Snapshots of Jimmy Olsen #48: Jimmy the Genie

Source: Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #42 (1960)
Type: Transformation
This story begins with Superman bringing Jimmy to the Arabian desert so he can have a big scoop - the super-breath uncovering of an ancient tomb archaeologists have never been able to find. X-ray vision makes things easy, and bringing a journo along makes more sense to Superman than to bring actual archaeologists. Don't worry, it's all going to a museum. All except the items Jimmy really really wants to photograph. In his apartment. Because he didn't bring a camera. What.
Among the pilfered items in their little grave-robbing adventure, is a genie's lamp. When Jimmy complains about a toothache, the lamp speaks up and the entity inside asks to be released so it can perform dental surgery on him. Jimmy rubs the lamp, a genie indeed comes out, and his pain is gone. For his next trick, Jimmy asks the magical being to mind control Lucy Lane so she'll go on a date with him(!).
It's a good thing there's no three-wish limit because Jimmy just abuses the genie's powers with ridiculous demands. Like a giant banana split, and magical pictures so he doesn't have to do any real work.
Whoops, what? It seems like if you say the word "Kill", you become the enslaved djinn! (I expect the genie had written it on the blackboard by the second panel to implant it in Jimmy's mind.) I guess it makes sense if you want to prevent someone from using the genie as an assassin, except it doesn't really work because it's not the word "Kill", it's the SOUND "Kill", as we'll discover. Which has got to make you ask questions about what language this guy was speaking back during the Arabian Nights. Anyway, the released genie, now Jimmy's master is a right villain, and he wants wealth beyond compare. First a castle, next a million dollars.
Note to Silver Age writers: Is there really ANY point in making sure the signal watch is intact and somehow immune to magic (when Superman is just as alien and actually VERY susceptible to magic), if Jimmy's not going to use it in the story? At least he knows how genies should behave, i.e. screw over their masters with their badly worded wishes. The castle is soon destroyed by a shower of a million silver dollars. Similarly, when Jimmy is asked to create a mountain of gold, he puts it... in the middle of a plane route?!
If your plan is to call Superman to action by creating a problem he can't ignore... WHY DON'T YOU JUST USE YOUR SIGNAL WATCH?!!! Maybe not risk a plane crash here? Superman doesn't even intervene in person, he's so far away, he must shoot his heat vision around the curvature of the Earth (unless Metropolis is a lot closer to the North Pole than we think) to vaporize the mountain in time. Arguing with Abdul later, Jimmy lets the cat out of the bag concerning Superman and the Fortress of Solitude, so of course, the villain wishes the destruction of the Fortress (and all the Superman robots inside). That fails because Jimmy's earthquake solution gives Superman time to lift the Fortress up from the ground. But how do you get rid of Superman when you can't include "Kill" in your wish? Well, plenty of ways since "kill" has synonyms, but...
A clever loophole. You're not asking anyone to kill anyone, you're just asking them to become poison, then to lure Superman there. And it works, Superman's dead. Now for a celebratory movie night!
Like Jimmy's very own Mxyzptlk, defeating Abdul is all about making him say the magic word. Dr. JeKILL & Mr. Hyde, haha, get it? Abdul becomes a genie again and can be sent back to the lamp. But what about Superman? Wish him back to life. Well no, that would be admitting Silver Age Superman had been defeated. Rather, Superman had been listening in since Jimmy created an air traffic disaster and so had time to program a robot to die by kryptonite poisoning and send it to "die". Oh Superman, you're so clever. *eye roll*


Anonymous said...

Sounds bonkers fun!


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