Wednesday, January 02, 2008

DC Fatties: The Fat Boy of Metropolis

In the Silver Age of comics, DC Comics had an obsession with bizarre physical transformations, often depicting their super heroes transformed into aliens, cavemen, babies, ant-heads, and giant-brained future men. When new ideas were hard to come by, the writers could always just turn their star enormously fat for an issue.

Like Lois Lane before him, Jimmy Olsen was plumped up in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #49. Unlike Lois, Jimmy doesn’t need Superman to mutate him into a tub of lard; he’s stupid enough to be gulled by every phony, swindler, and con man to cross his path:

Professor Potter seems to be under the impression that FAT= EDIBLE MEAT, but he’s a known crackpot, so no surprise. Lucky for Rance, Jimmy Olsen is a dip-shit and doesn’t question why Potter never mentioned his assistant. Jimmy leaves for Perry White’s house, where the two are planning an all-nighter. Of work, freaks. Jimmy stays so late that Perry sets up a cot on the porch. The story makes a point of mentioning that it is summertime, but I assume Perry would make Jimmy sleep on his porch in the dead of winter, too. When Jimmy wakes up:

He gets dressed, explaining that there is an upside to his weight gain; the Maharajah of Bohali will be arriving in Metropolis to reward Jimmy for saving his life the previous year by giving him his weight in diamonds. "Imagine!" the distended cub reporter exclaims, "I'll collect 300 pounds of diamonds!" Thus clad in full Santa regalia, Jimmy heads off to the Big and Tall Men’s shop. On the way, he sees what appears to be a hot rivet falling from a construction site onto an apartment building. Naturally, he climbs to the rooftop, where he finds that his "rivet" is merely a dropped lunch box. I make that mistake all the time, often going hungry at work for fear of burning my hands. In the course of this, who should be sunbathing on the next roof over but a sunbathing Lucy Lane:

Follows a series of zany mishaps wherein Superman has to save his bloated pal from a parachuting mishap and a “Fireman for a Day" assignment, about which the less said, the better. Finally, he happens to be on a circus assignment on precisely the same day the circus Fat Man is sweating his job. The Fat Man's scheming Fat Lady wife intercepts Jimmy and distracts him long enough for the manager to leave. Needless to say, Lucy shows up at the worst possible moment:

The next day, Superman Flies Jimmy to his appointment with the Maharajah:

Memo to self: Never trust anyone named “Rance”. Superman goes on to round up Rance’s gang, and everything returns to normal. Remember, criminals, never try to use Superman as your mule! He will find out and send you to jail where you will meet new, horrible people!

Whoo, I’m winded here! I need a couple of cheeseburgers to get my strength back. Next and last in our portly parade, we have Flash: the Fattest Man Alive.


chaplainandrews said...

It is always interesting to see how society has changed--what was once a comoplace joke is now taboo. I almost can't believe they got away with this. Good job in finding these obscure story lines. They tell us much about the history of comics and about ourselves.

LurkerWithout said...

I like the last panel where Fat Jimmy bullrushes two of the goons. Jimmy should wander around the world just kicking ass on people...

Brian Hughes said...

He's sitting on them in the next panel after.

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