Next Jimmy's headed to the Byrne boards to really start some shit!
Everyone's favorite boneheaded, er, redheaded cub reporter has donned "The Helmet of Hate!" -- which is also the title of this reprint story from "Jimmy Olsen" #113 (Aug.-Sept. 1968). Like a lot of Superman Family stories from its era, it's filled with so many SHOCKING TWISTS and STARTLING REVELATIONS that it chokes on them, and dies an exceedingly moronic death. The primary plot element here is deception. Sure, the reader thinks one thing is going on, but it's actually something entirely different! And they'll explain with excruciating detail how everything was done! I wonder sometimes if the Superman comics were edited by Julius Schwartz or the Amazing Randi. (The closest modern example I can think of is the first couple years of the JSA comic, in which every seemingly unbeatable villain had a fatal Achilles heel -- which the JSA knew about all along! Or any Warren Ellis/Garth Ennis/Mark Millar story where the "hero" is a deceitful wiseass.)
Suffice it to say that everything that seems to be happening to Jimmy and Superman is all a ruse in order to foil an alien invasion. Got it? Swell. Now I'm free to talk fashion!
About that helmet -- I'm not sure why so many sci-fi helmets from the 50's and 60's were transparent. You'd have to make sure your hair was flawless before you put it on -- and then the weight of the helmet would smoosh it down. So you'd be screwed! The Hate Helmet doesn't seem as bad, since the glass or what-have-you is kept away from the top of your coif -- as long as you keep your hair reasonably close to your scalp. A pompadour might be a bad idea. And just imagine the grease marks all over the glass!
But Jimmy didn't just accessorize with a Hate Helmet. He's also brandishing a red Kryptonite gun! Or is he? ...Okay, he's not. Hope that doesn't spoil the story for you.
Uh-oh! The red-K has turned Superman into a devil! Not! That costume looks kind of familiar, doesn't it? I'm guessing he popped into the Phantom Zone and borrowed Mon-El's tunic.
Mon-El: Superman! At last, you've come to free me from this dreadful prison!
Superman: Um... yes! That's precisely why I'm here! But you'll have to remove your top first.
Mon-El: Sure, I-- what?
Superman: I'll need a sample of your clothing in order to match your exact molecular frequency. So hurry up and get nude.
Mon-El: I've got a button here that popped loose. Can't you just take that instead of the entire tunic?
Superman: Oh, I'm sorry, Mon-El, I thought you were serious about wanting to get out of here. But obviously you'd rather stay in the Phantom Zone getting phantom dry-humped by General Zod than enjoy untold freedom in the outside world. Tell you what -- when you grow the fuck up and decide to act like a man, you give me a call. 'Kay? Bye.
Mon-El: Wait! I'm a grown-up! I'm serious! [he hurriedly removes his tunic]
Superman [snatches the tunic from Mon-El's hands]: Yoink! See you in 990 years, sucker! [he vanishes]
Hey, pixie boots! I didn't even know they made shoes like that in Superman's size. He really went all-out on this devil costume! For him, I mean. I don't hold Superman to an especially high standard when it comes to costume design. I would have spruced it up with some nice gauntlets, maybe with talons on them, and a much longer and nicer cape. Or a cloak! I just watched Michael Powell's "The Tales Of Hoffman" this weekend, and I think Leonide Massine's "Schlemil" costume in a shade of crimson would have been nice as well. It was a military number with these big silver hawks or owls or something on the shoulders. Very striking. Superman could have used bats instead, or some kind of lame-ass Kryptonian fauna that only some nerdy loser would be familiar with. Like a rondor! (Oops.) And now for the shocking conclusion!
Oh, for--! Now he'll never be able to return those things to Hot Topic.