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Sunday, December 19, 2004

Jimmy Olsen #141 - Will the Real Don Rickles Panic?

Ah, the second half of the Don Rickles / Goody Rickels story from the middle of Kirby's JIMMY OLSEN run. Mark Evanier has discussed how this came about at various times, growing from a planned brief cameo by Rickles, who I guess was inexplicably popular at the time, to a two issue story featuring Rickles, his twin Goody, so I'll assume everyone knows that.

It's a fun story, although a trifle disjointed thanks to its genesis. You have one thread where Clark Kent is captured in a ship going to Apokolips (with three pages of collages by Kirby at the start of the issue), only to be met on the way by Lightray who sends him back to Earth. On the more exciting part of the story, you have Jimmy, Goody and the Guardian about to spontaniously combust, with the Guardian racing for a cure while Jimmy and Goody head back to Morgan Edge's office, where Edge has a meeting with Don Rickles.



The Rickles/Edge interplay is surprisingly good ("You can hide a platoon of assassins in a complex deal" is probably one of the most intelligent phrases ever to be put in Rickle's mouth), and the whole Goody Rickels thing is silly, but in a charming way.

I also really liked what we saw of the Guardian (or Golden Guardian, but that name didn't really stick) in this issue. He's a clone of the original, and had some story potential that didn't really get realized. And unfortunately, some combination of Kirby, the inker and the colourist never could quite figure out how his helmet was designed.

One odd thing this issue is that Superman never appears in costume. He's dressed as Clark Kent throughout, which I'm not sure ever happened in any of the Superman family books up until then.

The story is inked by Colletta, with Murphy Anderson handling certain parts.

This issue reprints the first Newsboy Legion story from STAR-SPANGLED COMICS #7 from 1942, with the cover for that issue. That story has rookie cop Harper being ambushed, putting together his Guardian costume, because, I guess, that's was the style at the time, and later arresting and being appointed guardian of four orphan boys. Pretty much lays out the groundwork for the series, where Kirby captures the look and feel of his childhood neighbourhoods perfectly.

The cover to this issue is Kirby inked by Neal Adams, with an inset photo of Rickles, and the epitome of Kirby cover catchphrases, "Kirby Says: Don't Ask! Just Buy It!". Also in this issue is the Kirby self-portrait that appeared in all the Fourth World books that month, introducing the reprints, and a one page text about the updating of the Newsboy Legion by Evanier and Sherman.

Published 1971

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