Friday, December 7, 2012

Before And After The Fourth World!


This issue of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen featuring a typically dandy "Swanderson" cover was the last before the dramatic mind-bending arrival of Jack "King" Kirby. It's a typical issue featuring stories by Leo Dorfman and Bob Haney and artwork by Murphy Anderson and Pete Costanza. The story goes that Kirby did not want to displace other creators from their steady assignments, but Jimmy Olsen was getting cancelled anyway so he took the gig.

 What followed were fifteen Kirby classics where Jimmy encountered the cloned Newsboy Legion with their Whiz Wagon in tow, legions of Micro-Troopers, motorcycle toughs called "The Outsiders",  tech-savvy Hippies called "Hairies", the revived Golden Guardian,  alien Universal Monster wannabes, the Loch Ness Monster and much more.


After all that mind-blowing adventure though, the cover above is the first after the departure of the King for other opportunities. The cover is by Bob Oksner and the issue features a story drawn by Oksner and written by John Albano. It seems, given the cover tease, that Jimmy reverts to his old ways pretty swiftly. He seems unchanged fundamentally by his travels through the Wild Area, the Project, and beyond. The series would last fifteen issues after Kirby's departure, before it was folded into The Superman Family comic.

Sigh.

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4 comments:

  1. It is funny that after Kirby they were like "time to hit the reset button." I mean it had been selling well under Kirby, right? You'd think they'd want that to continue and that they'd have someone try to do Kirby-like issues. I don't know if it's a testament to their character that they didn't try that or if they just knew there wasn't anyone else like Kirby.

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    1. I think on one level there was a rejection of what Kirby was trying to do, but on the other who else could really do that. They went with what they knew.

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  2. In what way might Plastic Man be a logical back-up for Olsen's comic? It seemed Bronze Age DC was keen to promote the Pliable One but aside from the wacky Newsboy Legion, where's the connection? Like Captain Marvel/Shazam, I felt the occasional revivals of Plas were driven by nostalgic creators rather than by customers.

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    1. You've got me. DC really seemed interested in pushing Plas during the Bronze Age, but he didn't really take off. As usual they seemed to think the comedy should take center stage with him, and that's just wrong. Play him straight and let the weird comedy unravel naturally, that's the way to do it. There's always a wink in how he's handled in the modern world, as if the writers don't want you to think they don't get the joke.

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