A Tribute to the of

Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s a little difficult. Sometimes you’re really in the zone and sometimes you have no idea what to do. I’m afraid I’m at the “no idea” point for this installment of the Silver Age Sage, but by golly I haven’t missed one of my self-imposed deadlines yet and I have no intentions of starting now. So…I’m gonna go to my spinner rack (just in case anyone may have forgotten that I have that wonderful piece of nostalgia in my possession) and pick something out that I haven’t reviewed yet, which may be a challenge in and of itself as most of them on display have been reviewed.

Not all, however and the lucky winner is…Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen! I’ve got a battered but serviceable copy of an 80-page GIANT of “Jimmy’s Weirdest Adventures” collected in this issue, specifically #104 from August/September of 1967 with editorial credit to Mort Weisinger, but in all likelihood, the long-suffering E. Nelson Bridwell did the heavy lifting. Cover art was by Curt Swan and George Klein with lettering by Ira Schnapp.

As with all these 80-page wonders, it’s an anthology of reprints and there are several great ones to choose from, but I think it’s long overdue that we checked out Jimmy as “The Giant Turtle Man!” That story was originally published in Jimmy’s book, #53 from June of 1961 with a Curt Swan/Stan Kaye cover and Swan and John Forte on interiors, edited by Mort and written by none other than Jerry Siegel! And, lest I forget, that classic cover was inspired by the cover of the July 1940 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories.

So, let’s see how this well-known and beloved tale went, shall we?

The opening scene has the triumvirate of reporters from the Daily Planet, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent, on the deck of a ship bound for the West Indies. Apparently, they’re on a 10-day vacation together (wouldn’t you want to vacation with your co-workers? Not so much…) and the ship has docked to take on some scrap metal. What the heck kind of vessel is this, anyway? So, Jimmy suggests that they go ashore for a while, but Clark declines as he reclines in his deck chair (resplendent in his signature blue suit and tie; ol’ Clark really knows how to cut loose and relax), saying he’d prefer to finish his novel.

Dockside, Jimmy watches with fascination as the powerful magnetic crane hauls in the scrap, but Lois prefers to go shopping for souvenirs. They agree to rendezvous in about an hour as Jimmy has decided to beach comb and take some seascape photos.

Soon, Jimmy stumbles across a chest that has washed up on a deserted stretch of beach and immediately investigates, pulling out a strange looking ray gun. Now, it wouldn’t be Jimmy Olsen if he didn’t start fooling with it, would it? He manages to activate it and promptly enlarges a snail to the size of the one you may have seen on the Doctor Doolittle film. It begins to head out to sea, but of course Jimmy decides to test the enlarging properties of the gun again, this time on a sponge, which is soon massive. Just then, Lois arrives and he announces he’s taking the ray gun with him so he can study it and turn it into a big story for the Daily Planet.

Back aboard the ship, Lois informs Jimmy that she’s learned that the Captain received a radio message from Clark. He’d gone in search of his friends and then the ship left without him, so he’ll catch another vessel later. Jimmy’s signal watch is then accidentally activated by the magnetic crane and Superman, out in space, receives the summons. He had stayed behind as a ruse to allow him to go on this space mission, but hightails it back to the ship. Jimmy explains what happened and apologizes. Superman, having learned of the enlarging ray, urges his young pal to get rid of it, reminding him of other misadventures he’s had. Jimmy agrees to turn it over to Superman after his story is written and our hero flies off, informing them that he’ll be away in space for a few days.

After the Man of Tomorrow flies into the stratosphere, Lois shows off her souvenirs, which include a pet turtle. Ham-fisted Jimmy accidentally activates the ray sitting on the table and it strikes the turtle and then the beam continues on to Olsen himself. The turtle grows to elephant size and Jimmy begins to grow, too, but beyond just the change in stature, gains some of the turtle’s characteristics and his body is now covered with armor-like scaly plates like the turtle’s shell. The massive turtle leaps overboard, but the turtle-man gets larger and larger and now has bug eyes and has lost his ability to speak. He just makes sounds like a turtle. What does a turtle sound like? I have no idea, but for the purposes of this story, our writer and letterer came up with, “CRRGGG! CRRRGGG!

Down at his feet (did I mention that while Jimmy's clothing, of course, ripped to pieces, he somehow was equipped with some large blue trunks?) Lois hollers up to Olsen that he must get off the ship before she capsizes. He does so and starts swimming away.

Later, the turtle man is spotted in Metropolis harbor, walking up to a huge suspension bridge and tearing it up, then walking away with the pieces in his arms. The next day at dawn, the turtle man is seen hundreds of miles away, on the beach of a volcanic island. He is feeding the pieces of the bridge into the active volcano. Later that day, he is spotted again, and this time he is picking up Naval submarines like they’re toys. The crew is ordered to abandon their boats and he again deposits them into the volcano.

The mischief continues as the turtle man begins to pull up the transatlantic cable itself from the ocean floor. A U.S. Navy battleship engages him, but the 16-inch shells merely bounce off his protective armor and once the crew abandons ship in the lifeboats, yet another piece of the fleet is fed into the volcano.

Luckily, Superman has finally come back to Earth from his mission in space and catches up to Jimmy at the island, cold cocking him with a gentle tap on the chin and is about to remove him from the planet so he cannot do further harm. The Man of Steel grasps the handy waistband of the blue trunks, but before he can get going, receives a telepathic communication from his mermaid friend, Lori Lemaris. Superman deposits the unconscious turtle man on the ocean floor and then learns from the citizens of Atlantis that their mind-reading capabilities revealed to them what was really going on. Jimmy was being controlled by a criminal from Atlantis named Goxo. It seems the evil scientist planted the growth ray and kept tabs on it to fulfill a scheme he’d come up with.

Once Jimmy retrieved the ray, Goxo took over his mind and ordered him to collect as much steel as he could to place into the volcano until it finally erupted with molten steel that would conceal the pirate treasure he’d learned of buried on the island. This would allow the criminal to retrieve it at his leisure at a later time.

With this knowledge in hand, Superman proceeds to set things right by flying the unconscious turtle man up to his fortress of solitude. Taking Brainiac’s famed shrinking ray from his trophy room, Superman restores Jimmy to his normal stature. Luckily the trunks shrank with him.

In the closing panel, Superman and Jimmy return to the island and our hero peels up the steel covering to reveal the pirate treasure. “Goxo intended to dig it up… Now, Jimmy, we’ll return to Metropolis where you can get into regular clothing again! After I make you another signal-watch, and fix all the damage, I intend to pulverize Goxo’s growth ray to dust!

So, a fun little 8-pager that certainly qualifies as one of Jimmy’s weirdest adventures. I love the fact that Jerry Siegel, a well-established science-fiction fan, used that old pulp cover for inspiration on this story. As a classic and well-known Jimmy Olsen tale, I’ll give this one a 7 on the 10-point scale for pure Silver Age fun.

Come July 1, there will be a new review right here and if you have ideas, requests or feedback, feel free to reach out. I regularly check my messages at: professor_the@hotmail.com.

Of course, if all else fails, the spinner rack awaits. Until next time…

Long live the Silver Age!

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