Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #116

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #116 (On Sale: October 8, 1968) has a cover by Curt Swan and Mike Esposito. In my mind this is one of the last of the really silly Swan covers for JO; I don;t know if it is Carmine Infantino layouts or competition from Neal Adams, but Swan's covers are going to get a whole lot more serious in the next few months.

We begin with our cover story, "The Gorilla Reporter," a reprint from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #24 by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Ray Burnley. Jimmy Olsen helps Professor Thorne test a new invention which can read the thoughts of animals. The invention is a failure, but Jimmy’s signal watch causes it to malfunction, switching Jimmy’s mind with that of a gorilla.

Even with Superman’s help, Jimmy is unable to return to his own body. Superman builds a pen to keep Jimmy’s body safe, while Jimmy goes to work in the gorilla’s body. After a handful of adventures, Jimmy is able to return to his own body when Superman discovers that the signal watch is responsible for the switch.

Next we have "Brainiac... Big-Time Operator" by Otto Binder and Pete Costanza. Brainiac returns to Earth with a plan to use Jimmy Olsen as an instrument of Superman's downfall. He attacks Jimmy while the boy reporter is camping with members of his Fan Club. Despite Brainiac's efforts to stop Jimmy, the reporter is able to activate his signal watch to summon the Man of Steel. However, Brainiac uses an enlarging ray to turn a tiny pebble of Kryptonite into a boulder that takes down Superman. Jimmy steals the enlarging ray from Brainiac and saves his friend by enlarging a piece of lead to block the deadly Kryptonite radiation. While Jimmy is making the rescue, Brainiac flees.

Lastly we have "The Secret of the Smallville Seeds" by Dave Wood and Pete Costanza. Jimmy Olsen and his Fan Club visit Smallville and convince several residents to plant seeds in their fields in a particular pattern. Jimmy keeps his intentions a secret until the seeds grow into flowers 48 days later. The flowers form a giant message that Superman can read from the air. The message welcomes him back to Smallville on the anniversary of his first public appearance as the Boy of Steel.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

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