can (oh wait). Some Lori Lemaris telepathic shenanigans later, we find out this was all the work of exiled Atlantean scientist Goxo, who put his enlarger ray on an island, and waited for some hapless idiot to use it on himself, taking control of the giant monster and using it to stuff metal into a volcano so its island would be covered in a metal sheath, hiding his buried treasure trove... WHATEVER! Superman fixes everything, including shrinking Jimmy back down to size with Brainiac's shrink ray (which somehow takes his mutant turtle DNA away as well).

Over the years, Turtle Boy would be referenced a number of times, whether it was Colossal Boy dressing up as him in Jimmy Olsen #72, or Jimmy getting a terrible job as a kaiju on a kids' TV show in the post-Crisis era, or this nugget from Countdown:
Oh Countdown, you SEEMED to be made of awesome, what happened?


Martin Gray said...

I wonder what happened to the snail. And why Superman didn't adapt the ray to help the shrunken Kandorians. And why journo Clark is so imprecise with his language - Lori isn't a 'former mermaid sweetheart', she's a mermaid former sweetheart.

Plus, Jimmy wasn't even being original in the DCU.

Good old Mort Weisinger and his constantly changing audience.


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