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Jimmy Olsen 131
"The Birdboy of Metropolis!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND (80 Page Giant #74) August - September, 1970

Story: Unknown Art: Curt Swan

How many people have been able to fly in the air like a bird? Superman is one, as well as such fabled characters as Mercury and Peter Pan! But now, a certain cub reporter is added to the list, as he is now able to fly through the air like his super-pal! Lots of aerial photography awaits Jimmy Olsen when he becomes... "The Birdboy of Metropolis" On the splash page, the cub reporter now knows what it's like to fly like the man of steel, as well as take pictures which no other reporter can! The look of worry on Superman's face is worth a thousand words! One day, as the cub reporter is piloting the Flying Newsroom helicopter to the offices of the Daily Planet... he sees a figure zooming up from the city of Metropolis. At first glance, it looks like a bird? A plane?.. Superman? A closer look shocks Jimmy, who sees mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent among the clouds and wonders if he's the man of steel??? From the clouds, Clark sees the flying newsroom and Jimmy at the controls...

With no time to change into his Superman uniform, the mild-mannered reporter saw a meteor heading down at high speed, and he had hoped that the clouds would hide him, but Jimmy has spotted him! The clouds do keep the cub reporter from seeing Clark pulverizing the meteor with his head-on collision, and the mild-mannered reporter decides to cover up his secret with help from a box which has just arrived at the office. After landing on the roof, the cub reporter heads into the office... and asks how Clark could have been flying... then stops as he sees the mild-mannered reporter holding a giant pair of wings. He listens as Clark tells him how an archeologist found them among ancient Indian relics and shipped them to the Daily Planet to be held until his return. Jimmy reads the legend, "He Who Wears The Thunderbird Wings Can Soar With The Eagles!" The cub reporter realizes that Clark must have been trying out the wings and he couldn't see them since his fellow reporter was flying through the clouds! Clark is relieved that Jimmy believes the story and that his worries are over! Later, the cub reporter recieves an important phone call from the zoo... a rare flamingo has escaped and is the only one in captivity. When asked to call Superman, Jimmy decides to handle this himself!

He plans to chase the bird himself and has Clark help him put on the Thunderbird wings! The mild-mannered reporter wonders how Jimmy can be sure that the wings will work, but the cub reporter is confident that they will! Knowing that he must make the wings work for his pal, the man of steel must prevent him from suspecting that Clark Kent is Superman! On the roof, Jimmy is unaware that a gust of super-breath from the man of steel is keeping him in the air! The cub reporter catches up with the pink flamingo, thanks in large part to Superman, who followed him along the city skyscrapers!

At the office... "Eagle" Olsen prepares to write up his scoop, while the man of steel flies off to keep his promise to give the Metropolis college football team some pointers in punting! On the football field... Superman forgets his strength and kicks a football into orbit, as well as breaking a field goal while demonstrating a field goal... (Holy Super-Foot In The Mouth, Batman!) At the Daily Planet, Perry White sees that the paper's circulation has gone down! They need advertising and the editor plans to order a sky-writing plane... but Jimmy offers to do the job at half-price since he can use the money! As the cub reporter begins to explain how the Thunderbird wings work, the gruff editor tells Jimmy that nothing he does can surprise him any more, and wishes him luck! Luckily for "Eagle Olsen," his pal had heard the conversation with his super-hearing and maintains the illusion that the wings work...

The man of steel must somehow discourage Jimmy from using the Thunderbird wings... When the cub reporter attempts to fly back, he is surprised when a strong crosswind sends him towards the mountains... but he'd be even more surprised if he knew that it was super-breath! Eagles protecting their nest begin to attack the cub reporter, who is pecked on the leg, but the unseen man of steel uses his super-breath to blow the birds away before they can really hurt him! At the office, Jimmy is staring at his injury, while Superman is confident that he can go about his business since the cub reporter will think twice before using the Thunderbird wings. One of the man of steel's duties includes using a giant brush to clean the streets since there's a shortage of street-cleaners... (Holy Fullerbrush Man, Batman!)

When the man of steel checks in on his pal... the man who plays Santa Claus has a broken arm and asks the cub reporter if he could deliver the gifts in the Flying Newsroom, and Superman knows what Jimmy's answer will be! The cub reporter plans to use the Thunderbird wings to become a real "Flying Santa!" (Holy Rudolph, Batman! This Santa doesn't seem so bright...) As the "Flying Santa" has fun delivering gifts, the man of steel knows that his pal could have used the Flying Newsroom, but the wings are a big thrill for the cub reporter! As a light snowfall begins... the "Flying Santa" has inadvertantly flown over a test rocket range and into the path of an oncoming guided missile! Super-breath blows Jimmy aside and the missile misses him by inches!

At the Daily Planet, the man of steel figures that his pal will avoid danger... but a little danger is nothing for Jimmy if he get a scoop by meeting the plane which is carrying a king visiting America! Out at sea, the cub reporter prepares to interview the ruler before the plane can even land, while Superman prepares for his pal's return trip! Using some scrap materials, the man of steel constructs a giant battery at super-speed! In the clouds, a giant kite is suspending the battery in mid-air near the cub reporter's return route to Metropolis! When Jimmy returns from the plane... he is flying under the battery and the man of steel's heat-vision on the circuits cause sparks which will look like lightning to the cub reporter! (Holy Isabella, Batman!)

Seeing the sparks, Jimmy believes that a bolt from the lightning storms will strike him unless he flies down to the ground for safety! His pal knows that the sparks can't harm him since they can't reach him! The cub reporter discovers that there's something wrong with the wings... he can't fly down... especially since super-breath is keeping him aloft... and makes Jimmy think his wings are now out of control! The cub reporter sheds his wings and begins to fall, but his signal-watch will bring his super-pal to him! The man of steel pretends to have come from a great distance... and asks if Jimmy has fallen out of an airplane. He listens as his pal tells him about the Thunderbird wings, and on the ground, Superman uses his super-breath to make them disappear forever! Jimmy sees the wings flying away by themselves, and asks his pal not to chase after them since he's... er... had enough of flying! At the Daily Planet, the cub reporter now knows that the Thunderbird wings have caused him nothing but trouble, and mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent winks at the readers... his secret identity was saved... but the hard way!

In this story, Clark Kent really takes Jimmy Olsen under his "wing" in order to maintain his secret identity.

Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Golden Eagle, and Bird Man are examples of winged heroes.

Thunderbird was a member of the All-New, All-Different X-Men, and was the first of their number to die in Uncanny X-Men #95.

"Pink Flamingos" is a film by John Waters.

In the first Superman movie, we saw young Clark Kent kick a football into the skies.

Nice to see that Perry White admits when he is no longer surprised by the antics which take place at the Daily Planet.

Steve Chung
"The Birdboy of Review!"