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Jimmy Olsen 122
"The Human Porcupine!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND August - September, 1969

Story: Jerry Siegel Art: Curt Swan

(Originally Reviewed On 01/02/02)

The young cub reporter has certainly had more than his fair share of experiences on the subject of physical transformations. He's been a Wolf-Man, a Giant Turtle Man, an alien, and a merman. Now under the 5th dimensional magic of Miss Gzptlsnz, the girlfriend of Mr. Mxyzptlk, Jimmy Olsen gets the point when he is turned into The Human Porcupine! It's Leap Year in the fifth dimension, and Miss Gzptlsnz proposes to Mr. Mxyzptlk, who refuses, and has the girl heading for Earth in search of a more suitable suitor! At The Metropolis Zoo, Jimmy is waiting for Lucy Lane, unaware that Miss Gzptlsnz has materialized above him, recognizing the young man she met before, and then proposes to him.

Remembering her as the homely hag who saved him from being a Wolf-Man, and aware of her fifth dimensional magic, Jimmy makes sure not to provoke her and tells Miss Gzptlsnz that he's a confirmed bachelor. When she flies off, The Man of Steel arrives, telling his pal that he overheard their exchange and asks why he didn't accept her proposal, which has Jimmy frowning, and saying that he'd rather marry an animal! After Superman soars away, Miss Gzptlsnz re-appears in a puff of smoke, having heard his conversation with Superman about rejecting her, and uses fifth dimensional magic to have the cub reporter walk through the zoo and to resemble the first animal he meets! (Holy New Zoo Revue, Batman!) Compelled, Jimmy walks through the zoo, determined not to stare at any animals, such as the giraffe he passes by, but decides to approach the lion cage, reasoning that if he adopts the characteristics of the king of the jungle, the girls will give him the lion's share of their affections. Unfortunately for Jimmy, it is a porcupine which crosses Jimmy's path first, thanks to Miss Gzptlsnz, who opened its cage!

A moment later, Jimmy has become a human porcupine, a fate worse than when he was a wolf-man! Racing out of the zoo, Jimmy meets Lucy, and one of his quills flies through her stewardess hat! Screaming, Lucy sees that Jimmy is now a human porcupine, then runs off towards the Metropolis Fair Grounds, with Jimmy trying to keep up and telling her that he didn't mean to shoot his quill, which happened when he was excited, and that real porcupines don't fire their quills. Lucy ducks into a hot air balloon, while some roustabouts tell her that they'll take care of the masher, but upon seeing Jimmy in his new state, even these hardened men turn tail and run! Jumping into the basket, Jimmy tries to explain what's happened, just as the balloon begins to soar upward, and when Lucy screams for help, another of Jimmy's quills flies out and punctures the balloon!

The helium gas begins to escape, with Lucy seeing the ground below, but Jimmy uses his ultra-sonic signal watch to reach The Man of Steel, who catches the balloon, and asks his pal what's happened, learning of the fifth dimensional magic of Miss Gzptlsnz! Once on the ground, Lucy runs away, Superman tells Jimmy to get Miss Gzptlsnz to say her name backwards so that she'll go back to her own dimension, breaking the spell. Racing into a phone booth, Jimmy calls up Kim Loo, and calls in a favor from the chinese restaurant owner. When Miss Gzptlsnz arrives to taunt him, Jimmy offers to take her for some romantic dining, and in Kim Loo's Chinatown restaurant, the owner tells them to don Mandarin robes while they eat, and Miss Gzptlsnz laughs when she sees the quills sticking out of Jimmy's robe.

Reading his fortune cookie, Jimmy tells her that his fortune reads of marrying someone exotic, while Miss Gzptlsnz starts to read her fortune, and the cub reporter sharing a knowing smile with Kim Loo, who placed a typewritten message with her name spelled backwards, which will send her back for 90 days. Unfortunately, the scheme fails when Miss Gzptlsnz stops reading before reaching her name, and sees through his trick, making Jimmy so excited that his quills fire and strike the chinese gongs, as well as ruining the egg roll, won ton soup, and egg foo yung! While Kim Loo rages, Jimmy discards the robes.

At the Daily Planet, Jimmy is looking for some fatherly advice from Editor Perry White, but when Perry's cigar drops from his mouth in surprise, the shout causes the cub reporter to become excited, and one of his quills ruins the negative of a valuable picture! While Perry's temper is flaring, the cub reporter meekly takes his leave,and later, Jimmy finds a job as a circus freak, where the sword swallower is devouring Jimmy's flying quills, and the human flame thrower is burning them. As Jimmy uses his quills against the human pin cushion, the tattooed man makes a comment that the crowd is ignoring him, in favor of the human porcupine! Miss Gzptlsnz returns to see Jimmy, who tells her that he's glad to see her and wants to get married!

When he turns, she sees the heart tattoo on his chest and one of the quills resembling Cupid's arrow, then wonders what's written inside the heart tattoo. When Jimmy tells her that it's a love message for her, Miss Gzptslnz can hardly wait to read it, and read it aloud she does... "Jimmy Loves Znsltpzg!" Tricked into reading her name backwards, she disappears back to the fifth dimension for 90 days. The Man of Steel arrives in time to see Jimmy turned back to his normal self, and tells his pal that he's been watching him, as well as admiring how the cub reporter got rid of the pest. Jimmy hit upon the idea when he saw the circus' tattooed man, then uses water to wash off the temporary tattoo. Thankful that he's no longer a human porcupine, Jimmy regrets that he didn't see another animal first, but Superman points out that it could have been much worse, and at the zoo, Jimmy sees what's inside the next cage he would have passed... a skunk! Gulping, the cub reporter admits to his pal that it definitely could have been worse!

This tale occurs on Leap Year, so Superman/Clark Kent must have celebrated a birthday!

Miss Gzptslnz did help Jimmy to be cured of being a wolf-man, but the ungrateful cub reporter could have been a bit nicer to her and spare her feelings, rather than telling Superman that she's a beast. Jimbo certainly got what he deserved, and oh, if only he was nice to her and gave her a tour of Metropolis, or took her to Kim Loo's for lunch, he might have avoided this transformation, and probably gained a friend.

It was funny to see Lucy being startled, losing composure, then running away from Jimmy. After all, how much can the poor girl endure? I'd bet that she's had a tougher time with Jimmy than Lois has had with Superman!

Miss Gzptlsnz does enjoy taunting Jimmy for her wounded pride, and this would make her seem unlikeable, but I can see her point of view in wanting to teach Jimmy a lesson about appearances.

Fortunately for Jimmy, he manages to outwit her and come up smelling like a rose... rather than a "Flower."

This Review Is Dedicated To Tom Orzechowski

ZEE...ZEE...ZEE!

Steve Chung
"The Human Porcupine Review!"