Making History with Jimmy Olsen

I keep a old-style comic-book spinner rack in my house, and I keep it packed full of old comics I’ve never read from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, so I can always have the experience I had as a kid of walking up to the spinner and pluck out a brand-new comic.

And when you do that, sometimes you wind up reading the strangest shit.

Case in point: SUPERMAN FAMILY #168, from January 1974.

And specifically, the Jimmy Olsen story therein, “Jimmy’s D-Day Adventure,” written by Leo Dorfman and drawn by Curt Swan, a reprint which had originally appeared nine years earlier in the pages of Jimmy’s solo series SUPERMAN’S PAL. So get this: Jimmy is looking through old newsreels from World War II and sees a startling film clip, of Hitler standing next to a Nazi general who looks exactly like him.

What does Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jimmy Olsen do in response? Does he emabark on months of painstaking research to learn the identity of the redheaded, freckle-faced Nazi officer? No, no. Jimmy decides to use a “time-bomb” he got from his local mad scientist, and blow himself back to 1944 and investigate it for himself.

Jimmy seems positively giddy to be walking around the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, where he poses as a German officer to save some American paratroopers who had been pinned down by machine-gun fire.

Following that, Jimmy uses his “knowledge” of the future to talk himself into a position as an official Nazi psychic. Sure, that follows.

And of course, he’s now “Jimmy Von Olsen,” naturally. Hoo boy. Jimmy’s successful predictions allow him to climb the ladder of Nazi success within the Germany army, and before long he’s rubbing elbows with HItler and Goering.

By the way, it should be mentioned that Jimmy is pretty slow on the uptake. It’s not until weeks later, when he’s made a ReichMarshal, that Jimmy realizes it was his own dumb ass he saw in the newsreels hanging out with Der Fuehrer

Jimmy’s ascent to Nazi success comes to an end when he’s searched by a suspicious Hitler and his list of historical “predictions” he’d been using to pose as a psychic is found and mistaken for secret plans of attack.

Jimmy makes a run for it, and is about to blown to pieces by a Nazi grenade, when in a stroke of luck the effects of the “timebomb” wear off, sending him hurtling back to 1965.

What a break, indeed. Stick to elastic serums and giant turtles, Jimmy. You seemed to acclimate to life as a Nazi general awful quick…

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Welcoming the Future, Treasuring the Past.