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I hate hippies, Part 2 of 2 – Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #118

January 5, 2011

In the first installment of this two-part post I was a bit disappointed with the lack of hippie fodder upon which I could vent my spleen.

This one more than makes up for it, and Jimmy Olsen gamely steps in to be the punching bag of one’s dreams. I can think of no better proxy for all of hippiedom than the normally straight-laced square cub reporter.

First I need to say a couple of words about the other story, written by E. Nelson Bridwell and drawn by Pete Costanza. In “The Touch of Life!” Jimmy gains the power to make various fictional characters come to life. Like, say, Robin Hood and Little John:

He can even start off a rumble ivolving dudes like Don Qixote, the Three Musketeers and Captain Ahab (and the aforementioned Merry Men):

His powers go beyond the realms of lore and literature — even corporate pitchmen come under his sway, like the Jolly Green Giant and his deadly corncob of doom:

Where’s Sprout?

Enough of that nonsense. It’s time for the main event, brought to our eager eyes by Otto Binder and the pulling-double-duty Costanza. And what does “Hippe Olsen’s Hate-In” have in store for us? Well, the title kind of provides a big whopping clue:

It certainly delivers what it advertises. And I would have imagined Jimmy’s naturally-grown beard to be a lot more splotchy. Anyway.

So Jimmy is off to infiltrate a local hippie community, and he in short order whips out those reknowned investigative skills of his:

The head hippie, the dream guru, is actually (surprise) a criminal who can trick people into believing that they’re dreaming while actually living their real lives. Jimmy gets the royal treatment, and soon “dreams” that he’s off to the Daily Planet. While there he has a close encounter with his chief:

Hmm.

Next he “dreams” about getting his revenge on his girl, Lucy Lane, who had turned her nose up at his new scruffy look and gone to a fancy dress ball with another man:

Hmm again. And the “Splash” bit kind of reminds me of R. Crumb’s art — or some of the material from Derf that I covered here.

Then there’s the hate-in from the cover (a cover from Neal Adams, for all you Adamsophiles out there), where the dream guru manipulates Jimmy into believing that a dream-Superman has turned his back on him. How does this hapen? Jimmy has this bright idea to spice things up by first making it appear that they’re crashing an award ceremony for Superman with a “hate-in,” but then doing a switcheroo and really having an old-fashioned love-in. What genius! The dream-Superman (the dream guru in disguise) does not take kindly to this chicanery, and Jim is crestfallen.

Jimmy’s solution for this rejection? Why, kill the dream-Superman, of course:

Jimmy makes some kryptonite beads out of the marbles (what a ridiculous explanation for them, btw) and almost does the real Superman in, but figures out the reality of the situation just in the nick of time.

I have to pause here and take issue with young Olsen — hence all my earlier “hmms.” You don’t have to be Freud or Jung or whoever to see that he has some issues with the most important people in his life. He has no problem with dreaming about punching them, tripping them, or KILLING THEM, without a whole lot — let’s be honest — of provocation for any of those deeds.

This strikes me as a problem.

Sadly, there’s no indication that Jimmy ever got any help for the deep psychoses he apparently has bottled up — the issue comes to a close shortly after his “awakening.” I would have killed to see his explanation to the big guy about, you know, TRYING TO MURDER HIM. WITH %&#*ING KRYPTONITE HIPPIE BEADS.

But we nevertheless end on a high note, one that satisfies some of my deeply held feelings in much the same way hurting those close to him satisfied Olsen’s.

This:

Yes! Yes! Perry’s clenched fist speaks for all of us!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2011 9:30 am

    I’ve mentioned this before at my site, but I have to say it again: Pete Costanza’s art on Jimmy Olsen is godawful. I liked his Captain Marvel output — or at least it never bothered me — but when he tried to make the transition to a more “realistic” style to fit the late 60s, it turned out horrible.

    Reading Olsens from this period makes it easy to imagine what a shock it must have been when Kirby showed up. A very good kind of shock, like getting a Rolex as the “toy surprise” in your Cracker Jacks.

    • January 6, 2011 9:50 am

      I’m not all that bothered by Costanza’s art, though it doesn’t excite me all that much either.

      It’s still a kick to think that, of all the titles Jolly Jack could have grabbed ahold of when he made the switch to DC, Jimmy Olsen was the one (even if they wouldn’t let him draw Superman’s face). And that’s exactly the reaction he was looking for, I guess — that and not costing anyone else steady work.

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