Archive for February 17th, 2011


Comic Cover Roulette: Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #108

For the long version of what Comic Cover Roulette is, read the first post. (Actually, read it anyway. It’s cool.) But here’s the short version: back in the Silver Age, comic book writers would often be given cover art and assigned the job of writing a story to fit. Now, I’m picking out some classic covers and doing the same thing. This time I’m tackling Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #108, with a cover by Curt Swan and George Klein. I’ve never read this issue.

“The Midas of Metropolis”

Superman’s pal, Jimmy Olsen, is chosen to be a contestant on a new game show, Lose it to Win It. The circumstances of the game are simple: Jimmy is given one million dollars. A camera crew will follow him for 24 hours and record everything he does. If, in that time, he can spend all of the money, he will be given another million to keep. If he fails, he loses everything. The rules stipulate that he cannot give the money away to anybody – he must purchase a good or service with each transaction – and he has to make each transaction himself. That means, he realizes, no help from his buddy Superman.

As Jimmy leaves the studio, he stops for a hot dog and soda while the camera crew continues to interview him. He laughs at the challenge as he pockets his change, insisting, “All I’ve got to do is spend money! How hard can that be?”

As it turns out, a lot harder than he thinks.

For hours, Jimmy wanders from store to store, buying expensive clothes, televisions, computers, electronic equipment, appliances, and more. Seeing that he still has over $900,000 left to spend, he realizes it’s time to step up his game. Jimmy winds up purchasing cars, a boat, and even a helicopter, which he uses to return to the offices of the Daily Planet. With time running out, he runs the numbers and discovers he still isn’t yet halfway to spending his million.

As Jimmy continues his spending spree, a group of crooks who have heard about the game devise a plan to get their hands on his money. One of them kidnaps Jimmy’s girlfriend, Lucy Lane, with a few hours left before the deadline runs out. The terms of her capture are simple: drop off all the money he has left at a special drop in Metropolis’ Centennial Park, or Lucy dies. Oh – and no interference, of course, from Superman.

Jimmy desperately runs through his options in his head, but in the end can think of no other way to save Lucy. Still followed by the camera crew, he finds his way to the drop location and leaves the money. Shortly thereafter, the crooks arrive to get their reward, only to find themselves bathed in light. Overhead, Jimmy and the camera crew are filming their pick-up, just in time to get grabbed by the police. They tell Jimmy he’s screwed up, and he’ll never see Lucy again, but a quick burst of speed reveals that Superman has already discovered their hideout, rescued Lucy, and dropped their accomplices off to the police.

Jimmy returns to the television studio, his 24 hours up, only to discover that – since the criminals did briefly get their hands on the money – it counts under the rules of the game as “purchasing a service.” Jimmy is briefly jubilant, but his joy crashes a moment later when he learns that his total expenditures only add up to $999,999.45 cents. He’s embarrassed when he reaches into his pocket and pulls out the change from his hot dog – the last bit of money he failed to spend in time. But at least it will make for a great episode of the show.

These characters are, of course, ™ and © DC Comics. I don’t own ‘em, I don’t claim to own ‘em, and I have no intention to use any of these stories for any monetary gain. This is just for funsies. Please don’t sue me.

February 2011

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