Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The MC of Midnight Scare Theater!

Take it from me, being a horror host is hard work-- but sometimes it's downright MURDER! And you can take that tidbit from Jimmy Olsen! That's right, you groaners, today we have a Jimmy Olsen tale, but we're gonna put our own terror twist on this one because it's all about late night 50's TV horror hosts and monster movies... and yeah yeah, the meh-ending is dumb, but as most of these silly stories prove, without a doubt half the fun is getting there! (Also, Supe is barely even in this one so we have that going for us as well.) And I'll be the first to admit, if this yarn did have a better ending it might actually have made for a great William Castle movie because it really is a killer concept! So how about this-- everyone read the story and then let's all come up with a more THOIA-esque, appropriate ending, shall we? Make it downbeat and evil, extra gloomy, even suicidally sad. Or maybe keep it upbeat, but add a touch of deadly, icky irony! Or we can just bummeroo on the usual things associated with post code DC hero stuff, whaaaaatever ya's want. Personally, I think these bonkeroo Jimmy tales are a blast-- so let's have some fun with it! You guys like fun, right?! Afterwards, you can eat a big sandwich.

Originally presented in the July 1959 issue of Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #38.


  1. Do you know how hard it is to find a Jimmy story I hadn't seen before? I have not the slightest memory of this one. Fun stuff, indeed!

  2. Hm. It is a little hard to imagine that enemy agents would just punch out and head back to Russia once all four of their espionage targets--a salesman, a scullery maid, a diner cook, etc.--have dropped conveniently dead in the same weird way on consecutive days. I mean, there's nothing fishy about that, da?

    I thought this story was hilarious. Man, and the art here is wonderful. Colors are great, too. This is like real Madison Avenue illustration. Was this DC's house style back in the fifties? I never read much of this kind of thing in the past, being a Marvel Ager; but I might have to start! Can't wait till you post the cover story! Superman is so astonishingly amazing that even his food cooks faster! He must he using his high beams or whatever.

    New ending: Olsen is somewhat freaked out over the strange turn of events that has already caused the death of four fellow Metropolites. Fine, he thinks. No more masks for me. No Halloween costumes. No drag shows. But despondency takes over, and he starts hitting the bottle. One night, he falls in with a bad frat crowd, and when he wakes the next morning he discovers that he's been left naked on a park bench covered in permanent Sharpie decorations as a prank. You know, dicks and witch symbols and scary words scrawled backwards across his face. Two black eyes crying copious black tears. Running through the streets to get home, he can't help but terrify and kill most of the people passes by. Even covering his face doesn't help, it just makes him look more like he's wearing a scary executioner costume. He kills everybody at home and some of the people at work too. Looking in the mirror doesn't work. He kills lots of people at the hospital after trying to scrape off his skin. Sure, Superman drops him off in Viet Nam during that war; and, later, in other countries for other reasons, but the whole situation has really taken a toll on Jimmy's happiness, so eventually he has to live out the rest of his life serving cafeteria food to blind factory workers on the moon. The end.

  3. The house style for Supes in the 50s was WEIRD. He's nearly square. He looks more out of shape than anything! Oh, and Clark, "the press will play it up big?" YOU ARE the PRESS! Yeesh! And how many times has Jimmy forgot to take off a costume?

    Alt Ending: Superman is using his powers to silently kill these people, so he can blame Jimmy and end the life of the jinx to "save" humanity. Then, with Jimmy out of the way, he can finally have a threesome with Lois and Lucy.

    No, not because getting Jimmy out of the way frees up Lucy, but because Supes has no time for sex because he's constantly dealing with Jimmy turning into a giant turtle or something every !%!!@*! hour!

  4. Alternative ending-

    The people who dropped dead were in fact aliens planning to invade earth ala Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but for some unknown reason, Jimmy's horror humor triggers a built in self destruct mechanism causing the aliens to die laughing. When the authorities find out the real reason, Jimmy's horror humor is broadcast around the world to rid the Earth of those pesky aliens.

    Or Phanto is really dead and is trying to punish Jimmy for stealing his shtick.

  5. That ending almost reminds me of those Atlas-Marvel monster comics, where the writers could somehow work the Russians (or once in a while the Chinese) into even the most escapist monster story. (I wonder if that's becomes very trendy again during this particular year.)

  6. A belated Happy Birthday, good Mr. Karswell !!! wishing you and yours well...

  7. My ending:

    Superman turns back time by flying against the Earth rotation and cures all four victims of heart disease by using 30th century technology he obtained as a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes when he was Superboy. Then, the reader reaches the soul-shattering realization that Superman could cure heart disease, strokes, cancer and anything else and chooses not to. But he can make a miracle for "Superman's pal", just like he would make another one for his girlfriend in 1978.

  8. Mestiere -- this echoes my whole problem with the concept of Superman. Any reader with a brain would realize that he could easily wipe out the threat of all nuclear war by simply showing up really stealthy and unannounced at all the sites in China, Russia, Pakistan et al and using his "supervision" to mess up the electronics in all the missiles, and crush their nuclear production plants. He could do this in a weekend and then keep track from time to time to make sure they are are all wiped out and useless. And when it comes to "rogue regimes" like North Korea and Iran he could very easily wipe their programs out and remove the evil dictators/religious despots causing all the problems overnight. But he never does that. Instead he worries about that idiot Jimmy Olsen and whatever. But then, this is the main problem I have with ALL superhero comics: they never deal with real world issues on an international scale. Maybe some have and I don't know about it because I lost interest since getting out of my teen years? Certainly any serious thinking kid back in the 1940's would have lost interest when Superman and the rest couldn't even beat Hitler. Is it any wonder that horror and sci-fi comics/movies are so much more interesting to me than superhero comics / movies?

  9. Haha, great suggestions everyone! And seriously, I think we've all managed to outdo even the DC writers of the time on originality here! Okay, my own thoughts are as follows:

    That bonk on the head did more than just put Phanto in the hospital, it awakened a deadly psychic ability deep within him. And while confined to his hospital bed, (and jealously, helplessly watching Jimmy Olsen steal his show and career away right out from under him), Phanto discovered that he now had the power to project himself telepathically into an evil, flying form-- right from his intensive care bed and out into the Metropolis night like an invisible vampire bat! His murderous double could then hone in on the sound / vibrations of someone greatly enjoying Jimmy's horror host routine, thus making them easy prey from a single, yet very deadly and undetectable invisible claw or fang thrust directly into the victim's heart! Yes, having merely played a monster on tv, Phanto has now actually become a supernatural creature of destruction-- for real! And sure he acts nice and complimentary to Jimmy during that hospital visit-- but remember, Phanto's an actor!

    And even after the real Phanto eventually returns to his role on the small screen, (and despite the ratings spike, Jimmy resigns back to his late night sandwiches), the strange sound of unseen wings flapping in the night can still be heard, as well as the blood curdling scream of someone, somewhere out there in TV Land who chose to watch the wrong channel that night!

    *roll end credits and queue "TV Casualty" by the Misfits

  10. And thanks again to everyone that joined in on the new ending fun!

  11. Your ending sounds like it came from the movie 'Patrick' 1978.

    Great ending, Karswell, a fitting ending too- a horror movie inspires a horror host to commit horrors.

  12. Ha, thanks! I’m bound by my love for horror, to do so, horrifically! ;)