Sunday, January 27, 2013

I'm Pretty Sure This Comic Was Implying Jimmy Olsen Made it With Supergirl

Somehow I had forgotten about this particular Silver Age tale, but I had read it before. I was going through some back issues I need to read and then file, and came across this story, that I'd either read in a collection of somewhere else, but here is the reprinting of a prior Supergirl/ Jimmy Olsen tale in Action Comics 351.

Here's our set-up. Jimmy and Supergirl are getting MARRIED. Not an uncommon starter to a Silver Age Superman story.

No, this is not scanned.  Yes, I snapped these pics with my iPhone.  You get what you pay for at The Signal Watch.

This tale unfolds during that weird period of actual plot development that occurred when Supergirl arrived on Earth.  During this story she's still living in the Midvale Orphanage where Superman was keeping her a secret from the world so she could act as his "secret weapon".

Yes, Superman stuck his poor cousin in an orphanage after she arrived on Earth after watching her parents slowly die from kryptonite poisoning.  And then asked her NOT to get adopted.  True Super Dickery.

In case Superman's inner-monologue above did not tip you off, for reasons that are really too inconsequential to go into, Jimmy is visiting the Midvale Orphanage.  Lest anyone not know and marvel at the fact he knows Superman, he presents the orphans with his Superman collectibles, including a rare, radioactive space rock which may or may not be lethal to humans.

Desperate for the approval of the cute brunette high school orphan, Jimmy really gets all up in Linda Lee's grill with a favorite Super-trophy, and something that should probably be in the hands of either the military or at least someone with a PhD and microscope.

BTW:  it's worth noting that at this juncture in Super-History, Jimmy has no idea there is a Supergirl.  So, everybody up to speed?

Of course, Linda Lee is actually Supergirl, and the Red-K* wipes her powers and any memory of being Supergirl.  Given the timeline, this should really wipe all of her memories except for those of the last two months washing a few dishes around an orphanage.

Jimmy notices the amnesiac teen girl is a looker, so he asks her out to a hot night out to the carnival.  People, know this:  romance blossoms around carneys.

Supergirl is not a super-tease, I guess.
Long story short, Jimmy lives by the motto "Carpe Supergirl".  No sooner has she let him put his tongue in her mouth than Supergirl agrees to marry Jimmy.

After one date.

At a carnival.

Jimmy decides to show off the lucky gal to his friends at the Daily Planet, where Clark has stepped out, just as, wouldn't you know it, Superman has popped in.

Superman basically dresses down Supergirl for ruining his plan of isolating and emotionally crippling her, but thanks to radiation-induced amnesia, she takes the ranting from the living atom bomb in front of her in stride.  She's just too distracted by the charms of Jimmy Olsen.

Superman does figure out that the amnesia was caused by Red-K.

And this is where Superman makes the decision I think we'd ALL make if we saw our blood relation marrying someone because they were suffering from radiation induced mind-cloud and about to make a life-changing, terrible mistake:

you just sit back and see what happens!
Well, thank goodness they came to Superman.  With his sense of honor and duty, he'd never let this mistake happen, never let an accident of fate lead to these two bringing together their friends and family before God and join in lifelong vows.  This is the world's greatest hero we're talking about here.  Yup, with the opportunity to step in and resolve this situation, Superman acts responsibly and works to prevent causing ruination for his best pal and protect the honor and chastity of his poor, orphaned cousin suffering from trauma by...


oh, ferchrissake, Clark...

The thing is, this is a Silver Age story.  During the era, this wedding chapel was probably booked by Lois Lane twice a month all year, every year in order for her to marry various Superman imposters, Batman, Dracula or anyone who seemed to pose some sort of sexual competition to Superman for Lois's holiest of holies.

I mean, usually those weddings didn't actually END in a wedding, but...

What raised my eyebrow was less about the wedding than that, in this story, the nuptials actually do go off without a hitch.  Jimmy and Linda get married.

Right there in the comic, we see that Jimmy and Supergirl have a wedding night, AND a honeymoon, AND they're together long enough that basically Jimmy realizes they can't make it on a cub reporter's salary.

That's a lot of time.  For two people who, uh...

I have to assume Linda couldn't fake a headache every night for that long, or at least had no reason to do so.  I mean, I don't like to dwell on these things, but...  I mean.  Well.

And, keep in mind, I thought Linda Lee/ Supergirl was also supposed to be about sixteen or seventeen at this point in the comics, so if you're starting to feel a little traumatized yourself, Signal Corps, you are not alone.

This also raises the key question of:  Do either Linda or Jimmy wonder why Linda is wearing a brunette wig over what's some lovely and healthy blonde hair?  How does this go unnoticed?

If you can answer this question for me, I shall send you a cake in the mail.

Moving on.

Basically, Supergirl gets her powers and memories back while vacuuming.

from world-saving alien hero to cleaning up after Jimmy Olsen
What's driving me nuts is that I don't have Part 2 of this story immediately on hand as this was a reprint back-up feature in 351, and I don't know where it originally ran.  I have no idea how this wraps up in Part 2.

in the Silver Age, you kind of rolled with world-shattering, life-destroying recovered memories

Luckily, it's also a Silver Age story, so rather than just straight up tell her husband what was happening, and in no way furious with Superman for not just failing to stop the wedding but participating, Linda begins plotting to find what will no doubt be a terribly convoluted way of explaining the situation.

You have to love this era of superhero comics.  The Comics Code Authority came from a place I despise and cannot respect or agree with, but I'm not sure if this isn't better in some ways to the escalation of T&A and violence in mainstream comics that's pervaded the industry as the CCA was strangled behind the scenes over the course of the 90's and 00's.

I also know that, for the intended audience of sweet little kids, Jimmy Olsen making it with Supergirl was not part of the equation of the story.  The era's enforced gender roles and rules of marriage were the weird trap Supergirl had fallen into, and there's probably something to be said about what the story actually means.

But for the moment, let us all take heart that, at one point in DC history, we can kind of guess that Supergirl lost it to Jimmy Olsen.  And that is some awkward comics-making.

Believe you me, when I get a few minutes, I am tracking down and buying the next issue of this comic to remember/ find out how this plays out.

*Red Kryptonite was like plot device cracks for Mort Wesinger and his stable of writers.  Basically, it had "unpredictable properties".  If you ever see a Superman comic cover you simply cannot get your head around, it's likely Red-K is at the center of the story.


Maxo said...

If I rember, this story actually gets ickier. Linda decides she isn't going to tell Jimmy that she's Supergirl because she doesn't think he can handle it, which sets up some scenes of her coming up with all sorts of ways to keep her identity secret. Meanwhile, she eventually has to save Jimmy (of course) as Supergirl, and Jimmy develops a thing for her. As Supergirl. (Of course.)

A good time to let Jimmy off the hook, right? Nope. Instead, Linda decides to let it play out, with Jimmy freaking out because he's falling in love with Supergirl but is torn by his loyalty to the poor orphan he married. Finally, as he's about to confess his feelings for Supergirl, Linda tells him that - ta-da! - she is Supergirl! And everyone is happy; Linda's happy because Jimmy is happy, and Jimmy is overjoyed because he basically gets two versions of the same women.

So, yeah.

The League said...

Ah, so this is an imaginary story? Maybe?

I look forward to compounding my discomfort!

We should talk sometime about the logistics of Duo Damsel and how Bouncing Boy is the biggest playa in the Legion.

Simon MacDonald said...

This is hilarious. I almost want to search out Action Comics 352 to read the exciting conclusion.

This actually reminds me of a story I read where the JLA cross over with the JSA and in the first part the Earth 2 Mr. Terrific is murdered. That was in Justice League of America #171 but I've never read JLA #172. It was only years later reading the JSA series that I discovered who really killed Mr. Terrific when the villain reappears.

The League said...

Was it UltraHumanite? Tell me it was the UltraHumanite.

Yeah, I will update as soon as I've found the story. Stuart gave me some leads, so I just need to look in old Jimmy Olsen books instead of Supergirl books.

Simon MacDonald said...

Nope, but close it was another mind controller or more accurately spirit controller in the Spirit King. The characters first appearance was in this story and wasn't seen again until his later JSA appearance. So it was a total deus ex machina since you'd never be able to deduce the killer from the one issue. It was a mystery that alluded me for over 20 years.

Kuudere-Kun said...

I always thought of Supergirl and Jimmy as the same age whatever that vaguely defined age is. Summering no ones aged until the Bronze age, Jimmy was clearly like 15 in his first appearance in Action Comics number 6.

I really can't tell whether or not the Silver Age writers wanted us to hate Lucy Lane?

The League said...

Jimmy's age is still fluid as near as I can tell, and during the Silver Age he was clearly not in school, had his own apartment and would occasionally seem like he was about to get married upon occasion, but he was played as a kid, so I have no idea.

And, yeah, I have no idea how DC thought about Lucy Lane in the Silver Age - but she was a flight attendant who dated pilots, so I'd guess she was probably 20ish. All I can really say is - reading comics from the era gives you a curious peek into gender relations during the mid-20th century if none of this was seen as particularly odd - including Superman and Lois and. or Lana.