Sidekick In The Head

By James DiGiovanna

WITH MARVEL COMICS filing for bankruptcy, and a general dearth of good material on the stands this week, it's time to look in the used bins for precious gems from the innocent past. It is here we find the greatest joy for the true comic geek: vintage issues of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen. Hailing from the worst period of comic book writing, D.C.'s so-called Silver Age, these magazines feature the best covers ever to grace the newsstand. Some classics include an image of Jimmy Olsen playing a bugle and hitting a goat-skin drum as pale-skinned, ancient Egyptian teeny-boppers go into paroxysms of delight while Superman thinks "Great Krypton! Jimmy has started a Beatle craze here in the ancient past. He's become as popular as Ringo!"; or a bearded Jimmy Olsen, surrounded by a throng of angry flower children, throwing mud at Superman above the psychedelicly lettered title "Hippie Olsen's Hate-In!"; or my personal favorite, "The World of 1000 Olsens!" where Superman shouts, "How do I know you're the real Jimmy? Maybe you're as phony as this elastic Olsen!" This series reached its delightful nadir under the incompetent authorship of comic book legend Jack Kirby, whose run on the title featured a series of guest appearances by Don Rickles and his evil twin Goody Rickles. Best of all, very few people have the refined sensibility needed to appreciate these masterpieces, so they're readily available at far less than the price of the latest issue of Large-Breasted Mutant Woman and the Kill-Bots.

Old issues of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen are available in used bookstores and comic book shops everywhere. TW

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