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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Jimmy Olsen's Guide to Life

Rising from the aftermath of Badass Week... Jimmy Olsen!

Yes, in between writing double-sized posts about the Ghost Rider punching people into oblivion last week, I managed to finish reading through DC's Showcase Presents Superman Family Vol. 1, and I've come to the conclusion that, like most Silver-Age Comics, it wasn't actually meant to be entertaining.

That was just a secondary concern. The true purpose was, of course, education, with the adventures of Superman's Pal serving to prepare young men for life by teaching them lessons through the medium of comics. And so, in the interest of the public good (and to fulfill a community service requirement that may or may not be related to my condition while I wrote the aforementioned post about Ghost Rider), I'd like to present a few of The Lessons I Learned From Jimmy Olsen.

1. Stay The Hell Away From Swamis

In no less than three issues in a row, there are stories where Jimmy runs across a suspiciously caucasian guy in a turban--kicking the Swami Encounter Average for Daily Planet employees up to around once every few months--who claims to have some sort of mystical power. And being that these stories were produced under the iron grip of the Comics Code, they are always phonies, and they are always bad news.

Of course, they're not exactly criminal masterminds, either. Take, for instance, the gentleman pictured above, who manages to bilk Jimmy out of twenty-five bucks by convincing him that a ten-cent flute is magic. Now admittedly, a profit of $24.90 in 1954 was no small accomplishment for fifteen minutes' work, but when you realize that his plan also includes a swami costume, extensive dog training, two tickets to the zoo, a blowgun, and at least three darts soaked in an exotic poison that can render both a wolf and a gorilla instantly unconscious with no harmful after-effects, I'm not even sure that money takes him out of the red.

But then again, that's better than doing it just for the sheer cruelty, like when Superman phoned in suggestions for Jimmy Olsen's burgeoning cartoon career under the guise of a Hindu mystic:

"I wanted you to experience the full shock and misery of thinking the Swami's prediction had come true!"

Yeesh. Which brings us to our next lesson:

2. Your Friends Have Your Best Interest At Heart

Just in case you were wondering why your best friend would go through an incredibly elaborate and potentially life-threatening week-long hoax to make you think you had suddenly gained the ability to breathe underwater: He's just looking out for you, bro.

Remember: Friendship means never having to tell anyone the truth about anything if you really don't want to.

3. Ladies, Get Used to Disappointment

...Because even if you're the star reporter for a major Metropolitan newspaper, they're going to make you serve hot chocolate, leaving you to subconsciously plot your revenge in ways both subtle (as pictured above)...

...and head-shatteringly obvious.

BONUS FEATURE: Juvenile Humor Abounds!

From the first-ever Lois Lane solo story, wherein Lois walks out onto a ledge to encourage a lovesick young man to commit suicide, because hey: That's just how she rolls.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just where does Superman get all the hyper realistic dolls that he controls (usually ten at a time) whenever he wants to screw with one of his friends, just how much time does he dedicate to sculting perfect wax replicas of people? How many innocent lives were lost in that time?

On a lighter note I'm just a little way into the Superman Family book and eagerly await Lois beating Jimmy about the head with her heel.

7/10/2006 4:29 AM

Blogger Brandon Bragg said...

I seriously think Superman pulls more pranks in this volume alone than Mxyzptlk did throughout the entire silver age.

7/10/2006 5:55 AM

Blogger joncormier said...

Jimmy's obviously met Hal Jordan.

7/10/2006 8:44 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jimmy Olsen definitely taught me a lesson, but it might have been the wrong one.

7/10/2006 12:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

They should retitle Superman Family to Superman is a Dick and sales will triple.

That was a beautiful, beautiful collection. Otto Binder was one strange dude.

7/10/2006 1:52 PM

Blogger Ferrous Buller said...

Because being Superman means never having to apologize for being an utter dick.

7/10/2006 3:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

super ventriloquism...


i can't wait to see super-whittling, or super-crochet.

3/07/2007 6:51 PM

Blogger JOHNNY ZITO said...

Jimmy Olsen never met a swami he didn't like.

3/08/2007 10:48 AM


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