Friday, February 14, 2014


For the week leading up to Valentine's Day, Your Humble Editor will be presenting a selection of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen's romantic gal pals. Today, we meet ...
Jimmy, those are "Aunt Kisses"

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen No.74 (December 1963) – Jimmy Olsen’s Secret Love
Jimmy Olsen and Lucy Lane are terrible for one another – Jimmy is impulsive, thoughtless and needy, Lucy is fickle, jealous and hectoring. But what if they adopted completely different disguises and personalities, would it work out then? No, because that’s nuts.

Still, that’s exactly what happened in an epic series of romantic misadventures which ran through Jimmy Olsen comics from 1963 to 1965 – even The Crisis On Infinite Earths only took a year!

First off, the key coincidence – Lucy is assigned by the head of the airline to go undercover as a rotten fink, reporting on slacking airline employees. Sure, it’d be nice if Lucy were catching the mechanics getting high by the fuel pumps or the pilots flying with their dicks out, but no, she just starts handing out demerits for stewardesses who flirt with passengers. A thousand demerits for Hufflepuff!

To accomplish this, she dons a red wig and a phony British accent which I have to imagine sounds like a college kid who refuses to stop re-enacting Monty Python and the Holy Grail for you, and emerges out the other side as Sandra Rogers, a movie starlet visiting America for the first time. I guess having that backstory is SUPER-IMPORTANT in her mission to admonish the flight staff having moments of genuine human attraction to other living beings, an emotion which is alien to Lucy Lane.

Jimmy Olsen, for his part, is disguised as Magi The Magnificent, a “famous” magician (BUT HOW, HE’S MADE UP) in order to sneak up and catch jewel thief “Slick Eddie”. Of course, Slick Eddie might recognize Olsen, which is why he’s adopted the subtle disguise of a man in a tuxedo and top hat. Still, the best part about it is how they weren’t sure the story was going to be O.Henry-ish enough so they had to name Jimmy “Magi”…

They have fun together, these two.
Eventually Sandra/Lucy and Magi/Jimmy meet on the airplane/flying whorehouse (evidently) where they hit it off tremendously, united by Magi’s hatred of blondes and Sandra’s hatred of Jimmy Olsen. With so much in common, how can the romance go awry?

It ends like most Jimmy Olsen stories should, with Lucy and Jimmy trapped on top of a frozen glacier dying from exposure.  Superman comes along and ruins the whole thing, but at least he separates the young lovers and prevents them from living an unhealthy lie…

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen No.78 (July 1964) –The Return of Jimmy’s Lost Love!
…or did he? Six months later, Jimmy and Lucy are back at each other’s throat, sniping about imagined slights and sabotaging every attempt at even basic civil conversation. These kids really have it all, I hope it works out.

When Lucy is given another undercover assignment – someone’s been stealing things from planes, and this time it isn’t the TSA officials – she leaps at the chance to become Sandra again. By terrific coincidence, Jimmy happens to see her crossing the tarmac, and since he keeps a disguise kit in the trunk of his car – this is where most other psychopaths keep bodies, but bless Jimmy for defying the stereotype – he makes a rush change into Magi the Magnificent Bastard.

The pair help catch the thief – he’s been sawing his way through the nose cones of planes and stealing bags with the help of a long hook, and then I guess the planes depressurize once they’re in the air and everyone dies? – and then, suddenly left alone without excuses to dodge one another, they’re confronted with their lies and the chance to finally come clean, admit their true identities, and come to long-sought realizations about the truth of themselves.

But no, Magi just says he’s going to fuck off to Tibet for a while and Sandra says she’s got to go pursue her career – her movie career, by the way, which is kind of an easy career to check up on – so that’s the end of that, right? Back to their spiteful, bitter romance go Jimmy and Lucy …

"Me, a living mass of ground beef - a witness! Gosh!"
Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen No.82 (January 1965) –The Wedding of Magi and Sandra!
…goddamnit! Bored on Saturday evening, Lucy dresses up as Sandra and prowls the park looking for muggers to belittle, and Jimmy happens to be driving by so – how big is Metropolis, anyway? I swear to god, half of these stories someone just happens to be walking or driving by at the right moment, it’s a city of what 10 million people? Or is it twelve? Twelve whole people, four streets, and all the storefronts are Superman-based, it’s like Downtown Disney but people live there who aren’t forced to by secret corporate police. One assumes.

Anyway, “Magi” craps out some lame story about having teleported to Lucy’s side from Tibet, and then helps emasculate a mugger, feeling for the first time the joy Lucy experiences when she breaks a man’s ego to brittle ribbons. Having lived – truly lived – for the first time in his life, Jimmy caps off the post-coital experience by jumping into the ocean and faking Magi’s death.

Lucy gets to mourn for a panel before we shoot into the unspecified future to find Jimmy glumly proposing to a joyless Lucy, and the two are off to a resort to stew in their bitterness as they wait for the justice of the peace to sleep one off (he claims it’s measles, but come on).

Only food play keeps them together.
The weirdest part about this chapter in the Sandra and Magi saga is that Jimmy and Lucy … go through with it? They actually end up married, and then resent it immediately, secretly plotting behind each other’s back to end it with an annulment (or murder, probably murder, I have a feeling it might end in murder).

When a snooping Lucy finds Jimmy’s disguise kit, complete with familiar Magi costume, she shows up to dinner dressed as Sandra, and pretty soon the two are throwing down in one of those public fights some couples have where it looks like they might start fucking on the table if no one comes along and hoses ‘em down? All throwing cake in each other’s face and sneering insults through the frosting. Face it, you’re turned on.

In the end, Lucy and Jimmy comes to some sort of acceptance about their mutual deception and find out they were accidentally not married anyway, by the contrivance law of that county as established in the late eighteen-hundreds. Weirdly, the couple fade into some sort of pleased acceptance of the absurdity of their situation, allegedly having gained additional respect for one another (they end up married for real – albeit briefly – in Jimmy Olsen 100, besieged by an army of Jimmy’s paranormal exes, but there’s another story). I guess the lesson here is fall in love with a dressed up, one-dimensional version of your significant other and pine for that peerless perfection in your heart all your days, until you find out it was all a cynical lie perpetrated by a partner whose words of love were born and killed only on their own lips, stranger to their heart. Mazel tov!


neofishboy said...

"And for my next trick, BEHOLD! I have a better lunch than you!"

Magicians in the 60s sucked.

Bill the Splut said...

I guess "hamburger sandwich" was a thing people said back then, to contrast with, I dunno, "hamburger breakfast cereal" or "hamburger soda," but it makes me think of Ed Grimley and his "hot dog wiener franks for snacking."

neofishboy said...

Only other place I've seen that was Mystery Science Theater 3000, where it was a callback to a line from Jungle Goddess (1948). I'd be curious to know when the phrase died out or if it's still in use in some regional dialects.

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