Weeklies

Comic: "Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #134"
Published by: DC Comics
Written by: Jack Kirby
Artist: Jack Kirby

Reviewer: Max Burbank
Posted: 8/27/2008

Plot: Jimmy Olsen, now the leader of surreal outlaw biker gang, The Outsiders, along with his new pals, The Newsboy Legion ride the Zoomway, the perilous drag strip that leads to fabled “Mountain of Judgment”. With the help of Superman, they discover the Mountain is actually a giant truck piloted by the mysterious Hairies. Using their bizarre technology, they discover a bomb planted in the Whiz Wagon. Olsen realizes his boss, Morgan Edge, has set him up to assassinate the Hairies, but thanks to Superman’s falling on the bomb, no one is injured. Back at Galaxy broadcasting, we discover Edge isn’t the mastermind; he’s just a pawn of…

Review: This odd little book, the second Jack Kirby wrote and drew for DC in 1970, is arguably one of the most important books in DC history. I owned it as a kid, God knows where it went. I bought it a few years back for $15.00 from a dealer and thought I’d done well. Then the bottom fell out of the back issue market entirely, and it’s on eBay right now with a starting bid of ninety-nine cents. Go figure.

It’s chock full of trademark Kirby extreme foreshortening of form (where the fist coming near the viewer is massive, the leg thrown back behind the body is tiny), massive anthropomorphic machines and dialogue that sounds like a drunken out of work Shakespearean actor and a mediocre beat poet had a baby and let it write the script.

“Where angels fear to tread, where devils split for cooler parts, to live or die on the Zoomway, the drag strip that leads to… THE MOUNTAIN OF JUDGEMENT!” I LOVE that shit! Weird and stilted as it is, it’s utterly original, just like his artwork. But none of that is what makes this a landmark book.

Smack in the middle of the book there’s a two-page photo collage, something Kirby had been toying with at Marvel. He gave up the technique soon after this issue, because he didn’t feel the comic book printing process did it justice. That’s a damn shame. I think you could hang one next to a Max Ernst and feel pretty okay about it. But that’s not what makes this a landmark book either.

What makes this a landmark book happens in the second to last panel. We’ve already seen Morgan Edge reporting to his boss, but we haven’t had a look at the mastermind. Now here he is, on a little video monitor on Morgan’s desk. It’s pretty small, not one of Kirby’s more impressive efforts. All we can see of the boss is a simple, blocky gray bead surrounded by what looks like a dark blue Nun’s wimple. “Do nothing! Your plan has failed! I shall contact you soon!” The head says. And Morgan Edge replies “Yes, great Darkseid! I am your servant.”

It’s Darkseid. The little grey head in the blue Nun’s wimple is Darkseid. And it’s the first time you ever see him in the DC universe. In a Jimmy Olsen book. Suck on that. If I were you, I’d surf over to eBay just about now. Not for it’s possible value, that ship sailed when people bought thousands of issues of “The Death of Superman” and locked them away in warehouses. Pick it up cheap because if you love comics, you should have it.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

pickled
Aug 27th, 2008, 05:48 AM
At what point does Jimmy Olsen try to kill Superman?
Amicable Herculean
Aug 27th, 2008, 01:34 PM
Either Jack Kirby was on serious drugs during his DC run, or maybe he was just crazy. I have an issue of Kamadi: The Last Boy On Earth where he and an army of tiger warriors go looking for the Water Gate tapes. I'm serious. But I digress. The New Gods and the pseudo-Shakespearean dialouge are awesome, just like nearly everything else Kirby did.
Forum Virgin
Aug 30th, 2008, 05:44 PM
Forum Virgin
Aug 31st, 2008, 04:10 AM
Jimmy Olsen, now the leader of surreal outlaw biker gang

Jimmy Olsen, surreal outlaw biker gang leader... *laughs*