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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sort of Like a Love-In, But Much More Hateful

What's this?!

"Kiss the rings, Chief!"

Jimmy Olsen as a freaked-out hairy peacenik slugging it out with erstwhile editor Perry White?! That can mean only one thing:


Not a Hoax! Not an Imaginary Story!
Kind of a Dream, But Not Really!

Virtually every single issue of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen involves Jimmy turning against Superman and trying to murder him, but this particular one is easily distinguished by the fact that it revolves around Jimmy's ability to grow ZZ Top-esque levels of facial hair in the space between panels. And this time, he betrays us all by becoming a filthy hippie, although really: Those ruffled sleeves are fan-tas-tic.

Yes, in an Otto Binder/Pete Costanza story that I'm reasonably sure cribbed the plot of a Get Smart episode that guest-starred F-Troop's Larry Storch, Perry White sends jimmy to "mingle with the hippies" at Guru Kama's Dream-Land Pad For Truth-Seeking Hippies.

And hilarity, as they say, ensues.

Jimmy quickly finds himself in a world of unwashed men smoking hand-rolled cigarettes interviewing Guru Kama, who--in the grand tradition of Jimmy's adventures--is hiding from the cops, keeping a low profile by starting a movement, writing a book, and letting a reporter into his compound for the purposes of writing a feature story in a major metropolitan newspaper.

Criminal Genius Status: CONFIRMED

The Guru, of course, has a plan to use Jimmy as a weapon against Superman, and offers him the commune's signature transcendental experience, The Dream Ride. It works like this: Jimmy lays down on a swanky couch while three hippie chicks scatter him with exotic flowers, which then give off fumes and, at least in theory, allow him to enter a dream state that will allow him to experience his darkest desires.

Surprisingly, the flowers don't actually cause him to hallucinate, marking the first time that's ever happened in a commune. Instead, it's all an elaborate ruse to convince Jimmy he's dreaming so that they can trick him into killing superman. We can learn something from this:

Not only is Jimmy completely unable to tell his dreams from reality (which, admittedly, is a little difficult in a world of super-apes who shoot kryptonite lasers out of their eyes), but his lack of perception extends to the point where he doesn't notice the Guru and his henchmen bringing a motorcycle into the room.

The Observational Skills That Made the Daily Planet Famous

This is probably why Jimmy broke so many amazing stories and brought down the lumberjack mafia, and yet never made it past the rank of Cub Reporter.

Surprisingly enough, Jimmy wastes no time in succumbing to his darkest urges, riding over to the Daily Planet building and punching Perry White square in the jaw for not giving him a raise, then ruining Lucy Lane's date with another guy. Admittedly, as far as the depths of one's soul goes, it's not exactly Heart of Darkness or anything, but man. What a jerk.

Next up is a plan for a "Hate In" that makes even less sense than anything else in this story, wherein Jimmy and the rest of the hippies paint signs about how they hate love, money, working, themselves, and--in Jimmy's case--Superman, with the intent to turn them around and show that they actually love those things instead. But here's the kicker: When the moment comes and Superman comes to the park to check out their bizarre little protest and Jimmy turns the sign around, it says that he hates Superman on both sides!

Apparently, the Guru's banking on a fatal case of heartbreak, but in the oddest twist yet, it's not even really Superman, but rather the Guru himself in disguise. And for the record, let's go through that one more time:

Jimmy's carrying a sign that's supposed to say "We Love Superman!" on one side. The side that is, in case you missed it facing him. And he doesn't realize it's been switched for one that says something else. See above notes on Jimmy's perceptive abilities for further discussion.

Anyway, it all culminates in the Guru's plan to have Jimmy kill Superman by wearing a string of love beads that are in actuality made from a Kryptonian child's marble collection that was turned into Kryptonite when the planet exploded.

This is, to say the least, problematic, even if you're willing to accept that a dog, a city, and at least two monkeys survived the world-shattering destruction of Krypton, because honestly: Marbles?

A few incidents of reasonably tenuous science later, and Jimmy finally realizes that he hasn't been dreaming for the last eight pages, just in time to save Superman from the ignominious defeat of being murdered by a bunch of hippies, thanks to the timely application of, and I promise you this is what happens, leaded gasoline.

Superman throws a car around, Jimmy complains about some stains on his pants, the Guru and his nameless henchman are captured, and everybody goes home for the day.

But not before a delicious helping of Sweet Revenge.


Perry White don't shiv.

More Dubious Fun With Superman's Pal:
| Jimmy Olsen: Chick Magnet... Of The Future! |


Blogger Brandon Bragg said...

Two-fisted journalism indeed. And he keeps smoking the whole time! I, so badly, want to read "Superman's Boss, Perry White"

6/15/2006 3:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to see "Jimmy Olsen: WTF's up with this guy?"

It'd make faaaaaaaar more sense as a book then "Supermans Pal."

6/15/2006 3:37 AM

Blogger Cap'n Neurotic said...

Y'know, I've seen that Hippie Jimmy Olsen cover posted all over the place, and have often wondered what the actual story inside was like. . . that exceeded all of my expectations by far.

Of course, it still can't compare to my all time favorite quote from the Kirby era: "Someone's bred a giant rampaging Jimmy Olsen!"

They just don't write 'em like that anymore

6/15/2006 9:46 AM

Blogger jblackstone said...

I just love that immage of hippie-Olsen getting slugged by "The Man" Perry White. We need more comics with panels of hippies getting wht they deserve.

6/15/2006 10:55 AM

Blogger Richard said...

Someone needs to explain to me why Jimmy is dressed as Number Six from The Prisoner in this story.

And may I add, Jimmy and Superman have a much better relationship with hippies in Jimmy Olsen #137...

6/15/2006 1:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I lived in the Jimmy Olsen universe.

3/21/2007 3:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to learn that "Life is but a go-go dream" song and I want to do the Dream Drag.


6/14/2010 5:27 PM


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