Saturday, May 11, 2013
Giant Turtle Man Returns!
Showcase Presents Superman Family Volume 4 was on the stands this past week. DC's Showcase packages are wonderfully cheap time machines to an era when comics were not taken particularly seriously, even by the mostly men who manufactured them. But there was an effervescent sense of fun which did seem to permeate some of the comics of the day, Jimmy Olsen no less among them. "Superman's Pal" might be one of the greatest creations in all of comics, a red-haired ball of enthusiasm who races into trouble and in the pages of his own comic often assumed many roles, some chosen some not.
The role of "Giant Turtle Man" was not one Jimmy chose, but it did give us this iconic cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye. The enormous bright green scaly and rather destructive Jimmy is delightful as are his Fin Fang Foom-approved giant purple shorts. It's too bad the cover design of the reprint pretty much cuts off the little tug boat chugging along at Giant Turtle Man's knees, it adds a special something to the image.
The cover was famously inspired by (swiped from) this ancient Thrilling Wonder Stories pulp magazine from 1940. I actually own a copy of this pulp, finding it in some dusty bookstore somewhere ages ago and rescuing it because of its connection to the utterly fabulous Jimmy cover.
Giant Turtle Man went on to have one more appearance, as part of a gang of Jimmy's altered identities who confront him on "The World of Doomed Olsens!". But then no more.
Unless you count the reprints of those two Giant Turtle Man stories, which is where I first encountered this most memorable of Jimmy Olsen variations.
Giant Turtle Man makes a showing in the recent Countdown series, but seems not to made too good of an impression. I didn't follow this series, but reports are not great.
Nonetheless we still have the original Giant Turtle Man stories, and those they can never take away.