Tuesday, June 20, 2017
The Secret Saga Of Suicide Slum!
When Jack "King" Kirby took the reins of the Jimmy Olsen book he introduced a slew of new characters as well as reviving many from the Golden Age. One character who shows up in these stories who I always was brand new was a beautiful woman named Terry Dean.
She shows up at the Daily Planet and meets with Perry White who makes a quick reference to a "slum" story. At the time I gave it little if any thought but thanks to the mighty powers of the internet I learned much much more. Terry Dean first appeared in the page of Jimmy Olsen in issue #127 in a story title properly "The Secret Slumlord of Metropolis" by Leo Dorfman and Curt Swan with George Roussos on inks.
In this story Jimmy goes undercover in a tenement building to uncover the appalling conditions the people there live with. That it's "Suicide Slum" where the Newsboy Legion and the Guardian held sway back during World War II is not referenced until Kirby puts his mark on the story later by incorporating this yarn into his storyline.
There's the usual Jimmy Olsen hijinks in this story, the usual level of seriousness about an issue which was truly serious. The cliched problems of slum living are pointed out and as far as they go do a service of sorts for readers who might not have realized such was the case. But in the end the story is just a yarn.
Then Terry Dean shows up again and she ends up in later Jimmy Olsen issues escorting Superman and the DNAlien Dubbliex into a nightclub she is trying to run in the midst of Suicide Slum. This story quickly leads Superman through a Boom Tube to the resplendent "Supertown" of New Genesis, and I don't know if Kirby was intending a contrast, but there certainly is one.