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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Jimmy Olsen: The Wilt Chamberlain of His Day

I hate to be the guy who's always harping on about the Legion of Super-Heroes, but as I make my way through the Archives, I'm becoming more and more convinced that those stories were not crafted from words and pictures, but rather some form of concentrated, tangible insanity.

The good kind.

And that's what brings us to tonight's topic, which may very well be the apex of Silver Age Craziness. Yes, it's not just the Legion tonight, folks: Mister Action's in the house, and he's lookin' for love. Behold! I give you...

Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #76

Yeah, that's right: Jimmy tagged Saturn Girl, back when that meant something.

Or did he?! Here's how it all goes down: Our story begins with what may be, pound for pound, the best splash panel in the entire Archive:

Not only has Jimmy's line become my new personal mantra, but the rest of it's even better. Admittedly, it's not exactly up there with Jimmy's little misadventure in the guise of Dick Hunter, Elevator Boy, but it just doesn't stop. If it isn't Saturn Girl claiming to love "every adorable inch of him," it's the intro that claims Triplicate Girl is going to "romance Jimmy like a terrific threesome." And although I can't seem to find an entry for it in Overstreet, Light Lass's dialogue might just be the first appearance of the word "hussy" in comics.

Rest assured, it won't be the last.

Anyway, back in the present--which in this context is forty-two years ago--we find Jimmy preparing for a date with Lucy Lane. He's gone broke getting everything set up for a romantic evening, including a pheasant, champagne cocktails, and a brand new purple smoking jacket, because nothing says "let's go make love heterosexually" than a silken purple robe. Things, as you may imagine, don't quite go off according to plan.

Wow. Lucy's a hateful bitch.

Before long, Sun Boy and Ultra Boy show up in a time-bubble, apparently acting as Jimmy's wingmen--Of The Future!--and drag him off to the 30th century before Lucy can emasculate him any more than she already has. Apparently, his Legion Reservist status requires him to go on a mission every so often.

Two weekends a month. Two weeks a year. In the Legion of Super-Heroes Reserve, You Can!

Anyway, everybody's off chasing down the Brain Globes of Rimbor or whatever, so Jimmy gets partnered up with resident beauties Triplicate Girl, Saturn Girl, and the pretty-but-still-mannish-enough-to-pass-for-her-own-brother Light Lass, and given back his Elastic Lad powers for the duration of his stay in The Future.

Jimmy and Triplicate Girl run into a museum robber, but Jimmy defeats him by elongating his fingers into a maze, trapping him until he passes out, allegedly from "exhaustion." Me, I'm leaning towards the abject horror of being trapped in a labrynth made of Jimmy's rubbery, pulsating flesh. Just typing that sentence gives me the jibblies.

Triplicate Girl, however, is not nearly as squeamish as I am, and is so impressed that she coils herself around Jimmy...

...and lays a smooch on him for his troubles.

The same thing happens with Light Lass when Jimmy's able to save her from a broken monorail, and with Saturn Girl when he elongates his nose to rub against what appears to be Pre-Crisis Strong Sad, at which point the Gals of the Legion--incidentally the top-selling calendar of 2964--have a throwdown over Jimmy's affections.

But alas, before Triplicate Girl gets a chance to rip off Saturn Girl's uniform just as a passing hover-truck full of baby oil swerves to avoid them, it's time for Jimmy to head back to 1964 and his date with a horrid shrew, leaving the girls to laugh and laugh at their masterful trickery:

What?! They weren't really in love with Jimmy?

Of course not. They're the Legion of Super-Heroes. They don't use their fantastic technology to bring you to the future without royally screwing with your head. It's in the charter.

Bonus Feature: How the Legion Makes Decisions

When members of the Legion--who, if you'll remember, have the incredible technology of The Future at their disposal--need to make decisions about who goes on a mission, they don't trust it to anything as crude as a computer or even a pair of dice.

No, they use...

A model of the solar system that spins around until a piece breaks off and bonks one of them in the head.

And they use it with alarming regularity.

More Fun with the Legion:
| Just So You Know... |
| The Crank File: Adventure #303 |
| Just So We're Clear On This... |


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So just why did they trick Jimmy into thinking they were in love with him?

4/06/2006 1:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without pulling my copy of the Archives off the shelf, I think it had something to do with making Lucy jealous as a revenge for her treatment of Jimmy. She was supposed to see the whole thing on a future viewer or something and (realizing she had competition) throw herself at him when he got home. Unfortunately, she fell asleep (or something) and missed the whole thing and refuses to believe Jimmy when he tries to tell her about everything. In other words, the girls were trying to do something nice for Jimmy, sort of, but it backfired.

4/06/2006 1:58 AM

Blogger Steven Hardina said...

I swear to god, one of these days I am making one of those spinning solar system headbonker things for my kitchen table. And probably using it for drinking games.

4/06/2006 2:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Triplicate Girl"? WTF? Sounds like some future-earth secretarial skill.

4/06/2006 9:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently most of the Legion was hardcore, because in the Substitute Heroes special (go Giffen!) they try the planetary chance machine to see who should lead the mission. And apparently, it's like being hit in the face with a two-by-four. Shaped like Saturn. So yeah, drinking games sounds about right.

4/06/2006 9:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For some people, when the Legion girls enter a clubhouse room immune to monitor-snooping and do the Big Reveal, the story ends. For me, it is only just beginning...

4/06/2006 3:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah yes, the planetary chance machine. Thank you so much for refreshing my memory of this sample of futuristic 30th century technology. It's examples like this that truly show how great those original LSH stories are. Please keep hitting that LSH well as much as you want.

LSH lover Kevin S.

4/06/2006 4:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is addressing the obvious, but love a duck, what is up with the practical joker worldview in these Silver Age DC stories? Sociopaths playing with each others emotions for a good chuckle: "Ha! Ha! Looks like you got served, Superman!"(or Jimmy, Lois, Krypto, or who the heckever)

Yeah yeah, it was often for a "good reason". But tell me they weren't just waiting for the next good reason to come down the pike.

Then again, if human interactions weren't screwed nine ways to 2964, we wouldn't have so much primo guffawdder to power these here blog-a-ma-jigs.

4/06/2006 4:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am about to ask my very first Legion of Super-Heroes question ever, so everybody has to take a drink:

I know Color Kid can change green kryptonite other colors. Could he change a red sun yellow?

BTW, I know this is impossible, anyone who answers with any kind of reference to real astrophysics has to take two drinks.

4/06/2006 6:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only can he change the color of the sun, I'm pretty sure he did it at least once, though it may have been turning a yellow sun to red.

4/08/2006 4:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And although I can't seem to find an entry for it in Overstreet, Light Lass's dialogue might just be the first appearance of the word "hussy" in comics.

Not by a long shot. I learned that word from page 3 of Sensation Comics #1 (1942). (A 70s reprint thereof, I should say-- I'm not that old. :-) ) It's the first thing anyone says about Wonder Woman during her first stroll through Washington, just after dropping Steve Trevor off at the hospital.

12/20/2006 8:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Brain Globes are from Rambat. Jo Nah is from Rimbor. Sheesh, someone was getting laid or getting a life when they should have been memorizing their Legion Archives.

12/21/2006 2:32 AM


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