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How did they know what the Blog into Mystery headquarters looks like? – Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #127

October 10, 2010

I’ll grant that Jimmy’s pad looks like a complete dump, but you really can’t blame the sock hanging out of the drawer on the slumlord.

This book has two stories in it. The second, which finds Jimmy traveling back to Revolutionary War times but not actually traveling back to Revolutionary War times, is so preposterous, the presence of a man in red and blue tights flying around is the most plausible element.

Let’s just stick to the cover story.

Brought to us by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and George Roussos, “The Secret Slumlord of Metropolis!” has Jimmy becoming Metropolis’ version of Jacob Riis and uncovering the squalor of that great cities’ less gleaming districts:

The first thing that Jimmy “uncovers” is Terry, a hot babe who doesn’t really fit in with the run down surroundings. She takes him on a tour of her decrepit building, and some of the nigh-unbelievable depths that many of her neighbors have been driven to:

Jimmy starts work on his big exposé, but Perry White proves to be a bit cowardly as an editor:

I guess we should be thankful that Ben Bradlee was made of sterner stuff back in the Watergate era.

Jimmy keeps working on his investigation, and he moves into another ramshackle tenement. When he hears a woman scream across the alley, he leaps into action:

I don’t know what the most ridiculous part of that is — his ziplining between buildings, Terry’s nonchalant reaction to a man crawling in through her bathroom window, or Jimmy expecting us (or himself — to thine own self be true) to believe that he didn’t know Terry lived across from him and that he wasn’t planning to do a little peeping Rear Window-style.

Jimmy and Terry’s friendship grows, and Jimmy keeps working and putting up with his terrible surroundings. It’s only when he discovers roaches crawling all over his food that he activates the ol’ wristwatch:

This doesn’t seem to be the best use of that privilege.

Superman tells Jimmy that he’s on his own with this case (maybe he’s a little peeved at being Jimmy’s personal Orkin man), and young Olsen soon finds himself in over his head and abducted by the slumlord’s thugs. Speaking of heads, they wreak the ultimate indignity upon him:

As a man who’s sported the Yul Brynner look for many years, my advice to Jimmy would be to relax. It’ll grow back if you want it to. But Jimmy doesn’t take to his knew look, and apparently sends away to the William Shatner Hairpiece Repository for some new locks:

“Just trim that toupee, baby!” What, is he Frank Sinatra now?

Jimmy ultimately gets his revenge and exposes the slumlord (with a little help from Superman), and in the end he gets a nice little tribute for all his efforts:

Sometimes I roll my eyes at Silver Age silliness, but the Jimmy Olsen books get a pass — it all seems to work in them. Maybe it’s Jimmy’s Archie-like looks. I don’t know. There’s one thing that I am sure of, and that’s that it’s always a pleasure to read a story with Curt Swan’s art. Great stuff. I recently picked up a nice pile of Jimmy Olsen books, and I hope to highlight more of them in the weeks and months ahead — spaced out a bit, of course. I have a lot of fun with them.

“Just trim that toupee, baby!” Classic. That line reminds me of something — while in law school I clerked in a prosecutor’s office, and one time I was reading a police report (one of many I had to sift through in that job) about a domestic altercation between a man and his girlfriend. What set off this dustup? The “gentleman” got fed up with his woman and, apparentley not satisfied with the quality of his cornrows, screamed out “Bitch, braid my hair!” Much ugliness ensued.

Be careful, Jimmy.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 10, 2010 8:06 pm

    A spoonful of Swan makes the medicine go down in the most delightful way.

    • October 10, 2010 9:29 pm

      There certainly is a sugary quality to his art, isn’t there?

  2. October 11, 2010 3:53 am

    “Can you guess why Jimmy has to live in a slum?” Judging from the cover, it’s because Superman is a dick.

    You have to be a beautiful girl reporter to get Superman to come to your rescue Jimmy. Go on, you’ve done it before.

    At least it was only roaches. It could have been bedbugs.

    Because this is the Curt Swan era when Lex Luthor was a perennial ex-convict instead of a legitimate corporate shark, and because of the prison-purple/gray hue of Jimmy’s blazer in that head-shaving panel, my first thought, before I stopped to look closer, was “Why is that guy shaving hair *onto* Lex Luthor’s head?” Then “Hey, Lex has freckles. Oh, I see…”

    • October 12, 2010 9:03 am

      I too had the Lex comparison in mind when I first saw the cue ball Jimmy Olsen. Men with shaved heads all seem to look alike in the Swaniverse.

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