Saturday, February 20, 2016

Episode #336 Part II: Superman Family Comic Book Cover Dated October 1961: Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #56!

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen 56, October 1961!

Download Episode 336 Part II!

SUPERMAN'S PAL JIMMY OLSEN 56, October 1961, was published around August 17, 1961. It contained 32 pages STILL for the cover price of only a dime. Mort Weisinger was the editor, and the cover was pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by John Forte. It featured the issue's first story.

- THE SON OF JIMMY OLSEN (9 pgs.), was written by Jerry Siegel and drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger. This is the 9th Imaginary Story covered on this podcast. It was reprinted in SUPERMAN'S PAL JIMMY OLSEN 117, January 1969, around November 26, 1968. This story was also Siegel's 63rd Superman Family story covered on the podcast, and his 108th overall for the era.

- THE JINX OF METROPOLIS (8 pgs.), written by Jerry Siegel and drawn by John Forte. This was Siegel's 64th Superman Family story covered on this podcast, and his 109th overall for the silver age.

- JIMMY OLSEN'S SWEETHEARTS (8 pgs.), writer unknown according to Mike's Amazing World Of DC Comics, while the Grand Comic Book Database credits Robert Bernstein as the writer. Al Plastino drew this story.

Also highlighted in this episode are the issue's ads and other features, including the JIMMY OLSEN'S PEN PALS letter column.

Elsewhere in DC Comics 27 titles carried the October or October/November 1961 cover date, according to Mike's Amazing World Of DC Comics. They were covered at the end of Episode 255, for the week of January 23, 2013.

This episode begins with the monthly MY PULL LIST segment, where I review the March 2016 cover dated issues, released in January 2016, which I received from Discount Comic Book Service.

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  2. Holy moly! (to borrow an expression from Captain Marvel) How many problems are there in the imaginary tale "The Son of Jimmy Olsen"?! First, despite Superman's reference to young Jimmy Olsen Jr. as "a nice family friend, and that's all", he is ACTUAL FAMILY! Since his mother and Lola's mother are sisters, he and Lola are first cousins. He is Lois and Superman's nephew! What kid wants to take his cousin to a dance, let alone date her? Holy ick-factor! (to borrow an expression from the Boy Wonder) I'm surprised that you didn't mention the family relationship, especially given your expressed wish for Supergirl to appear in the story. I thought that might have reminded you that Supergirl is Superman's first cousin, which might have reminded you that Jimmy, Jr. and Lola are first cousins.
    Beyond that obvious problem, Superman's objection to Jimmy Jr. and Lola's potential romance because it would put Jimmy Jr. in danger from Supermaid's enemies is silly, in the face of Superman's marriage to Lois. Same issue, same solution. If the ordinary humans are married to the superhumans' secret identities, who would associate the ordinary spouses with the superhumans, in order to threaten them? It was the revelation of the secret identities later in the story that was the source of the danger.
    Given that this was an imaginary story, maybe this was in a world in which first cousins are free to marry, and cousins/nephews are considered "nice family friends, and that's all", but that doesn't seem to be mentioned in the story, and doesn't seem to fit DC's usual world-view of the time. I have to think of this story as just a big mistake, overall, which is most unusual for me. I generally love Silver Age stories, particularly imaginary stories, beyond all reason, but this one just doesn't work at all for me.

    1. You're absolutely right. I can't believe I missed that point. Thanks for pointing it out. Back in Action Comics #289, there was another creepy moment when Superman told Supergirl that if he married, it would be to someone like her, and she was still a minor. I covered that story back in Episode #278 for the week of August 21, 2013. It makes you wonder how DC could even consider publishing that story, even if it was only an "imaginary" one.

    2. I had thought of the story of "Superman's Super-Courtship", too, but realize that was published after this story, so maybe the writers and editors learned their lesson after this one, at least about not having cousins marry.

  3. If the story had been imagined with Superman married, say, to Lana Lang rather than Lois Lane, it would have eliminated the issue of a romance between cousins, but there would still have been the problem of Superman's hypocrisy about the danger to Jimmy, Jr., from Supermaid's enemies, since the same solution he and his wife used (her marrying Clark rather than Superman) would have worked for the youngsters, with Jimmy, Jr., marrying Lola rather than Supermaid. This says, to me, that the story is really unsalvageable.

  4. I just listened to Episode 337, where you discussed this comment thread, and interestingly enough I had just recently done some research into cousin marriage for a completely different reason. I'm not about to come out in full support of it, but it's definitely not the universal taboo that a lot of people think it is.

    Marriage of first cousins is legal in 20 US states, as well as in a vast majority of countries in the world. There are even a few where it's fairly commonplace for societal reasons.

    Much like Billy, I didn't think anything of it as I was reading this story. They didn't emphasize it at all, so while it may raise some readers' hackles I don't think they were trying to pull a fast one on us. It'll be interesting to see if anyone brings this up in the letters page of a future SPJO issue.

    For more on cousin marriage, should you be so inclined, check out the article on Wikipedia.