Category Archives: Jimmy Olsen #138

Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #138

Cooke Look: “The Big Boom!”

Wow, what a nail-biter this issue is! It’s an unrelenting juggernaut of a story that climaxes the Project story arc that basically started in JO #133. Jack’s depiction of Superman is simply awesome, whether our hero is smacking down the Four-Armed Terror or carrying a rather hefty atomic reactor over his head while in full trot!

When I was a kid, as my brother and I would lay about our shared bedroom leafing through the latest Kirby comics, I distinctly recall when finishing a Kamandi comic book once, I’d snort, “Yeesh, that took me eight minutes to read,” like it was a bad thing. You know, this was when Jack had multiple chapters to an issue, each chapter opening with a full-page splash, never mind the requisite double-pager for the second and third pages… plus the regular pages typically had four panels per. I think I complained — I know I complained — because I wanted to spend more time in the throes of Jack’s imagination and, however brief, I still reveled in the experience.

I bring this episode up because this issue of Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen is almost a “real-time” comic book, starting on page one as it does with 15 minutes to go and ending at second zero on pg. 23 (not counting the epilogue that occurs an hour after the almost-Armageddon). This is certainly one of my all-time favorite Kirby comic books. The Four-Armed Terrors are terrific baddies and it’s a delight to see the old Newsboy Legion in action. The ferocity of the almost-final battle is breath-taking and a reminder of Jack’s great war comics work…

This, in my humble opinion, is the best the series ever got under Jack’s guidance, though there are lots more exciting, engaging adventures to come. Me, I’m a big fan of the Goody Rickels stuff, so you’ll not hear me say the series goes downhill… no, just the pacing changes and, for me, a humorous episode was perfectly timed following these stressed-out, ticking-bomb tales!

Day 103: The Big Boom!

Call it what you will — Blow-Up! Doom-Time! Holocaust Time! The Big Boom! — but it sure looks like the end of our heroes, The Project and all of Metropolis when The Four-Armed Terror, looking to munch on raw atomic energy is wrecking havoc with the facility’s atomic reactor, and Kirby builds up the anxiety as deftly as Hitchcock throughout this nail-biting issue!

It’s Mokkari and Simyan, the Apokolips agents in charge of Darkseid’s Evil Factory who first envision the Big Boom as they track the progress of the Four-Armed Terror as it closes in on The Project’s atomic power plant. After the D.N.Alien cocoons Superman, Jimmy and the kids in a giant, impenetrable shell, “Hunger has replaced fury! There is abundant food nearby! One pair of arms seeks leverage on the wall of rock — while the other arms grasp the metal leading to the food! Primitive, savage strength tears free all obstructions!! The path ahead is now clear and round and smooth! The smell of food is overpowering — the creature increases its pace!” The mutant is traveling through a tube and there is a sign reading, “CAUTION: DANGER ZONE!” with a notice to check clothing for leakage.”

Somewhere, in their hidden location, the operators of the “Evil Factory” follow the creature’s progress!

Simyan: There’s the blip! Our fledgling is in the main conduit!

Mokkari: Praise Darkseid!

Simyan: Yes, directly in his path is a giant atomic pile that supplies power to the entire underground world of The “Project!”

Mokkari: He must feed on radiation! He’ll rip that pile apart and trigger a chain reaction! Then a great white flash! A fire storm of indescribable heat! Shock upon shock as a mushroom cloud rises where once The Project stood! A job well done, eh, Simyan?

Simyan: It will be beautiful, Mokkari! And with it will go the rest! Yes — and even the city of Metropolis — which lies above, within range! We’ll have carried out, to the letter, the order of our great leader, Darklseid! Surely this is a triumph for the forces of our world — Apokolips! The pattern is set! We have bred the perfect instrument to challenge humanity!

Mokkari: Sprung from their own seed — and nutured by radioactive vapors!

Simyan: The others are stirring! They’re breaking free of their protective shells, Mokkari!

Mokkari: It is their time, Simyan! Their birth heralds the age of holocaust! Hail Homo Usurpus! Earth lies before you for the taking!

The final countdown is on! It isn’t waiting for Jimmy Olsen, his pal Superman, or for any of us! So stay where you are — on Ground Zero — so you won’t miss the following issue — and the Big Boom!

That closes JO #137, and the next issue opens with pandemonium at The Project. The opening caption reads: “The End of the World is at hand! But who would believe us!!?? You would! — If you knew what was going on, underground, in the world of The Project! Down there, it is fifteen minutes to The Big Boom!!” A commanding officers barks orders to his soldiers, “Snap to it, men! You know what our scanners show!” One says, “Yeah! Wow!” and the other, “It’s holocaust time at the atomic power plant!” Coming right at us on this opening splash page are the Guardian and the original Newsboy Legion wielding pistols.

Tommy, Sr.: Our rival project, the Evil Factory, has turned loose a destructive D.N.Alien in our area!

Flippa-Dippa’s Dad: Superman’s trying to head him off! But he’s run into trouble!

Big-Words, Sr.: Let’s go! Jimmy Olsen and our kids are with him!

Moments later, an armed convoy of battle-trained security troops races toward the alien danger unleashed by a hidden enemy!

We see a spectacular panorama of the giant cave that encompasses the main Project complex. Unidentified voices rise from various transports.

First voice: There’s no telling what’s happened! Our instruments show they’ve made contact with the alien!

Second voice: But the alien is heading for our atomic power plant! All traces of Superman and the boys have vanished!

Third voice: Go, men! The Evil Factory has jammed all communications with our atomic power plant! We can’t warn them! All we can do now is pour on the speed!

When the convoy reaches an entrance of the fabled “Zoomway” its vehicles switch to jet speed and roar towards where the action is!!

Big-Words, Sr.: Our destination lies in the Wild Area, outside of The Project! When we get there, Don’t think! Just act! Time is running out — but fast!

Gabby, Sr.: The old Newsboy Legion — the Guardian — and danger — you know, fellas, I’m getting like a lump in the heart!!

Scrapper, Sr.: Shaddap, Gabby! If we don’t pull this one off, that lump is gonna be a hole fifty miles wide!

Thirteen minutes to destruction! The D.N.Alien, driven by primitive fury and a hunger for radiation, gets closer to his objective — the atomic power plant! He moves without resistance, for those who would stop him are imprisoned in a trap of the alien’s weaving!

While Superman, Jimmy and their young cohorts are trapped inside the egg with “a wild atomic structure” and figure out how to escape, we on the outside know there’s only eleven minutes to Doomsday!

Closer! Closer! Ahead lies the great source of food on which the Four-Armed Terror can gorge himself! His arms tear out earth, rock and the buried equipment which leads to the atomic power plant! Suddenly, his path is blocked by a thick lead wall! It resists his brute strength! The alien digs! He hammers! But the wall stands! On the other side of the wall, startled workers and security guards converge on the sounds of attack!! But the D.N.Alien is already digging beneath the wall — digging toward his goal — it is nine minutes to holocaust!

The gang finally gets out of their predicament and immediately the Man of Steel takes to the air. Jimmy cries out, “Superman! Wait for us!” and Scrapper adds, “Yeah, We wanna get dat alien too!

Superman takes no time to reply! Speed is the answer now! It is seven minutes to fiery end! Like a supersonic dart, the Man of Steel follows the trail of torn rock and metal on the heels of his quarry!

Superman thinks, “Got to stop him! Got to!” The next caption reads, “His momentum almost hurls him agains a great lead wall — built to stop radiation leaks!” Superman says aloud, “The alien was here — I can see his marks! But where is he now?”

After an interlude with Terry Dean and Perry White, we see more wide-angle shots of the Project trooper convoy traveling into the Outsiders’ realm.

It is six minutes to disaster! And the fates are gathering the principal players in their death game swiftly together!

Voice: This is it! A camouflaged Zoomway exit!

Second Voice: We’re entering the Wild Area! Alert the convoy! We’re almost at our destination!

Third voice: There’s our kids’ Whiz Wagon! Wherever Superman is, we’ll find them on his trail!

Scrapper, Sr.: There’s a tunnel ahead! It looks like the alien is digging his way to the atomic plant!

Big-Words, Sr.: Then that’s where Superman and our boys are! Let’s go!

Then Mokkari and Simyan, observing the Project forces on video screen, send their army of Four-Armed Terrors into the Dimensional Threshold! Morgan Edge, thoughtfully tipped off by Inter-Gang to get the hell out of Dodge, flies away from Metropolis before the Big Boom!

Three minutes to violent eruption! Beneath the blast area, Superman frantically scurries in the wake of the Four-Armed Terror!

“I hear sounds of shooting up ahead!” thinks Superman. “He’s broken into the atomic power plant!” Guards scream, “Stop him! Stop him!” and fire at the creature, who uses his four upper appendages to throw them aside in his ceaseless quest for satiation. Thinks the Man of Steel, That thing mustn’t reach the reactor!” Jumping from behind, Superman puts the beast in a headlock. “This is as far as you go, mister!” says our hero. “AARRUK!” says our villain. “Maddened by his hunger for radiation, the D.N.Alien increases his power! He hurls Superman from him!!” Superman says, “Wha-?” and Four-Armed Terror says, “ARUK!” Then, “the creature lunges at the reactor — tearing at the metal…” A cringing scientist helpfully explains, “Good lord! He’s pulling out the damper rods!”

That’s done it!” thinks Superman. “The damper rods regulate the flow of radiation! And he’s using them as waepons! — Against me!” Four rods flung by four arms fly with a ZZZWWOOOSH towards the last son of Krypton. “The great boron steel rods shatter like matchsticks upon impact with Superman!” (KRAKANNKKLE) Our hero thinks, “Now what? Without the rods, the radiation flow will rise to the danger level — where the reactor reaches critical mass!

The reactor begins to run wild! And the alien feeds upon the escaping energy!

Four-Armed Terror: ARUK! ARUK!

Superman: Come down from there, you animal!

It is one minute to Blow-Up! And it can’t be stopped! As if to nail down this fact to Superman, the glistening Threshold appears — and from it pours an army of D.N.Aliens! And to meet their charge at this incredible moment, The Project security forces arrive to close in for battle!!

Soldier: Open fire! Give ’em all you’ve got!

Superman: [Thinking] They’re too late! It’s just about doom-time!

Big-Words, Sr.: Superman! We found the boys! They filled us in! — They — Wha–!? The reactor’s reaching critical mass! It’ll melt — flood the area with deadly radiation!

Gabby, Sr.: No! No!

Superman: It’s worse! Those aliens could trigger an atomic blast! Are the test tunnels still here?

Big-Words, Sr.: Yes! Beyond the reactor chamber! We’ve been planning to tap the Earth’s core for power!

Superman: Fine! Now! When I give the signal — halt the firing! Break ranks and let the D.N.Aliens come through!

It is thirty seconds SECONDS to eternity! The battle rages in full fury!

Superman: Hold them back! Just for one second more!

Bracing himself against the sizzling reactor, Superman pours his might into one lifting motion…

Superman: It’s got to be now!

Then he jars the reactor from its foundation!

Superman: This is it! Stop firing! Let the aliens through! Let them through!

Lifting the great reactor, Superman runs with his burden toward the test tunnels! The security lines suddenly open! And the aliens break through! Countdown has begun! 10 — 9 — 8 — 7 — 6 — 5 —

Superman: The aliens are following the trail of radiation — as I’d hoped! I’ve got to use sonic speed now!

4 — 3 — 2 —

Superman: The deep core tunnel! And down she goes!

Like maddened lemmings, the aliens ignore Superman and hurl themselves after the plummeting reactor!!

Superman: They’re blindly following their food supply!

Then thousands of feet below, an immense, fiery blast occurs — which sends seismograph needles waving hundreds of miles away!

Phew! That was a close one! And, okay, you’re right, the Big Boom is more a non-event, huh?

Day 102: The Dimensional Threshold!

We’re not exactly informed how The Four-Armed Terror is transported from the Evil Factory (hidden in the Scottish highlands) to The Wild Area (near Metropolis), as it happens between Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #136 and 137, but we kinda assumed it was the Penetrator Beam that did the job, the same device used to land Giant Green Jimmy in The Project. But actually, at least when it comes to multiple Homo Ursurpui, Mokkari and Simyan utilize the Matter-Transmitter to create the Dimensional Threshold to get the buggers out of their hair.

As the grown-up Newsboy Legionnaires, Golden Guardian and DNA Project soldiers are rushing via transports to meet the singular Four-Armed Terror threat in the Wild Area, Mokkari and Simyan, proprietors of The Evil Factory spring into action. The caption reads: “The death game grows more tense! The countermove comes by remote control!” Controlling a view screen, Mokkari blurts, “Project troops!” and Simyan adds, “We must act!

At an unknown location, the architects of the atomic blow-up work feverishly in the Evil Factory!

Simyan: Those troops could help Superman stop our alien, Mokkari!

Mokkari: Then we’ll arrange to keep them busy, Simyan! — By sending them — more aliens! I’ll activate the Matter-Transmitter!

With that, the yellow-faced Apokolips denizen fiddles with some dials.

Simyan: Our entire alien brood has hatched — and dissolved their shells!

Mokkari: As soon as the generator builds up the desired charge, we’ll create the Dimensional Threshold — and transmit them across it to the scene of action!

Amidst their cries of “ARUK,” the Four-Armed Terrors are sprayed with magenta-colored gas, perhaps more radioactive vapors.

Simyan: And when they get there, nothing will stop them! They’ll tear into that atomic reactor! The blow-up must happen!

Mokkari: It shall! These brutes will make it a certainty! We must report to our ruler that we’ve done his will!

Suddenly there’s a glowing area in the chamber… the Dimensional Threshold begins to appear!

As Superman is engaged in a slug-fest with the first Four-Armed Terror, suddenly… “It is one minute to blow-up! And it can’t be stopped! As if to nail down this fact to Superman, the glistening Threshold appears — and from it pours an army of D.N.Aliens!”

Oh, boy!

Day 101: Miss Laura Conway!

Miss Laura Conway is Galaxy Broadcasting CEO Morgan Edge’s personal secretary and she formerly served as the enigmatic Dabney Donovan’s “most trusted employee,” a fact revealed during the “Transilvane” storyline, where she was a more active player in the storyline than previously.

Just before Inter-Gang orders Morgan Edge out of his office and to escape Metropolis because the Four-Armed Terror was about to set off a nuclear chain reaction that would destroy the city, we catch the executive in a mundane situation with his new secretary. Barking orders from his desk, Edge says, “I want three copies made of these letters, Miss Conway!” To which a young, slender and attractive woman replies, “Yes, sir!” As she closes his door, he adds, “Oh, Miss Conway! I’d appreciate it — if your typing ability would begin to catch up with your devastating charm!” Her retort: “I never intended to be anything but efficient, sir!” As he attends to his Inter-Gang communication, Morgan Edge thinks, “The little snip! She’s as good as fired!

Later, after Metropolis was not vaporized in an atomic explosion and Miss Conway was not relieved of her duties, Morgan Edge returns to his office. As he enters the door…

Morgan Edge: Well, everything seems just as it did before I left! Any messages, Miss Conway?

Miss Conway: Mister Edge! I didn’t expect you back so soon — you did leave rather hurriedly, sir!

Morgan Edge: Well, you see, I learned that Metropolis would suffer an atomic explosion!

Miss Conway: Oh, er — Clark Kent called! He said that Jimmy Olsen is back — and they both want to see you!

Morgan Edge: [Thinking] I’d have favored the atomic explosion! [Out loud] Miss Conway! If Kent or young Olsen calls again — tell them I’m still out! They can wait! I’ve got bigger fish to fry! How are we progressing on those contracts for Don Rickles?

Miss Conway: Oh, Mister Edge! I just hope Don signs with us! He’s such a funny man!

Morgan Edge: Never fear! I’ll reel him in!

Miss Conway: That’s wonderful! We’ll have two of them now! Don — and his “look-alike!”

Morgan Edge: Look-alike?

Miss Conway: Yes! Goody Rickels! He’s on our research staff — a sweet, lovable soul —

Later, Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen ask Miss Conway some questions. Says Clark, “Is Mister Edge back yet, Miss Conway? Jimmy and I must see him!” Jimmy leans on her desk with a warning, “And don’t con us, Miss Conway! Some of the staff have seen Edge return!” Miss Conway is unfazed. “Then those same busybodies should have told you he went out again! However — Mister Edge left this for you both!” She hands Clark a small piece of paper. Jimmy says, “That looks suspiciously like an assignment slip!” And the boys are sent off to check a possible U.F.O. landing in Cronin Park.

Next, Miss Conway interrupts her boss. “Yes, Miss Conway! What is it now?” The secretary responds, “Oh, Mister Edge! You have been busy! Don Rickles just phoned to say he’ll be here soon! It’s so exciting! Oh — er — there’s been no calls from Goody Rickels! I do hope he can be of some help on that UFO story!” Taking a drag off his ever-present cigarette, Morgan Edge says, “Miss Conway, I’m extremely confident that Goody Rickels will fare no better or worse than the others!

A short time later: “Meanwhile, in the sumptuous office of Morgan Edge, the chief executive of the Galaxy Broadcasting System…” Miss Conway bursts in on her boss. “He’s coming, Mister Edge! He’s on his way up in one of the elevators now!” Morgan Edge replies brusquely. “Contain yourself, Miss Conway! After all, this network does business with many stars!” But the woman continues to gush. “Oh, but Don Rickles is such a treat!! I just can’t wait to get insulted by him!” Lighting a smoke, Morgan Edge says, “Yes! I’m anticipating something like that myself!” Miss Conway adds, “Wouldn’t it be just immense if Goody Rickels would return from his assignment to confront Don!?”

After the real Don Rickles is mobbed in the Galaxy offices — Miss Conway laments, “OH! Poor Mister Rickles” she and her boss help the comedian into the executive’s office, “There, there, Mister Rickles! You’ll mend rapidly in here!” Don gives her a look. “Who’s this broad? What is she playing? — “Nursey-nursey”? Morgan Edge offers, “That’s Miss Conway, my secretary!” Then, in a classic panel, while the curvaceous young lady walks out of the room, the comedian’s eyes glued to her sash-shaying figure in a form-fitting dress, Don quips, “You’re great, honey! You’re wasted here! You deserve something better than a typewriter and this sneaky crumb! Get yourself a bikini and start a chain of heart attacks at a garden party!” Miss Conways beams and replies, “Will do, Mister Rickles! I’m so thrilled!” She leaves and Don tells Morgan Edge, “‘I’m so thrilled,’ she says! Working for a guy like you — Morgan ‘Watch the Small Print’ Edge!!”

The beginning of Jimmy Olsen #142 begins ominously. “Amid the strange sounds at midnight, this classic horror figure never fails to emerge and haunt our dreams with terrible effectiveness! So here he is again — But wait!!!! — Your writer advises you to expect something more than the same old routine from The Man from Transilvane!” A sinister looking fellow and his werewolf companion look into the moonlit night. “The night is the same on any world, eh, Lupek?!! Ahead lies the city — and the one we seek!!” Mouth agape, fangs are revealed, and eyes glowing with no pupils, the vampire is ravenous. “Ahh! I sense her! I’ve found her! I call her name!! Laura! Laura Conway!! — Even as you sleep — you can hear my call!”

Like some sinister instrument locked on its invisible target, the man from Transilvane stands rigid!! Then–!!

Rays emanating skyward from his eyes, the monster boasts, “From my eyes soars the power!! It will reach her — and create the mark which will make us — as one!!

The power knows no distance! It projects for miles — to the city! To a building — to a window!! And beyond the window is Laura Conway — sleeping — sleeping — as the mark appears on her neck — to change her body chemistry! What has been done — is now done!! The reults of it will rival the most awesome events ever recorded!! When Laura Conway takes up the threads of her life the next day, at the offices of Galaxy Broadcasting System, her transformation is not ignored by Jimmy Olsen and his super-sonic sidekick, Superman, seen here in his other identity — Clark Kent!

Laura Conway is staring intensely at her desk , phone in one hand, pencil in the other. The reporters are looking at her with concern. Clark says, “You look a bit peaked this morning, Miss Conway! So we’ll try to make it short! –“” Jimmy adds, “Yes! When do we get to see Morgan Edge? He’s put us off long enough! We’ve got to talk to him!” Laura says, “Boys — boys — give me a moment–!”

Jimmy is annoyed, telling the secretary, “If Morgan Edge is dodging us, I can tell you it’s for a darn good reason!” Adds Clark, “That’s true! We’ve got questions to ask him that could put Mister Edge in a very embarrassing position!” Looking demur, Miss Conway responds, “Perhaps that’s why he’s out! Oh, I don’t know! At any rate, he isn’t here!” Then, in a startling moment, Miss Conway gives an open-mouthed smile that reveals — gulp! — prominent fangs! “And that, boys, could mean minutes, hours, days — You name it! Mister Edge left no departing word!” Jimmy blurts out, “Miss Conway! Y-your face –! I-I mean — are you okay??” Clark brushes past his pal to take charge. “One side, diplomat! Don’t you see she needs help?!” Jimmy leans forward on her desk as the veteran Daily Planet reporter takes the woman in his arms. Jimmy says, “She needs sorcery prevention, if you ask me — did you see –??” Clark responds, “I saw! I saw! But I can’t believe it! Easy, Miss Conway –” and he picks her up, carrying her. “What do you make of it, Clark?” asks Jimmy. “This is no ‘put-on,’ Jimmy!! She’s doing the vampire bit — down to the very ‘marks on the neck’!!

And the power — when it has fully taken hold — controls the body chemistry — controls the very body atoms — so that a pattern is followed — a complete and total pattern!

Hold her curvy and unconscious body before the office mirror, Clark exclaims, “Oh, my God! The mirror! Jimmy! Look in that mirror and tell me if what I see — is so! I mean — tell me, if what I don’t see is so! No! I — mean –” Replies the cub reporter, “I know what you mean! Miss Conway casts no reflection! And you know what that means!” Clark places the unfortunate woman on a couch. “Shouldn’t we call a doctor or something, Clark?” asks Jimmy. “Of course! Only here, in Morgan Edge’s empty office, we can at least make her comfortable!” Jimmy is incredulous, “Make her comfortable? Make a real vampire comfortable? Clark, she’s liable to get up and bite us both on the neck!” Clark is searching for a pulse and dismisses his comrade. “Oh, quiet! Let’s get our bearings!”

The next caption reads, “And the total pattern must remain fixed!! And nothing that belongs to it must ever be excluded!” A small mammal suddenly flies through the room. “A bat!!” says a shocked Olsen. “Here in the city — in the office!! Don’t tell me what happens next!!” Clark is stoic, adding, “Yeah! I saw the movie, too! Keep your cool, Jim!” Reads the caption, “–Even into the final materialization!” A new voice: “Good afternoon, gentlemen!!” A new figure in the room: “Allow me to introduce myself! Count Dragorin of Transilvane!” (Jimmy mutters, “It figures!”) The caped, pale-faced intruder continues, “I regret the intrusion upon your many activities in this place!! However, I am pressed to carry out my own, you see!!” Retorts Clark, “If your business is with Miss Conway, I suggest that you talk to us about it!” Jimmy steps in to wag a forefinger at the Count. “I second Clark’s motion! Now, what’s this all about? How do you work this gimmick — and why?” The newcomer is momentarily bemused. “You do have a certain charm, young man! But you try Dragorin’s patience!” Jimmy is pugnacious: “Oh, yeah? Well, why don’t you drop the act and help Miss Conway? It was probably you who caused her illness!!” Clark resumes his diplomatic stance, “Er — All we’re trying to say, Count, is — that we’re concerned! We’re friends of Miss Conway!”

But the white-visaged creature is on a mission and, giving the boys a nasty glare, tells them, “I said that I’m pressed by urgent action! And so it must be!! Behold the Evil Eye, gentlemen! It’s not a myth! For in it is power! And in the power there is irresistible force!” His right eye increasingly radiates until a burst of energy explodes from his pupil and there’s a giant ZZAPP! and the fellows are knocked off their feet.

The next sequence in this episode is captioned: “And back in Morgan Edge’s office, the power of the Evil Eye has taken its toll!!” Jimmy and Clark are sprawled on the floor, and the Man of Steel’s alter ego ponders, “The Count’s strange power sure packs a potent punch! Jimmy is completely stunned! But I have more effective protection! It’s called Superman! Now to see what the Count is up to –” Dragorin is advancing towards the woman. “Laura! Laura Conway!” Clark is ready to spring, as the interloper raises his arms in the air in a classic vampire pose. “If he tries to harm that girl –” thinks the reporter. “Rise, Laura! You have — the power!” And Miss Laura Conway rises off the couch. The Count is ever so slowly enveloping the secretary into the folds of his cape. “It is I, Laura! Dragorin! I’ve come because you are ready! You and I, Laura — we share the same power!” Miss Conway agrees, “Yes, Dragorin! We share the power! We share every secret within us!”

And now, we finally begin to understand the vampire’s singular pursuit of the female, as Dragorin reveals, “All but one, Laura! Where is Dabney Donovan, Laura!? Where is he? Where?” The secretary replies, “I-I don’t know! nobody ever knows where Dabney Donovan is!!” His hot breath on her neck, the Count replies, “But you were once his personal secretary! His most trusted employee! I’m listening for your answer!” Clark sneaks up behind the pair, thinking, “She’s angering him! I think it’s time to act!” Dragorin is insistent: “Don’t defy me, Laura! Answer!” Miss Conway blurts out, “Science Research Center –”

A wave of relief washes over the vampire. “Of course! The NASA Science Research Center! Dabney must have left records, files — a trail!! Donovan is an evil, clever one! But I’ll hunt him down!” Miss Conway explains, “I worked there for Donovan! But knew him only as a voice — dictating note from a tape recorder!” Then Clark springs at the vampire, thinking, “Here goes! –” Dragorin turns to exclaim, “Demons! This man has withstood the power!! incredible!” Clark retorts, “I’ll tell you more about it, Dragorin! When I have you subdued!”

But Count Dragorin vanishes in a vaporous puff — as Clark Kent seizes a handful of air — and loses his balance!!

Gone!” says Clark. “That Dragorin is as slippery as the man he’s hunting!” Sudeenly, Miss Conway comes to her senses. “What’s happened? What am I doing here? I-I feel so — weak–” Jimmy is also coming to, telling her, “Exactly my thoughts, Miss Conway!” Clark thinks, “Miss Conway’s face! — It’s losing the vampire characteristics! Dragorin’s power over her is fading!

Subsequently we learn, as Jimmy and Clark drive to the research center, that Miss Conway “snugly relaxes for a few days at the clinic.” And, the last we hear of Morgan Edge’s erstwhile and loyal employee, she’s still stationed outside the CEO’s office, as the “smiling cobra” tells Jimmy to report to her for details on the Scotland trip. “See my secretary, Miss Conway, on your way out, Olsen! She’ll brief you on the details!”

Yeah, there’s a ridiculous amount written here on her albeit few appearances in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen, but there’s not a whole lot to actually say about the character herself. She’s pretty but relatively nondescript, seemingly lives alone and appears devoted to her job and her current boss (even if he confesses though he heard the city was going to be disintegrated, she apparently wasn’t worthy enough to be privy to that knowledge… that “Oh, er –” response from her is precious!). Her old boss? She sells him down the river to a blood-sucking vampire pretty quick, don’tcha think?

Day 100: Terry Dean, Disco Queen!

Terry Dean, proprietor of the Metropolis discotheque Cosmic Carousel and chum of Jimmy Olsen, is a friendly, vivacious and beautiful young lady who, for a brief spell, assists Superman and the D.N.Alien Dubbilex investigating the mystery of a underground tunnel beneath her dance club. In the Fourth World epic, we first meet the twenty-something woman (perpetually dressed in red blouses with black stripes of varying necklines) when Terry enters the newspaper environs of The Daily Planet, where she has been summoned by editor-in-chief Perry White. As she enters the legendary journalist’s office we hear him on the phone: “Stay on it! Follow up all leads! It’s an order!” Hanging up, Perry turns to the woman, who is taking a seat. “You’re Terry Dean!” says Perry, “I’m glad you answered my call! Sit down, honey!” She looks at him with a wary eye, replying, “So you’re Perry White!” Holding his ever-present cigar, the newspaperman nods. “Yes! The Daily Planet‘s body now belongs to Galaxy Broadcasting! But I still operate its soul!

Terry Dean: You’re a great editor! Jimmy Olsen told me all about you!

Perry White: Yeah — you two became real chummy during his assignment to the “slum” story! What else did Jimmy tell you? — Did he drop any hints about a new, exciting story?

Terry Dean: Well — he did mention a Mister Edge!Morgan Edge!

Perry White: Galaxy’s own “smiling cobra!” I was afraid of that! So he assigned Jimmy to drop out of sight! But why? Where?

Terry Dean: You look kinda worried, sir! Do you think Jimmy’s in trouble?

Perry White: I don’t know! But I do know that Edge is ruthless! And he’s not above gambling with human life!

Terry Dean is actually a character first introduced in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen prior to Jack Kirby’s tenure as editor, in the “socially relevant” story “The Secret Slumlord of Metropolis” in #127, credited to Leo Dorfman, writer; Curt Swan, penciller; George Roussos, inker; Mort Weisinger and E. Nelson Bridwell, editors (, and while it’s tough to argue her personality was expanded much by Jack since this debut, Terry’s presence is sufficient enough, I reckon, to warrant a “Kirby version”… Though I must confess her red with black stripes shirt and white slacks ensemble was first seen in that March 1970 issue! (Perry’s emphasis on “slum” and a vague recollection of that story prompted me to check…)

This one-pager feels dropped-in, so to speak, included maybe at the request of the DC offices to remind us that Perry White is still in the series and to give us a regular female character in the series. Maybe, maybe not.

The young woman is much more involved in the plot when next she appears, JO #144, upon Superman and the Guardian traveling to “Suicide Slum” by invitation. “Imagine those kids!” says Superman, “Putting an ad in a newspaper — inviting us to their discotheque!” The Guardian responds, “If it’ll help their attendance, I don’t see the harm in going!” The pair arrive at the entrance to the dance club. “The ‘Cosmic Carousel!’” exclaims the Guardian. “These young people are as colorful with their language — as with their dress!” Superman replies, “With our costumes, we should blend in well with this crowd!”

But Superman forgets his public identity!! Both he and the Guardian are besieged by autograph seekers!

The pair sign autographs and answer questions when a beautiful face appears. Superman greets her with, “Terry Dean to the rescue, I presume!” The smiling young lady responds, “Oh, I’m so glad you came!! When Jimmy Olsen suggested I contact you, I never dreamed that you’d really respond!!” After the super-heroes check out the dance floor, a caption reads: “Terry Dean fusses excitedly over her guests!! She points out everything that might interest them!! That’s how the strangely garbed entertainers gain their attention!!” A group of odd-looking guys are playing bizarre instruments. “This is the San Diego Five String Mob!” says Terry to Superman and the Guardian, who are now seated in the nightclub. “They’re our very own discovery!!! They just showed up one day and offered to perform!!! Dig those weird instruments they play!! Each one has a freaky wound-up string! The sounds are new — but great!” Superman mutters, “I-I guess –” Terry then dives in for the kill. “Come on, Superman!” she urges, taking his hands in an attempt to drag him on the dance floor. “Don’t cop out on your reputation as an activist! Follow the music’s beat — and me!” The Man of Steel is reluctant. “Terry, I-I think I could do a better public relations job — just sitting here!!

Suddenly the general clamor fades to confused whispers, as a bizarre figure confronts and surprises Superman!!

Terry Dean: Hey! We’ve got a “U.F.O.” on the guest list! Far out! Who is he??

Superman: Galloping Krypton!! Dubbilex!!!

Bystander: Man! This guy is weirder than moon rocks!

Dubbilex, the Superman’s favorite D.N.Alien, has arrived and he informs Superman of a nearby mystery. “Train your X-ray vision on the floor at your feet!!! … Your X-ray vision will reveal how I got here, Superman!” Superman replies, “I see it, Dubbilex!” Terry is startled, telling them, “B-but that floor is solid! We have no basement!!” Superman corrects his new friend. “Not a basement, Terry!! — A tunnel! It’s been shored up! But it still exists!” The Sand Diego Five String Mob,” sensing their cover is blown, call forth their “sixth string,” Barriboy, and their instruments become weapons that make a shambles out of the Cosmic Carousel!

In the next issue, Terry and Superman cautiously walking down the secret tunnel. “Superman!!” exclaims Terry, “Do you see what I see??” Her friend concurs, “Yes, Terry!! I sure do!” Dubbilex has captured the San Diego Five String Mob, who are now levitating in the air. “Like wow, Mister Dubbilex!! How did you get them up there — and keep them up!??” Dubbilex answers, “Well, I-I don’t know — yet!! But it did give me a slight jolt!!” Superman thinks, “Terry doesn’t know Dubbilex is a D.N.Alien!” The horned friend suddenly frees the captives with a burst of telepathic energy, knocking Dubbilex to the floor. Helping him up, Terry notes (in an endearing exchange), “Mister Dubbilex!! You’re weird!!” Dubbilex responds, “It seems you’re correct, Miss Dean!” The Apokolips gang escape via Boom Tube which elicits this response from Terry: “Far out!! That big tube is fading! — and that rock group’s fading with it!!! Talk about wild doings!!!” Thinks Superman to himself, “I’d be as flabbergasted as Terry — if I hadn’t met the young Forever People — and learned about the Boom Tube — and the war with Apokolips!!!” A few moments later, Dubbliex asks, “Who — What — were those kids!!?” Terry shares the D.N.Alien’s puzzlement. “Yes, I’d like to know, too!! I hired them to play in my discotheque!” Superman replies, “That’s not important! I want to know why they came here!! And why they sought this tunnel beneath your club, Terry!”

When next we see the trio, Dubbliex is using his telekinetic powers to levitate Terry Dean in the air. “It’s amazing, Dubbilex!!” marvels Superman. “Your developing powers are beginning to actively manifest themselves!” Dubbilex answers, “With a beautiful volunteer like Miss Terry Dean — who knows what wonders I could perform?!” Terry is astonished, exclaiming, “I-I’m rising into the air — lifted by some unseen force!!” She is turned upside down and says, “Oh, wow!! This experience has some scary angles!” Dubbilex replies, “Be calm, Miss Dean!! I’ll let you down as easily as I can!!” Superman urges caution, saying, “Careful! Careful — Here she comes! good work, Dubbilex!! You’re able to control a most interesting faculty!!” Terry lands on her feat, gushing, “Gosh! That was exciting!! If I told my friends about it, they’d laugh me out of town!! Mister Dubbilex, you’re weird and wonderful!!!” But Dubbilex is concerned. ” “By your standards, Miss Dean!! But what are mine? What is emerging from this brain of mine??”

The final appearance of Terry Dean — and of The Guardian, for that matter — is in the panel where the resurrected Golden Age super-hero notes that the tunnel goes on for miles.”Gosh! Who built it?? Why??” We’ll learn that a Boom Tube frequents that tunnel and the Man of Steel is soon off to visit Supertown, leaving his new friends behind… forever…

Terry Dean is an eminently pleasant and attractive character in the series, and you can almost imagine a burgeoning relationship developing between her and Dubbilex given their mutual admiration society and the D.N.Alien’s comment — “who knows what wonders I could perform” on or with Terry — can be taken as a bit risque, don’tcha think? Whatever. She was a fun addition…