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!

 

 

 

 

From Beyond the Unknown 23, 1973 “The Secret of the Man-Ape!”

Sometimes when I see a cover, I know it is going to be absolutely crazy. Honestly, in the last few years, that’s mostly what I’m looking for in a new (to me) comic. A comic with a gorilla holding a librarian at gunpoint? There’s a name for that- pure gold. Three reprint stories from the Silver Age are entombed inside, so let’s get cracking!

The first (and best) tale, is the cover story. We see a scientist using a machine to try and turn a gorilla into a human. The captions and images show us that years ago, a civilization of gorillas dominated the Earth, and that aliens were watching this and wanting to conquer Earth, sent a spy, but not in their more humanoid forms, but as a gorilla. After some miscalculations aboard the spaceship, the “gorilla” alien guy winds up in modern times where man rules, and not gorillas.

Pretty much shenanigans ensue for the rest of the story, but the highlight is or sure the gorilla-alien guy using his telepathy to tell a librarian to give him some classic novels (not at gunpoint as the cover shows). A little bit of a bait and switch there, but still, the story is comical, and extremely strange. Story/script by Otto Binder, art by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella.

The next two stories are from the mind of Gardner Fox. First, “Language-Master of Space” is a story that still makes my head explode just trying to figure out what the point was, but it also left me laughingly entertained. The art by Sid Greene helped, as his renditions of the different aliens was great.The second story, “World of Doomed Spacemen” is another crazy one. It’s one that shows life in the 25th century, and a time of giants! Art by Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs. The magnificent cover is by none other than Nick Cardy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strange Adventures 234, 1972 “The Human Icicle!”

It’s been quite a long time (4 1/2 years!) since I spotlighted an issue from this series, and I’m not sure why. This is definitely one of my favorite Bronze Age (and Silver) titles from DC comics. These quirky sci-fi stories are a lot of fun. You either get something that mirrors the time period (scientifically), or a story that’s so far out there, you can laugh about it. The book held a few memorable runs in its day, including Deadman (some stories illustrated and written by Neal Adams), Animal Man, and Adam Strange.¬† This issue is all reprints, but they pack a punch!

There are four big stories in this issue, and the first one is something really out of this world. “The Human Icicle” is featured on the cover (a spectacular cover by Joe Kubert), and showcases a man with amnesia, and a power that turns everything he touches to ice! The writer does a fantastic job of keeping the man’s “secret” until the perfect time in the story. Written by Otto Binder, with art by Carmine Infantino and Bernard Sachs.

The second story is a Star Rovers tale called “Where is the Paradise of Space?” This trio is a a non-team that comes together to figure out certain anomalies. Homer (no, not that Homer), Karel, and Rick are up to their eyeballs in mayhem in this one, as they are on a floating island in space that’s full of the wonderful and the weird! Written by Gardner Fox, with art by Sid Greene.

Next we have “The World that Vanished!” There’s an alien invasion coming, and it looks like the only thing that may be able to stop it is a cosmic ray weapon! Written by John Broome, and art by Sy Barry.

The last chapter in this book stars Adam Strange! This space faring superhero has a jetpack and a laser pistol and he knows how to use them! What happens when a man must face himself? Do not miss “The Spaceman Who Fought Himself!” Written by Gardner Fox, with art by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!