Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics

Jimmy Olsen #142

Jimmy Olsen #142

Cover date: October 1971

"The Man from Transilvane!"

Writer/Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Vince Colletta
Superman and Jimmy Olsen Heads: Murphy Anderson
Cover Artist: Jack Kirby and Neal Adams

Reviewed by: Charlie Niemeyer

Click to enlarge

It is midnight, and we see a very Kirbyesque version of a vampire and a wolfman (there is a reason they are so Kirbyesque). The vampire is searching for Laura Conway, who just so happens to be Morgan Edge's secretary. Focusing on her, beams of power emanate from the vampire's eyes crossing the many miles to Miss Conway's Metropolis apartment. The beams hit her in the neck, leaving what appears to be bite marks while also changing her body chemistry.

The next morning, Clark and Jimmy are at Miss Conway's desk demanding to see Edge, who has been successfully avoiding them since the end of last issue. The reporters notice something is not right with Miss Conway, and when she tries to send them away with a smile, they see that she now has fangs. Suddenly she faints, but Clark catches her, noticing the marks on her neck. Suddenly noticing the mirror behind Miss Conway's desk, Clark and Jimmy are startled to see that Miss Conway is not casting a reflection. They lay her on a sofa in Edge's office and are about to call a doctor when a bat suddenly enters the room and transforms into Count Dragorn from Transilvane, the vampire from earlier. He wishes to see Miss Conway, and when Clark and Jimmy attempt to protect her, he sends them reeling with his power beams.

Picking up a plot-thread from 2 issues ago, the Newsboys are still trying to find their way out of the tunnels under the Project. Flippa-Dippa, who dives into the water to try investigating below the surface, finds an underwater door and begins working on getting it open.

Back in Edge's office, Jimmy is still out cold, but Clark quickly recovers in time to hear Dragorn ask Miss Conway the current whereabouts of Dabney Donovan. It turns out Miss Conway was Donovan's personal secretary at the NASA Science Research Center outside Metropolis, but she never actually met the man. She only ever transcribed notes he dictated from a tape recorder. Clark jumps at Dragorn to tackle him, but the Count disappears in a puff of smoke. At this point Jimmy regains consciousness while Miss Conway comes out of her trance, losing both her vampire characteristics and the neck marks.

That night, Clark and Jimmy drive up to the Science Research Center, which used to be a major place back in the 50s at the dawn of the space race, being used to reproduce the atmospheric conditions of other planets. When they arrive, they notice that there is no guard and the front door is open. As they enter, they are attacked by the wolfman, who springs at Clark first. Fearing for his friend's life, Jimmy uses a nearby loose, steel fence post to ward of the wolfman, but it just angers him and he goes after Jimmy. After a brief chase, the wolfman pounces at Jimmy, but ends up ramming into Superman's chest instead. Suddenly, Dragorn appears and hits the heroes with his power beams, but this time they just blind them instead of knocking them out. In any event, this gives Dragorn and the wolfman time to disappear, although Superman says he saw something before they disappeared that makes him think that instead of disappearing, they just got smaller.

Superman and Jimmy then rush up to Donovan's office and begin searching for whatever it is that Dragorn is after. Finding a poster of a strange looking planet, Superman uses his microscopic vision to check out the poster and sees the "BLOOD MOOR DESTRUCT DATE 1971" inscribed on the grains of the picture. This apparently indicates that the Bloodmoor Cemetery will be destroyed sometime in 1971.

Meanwhile, below Metropolis, Flippa-Dippa has finally opened the underwater door, which apparently also extends above the water since the other Newsboys see the door open, and drive their boat through. They exit their boat and enter a high-speed lift that takes them to another room with a ladder. Tommy climbs the ladder and carefully opens the vent cover to see a man on a phone at the other end of the vent. The man is scared and says he plans to stay in the hideout. We then learn through the phone conversation that the man is scared because the Guardian has been spotted in Metropolis which means Jim Harper is alive, but that can't be possible because he is the man who shot and killed Jim Harper (dun-dun-dunnn!)!

Up above, Superman and Jimmy arrive at the Bloodmoor Cemetery and head for the Mausoleum. The Mausoleum is closed in by a stone wall so heavy that it "would take 40 men to move" it, unless you were very, very small and could go under it. Superman then theorizes that Donovan wanted to simulate cosmic matter on a small scale. Then they enter a large room to see a small planet. The planet Transilvane!

5Story - 5: This was a pretty solid issue. The story made sense, I didn't spot any glaring loopholes (although I failed to mention it in the synopsis, Superman did hide the car before he saved Jimmy, and explained that Clark has taken the car to get medical help, and yes, he thought it was pretty thin too), and we got a cliffhanger to both of the plots running through the issue. At this point, I'm thinking that Kirby is starting to get a real handle on the characters, and it is showing. Also, I believe this is the first time we get Miss Conway's first name, although I can't stop calling her Miss Conway for some reason. This issue also reprints a golden age adventure of Guardian and the Newsboys from Star Spangled Comics #8 in 1942.

5Art - 5: Again, the art was great this issue. I liked how Kirby only subtly changed Miss Conway's facial features during her "vampirism" and yet it was easily noticeable. Meanwhile, Anderson's inks on the Jimmy and Superman heads are getting less and less jarring. In fact, in a couple of instances, it looked like Anderson actually kept some of the Kirby features, but just softened them up a bit.

5Cover Art - 5: This is a great, moody cover perfect for an issue with an October cover day. And Adam's inks seem to bring another dimension to Kirby's pencils. I'm not sure what it is, but I sure wish we could have seen some interiors by this team.

Pre-Crisis Superman Comic Book Reviews



  • Superman #76 (May/June 1952) - “The Mightiest Team in the World”
  • Superman #80 (January/February 1953) - “Superman's Lost Brother”
  • Superman 3D (1953) - “The Man Who Stole the Sun”, “Origin of Superman” and “The Man Who Bossed Superman”
  • Superman #87 (February 1954) - “The Prankster's Greatest Role”
  • Superman #88 (March 1954) - “The Terrible Trio”
  • Superman #89 (May 1954) - “Captain Kent the Terrible”, “Superman of Skid Row”, and “One Hour to Doom!”
  • Superman #91 (August 1954) - “The Superman Stamp” and “Great Caesar's Ghost”
  • World's Finest #88 (May/June 1957) - “Superman and Batman's Greatest Foes”
  • Superman #115 (August 1957) - “The Midget Superman!”
  • Superboy #65 (May/June 1958) - “The Amazing Adventures of Krypto Mouse”
  • Action Comics #242 (July 1958) - “The Super-Duel in Space”
  • Superman #123 (August 1958) - “The Girl of Steel”
  • Superman #127 (February 1959) - “Titano the Super Ape”
  • Action Comics #252 (May 1959) - “The Menace of Metallo” and “The Supergirl From Krypton”
  • Superman #129 (May 1959) - “The Girl in Superman's Past”
  • Superman #130 (July 1959) - “The Curse of Kryptonite!”, “The Super-Servant of Crime!”, and “The Town that Hated Superman!”
  • Jimmy Olsen #40 (October 1959) - “Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl's Pal”




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