Category Archives: Jimmy Olsen #134

Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #134

Cooke Look: “The Mountain of Judgment!”

Holy smokes! What a helter-skelter ride this ish is, the second comic book in Jack’s Fourth World saga: A breakneck race down the Zoomway by the Whiz Wagon (with Jimmy and the Newsboy Legion onboard) and the Outsiders in search of the gargantuan Mountain of Judgment! The Big Jump, Flippa’s underwater demolition save, Supes’ last-second rescue of the boys, who were about to become roadkill under the wheels of The Hairies giant ride… phew! Where’s my Valium?

It’s appropriate, I think, that after Jack introduces SO much to us readers in his premiere Fourth World effort, a solid half of his second issue is devoted to a (albeit hair-raising and nonstop) road race… it eases the intellect and stimulates the id, don’tcha think?

(And we haven’t mentioned in these entries his two facing pages of photo collage work, an aspect of Jack’s art which endlessly fascinate me. Even if sometimes it’s for the fact I strain to ascertain exactly what’s in the images as comic-book printing was so ill-suited at the time to achieve his intent. With the able and appreciated assist from Jon Cooke’s Pal, John Morrow, we’ll be featuring some of the original collages (in full, glorious color!) in a bonus entry to come.)

There’s not much to talk about really, regarding the story overall, but we do feel like we’re going somewhere, on the Zoomway, towards the deeper mysteries of The Wild Area, and into the complexities of the unfolding storyline.

We see the natural, outside world of The Outsiders and then glimpse the dark interior environment of The Hairies’ high tech laboratory on wheels. And they both are appealing. Jack’s starting to get at something, a thing I’m just beginning to fathom… a statement about the hopes and dangers that encompass man’s endless quest for answers…? I dunno, but I sense we can forever dig into this material and be amazed at what we might find (or THINK we find!).

And, it goes without saying, we are introduced to the Great Villain Himself.

I guess the word is resonant.

Kirby’s Jimmy Olsen is a confident, courageous man of his own, the Newsboy Legion complement his leadership with camaraderie and bravery — with Flippa taking MVP for derring-do — and Jack’s rendition of Superman is emerging from behind the muted Colletta inks and Plastino face redraws. (I used to lament how a Kirby Superman, the one especially alluded to in Forever People #1 and in the “Supertown” story, never was really unleashed — not like Gil Kane was able to accomplish in those GREAT stories of the 1980s — but I realize now there’s enough of the King’s Man of Steel to admire and be satisfied.)

I’m not a big Superman fan, but I do think Kirby’s version stands with the Burnley “Powerstone” saga, Gil Kane’s Action Comics, and the Fleischer cartoons… and of course, the contemporaneous-of-the-Fourth-World and also-not-properly-concluded “Sandman” epic by O’Neil, Swanderson and Schwartz…

I’m ramblin’, but good ish!

Cover: (Attributed to Murray Boltinoff) B-792
Story: X-114
Text Page: “The Whiz Wagons Are Coming!” X-116

On Sale Date: Oct. 20, 1970?

Day 19: Darkseid!

Such a low-key introduction for the most important figure in Jack’s Fourth World mythos, the Master of the Holocaust, leader of Apokolips, the Revelation and all-round Tiger-Force of All Things… ladies and gentlemen, I give you: DARKSEID!

Jack’s closing caption in the last panel of JO #134 (that’s right, Kirbyheads: 19 entries and already two issues down, 53 to go!), doesn’t begin to allude to the cosmic epic to come: “‘Darkseid!’ With the mention of that name, the outline of a vast, ominous intrigue begins to take shape!…”

Darkseid (pronounced “Dark-SIDE“), breaking the Pact with New Genesis, has surreptitiously arrived on Earth seeking nameless earthlings who unwittingly retain in their minds the secret to the Anti-Life Equation. Once decoded, the equation will make the malevolent ruler master of the entire universe, with the hellworld called Apokolips reigning supreme. His agents on our planet assigned to do his bidding include corporate snake Morgan Edge and Inter-Gang, an worldwide network of mobsters…

Here, in the early stages of the Super-War to come, Darkseid hopes to destroy the threat of Superman and, in the process, the Man of Steel’s allies, Jimmy O. and the New Newsboy Legion (as well as The Hairies, The Project, The Outsiders and Habitat, and whoever else is in the Dark Lord’s way or has something he wishes to possess)…

Darkseid just might be the greatest comic-book villain of them all. Galactus is a superb candidate, except there is an ambivalence, a melancholy about that “God” stand-in which allows for a modicum of sympathy. Not so with the ashen-faced, stoic, helmeted nemesis of all that is good… Empathy? Not a chance! But respect? You betchum, Red Ryder! Ol’ Darkseid doesn’t have to scream and stamp his feet (though he’s known to bellow a little at times), he just stands there, cold as stone, and that’s enough to scare the poop out of anyone in his presence. An inspired and resonant creation, created by an artist seeking answers to deeply profound questions — The Meaning of It All — in the pages of that much-maligned art form, the comic book. Who’da thunk it?

Day 18: The Hairies!

Are The Hairies, the super-secret young scientific community on wheels, Jack’s take of the hopes he instilled on the iconoclastic and questioning-of-authority hippy culture of the day? Whoever they are, whatever they represent, the roving clan of twenty-something geniuses are a remarkable inclusion into the emerging Fourth World mythos… though I’m not totally convinced Jack himself knew what they were all about.

The longhairs drive around the Zoomway, avoiding enemies and scaring Wild Area residents in the monster-like “king-size mobile home,” the Mountain of Judgment, and they use their super-intellects and abilities to develop new devices and concoctions to advance the human race.

In his essay, “The Hairies — Super-Race — Or Man’s Second Chance,” in JO #135 (which I’m including, in its entirety, below), Jack says the Hairies are “literally what I call them — DNAliens!”

But isn’t Dubbilex — or his Apokoliptian counterpart, the Four-Armed Terror — aren’t they DNAliens? Hairies are “Step-Ups,” Jack’s designation for the next evolution of man, correct?

And, if as Jack’s essay indicates, they are compassionate, giving, connected people, who “fear nothing, hate nothing, worship nothing but their own compatibility with the rest of Creation,” why the heck are they working with a U.S. government complex that’s monkeying with the very essence of life itself, doubtless for the benefit of one nation over all? Isn’t that a huge contradiction?

I quibble. The Hairies represent hope dawning for the King, optimism under a persistent threat of nuclear Armageddon. That’s enough for me!

The Hairies — Super-Race —
Or Man’s Second Chance

by Jack Kirby

I don’t believe that I shall ever get to see a Hairie. Perhaps, that’s as it should be. Perhaps, all that’s owed to a man is hope dawning instead of dreams fulfilled. Somehow, I feel that the question with its ramifications is more exciting than the answer wrapped in organized, practical, well-defined reality.

In the “Now,” in the shadow of the atomic silo, when Apokolips and New Genesis race neck and neck for the fate of man, the Hairies are being born. Of course, at this stage they merely represent what stability and rationale still drive us to survive despite the widening seams and traumatic shocks that have rattled the underpinings of the Twentieth Century.

I choose this strange hope and fashion what reality I can give it from the code of life itself. I call it File 202 — “The Breaking of the Genetic Code”! In short, the Hairies are literally what I call them — “DNAliens!”

They are born differently, raised differently and mature with their own imaginative views and directions. They don’t accept the accepted. They are their own experience, and follow it where it leads them. Their minds are fresh and new, clean slates unmarked by rigid, hardening, conflicting indoctrinations. They cannot be pigeonholed, labeled in the context of all that has gone before.

Thus, they fear nothing, hate nothing, worship nothing but their own compatibility with the rest of Creation. That is their challenge — to find a way of living with what is around them without the mindless, merciless prerogative of inflicting destruction.

Of course, this makes the Hairies perfect targets for all of us! We’ve got to kill them! Wipe them out! They are not like us. We are pridictable, they are not. We recognize our enemies, they do not. We will kill to protect ourselves, while the Hairies find other effective ways.

The Hairies do not view the mysteries and wonders about them as we do. What we conquer, we impose our will upon and violate it for our own needs. Our behavior generates the problems that arise to confront us with equal menace.

The Hairies operate with foresight and viability with a pattern without rules or dogma. They wing it with a zest to live and learn and make existence an art form instead of a mad, grim march towards death. They exert no pressures on their fellows. They strive to give each other what they can — and that can be quite a bit, in view of the fact that each Hairie considers the other a most valuable and miraculous organism.

Are the Hairies nutty, naive, little idealists? Don’t they know that even we, who are spawned, are too carnivorous to stake our lives on a world filled with other men?

Well, that’s something we don’t know! We’ve lived with ideals, but when has man, as a species, disseminated idealism without destruction? When has man tried idealism as a viable, constructive pattern of living? When has “Get yours — and the devil take the hindmost” not been the universal state of things? On a world scale, man does not believe that idealism will work, and thus each division practices its own brand — struggling with it, exporting it and killing for it to protect its individual continuity.

The Hairies, by their own nature, do not accept this. They merely live in harmony with whatever and whoever they contact. Idealism is part of their make-up and they react to its shortcomings with intelligence and sobriety. They do not panic. They do not fear death. They expect the unexpected and are ready for it when it comes upon them.

To sum it all up, the Hairies are in trouble! The world of man mistrusts and fears those who live by patterns considered foolish and unworkable and clear of conflict. It isn’t natural! It has no strength, no obvious invincibility! The Hairies are weak, treacherous, unpredictable, little bleeding hearts! Someone had better take them in tow and stop them before they become a menace! After all, they’re not like us. Why take a chance onletting them grow larger, expand to the point of colliding with our power? Get them now! Kill the Hairies and kill our fear. It would be easy to do — now!

I felt great, writing that! It made me feel that all’s right with the world, that my place in it was secure. It made me feel like a man!!!

(I assume the above is ©1970 National Periodical Publications. Boldface emphasis on Jack’s original. This appears, of course, for research purposes only and is not intended as copyright infringement. — JBC)

Day 17: Alpha-Bomb!

The Hairies use “sensitive indicators” to locate a hidden explosive — an Alpha-Bomb, set to decimate the “new, mobile scientific society,” mayhap an Apokolipian-built weapon of mass destruction? — hidden in the Whiz Wagon. And we begin to sense GBS Morgan “Smiling Cobra” Edge has sent Jimmy and the Newsboy Legion to the Wild Area on a suicide mission as unwitting delivery men of said killer device.

(Looking at these panels, despite Jimmy and Supes’ faces altered by the DC home office (longtime Man of Steel artist Al Plastino did the thankless art chore), Kirby dynamism abounds in Superman’s figure, reminding us that Jack’s version of the publishing house’s flagship character was glorious indeed… unfortunately, too often, as seen notoriously in Forever People #1, the super-hero’s head and body were completely redrawn, Plastino’s finishing erasing all evidence of the King’s verve and energy, no doubt evident in the original pencils, now lost to the sands of time.)

Day 16: Jude!

The duly elected captain of the Mountain of Judgment is Jude, looking every bit like a grown-up, twenty-something Kamandi (the Last Boy on Earth) or the moody, angelic Angel from Boys’ Ranch (or, for that matter, a younger version of Thor or Captain Victory!). The blond hippy is part of a new, mobile scientific society known as the Hairies, who constantly ride the Zoomway (“…to avoid our unseen enemies”) in the giant green vehicle, creating splendid new devices to aid mankind.

It’s interesting to speculate (for me, anyway!), why Jack chose the name Jude. Given the high esteem he held for The Hairies (as we’ll see in the entry to come) regarding their idealism and respect for life, ya gotta wonder if the name choice comes from St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes in the Catholic Church. Yet, as I don’t reckon Jack got too New Testament on us with any frequency, perhaps it’s more likely he snagged the name from The Beatles song that had been #1 on the Hit Parade a few years prior, longer than any other single up to its time, the ever-popular “Hey Jude.” Enough digression… suffice to say it is a cool name that connotes peace and serenity… Now, back to our tale:

Superman saves the Whiz Wagon from being crushed by the Mountain of Judgment but man and super-car are sucked into the giant maw of the Hairie bus. Out burst the mysterious clan who know of Morgan Edge’s REAL reason for supplying the Newsboy Legion with the sleek, silver-coated ride…

Day 15: The Mountain of Judgment!

The Levithan of the Zoomway! The giant vehicle — the exterior made to resemble a giant green monster, the chassis a converted missile carrier, the interior “a buzzing world of mechanical wonders!” — is driven by the Hairies, a clan of young geniuses who are creating an amazing array of devices and creatures for the even-more mysterious underground complex called The Project! Why the fearsome appearance? To ward away unseen enemies and Wild Area innocents alike, so The Hairies can continue their super-scientific efforts to make a better planet without interference, earthly or Apokolipian… and, yep, the hippy geniuses actually live and work in what’s later described a gignormous mobile home!

“Man, you don’t grab it!” a terrified Yango explains to Jimmy, “The Mountain — I-it’s not like a place — I-it’s more like a thing! Like Moby Dick! You go out and meet it — and die!” Two other Outsiders later describe it: “The howling White Whale! The mammoth Moby Dick –” “–that can make you turn chicken — or man!”

Day 13: The Big Jump!

Careening down the Zoomway, Jimmy, the Newsboy Legion and the biker gang called “The Outsiders” are heading for the leviathan of the Wild Area, the ominous “Mountain of Judgment.” Watch out, there’s a big gap up ahead! This is where things get lethal, Kirbyheads!

(Awright, maybe this entry is a stretch but the way Kirby builds up to crescendos with all that kinetic drama, these things are bona fide events! “Can’t make it — Aaaaaa!” Gotta love it…)

Day 12: The Zoomway!

What’s freedom all about if it’s not about hittin’ the road? Jack could definitely dig the American obsession with motoring, and nowhere is car and road more beloved than that land of the Little Deuce Coupe, the Golden State! And who could convey that better than the King of the road! (groan!)

The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways — y’know, the I-95s, etc., that crisscross this great nation which came to fruition by the 1950s (under the administration of President Ike) — changed the American way of life, and none more so than in California. Suddenly folks could drive virtually anywhere on a U.S. infrastructure that was the envy of the world. (Ahh, those were the days!) And, like I keep hammering away at here, Left Coasters lived in their automobiles — being conceived, spending vacations, going to school, driving to work, conceiving, driving-in the movies, eating at the drive-throughs, drinking, and, well, dying in increasing numbers… you get the gist.

So it was natural for Kirby’s Kalifornia — that’s what I call the Wild Area (and certain portions of Apokolips — yuk-yuk!) — to be linked by the incredible Zoomway — a combination of SUPER-superhighway, roller coaster ride, and Deathrace 2000 — which traverses underground tunnels and waterways, in varying degrees of condition, weaving in and out of The Wild Area, Habitat, and into ominous zone called The Project. The Outsiders, led by their new leader, Jimmy Olsen, are out to find the thunderous, mysterious “Mountain of Judgment” that’s shaking the very foundation of Habitat!

Watch out, Whiz Wagoneers: The Big Jump is ahead!