Some of you may have heard about this, but today, the United States inaugurated a new President, and while we tried to keep it low key, it’s actually kind of a big deal.
If you caught the Inaugural Address, you might’ve noticed that the theme of it–as it usually is with this sort of thing–was a reminder that we all share responsibility for the world around us and should rise to meet the challenges ahead, and that’s a sentiment that we here at the ISB can wholeheartedly get behind. Because really, when your President gives you a call to action, you answer.
And by “you,” I mean Jimmy Olsen.
Yes, Superman’s Pal takes on the harsh, unforgiving world of jungle warfare at the request of President Nixon in the pages of Jimmy Olsen #132, which is notable as the last issue before Jack Kirby showed up and changed everything. But rest assured: It’s still pretty crazy.
It all starts, as do all historic events, when Jimmy’s out cruising on a yacht with a couple of bikini girls and what is quite possibly the greatest shirt in the history of man:
Sadly, Jimmy isn’t able to spend a lot of time macking on the ladies, because… Well, because he’s Jimmy Olsen, and in the Silver Age, that meant that he couldn’t go downstairs to get a cup of coffee without something strange and occasionally horrible happening to him. This time around, it’s a volcanic eruption that not only creates a new island, but somehow manages to furnish it with a good-sized jungle “within a few days.”
Even more important than the miracle growth, though, is the fact that the new island is exactly halfway between Russia and the United States, and–this being the height of the Cold War–the race is soon on for each country to claim Island X first.
Needless to say, things get a little heated…
…and so Nixon and Brezhnev decide to settle things the old-fashioned way. And when I say old-fashioned, I mean Old Testament: Each nation picks a single champion to duel to the death on Island X, with the winner’s country claiming the territory as their own. So why don’t they just get Superman to do it? Well, according to Superman, it wouldn’t be fair because the Russians don’t have an equivalent, which one would think would be the entire point of having Superman on your side.
Thus, it’s up to Jimmy Olsen, who proves his mettle by–how else?–rolling up his sleeves and punching out a robot:
Because really: When the fate of the country is on the line, you want to entrust your last-ditch military operation to a habitual kidnapping victim in a bow tie. Ah, the Silver Age.
Before long, Jimmy’s off to Island X to face off against the ersatz Ivan Drago that is Bors, and what follows is something that you could refer to as a “deadly game of cat and mouse,” but only if you really, really wanted to sell somebody on this comic. Mostly, it just involves Jimmy and Bors failing to shoot at each other…
…and just, you know. Hanging around:
Eventually,they (of course) learn a grudging respect for each other and the whole thing becomes a moot point anyway when Island X recedes into the sea, but not before we all learn a lesson that I think we can all benefit from.
And that is this:
If you can’t solve your differences with dynamite, then maybe you should just be friends.