Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #76

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #76 (April 1964)
title: Elastic Lad Jimmy and his Legion Romances
writer: Jerry Siegel
artist: John Forte
cover: Curt Swan and George Klein
editor: Mort Weisinger

Supporting Cast
Lucy Lane

Mission Monitor Board
Light Lass, Saturn Girl, Sun Boy, Triplicate Girl, and Ultra Boy

I am not sure...Lucy? The female Legionnaires? 

Jimmy is very excited for his date with Lucy but things quickly go south.
Lucy makes fun of Jimmy's Hugh Hefner robe and complains that his Champagne is sour. She also is not happy with the pheasant he prepared for dinner, comparing it unfavorably to the delicious hummingbird the Sultan of Ramnipur served her at his palace. (Hummingbird?)
All in all this is a pretty horrible date.

Thankfully for Jimmy, his nightmare date is interrupted by a visit from Sun Boy and Ultra Boy. They tell Jimmy it is important that he return with them to the 30th century but reject Lucy's request to join them because she is not a Legionnaire.
Jimmy is greeted by Light Lass, Saturn Girl, and Triplicate Girl. He learns that the Legion Constitution requires honorary members to take part in Legion activities at least twice a year or they lose their membership.
It is amazing how important Jimmy appears to be to the Legion in these stories.

Jimmy's first assignment is to help Triplicate Girl deliver an invaluable Venusian idol safely to the AstoMuseum. They are confronted by a thief possessing three destructo-bombs. Triplicate Girl disposes of the bombs, and Jimmy uses his powers to trap him in a human labyrinth.
I have to call shenanigans on that maze he creates. There is just no way Jimmy could stretch his fingers that far. Or they would be paper thin if he could. I know I have to buy into a lot to get this far (time travel, elastic powers, cute Legionnaires crushing on Jimmy), but this is just too much.

Jimmy accompanies Light Lass on a monorail tour of the city because there has been a rash of sabotage. As they speed along, they notice a large section of the rail is missing. Jimmy uses his powers to become a living rail while Light Lass makes the passengers super light-weight to allow the monorail to pass.
As goofy as this story is, I like that Light Lass is an active participant in saving the day, rather than Jimmy acting alone. Of course, how quickly she gives Jimmy instructions on what to do also provides a hint that things may not be what they seem.

Jimmy goes with Saturn Girl to welcome a starship bringing various space creatures to an Earth zoo. One cage cracks open and the creatures run amok. Saturn Girl is able to stop most of them with her powers, except for one, because its sword nose is giving off electrical static interference. Jimmy is able to extend his own nose and rub it against the creature, which calms it down.
Well, this one is especially weird. What made Jimmy think rubbing noses would help? Does he study 30th century alien animals? Of course, Saturn Girl falls for him as well...but why? Its hard to imagine the nose rubbing display would make him look that attractive to a woman.

They return to Legion headquarters and the Legionnaires find themselves in jealous battle over Jimmy. He does not want to be the source of conflict among the team and decides to return to his own time.
Yep, Saturn Girl, Triplicate Girl, and Light Lass are fighting over Jimmy. But wait...once he leaves the girls burst out laughing over the fact that he thought they had all fallen for him. At this point, without the explanation that we will soon get, that panel of the girls laughing is hilarious in how cruel it makes them appear.

The girls explain that they only pretended to "flip" over Jimmy because they saw Lucy treating him badly. They knew Lucy would view the adventure over the monitor in Jimmy's home and thought she might appreciate him more after this.
This leaves me with so many questions. Why were the Legionnaires watching Jimmy's date to begin with? Is Jimmy that big a deal? Do they sit around watching personal life events of Jimmy on a regular basis? And this is an incredibly elaborate plan just to teach Lucy to be nicer to Jimmy. They brought him 1000 years into the future and staged 3 emergencies. They went so far as to hire an actor, risk a monorail accident, and let loose a pack of wild animals. And now Jimmy is left convinced that all 3 of them have feelings for him. That seems like something that could cause problems down the road.

Back in the present, Jimmy finds that Lucy has been napping the entire time and missed his adventure in the 30th century. He tries to tell her what happened, but she laughs off his "imaginary" romances. The Legionnaires witness what happened and realize they went to all that trouble for nothing.
All that for nothing! That last panel troubles me a bit because there is an implication that the three Legionnaires really do feel some attraction towards Jimmy. Which I guess would at least provide some justification for why they would go to such elaborate lengths as they did here.
Staging pranks to teach someone a lesson was a pretty common trope in Silver Age Superman comics, especially in the Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane books. Unfortunately, the Legion is somewhat of an awkward fit to this type of story. For sheer humor, it makes for a fun read, but the story admittedly does not stand out as a high point in the team's early years. 


  1. I think they were watching Jimmy just to make sure that the coast was clear to send in the time bubble. Of course, Jimmy is a pretty fascinating character. Hasn't the existence of a "Jimmy Olsen Museum" been established.

  2. That sounds familiar although I cannot recall when it was shown. Museums were pretty big in those days. Superheroes like Superman and Flash had museums dedicated to them, plus so many characters had their small museums/souvenir rooms themselves.