I was reading a story reprinted from World's Finest back during the Robin-Olsen pairing, and it made me wonder: just how old was Jimmy supposed to be? He was dating an adult woman, but was also an honorary member of the Legion Of Superheroes, which means he could not have been older than 19 (unless there were different rules for honorary members I'm not aware of, you had to be a teen to join). However, one would assume from his solo adventures that he was in his early 20's.  Presumably he had at least graduated High School. So just how old was he supposed to be?

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That explains why I didn't hear of it. I had completely missed the Invaders book as it arrived in the 70s, and I didn't return to Marvel until the 80s...

Robin Olsen said:

Kirk, Bucky called Captain America "Pappy" (seemingly ALL THE TIME!) in a whole bunch of issues of THE INVADERS - or he just did it once and it was so annoying, it SEEMED like he did it all the time - but I do believe it was the former, not the latter. I think that Toro called The Human Torch "Pappy", too, but I COULD be wrong on that one -

Kirk G said:

Just when did Bucky call Cap "Pappy"?  That's insulting.


I recall that Harlan Ellison tribute issue of The Incredible Hulk, "The Beast Who Cried Love at the Heart of the Atom"... I'm pretty sure that it was the first issue where Jadella is introduced (and killed-- SPOILERS!) and was the second part of an Avengers tie in... But I don't recall which issues.  possibly Avengers #88  and maybe Incredible Hulk #140?

The Harlan trick was trying to work every title that Harlan had written into the dialog or captions within the same issue.

"Repent, Harlequin" was probably the worst one.  <Groan....>

If Robin will pardon me, I think he's misremembered, and it was solely Toro who called the Human Torch 'Pappy'. Toro was more the Torch's foster son than Bucky was Cap's.

Changing the subject, does anyone have any favourites from among the Pete Costanza issues of Jimmy Olsen? I've not read many stories from his time on the title.

When Jimmy Olsen married Lucy Lane, was that pretty much the end of Jimmy in the Superman universe?

I mean, they didn't continue his storyline, did they?

("Gee, I hear Jimmy's signal watch....but what could he want?  This is his honeymoon night?!")

I've often mentioned how the pristine, detailed art of Curt Swan and George Klein was capable of elevating any story, and even the most absurd Jimmy Olsen tale had, at least, a veneer of respectability, if Swan/Klein handled the art chores.


Unfortunately---for me, at least---Pete Costanza was the Anti-Swan/Klein in that regard.  Any story he drew seemed low rent and not to be taken seriously.  He took over as the primary artist on Jimmy Olsen in the fall of '66 and absolutely no story from that period stands out for me.  There may have been a good one in there; it's just that Costanza's art made them all seem sub-par.


I can better demonstrate it by referring to a two-part Legion tale he did, in Adventure Comics # 362-3 (Nov. and Dec., 1967).  In the last few years of the Silver Age, Weisinger and his writers would run a two-part Legion story, including the entire membership, every five or six issues or so.  The first three are eminently memorable---the Starfinger epic; the "Forgotten Legion" one which brought Star Boy, Dream Girl, and Bouncing Boy back into the fold; and the "Legion in chains" one, in which universal posed as President of the Earth.


The last one most folks barely recall.  It was drawn by Pete Costanza.  The plot divided the entire Legion membership (except for Supergirl and Shrinking Violet) and sent them, in three sub-teams, to handle menaces on three of the Legionnaires' home planets.  Of course, all three crises had a central stem---the villain Mantis Morlo.


It should have been another memorable effort.  Every Legionnaire got a chance to shine and the readers got a look at the native cultures of three Legionnaires.  It also marked the beginning of the Karate Kid/Princess Projectra romance.  And it had a decent plot (if a bit too reminiscent of Gardner Fox's early JLA stories).


If it had been drawn by Swan & Klein, it would have been gorgeous.  But it was drawn by Costanza and that leeched the magic right out of it.


To be fair, part of the problem was that, in his late-Silver-Age DC work, Costanza nearly always inked himself.  Like many more talented artists, Costanza was his own worst inker.  His thick inks only accentuated the problems with his draughtsmanship---his lack of depth or motion and his misproportioned figures.


I say this because there was at least one instance of his work from this era when he didn't ink himself---a Superman-Batman story from World's Finest Comics # 174 (Mar., 1968).  Here he was inked by Jack Abel.  Now I never particularly cared for Abel's inking---it was too ænemic for my tastes---but here he did an admirable job of reducing or eliminating all of Costanza's flaws.  In fact, I remember having to look at it again to figure out who did the pencils and I was taken back a bit when I realised it was Costanza.



Thanks, guys.

I can appreciate you being gunshy, Mr. Olsen---and perhaps a little of that is good for everyone here---but while there has always been a prohibition against attacking the person, it has never been out of bounds to criticise any or all of his works.  We don't know what a person's motivations are, or the forces that act upon his decisions, or what his mind-set is.  But, if he is an artist in any medium, then his product is there for public evaluation.  And if you don't like it, you don't like it.


The thing to keep in mind here though is that all art is subjective.  I found fault with Pete Costanza's art.  So did you.  So did a great many people, no doubt.


Equally without doubt, there are those who, yes, liked Mr. Costanza's art.  It might be a very small sub-set of comics fans, but they find it enjoyable.  And their opinions are just as valid.  As long as no-one is made to feel foolish or belittled for liking or not liking something, then criticism is fair game.



This is why I love the Cave.

From one question from Randy Jackson - so just old was Jimmy Olsen supposed to be - we have a wonderful discussion that has generated 76 posts so far.

Jimmy was a star in the Silver Age and arguably the Bronze Age too.  For the last 30 years or so, a supporting character in the Superman books; instantly recognizable to any reader and still a favourite of many, but no longer a leading man.

I know so little about JO's own book that I have little to contribute here, instead, I get to sit back and enjoy the discussion.  

You guys rock!

Pete Costanza was the Anti-Swan/Klein in that regard.  Any story he drew seemed low rent and not to be taken seriously.

I've got to agree with you on that one. Not only did his inking emphasize his problems, but he was following Swan, and the difference was dramatic. It was especially noticeable since the covers were done by Swan. The Papp stories still work okay in those issues, but Costanza stood out.

Coincidentally, I think, he took over when the Go-Go Checks arrived, which has always meant to me a downgrade for Jim.

But I also have to disagree with the sentiment on #100. That is one of the silliest Jimbo stories ever written, and that's saying something! Not even Swan could've turned that into a classic, although he certainly would've helped.

His thick inks only accentuated the problems with his draughtsmanship

That's one of those spellings you might want to put in the box with "kerb," Commander. It took me a second or so looking at it to figure out what it was. I first went to "caught" and had to double back on it.

-- MSA

Commander Benson said:

The last one (Entire Legion story) most folks barely recall.

Well now, Commander, I wouldn't say that! Though I do see your point! I always wanted to see a Curt Swan JLA story but sadly it was never to be.

Funny, I always really liked that Mantis Morlo story myself.  I didn't notice the art, which from me is a compliment.

Thanks for the further responses.


Philip Portelli said:

I always wanted to see a Curt Swan JLA story but sadly it was never to be.


There were some almost-JLA stories with art by Swan in the Schwartz-edited Super-books in the 70s. Three I can think of involving the JLA as a team are "Magic is bustin' out all over!" from Action Comics #437, a Superman/Green Arrow team-up by Elliot S. Maggin in which Superman fights some members of the JLA; "At Last Clark Kent -- Superhero!" from Action Comics #443, also by Maggin, in which the JLA is seen in action together and which also featured a number of villains from other Leaguers' features; and the Amazo story by Cary Bates in Action Comics ##480-483, which is mostly Superman vs Amazo as rest of the JLA is exiled from our universe early in the tale, but in which - spoiler warning - they all fight Amazo together at the climax.


Further stories had appearances by a couple of JLAers, e.g. "Junkman--the recycled superstar!" from Action Comics #455, another Superman/Green Arrow team-by Maggin with an appearance by the Atom; the Luthor story by Bates in Action Comics #464-466, in which Superman is turned back into a boy and which also features junior versions of Batman and the Flash; the last part of the Terra-Man story by Bates in Action Comics ##468-470, in which the Flash and Green Lantern appear; and the Nam-Ek/Amalak story by Martin Pasko in Superman ##311-314, in which the Flash and Green Lantern appear, albeit less prominently than Supergirl.


Of Silver Age stories there's "The Irresistible Lois Lane!" from Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #29, and "The Day Superman Became the Flash!" in Action Comics #314 (mostly an alternative-possible-lives-of-Superman story, but the JLA appears).

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