Jimmy Olsen 131
"The Most Fantastic Camera in the World!"
(80 Page Giant #74)
August - September, 1970

Story: Unknown
Art: Curt Swan

Jimmy Olsen uses his newspaper camera as cub reporter for the Daily Planet, but one day, each snap of the shutter causes things to disappear into thin air! Even the man of steel is puzzled by the vanish items, for they appear to be the work of some master criminal, but unbeknownst to Superman and his pal, the true culprit is... "The Most Fantastic Camera In The World!" On the splash page, the man of steel is presenting Lois Lane with a golden piece of jewelry as a birthday present, but the girl reporter doesn't see anything in the box, and the cub reporter thinks it strange that things always vanish whenever he takes a picture with the camera! Jimmy is interviewing inventors at the Metropolis Patent Office... where one such invention is a new kind of guided missile, which he takes a picture of... Professor Potter, eccentric scientist and inventor of many unusual inventions, is the next to arrive! When asked by the cub reporter what the latest device does, the professor explains that it is top secret, and all he can say is that it produces fourth-dimensional rays which can perform incredible feats with crystalline matter! (Holy Selegue, Batman!)

The device is accidentally activated and begins to emit radiations before burning out. Jimmy smiles and tells Professor Potter that it's too bad he can't take any pictures of such a... great invention! The cub reporter wouldn't be so quick to laugh if he knew how the rays have affected his camera! Back at the Daily Planet office... Perry White is holding a card which reads, "25th Anniversary of The Daily Planet Chief Editor Perry White," while Jimmy prepares to take a picture. As the gruff Daily Planet editor flashes a big smile at the cub reporter's suggestion, the camera (which has been affected by Professor Potter's fourth-dimensional rays on the lens) emits an invisible force which draws all crystalline and metallic objects, including the false teeth from Perry White's mouth! At super-speed, they head through the camera lens... and end up inside the camera! To the Daily Planet editor's horror... he finds himself mumbling in surprise and has to order a new pair of dentures right away! While searching for news items, the cub reporter is in luck when... A robber has just struck a store and is about to shoot at a policeman, but fortunately the man of steel is on the scene!

Jimmy prepares to take a picture of Superman stopping the bullet, but as he snaps the picture, the bullet disappears, and is whisked into the lens! "Sharpshooter" Smith can't understand how he could have missed the cop, but the real sharpshooter is the cub reporter, who is looking on the ground for the missing bullet, so he can add it to his Superman Souvenir collection! While his pal continues his fruitless search, the man of steel is entertaining orphans... He had promised the kids an super-marble shooting exhibition and uses his power of super-aim, as he shoots his "Aggie!" The marbles ricochet at super-speed and are all knocked out of the ring! As the kids ask Superman to do it again, Jimmy has arrived to snap the repeat of the super-feat for a great scoop...

The camera snaps and the marbles disappear! Unbeknowst to the man of steel and his pal, Clark Kent's glasses are also drawn out of the secret pouch from Superman's cape! (Holy Jim Croce, Batman!) While preparing to change back to the mild-mannered reporter, the man of steel sees that the glasses are missing, and the super-spectacles are from the days when he was Superboy! They were made from part of the plexiglass shield from the Krypton rocket which arrived on Earth. There were enough materials to make two super-lenses, which were immune to heat-rays, tougher than steel, and bulletproof! Clark realizes that his secret identity is in danger! He knows if someone finds the glasses and deduces that they were hidden in his secret pouch, they will suspect that he is the man of steel! The mild-mannered reporter must now wear a spare pair of ordinary glasses!

Later, both Clark and Jimmy are covering a special event at a place where valuable gems are cut! The chief gem-cutter is getting ready to cut the Eagle Egg Diamond! (Holy Don't Call Me "Chief," Batman!) The gem-cutter has lost his nerve, knowing that a wrong blow will shatter it into worthless bits... "GULP!" Seeing that the nervous man will ruin it for certain, Clark pulls out his pen from his pocket and... vibrates it at super-speed like a tuning fork, producing high-pitched "silent sound" waves to cut the gem! It is timed as the hammer falls... and the gem-cutter experiences a perfect split! His joy is cut short when the cub reporter takes a picture and the split diamonds disappear! Outside, a would-be crook has also seen the diamonds disappear... and his plans for a hold-up have also evaporated...

Both Clark and Jimmy take their leave... with the cub reporter planning to reload his camera at home, not knowing how the items he has taken pictures of have disappeared! The mild-mannered reporter knows that his super-glasses are also missing, as well as Perry White's false teeth, which the gruff editor told him about at the office. Jimmy finds the mystery solved when he opens his camera at his apartment and sees all the vanished items stored within! The glasses fall onto the floor and the cub reporter steps on them... Seeing that they didn't break, he figures that they must be super-glasses worn by the man of steel whenever he's disguised as Clark Kent! Seeing a fingerprint on one lens, he plans to match it with Clark's fingerprints later, and slips the glasses into his breastpocket. "Hunch" Holton has followed the cub reporter to his apartment and enters through an open window to take the diamonds and camera... having had a hunch that he could use it to snatch items away! As the cub reporter runs to the door, "Hunch" takes a picture and the signal-watch is drawn into the camera! At the hideout, Holton begins his plan for trapping the man of steel by using the camera and signal-watch! He imitates Jimmy's voice and speaks of a scientist who has worked out a formula for making a Kryptonite antidote...

On patrol, Superman hears the ultrasonic call with his super-hearing and doesn't suspect it's a trick! He is told to bring a sample of Kryptonite to the lab on Oak Street! Retrieving the lead box from Clark's apartment, the man of steel falls into Holton's trap! "Hunch" takes a picture and the lead box is whisked into the camera! He removes the lead box from the camera and opens the box... the radiations weakening Superman instantly! Having seen his pal flying nearby, the cub reporter arrives at "Hunch" Holton's hideout and knows that it was his fault that his pal is in danger! Even though Holton is armed, Jimmy rushes in just the same! He plans to lunge at Holton before he can fire, but the gun goes off, and a bullet is coming for him! Unbeknownst to the cub reporter, the bullet bounces off of Clark's super-glasses!

Jimmy tackles Holton, then places the Kryptonite back into the lead box, which enables his pal to recover! The man of steel regains his super-strength, the camera having been smashed in the struggle, and he takes "Hunch" to jail, with the box back in his possession. The cub reporter returns the diamonds, but before he returns the glasses to his pal, he challenges Clark to show his fingerprints at the Daily Planet office. The mild-mannered reporter goes along with the request and Jimmy is surprised when the fingerprints don't match the ones on the super-glasses! Clark winks at the reader, and knows that his pal was unaware that his own fingerprints were left on the glasses. He'll reclaim the glasses later as Superman... and his dual identity is safe!

Interesting that Lois Lane only appears on the splash page and nowhere else in the story.

While Professor Potter was the zany scientist with unusual inventions in the comics, it was Professor Pepperwinkle who would stop by the Daily Planet in many episodes of The Adventures of Superman on TV.

We've seen examples of fourth-dimensional rays and crystalline matter in two previous stories in this 80 Page Giant: "The Burglar Kit From The Future!" and "The Unwanted Superman Souvenirs!"

It's established in this story that Perry White has been editor of the Daily Planet for 25 years.

On Earth-Two, it was Clark Kent who succeeded George Taylor as editor of the Daily Star.

"Sharpshooter" Smith is wearing a purple suit, which he probably bought at Weisinger's clothing store.

In the Twilight Zone episode, "Walking Distance," Gig Young comes across a game of marbles being played by Ronny Howard.

"You Don't Tug On Superman's Cape" is a verse from "You Don't Mess Around With Jim" by Jim Croce.

We learn in this story that Jimmy Olsen is able to communicate vocally with his pal via the signal-watch.

Writer Robert Kanigher would frequently use an inanimate object, such as a camera, to tell a story.

Steve Chung
"The Most Fantastic Camera In The Review!"