Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A Pair Of Giant Jimmy Olsen Transformations


Jimmy Olsen had a few giant issues during his publication, and had a few opportunities where he turned into a giant!

Here (though one cover doesn't look it), is a couple of times Jimmy was truly larger than life!

 

The Human Skyscraper

First up, from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #28 (April, 1958) by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Ray Burnley (under an unrelated cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye), Jimmy goes ape over Metropolis after growing to giant-sized!


Jimmy has a toothache, so, instead of going to a dentist, he goes to see inventor Professor Potter, who shows off his new growing formula.  When Jimmy's tooth bothers him, the Professor gives him a pill for the pain.  Jimmy takes off in the Flying Newsroom, looking for a story as a foreign dignitary comes in by ocean liner, but a storm gets Jimmy to crash the helicopter on an island instead.  

Jimmy awakes, to find himself bound and naked on the beach, having grown to Gulliver sized!  Jimmy calls out to a passing ship, but triggers an avalanche, knocking him unconscious.  The ship crew hear his call, and its captain, Wonders Wilson, trades with the natives to take the large comatose man back to civilization.  


Planning to show off his King (Kong)-sized wonder, Wilson sets up Olsen on display (who awakes, but is dazed and childlike due to a blow on his head, and goes ape, though without being furry like a time when he became a gorilla).  Jimmy breaks free of his bonds, while Clark Kent finds out about Jimmy's condition, and checks with Professor Potter (who realizes he must have given Jimmy the growing formula, and looks for a cure). 

Superman distracts Jimmy to prevent him from destroying (most) of Metropolis, and realizes, as Jimmy climbs a building with a spire (to get the needle on top to poke at his aching tooth), that Jimmy has a tooth needed to be pulled.  After getting Jimmy some anesthetic, Superman has the tooth pulled (a good thing too, as the gas also happened, coincidentally!!!, to cure Jimmy's gigantism!).  Superman retrieves the damaged helicopter as Jimmy promises to see a dentist regularly twice a year from now on!

 

The Giant Turtle Man

Jimmy's other giant transformation (covered here) is one of his most famous (or is that infamous?), the Giant Turtle Man evolution from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #53 (June, 1961) under a Curt Swan and Stan Kaye cover, with a story by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and John Forte.


This time around, Jimmy, Lois Lane and Clark Kent are on an ocean cruise, where Jimmy wanders off on a beach, and finds a trunk full of advanced gadgets, and, trying one, finds it can enlarge living creatures.  Lois convinces him to lock it up, and bring it back to the ship, where he planned to show Clark (but, Clark got lost on the island, and stayed behind, missing the ship leaving...an excuse to allow him to head off to a long deep space mission).  

Jimmy accidentally triggers his signal watch, so Superman shows up before leaving for space, and warns Jimmy NOT to fool around with items in the chest as he heads into space.  


Of course, as Lois shows Jimmy things she got, including a pet turtle, Jimmy accidentally triggers the growth ray, and, as it strikes him and the turtle, they both grow, and Jimmy also takes on some turtle traits.  As a Giant Turtle Man, Jimmy attacks a local bridge, tearing it apart, and taking the pieces to stuff in a volcano.  He does the same with a few submarines (using transatlantic cable to rope them up).  Superman returns from space, and stops Jimmy after Lois fills him in.

Then, Superman gets a telepathic message from his old college girlfriend, mermaid Lori Lemaris, who informs Superman that Jimmy's growth and menace came from Atlantean Goxo, who was a criminal scientist, who was to be exiled, and put together a trunk of weapons for someone to find, so that someone would grow, and he could take telepathic control of them (to fill a volcano on an island, to stop a group of scientists from finding the pirate treasure on the island).  After shrinking Jimmy with Brainiac's shrinking ray (which also took out Jimmy's "turtleness") Superman and Jimmy go to retrieve the pirate booty from the island!


This Jimmy Olsen transformation would return many times (as others of his did), but editor Mort Weisinger might have been a little biased towards this one, and he used the idea in his Thrilling Wonder Stories anthology as well.  Later Superman writers would use it too, first as a pizza pitchman for a new job for Jimmy as he was away from the Daily Planet for a time, then in the Countdown To The Final Crisis as well.  Thankfully, the Brave and the Bold cartoon this back for fun (and many other of Jimmy's changes as well).



Jimmy wouldn't get to be a giant much in later years (though he gave it a shot with borrowing Legion of Super-Heroes member Colossal Boy's uniform for an issue), but, as you can see here, Giant Jimmy Olsen issues were a popular thing, even giving Jimmy's human skyscraper a cover feature!

 



Saturday, September 19, 2020

Batman Day 2020

Celebrating Batman Day...with this cover for Superman: The Man of Steel #37 (September, 1994) by Jon Bogdanove and Dennis Janke...

....as thanks to the chronal confusion of Zero Hour, Superman met up with various versions of Batman, from his very first appearance through his established appearances from the 1940s and 1950s, the new look of the 1960s, return to the grimness of the 1970s, the Dark Knight future Batman and even the animated and movie serial Batman!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Kobra Two By Two The Third


Kobra continued to menace the world of the 1970s, and in these two issues, a direction for the villain was set, as well as the opposition to him grew, getting a new champion in the fight against him!

Here are the two issues covered here!

 

The Eye Of The Serpent


First up is Kobra #5 (November-December, 1976) with a shocking cover by Rich Buckler and Frank McLaughlin (the duo who also provided interior art for the Martin Pasko story of the Naja-Naja!).  This time around, Kobra is making plans in his Ark to destroy San Francisco, as Jason Burr is still in New York, concerned about his missing girlfriend.  Meanwhile, San Francisco detective, Jonny Double is involved in a case of his own...where a mystery woman hired him to find proof that she didn't kill her boss (whom she was having an affair with....as was another woman).  Double did too good a job, as he found her, and that boss, with him still being alive.  


But, Jonny's cover as a taxi driver didn't allow him to follow him as he got a fare, a man in a trenchcoat...who attracted enough attention to him that Jonny couldn't dump him and follow them.  Jonny couldn't even collect the fare as his electronic meter stopped working....and the trenchcoat man left a package behind (which Jonny correctly figured out was a bomb due to it messing with the meter), and took the cab to be dumped off the pier.  The trenchcoat man was an agent of Kobra, assigned to finish Double (and failed).  Double went back to the office of the woman and her boss, though they weren't there, Double found a computer center, and got information on Lt. Perez (whose death happened last issue) and from there, followed back to Horst Buchner (from issue one).  


One of Jonny's contacts even gave him a way to contact Jason Burr, which Jonny did, asking him to fly out to California (which Burr planned on).  Jonny went to meet a contact after passing over the Golden Gate Bridge, but found Kobra's agents already got to him.  This led Double into direct conflict with Kobra, while Jason eventually found his way on to a shaky flight.  Jason was over Oregon when his flight demonstrated major engine trouble, while Jonny awoke to find himself strapped to the Golden Gate Bridge, where Kobra was planning on using his recently acquired solar device to power an earthquake machine to destroy San Francisco.

Need we say...to be continued?

 

The Crack In The World Conspiracy


Kobra #6
(January-February, 1977) by Martin Pasko, Michael Netzer (Nasser at the time) and Joe Rubinstein (with cover also by these two, who finally would give Kobra a regular art team), started with Jonny Double facing off with Kobra on the Golden Gate Bridge.


Jonny had escaped his bonds and figured the only way to save the bridge was to fight Kobra.  Jonny did, even knocking Kobra's wrist weapons off his wrist, and Jonny used it to stop the earthquake device.  Meanwhile, in air, the other passengers on the flight disappeared, and Kobra revealed himself to Jason Burr...acknowledging that he couldn't kill Burr or else die himself, Kobra manipulated Jason onto this flight to keep him busy, and to reveal that Kobra had Melissa (Burr's lady love).  Double was freed from the hospital by Randu Singh, and this pair met with Professor Ross Emerson, who helped Double figure out Kobra's wrist weapon.  


This bunch then broke into Kobra's computer center...but it was a trap to get them to come to Kobra, yet they escaped it (with info on what Kobra's attack on the bridge was for...to damage the Pacific telephone cables so Kobra could send his crew to repair them (and thus tap into global communications secretly).  This group showed up to stop Kobra by the cables, and infiltrated his Ark, and fought well against Kobra and his cult, though Kobra was surprised Double had retrieved his wrist gauntlet.  Kobra used his venom on Randu Singh, blinding the man, as Double sent the Ark into the water, and while he rescued Randu, Kobra was thought dead aboard his supposedly exploding Ark (which meant Jason would be dead too!  Yet, Kobra's forces still planned on doing the cable repair....).


Kobra would have one more issue for his original run, but two more tales of this run.  Confused?  Bothered?  Bewildered?  

Continue to check back....at some Bat-time, same Bat-channel for more answers!

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Happy 50th Josie And The Pussycats Cartoon

Happy 50th Anniversary to the Josie and the Pussycats cartoon!  The cartoon premiered on CBS on September 12th, 1970, and featured the adventures of singer Josie, bassist Valerie, drummer Melody, roadie Alan and manager Alex (with his sister Alexandra as Josie's rival, bringing along her cat, Sebastian), and lasted 16 episodes into 1971.

But, long before it was a cartoon, Josie was the basis for a comic book.

Josephine "Josie" James (later McCoy) premiered in She's Josie (February, 1963) with Melody Jones (later Valentine) and Alexander Cabot III by creator and artist Dan DeCarlo and writer Frank Doyle

The title later changed to Josie with Josie #17 (December, 1965).

Alexandra Cabot joined the cast in She's Josie #7 (August, 1964) and Alan M. Mayberry coming aboard in Josie #42 (August, 1969), as well as a few cast members just disappearing from the school hijinks usually featured in the title.  This issue also introduced the idea of a band to the series (though it was the lads who were forming a band).  Alexandra's mystic powers (when holding Sebastian) were introduced in Josie #43 (September, 1969).

Things really changed when the title became Josie and the Pussycats with Josie and the Pussycats #45 (December, 1969), with Josie creating her band, and adding Valerie Smith to the band (as Alexandra would only join if they called it "Alexandra's Cool Time Cats").  Though their look premiered in issue 45, it would first show up on a cover with the next issue.

By Josie and the Pussycats #49 (August, 1970) the ideas for the cartoon started to show up in the comic (the group fighting mad scientists, Alan touring as their manager, Alexandra trying join....though she last used her magic for a while here).

The comic followed the mystery/horror/comedy idea while the cartoon lasted (and a little longer)...

...but never did adapt to the later Josie animated revival, Josie and the Pussycats In Outer Space (which lasted 16 episodes from 1972-1973).


The title went back to more straight humor, and continued that way up to its last issue (with Alexandra starting to manifest magic again), Josie and the Pussycats #106 (October, 1982), with art up until the end mostly by Dan DeCarlo (who based the original character on his wife, Josie), and the last few issues by artist Stan Goldberg.

Later revivals in comics, movies and TV would come, but these were the stories that started it all!




Wednesday, September 9, 2020

A Quick Investigation Of Jonny Double


If you're in trouble, look for Jonny Double!  

Jonny Double is DC's hard boiled private investigator (an ex-cop working in San Francisco)... 

..handling the cases that would be too tough for any super hero, but still getting involved in cases that range from strange to downright super, better at solving cases than getting paid.

Here's a look at his premiere, and how he bounced around the whole DC Universe for a time (all starting with this issue with a Dick Giordano cover).

 

Meet Jonny Double


Jonathan Sebastian Double first appeared in Showcase #78 (November, 1968) by Marv Wolfman, Joe Gill and Jack Sparling.   The issue starts with Jonny losing his detective office (and flop house), and looking for new digs.  

 

Wilson Twain has a case for Jonny, as he is being threatened by the Syndicate (who already offed his connected brother, leaving a picture with Mr. Twain).  


Checking with his ex-boss, Lt. Branigan, Jonny gets a little Syndicate info, and pumps the pool hall for info....getting his head handed to him.  After getting patched up at the local diner by Crystal Cross, Jonny goes back to Mr. Twain, to find the legal firm of Piker and Glass involved, and, after another scuffle (in a fun house), brings down his men....but, Jonny is stiffed on the bill by Mr. Twain!

A quiet premiere, but more was in store for this man!

To Call A Deadman


Jonny showed up next in Challengers of the Unknown #74 (June-July, 1970) by Denny O'Neil, George Tuska and Neal Adams, but his role was to bring the Challengers the info on a Dr. McJames (who stole a ruby), but Jonny realized more was going on (this would lead the death-cheating Challengers to meet Deadman!).

The Face Of The Dragon


Next, Jonny Double appears in Adventure Comics #418 (April, 1972) by Len Wein, Jose Delbo and Bob Oksner, with Oksner providing the cover.  This time around, Double is hired by Nasthalia Luthor to trail Linda Danvers (with "Nasty" telling him she is planning to kill him!).  Really, Luthor's niece wants Double to prove Linda is Supergirl.  Jonny follows Linda to Chinatown, where she gets involved with the Tong and an illusion casting Batman villain, Dr. Tzin-Tzin.  After Supergirl takes care of business, Jonny returns to "Nasty", refusing to take the case and not getting paid (but wondering if Linda is Supergirl).

Tribunal Of Fear


Wonder Woman #199
(March-April, 1972) by Denny O'Neil, Don Heck and Dick Giordano (under a Jeff Jones cover) sees a much more ambitious Jonny Double.

Jonny encounters Diana Prince (the currently powerless Wonder Woman), and challenges her to a duel.  Diana beats him, and Jonny offers her a job, as he is employed by nightclub magnate, Fellows Dill.  Diana eventually agrees to work with Jonny (as Dill offers to finance an operation to restore the sight of Diana's mentor, I-Ching.  Diana and Jonny get involved against the Tribunal, a religious organization opposed to the Dill, who is seen as the "dean of beautiful women".  Diana and Double get involved fighting the Tribunal, with Double eventually being shot...by Fellows Dill!

The Beauty Hater


Wonder Woman #200
(May-June, 1972) by Denny O'Neil and Dick Giordano (with cover by Jeff Jones) picks up where the last issue left off, with Diana taking Fellows Dill down, and Double grabbing his gun.  

Dill has been driven insane, and the detectives follow his trail to the Tribunal headquarters in the mountain.  They end up at Dill's estate, where they find old Wonder Woman foe, Dr. Cyber, who had created the Tribunal to destroy all things of female beauty, as she had her face disfigured when she last faced Diana Prince.  Dr. Cyber plans to take Diana's face (with help from Ra's Al Ghul's scientist, Dr. Moon), but Diana foils her plan, and escapes with Jonny Double.

Fangs Of Fire


Wonder Woman #202
(September-October, 1972) by Samuel L. Delancy and Dick Giordano, who also provided the cover.

After being kidnapped off panel in the last issue, Diana is forced to chase down Jonny Double, who is a prisoner of Lu Shan (I-Ching's daughter).  There is a battle between Diana, Catwoman, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, and later with Lu Shan, eventually returning Jonny, Diana and Catwoman to Earth (more details on the Wonder Woman/Catwoman team-up here!).


The Grandee Caper


Wonder Woman #203
(November-December, 1972) by Samuel L. Delancy and Dick Giordano (also the cover artist) is the last time Diana is working with Jonny Double.

Diana gets a new job at Grandee's department store, and gets involved in her own trouble there, but does stop by to see Jonny Double and inform him of her new situation.


Encounters With Kobra


Jonny ended up being a target (along with all other San Francisco detectives) of Kobra (fresh off his last adventure), which ended with him working with Jason Burr and Randu Singh (and these adventures will be chronicled here soon, as they appeared in Kobra #5-#7 from 1976 to 1977!).


Jonny then showed up in Showcase #100 (May, 1978) though it was little more than a cameo, and then, worked with Harvey Bullock, Christopher Chance and Jonni Thunder at a detective's convention in Crisis On Infinite Earths #11 (February, 1986) solving the apparent murder of Angle Man, eventually getting revived for his own Vertigo series...still always broke, and always in trouble.

 

 





Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Star Trek 54 Years


Star Trek
had its first episode premiere on September 8th, 1966, and with "The Man Trap", boldly took viewers where they had never gone before.

Over that 54 year span, multiple comic book companies published adventures of the Enterprise crews, and here is a look at the few titles that happen to have a 54th issue.

Sport Of Knaves


In Star Trek #54 (August, 1978) by George Kashdan and Alden McWilliams (and a painted cover by George Wilson), a rare focus on Scotty (though, as you can see by the photo inset, the adventures were usually those of Kirk and Spock), as the Enterprise's chief engineer had to face off against an alien and his killer birds!

 

Gold Key was the first company to have had Star Trek comics, focusing on the original crew, and they ran from 1967 until 1979, lasting for 61 issues (more info on the Gold Key run here!). 

 


Old Loyalties


DC had the next Star Trek #54 (September, 1988), by Peter David, Gordon Purcell and Ricardo Villagran (with cover by Jerome Moore and Keith Wilson), focusing on the movie era crew, with Kirk having a chance to face off against his old Starfleet Academy rival, Finnegan!

 

 

James T. Kirk (as Captain, Admiral or even ensign) was often the focus of Star Trek comics over the years, as this article will clearly show! 


Hidden Agendas


The only series not featuring Kirk to make it past 54 issues was TNG, with Star Trek: The Next Generation #54 (Late November, 1993) by Michael Jan Friedman and Pablo Marcos, with a cover by Rod Whigham and Carlos Garzon, is the third part of a story, where Captain Picard has to run through a holodeck program as Dixon Hill in order to save Worf and Deanna Troi.

 

The Next Generation had one of the longer lasting runs of any Star Trek comic, going for 80 issues from 1989 to 1996, and even their final episode and first two movies were covered in a comic book!


Time Crime, Part Two: Nightmares


The other longest lasting Star Trek series was DC Comics second run with the original crew, with Star Trek #54 (November, 1993) by Howard Weinstein, Rod Whigham and Arne Starr (with cover by Rod Whigham and Carlos Garzon), with Kirk and crew dealing with a timeline where the Romulans have been wiped from existence, and, in this second part of five, Kirk and Colonel Worf (from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country), going back in time to make sure a great man is assassinated (to fix the timeline).

DC handled the adaptations of the third through sixth Star Trek movies, and look here for the covers of them (as well as a little history of Spock in the comics). 


Reunion, Part 2


The most recent series to go for any length of issues was from IDW, and their issue of Star Trek #54 (February, 2016) by Mike Johnson and Tony Shasteen, focuses on Lt. Gaila, the Orion roommate of Uhura, who was forced to go back and marry a Pacari leader by a rebel Orion leader, with Kirk and the Enterprise crew risking galactic peace to save her!

IDW's Star Trek series mostly focused on the newer versions of the original crew, but mixed some original casts in over their 60 issue run.



Sadly, Deep Space Nine and Voyager never had any series that lasted over 50 issues, Enterprise doesn't seem to make it into comics much, and Discovery and Picard are only really starting comics, but, so long as people boldly go, there will be Star Trek comics!


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Jimmy Olsen's Gorilla Transformation

 


Looking back to the past, at a time when bow ties were cool, and covers with gorillas were even cooler.

So. of course, Jimmy Olsen would take advantage of that (not to mention his ability to find his way into secret labs and drink unknown formulas).....and turn himself into a gorilla!

Don't go ape....but, read on as we see how this happened in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #24 (October, 1957) under a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye (and, later, the secret behind the second cover).

The Gorilla Reporter


In a story by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Ray Burnley, Jimmy Olsen was helping Professor Thorne out with his telepathizer machine (a machine which was to allow man to communicate with animals) when the gorilla, Bonzo, pushed some buttons as Jimmy was using his signal watch to call Superman...and Jimmy and Bonzo switched minds!  


After a little confusion, Superman took the ape-minded Jimmy's body to a retreat to be safe, while the new simian Olsen got use to his new life as a gorilla!  With some precautions, Jimmy took to the beat, covering a wrestling match (of Golden George vs the Gorilla), helped out at a movie premiere (getting the gorilla star of the movie to put his paw print in cement), and even patrolling with Superman (who was having no luck finding a way to switch Jimmy and Bonzo back).  


Meanwhile, Jimmy's body got loose, and headed to Metropolis (where, luckily, Jimmy caught him after saving Clark Kent from being locked in a bank vault).  Superman suggested having the ape-minded Jimmy push the buttons on the machine again....and, while he was busy, activated Jimmy's signal watch.  It was the signal watch that provided the extra power, which switched their minds again, leaving the professor and Superman to deal with a happy Jimmy, and poor Perry White to deal with his new, now fully simian reporter!


But, what about Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #116 (December, 1968), with its cover by Curt Swan and Mike Esposito?

Well, that was just a reprint of the original tale, likely brought about by the realization of how cool the original one was (or, just a deadline doom leaving one third of the mag in need of a story...

..and maybe just give a gorilla cover one more try...

...this time to cash in on the popularity of the Planet of the Apes movie....released that year!).

 


Of course, Jimmy had a few other strange transformations, as well as a few other primate encounters, but those are strange tales better off covered later....or maybe what Jimmy does in the jungle should stay in the jungle!