Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #133 (1970)
Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #133 (October, 1970)
“Jimmy Olsen Superman’s Pal Brings Back the Newsboy Legion!”
Writer/Artist – Jack Kirby
Inker – Vince Colletta
Cover Price: $0.15
Hey, now there’s an iconic cover! This is a series I’ve been wanting to try and tackle for a little while now… and couldn’t think of a better issue to go with than the grand arrival of The King!
So let’s get ready to check out some klassic Kirby goodness! Well, all except the altered faces I guess. A-hem… let’s get to it!
We open with our man Jimmy Olsen checking out a garage in the slums in search of what is referred to as a “Miracle Car”. He is greeted by a crew of wise-mouthed youngsters, who… if the title didn’t already give it away, are the Newsboy Legion. The “Miracle Car” in question is the Whiz Wagon. After checking out the wheels, Jimmy (along with we readers) are properly introduced to the Newsboys… who are, in fact, all related to the originals from the 1940’s! Evidently, Jimmy is here because they will be helping him enter the “Wild Area”.
We shift scenes to the office of a brand-new character… the President of Galaxy Broadcasting System, Morgan Edge! He’s kind of a jerk… actually, he’s a flat-out jerk. He is currently meeting with one Clark Kent who has expressed a bit of worry about Jimmy’s safety in the “Wild Area”. Edge explains that the “Hairies” in the Wild Area won’t trust anyone over 25… so Jimmy’s the best lad for the gig.
Clark leaves, but fearing he’s still too curious about the Jimmy-job, Morgan makes a phone call… wherein he arranges for, get this, Clark to be killed! Wow, that’s pretty hardcore, right? Anyhoo, Clark steps off the curb… and right into the path of a car! Yeesh… Morgan Edge don’t mess around! Luckily, (spoiler alert) Clark Kent is secretly Superman, so this doesn’t do much more than tip him off that his hunch might just have something to it.
Elsewhere, Jimmy and the Newsboys have loaded into the Whiz Wagon, and have taken flight toward the Wild Area. We learn that the Wagon is a true Air, Land, and Sea type vehicle here when they land. Little do they know, however, that they are being watched by… Doctor Doom? Well, a dude wearing his mask anyway… and another armored fella who might have dreadlocks. Once the boys are safely on the ground, these two characters give chase.
The Wagon continues through all sorts of unfriendly terrain (courtesy of the masked men), giving the lads the opportunity to demonstrate some of the sweet on board lasers and whatnot. They wind up on a very smooth slab of stone… and that’s where their travels end. Ya see, the ground is magnetized and they ain’t going anywhere. Jimmy and company deboard, and prepare for a fight. Flipper Dipper does his frogman thing to sneak around behind the baddies… from there, we find ourselves in the midst of quite the little scuffle. The boys narrowly eek out a win here, with Jimmy landing the final blow.
As Doctor Doom hits the ground, Jimmy and the boys find themselves surrounded by the
Dreadnoks Outsiders. These Outsiders are presumably some of the “Hairies” that Morgan Edge was talking about… and not Batman’s team of misfit characters, nor our friends from 1st Issue Special. Anyhoo, Jimmy is all “take me to your leader”, and is surprised to find that… Doctor Doom was their leader… and by knocking him out, the new leader of the Outsiders is… Jimmy Olsen!
We shift to Clark Kent’s apartment where he is checking in with Morgan Edge. Since he, ya know… got hit by a car and all, Clark asks for… the day off. Sounds fair, right? Still worried about Jimmy, Clark changes clothes and heads toward the Wild Area. He comes across that smooth slab from earlier, and finds that it opens… and so, he travels inside. Once there, he comes across… well, a hippie!
The hippie tells Superman that although he digs his threads, he’s not wanted here, maaaan. He’s in the middle of meditating, and so he releases noxious gases to drive Superman away… it’s really not as disgusting as it sounds.
Superman decides discretion is the better part of… breathing, and so he continues on his merry way. He next walks into a crew of hunters… who are hunting his “species” today. Uh huh. One goofball unloads his rifle right into Superman’s chest, before realizing he wasn’t just some schmo in a costume. Whoops.
The Hunters don’t hang around long… they scare pretty easy. Between seeing Superman and hearing the roar of motorcycles nearby, they scurry away with the quickness. Superman turns to see… the Outsiders, along with their new leader, Jimmy Olsen!
They surround the Man of Steel, and Olsen proceeds to talk some trash. It’s really hard to take him seriously wearing those wacky shades! He tells Superman that he’s in the middle of a dangerous assignment, and no matter what his “pal” says, he’s not backing out. One of the Outsiders, one called Yango holds up a firearm, and before Jimmy can stop him… shoots Superman with, get this… Kryptonite! Did anyone not have Green K back in the pre-Crisis days? Did they sell the stuff in vending machines? Anyhoo, as Superman hits the ground, Jimmy expressed disappointment with his trigger-happy charge.
Superman wakes up some time later, and finds himself surrounded by the Newsboys. Big Words just happens to have some pills that will neutralize the “K effect”. Now that’s lucky, right? They then welcome Superman… to Habitat!
Jimmy and the Outsiders enter… but they come in peace. Jimmy knows he needs Superman for his true assignment… finding the Mountain of Judgment! He rolls out a map, and Yango tries filling Superman in on their hopeful destination. It’s pretty funny here, Jimmy tells his subordinate to be quiet… and he’s got just the most smug and disgusted look on his face. Too funny.
Superman does not like the sound of all this… in fact, now he wants to stop Jimmy even more! Before he can grab the lad by his collar however, the Earth begins to quake! Yango suggests that the Mountain is beginning to move. Jimmy peers outside and sees amazing lights in the distance, and so he orders his men to their rides!
Now, where has this wacky book been my entire life?
I remember when I was younger and learned that both Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen had their own (long-running) series… and I thought that was insane. I really couldn’t wrap my head around such a thought. Later on, when I learned that after Jack Kirby left Marvel for DC, one of the titles he took on was… Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, I couldn’t believe it! Why would the man who helped create the entire Marvel Universe be put on Jimmy Olsen? Seems crazy at first blush, right? I suppose it’s all about the context of the thing… and back then, I guess I didn’t really have any.
Before we get into our unpacking and attempt at analysis… let’s consider, just for a moment… Jack Kirby… trying to concoct this strange “hip” dialogue. I struggle with the idea that the King is writing some of this… I mean, it’s there, so I know it happened… but the thought of him writing about Superman’s costume being “definitely in the groove” and Superman telling a hunter that he better “dig” something… I dunno, that just scratches me in a place I didn’t know itched! So much fun… maybe too much!
Now, is an important issue for more than the King’s arrival… it’s here that we meet Morgan Edge, the new Newsboys, the Whiz Wagon, and Habitat. Let’s start with Edge… man, what a jerk! I knew he was kind of a jackass from later on… but I gotta admit, him resorting to straight up calling in a hit on one of his employees at the drop of a hat… that’s just cold-blooded.
The new Newsboys are a neat callback to Kirby’s previous time at DC/National. I think it’s pretty amazing he was able to reach back into his own archives and turn a silly concept into something contemporary and… well, still silly… but not so silly that it feels out of place. The Whiz Wagon adds to the silliness, sure… and it feels a lot like the Fantasticar… but still neat to see it’s first appearance here.
Habitat is neat to see because it was a part of my first ever Superman story. During the Death of Superman storyline, Superman and Doomsday fight their way through Habitat… destroying it. I think I may have attributed an inflated level of importance to the place because of that… but, either way… I probably smiled a bit too hard seeing it here, for the first time.
The story itself… was silly, but great. The idea that Jimmy Olsen is going to run an outlaw motorcycle club is amazingly wacky… and would likely (and sadly) not work if tried today. Watching Jimmy sock a Doctor Doom lookalike was pretty neat, as was seeing the Newsboys in action. It’s strange to consider how much fun the Jimmy bits were… that it actually made Superman feel stodgy and boring. If this book were my only experience with Superman… I probably wouldn’t like Superman.
Overall… I think for DC fans, this is must-reading. Not only for the importance of Jack Kirby’s grand arrival post-Marvel Revolution, but for a pretty neat story which leads directly into the introduction of one of DC Comics’ top supervillains… Darkseid. Unfortunately, somehow, it doesn’t look like this has been made available digitally.
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Hey! I just wrote about the Newsboy Legion…in an undisclosed location :shifts eyes: