Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen 125, 1969 “Superman’s Saddest Day!”

Alright, look, I’m gonna be straight with you. I might just turn this blog into a crazy Superman blog. OK, I’m not going to do that, but insane Superman stories have become my new obsession. While Marvel was publishing stories about social inequality and Charlton had cool stories of Science Fiction, war, and the Warren magazines were top of the food chain with their edgy, horror stories, then you had DC, on the cusp of a completely new universe thanks to Jack “King” Kirby and his Fourth World (among other ideas), but then still putting out crazy books like this one. Oh don’t get me wrong, I love this type of comic book now (2020), but as a kid, I would’ve thought it was the dumbest book on the rack. Most probably thought so too, as the numbers show people had flocked to Marvel. But, looking back, these silly adventures are a lot of fun and definitely will entertain you!

In the lead story, Jimmy is up to his old shenanigans. He’s on vacation in the Caribbean, and how he can afford a vacation like that nobody knows. He’s scuba diving, and gets caught in some kind of whirlpool that drags him into the depths of the ocean. He sees a sunken ship and a book laying inside it. It’s a book written by Nostradamus, but since its been underwater for so long, almost all of the predictions are faded. He can read one though, and it exclaims that if you can obtain tears from a clown, a king, a criminal, and wait for it…a Kryptonian, you can get an unknown power! So, Jimmy sets out to achieve this goal! An absolutely crazy tale by Leo Dorfman (writer) and Pete Costanza (art)!

The second story “The Spendthrift and the Miser,” shows an out of control Jimmy, spending money like crazy during the day, but then acting like he’s broke at night. At one point, he walks out into the street to pick up a penny and almost gets run over by a car! Superman intervenes and eventually finds out that some crooks have Jimmy hypnotized into doing these insane things. Written by Otto Binder, with art by Curt Swan and Ray Burnley.

Get out there and find a copy of this book (and any of these Silver Age Superman comics), because even if it’s a reader copy, it’ll be worth your time for sure! Cover  by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giant Superman Annual 3, 1961 “The Strange Lives of Superman!”

If you haven’t figured it out by now, crazy comics bring me quite a bit of joy. Mostly Bronze Age comics that were written with a bit of intent as far as the craziness is concerned, but also insane Silver Age stories that were intended to entertain children, but by some stroke of luck or mild intent, they also amuse me to no end. One of the characters at the top of the Silver Age list is definitely Superman. Long before Christopher Reeve donned the cape and tights, and made us believe a man could fly, writers and artists were creating stories and worlds for this character that were very wild and went in every direction. This annual is just one example of the insanity.

 

There are seven magnificent stories in this book, along with several illustrations. The best of these is a schematic of the Fortress of Solitude!

The first story, “The Super-Prisoner of Amazon Island,” doesn’t (unfortunately) feature Wonder Woman, but it does show an island full of Amazon women that have captured the Man of Steel, and are intent on auctioning him off to the highest bidder. Story by Otto Binder, art by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye.

 

Next up is “Superman’s New Face.” We see a scientist with an experiment gone awry. Superman interjects, and saves the man, but the ensuing accident scars Superman’s face badly (the explosion created tiny particles of Kryptonite). Of course he’s too embarrassed to show Lois, but she needs to find out how bad it is! Written by Edmond Hamilton, with art by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye.

 

The third installment gives us a real gem in “The Ugly Superman!” This story is a real winner for Lois, as she befriends a wrestler that dresses like Superman, but then he falls completely in love with her. He even lays a beating on Clark Kent! Written by Robert Bernstein, art by Kurt Schaffenberger.

 

The Lady and the Lion,” is up next, and this might be the gem of the book. And by gem I mean the highest concentration of insanity. In this one, Superman is duped by Circe into drinking a formula that will turn him into a lion if he doesn’t return and agree to be her mate! Written by Otto Binder, art by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye.

 

The following story is, “The Superman of the Future!” This story revolves around Superman helping a local scientist test a time machine. The machine of course has interesting side effects, and Superman growing an enormous brain (maybe) are just part of the shenanigans. Written by Otto Binder, with art by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye.

 

The Oldest Man in Metropolis” is the penultimate story in this crazy book. In this story, Superman refers to himself as “an old duffer who can hardly stand up!” We see Clark Kent doing an interview with an acclaimed scientist. The scientist tells Clark that he’s perfected a formula that will extend human life. The doctor tells him that he intends to try it himself before asking for any volunteers. Clark thinks it would be better if he takes it, because it won’t hurt Superman! He takes it and leaves, then the doctor finds the guinea pigs that he tested it on earlier, and they’ve grown old! Story by Robert Bernstein and art by Al Plastino.

 

 

Finally, we get “The Two Faces of Superman!” In this one, Lois has a blind date with a guy, but wants to chase Superman instead, so she makes herself look less than desirable, so the blind date will take her home early. He does, then the date with Superman commences, but he saw her actions with the blind date and teaches her a lesson! Written by Jerry Coleman and art by Kurt Schaffenberger.

 

 

And check out this back cover! Classic Superman for sure!

 

 

 

 

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen 98, 1966 “The Bride of Jungle Jimmy!”

I felt it was long overdue for a blog post nothing short of ridiculous. Jimmy Olsen marrying a gorilla seemed quite apropos. This story isn’t actually the first one in the book believe it or not. That honor belongs to “The Four Clocks of Doom!” in which Jimmy and Superman must deal with Tempus, and his Doom Clock! Yeah, it’s not that scary, but it is a lot of fun. Jimmy gets a tour of Tempus’s home and it’s hilarious. But lets get back to Jungle Jimmy! Of course the cover doesn’t exactly match the interior story, but Jimmy, Clark, and Lucy Lane find themselves in the jungle while a sleazy movie producer/director (von Spitz) takes advantage of the indigenous peoples naivety. No, Superman doesn’t marry Jimmy and the ape, and in the end, he actually saves him from her (as she’s making advances on him).

The Jungle Jimmy story was written by long time Supes scribe, Leo Dorfman. He wrote a ton of stories during the Silver Age about the boy scout. The artwork is by Pete Costanza, and to be honest, I don’t think I’d ever heard his name before. Looking into his past, he started out at Fawcett, and became an assistant to C.C. Beck. Remarkably, he taught himself to paint left-handed after losing the use of his right arm from a stroke. The Tempus story was written by Otto Binder art by Costanza again. The crazy cover is by Curt Swan and George Klein!

 

 

Action Comics 440, 1974 “The Man Who Betrayed Krypton!”

As December rolls around, the holidays are upon us, and what better superhero to spotlight in the first week than the man of steel himself, Superman! The cover on this one really stands out, and we have long time DC artist Nick Cardy (colors by Tatjana Wood) to thank for it (although it looks very different from his typical work).

Inside we are treated to a very interesting story that involves a gentleman in a cape named Michael J. Coram, as he attempts to recruit two boys for some mysterious means. As Superman is taking care of some villains, we see a flashback of this Coram, as he approaches a man named Woodrow, about to join the Army. The man is a brilliant scientist, and Corman knows he can use this man’s intelligence for nefarious means! What are those means? Why to destroy Superman of course!

If you’ve ever the read the Superman story “For the Man Who has Everything”, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, this story will make you think of that one immediately. Not because they’re exactly the same, but they do have a bit of a parallel theme between them. At least as far as the villain and his method for antagonizing Superman is similar. I won’t spoil it but attacking someone who has an invulnerable physique isn’t easy. Writer Elliot S! Maggin does a great job at giving the Man of Steel a moment of real weakness in this book. The art team of Curt Swan (pencils) and Bob Oksner (inks) deliver a solid visual story for sure!

Nestled in the last few pages, is a really cool back-up story starring the emerald archer himself, Green Arrow! This strange story shows us a cute little dog named Krypto, a bunch of skeevy smugglers, and if that wasn’t enough, we see an out of control Black Canary karate chop Krypto on the neck! Elliot S! Maggin again scripting, and Mike Grell on art is a real treat!

 

 

DC Comics The Superman Family!

A while back I spotlighted the very first issue of this title I bought (#166), because I thoroughly enjoyed how campy the stories are! Typically more adventurous or serious comics catch my eye but the DC comics from the 1960s and early 1970s are absolutely fantastic. Most of the time I get a laugh from the content although that wasn’t the intended purpose back in the time when these were written. Whether it was Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl, Superbaby…or Bizarro, you see some very strange, bizarre, and highly entertaining stories in these books.

All the issues have a good mix and the later issues have a big focus on Supergirl (which is fine by me because I don’t own many comics with her featured in them). For any fan of Silver or Bronze Age wackiness, action, and Super-people, these are the books for you!

 

DC Archive Editions: World’s Finest Comics vol. 3

Thanks to a discount store (Ollie’s Bargain Outlet), I grabbed several great trade paperbacks of DC comics’ greatest characters! My library is very much dominated by Marvel Comics (the first 20+ years of reading/collecting I was a marvel Zombie for the most part), so any time I get the chance to grab some DC material from the Bronze Age (or earlier), I waste no time!

A team up book starring two of the greatest heroes ever in comics (maybe the best ever?) during an era that saw comic books under fire from the U.S. government (the misguided buffoons) gave us some of the most ludicrous stories ever. These stories are still very high in entertainment value, and are incredibly well drawn. Aliens are the big threat throughout this beautiful hardcover but also crooks, magicians, a Bat-Jester, Bat-Mite, Mr. Mxyzptlk, and more! Credits include- Curt Swan, Bill Finger, Dick Sprang, Jerry Coleman, Sheldon Moldoff, and Stan Kaye.

 

 

Wonder Woman #226, 1976 & Superman #191, 1966

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Today brings a double-shot of DC! Why, you ask? Well, because they’re the only two DC books left that I own from the Bronze and Silver Ages, that’s why! The Wonder Woman book features a duel with Hephaestus! Cover by Ernie Chan & Vince Colletta! Interiors by Martin Pasko (writer), and José Delbo (art)! The next book is one of my favorite covers, just because of the nonsensical “oath”, that Supes is forced to recite! Cover by George Klein & Curt Swan. Interiors by Jim Shooter (writer) and Al Plastino (art). Enjoy!

The Superman Family #166, 1974. “The Murdering Arm of Metropolis”

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Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of Superman in the comics. I do love the first two Donner movies, and also the animated series from the 90’s, but the comics just always fell flat for me. Not that I’ve read a ton or anything, but it just doesn’t resonate with me personally. That being said, check out this awesome cover by the late, great, Nick Cardy! Interior work from Jim Mooney, John Forte, and Curt Swan (among others)! Enjoy!