Tuesday, 21 April 2015

SUPERMAN'S BOY FRIEND, JIMMY OLSEN...?


Image copyright DC COMICS

You're looking at a corner cover icon that JACK KIRBY
drew for DC's JIMMY OLSEN magazine which, for some
reason, was never used.  It's natural to wonder why, and being
the inquisitive soul that I am, I did.  After all, icons were used
for other Kirby DC mags, so why not this one?  (A SWAN
ANDERSON icon appeared in its place.)

Could it be that, when reduced, it kind of looks as though
Jimmy is trying to grab his pal's hand as they skip gaily side-
by-side?  Perhaps DC bigwigs felt that the image was just a tad
too 'camp' for their greatest superhero and his best buddy,
but whatever the reason, it was never used at the time.

Of course, nowadays, in an age when some prat in pur-
suit of an agenda dares suggest that Supes should be turned
gay or bisexual so that certain minorities can feel good about
themselves, it may well yet see service if such a thing should
ever come about.  Let's hope not, eh?  Not even a nice bit
of Kirby art is worth messing with a legend.

(And let's face it - CLARK BENT doesn't
have quite the same ring to it.)

20 comments:

DeadSpiderEye said...

If they can turn Khan in Star Trek from a blood curdling Sikh, into an effete Englishman who hasn't learned not to cry, then the gay Superman is just around the corner. What counts, is what the people who buy comics want, if they want to see him pressing wild flowers with his boyfriend then it's off to the musical theatre to see Cats for Clark Kent. Not my scene but I was more into Batman anyway, the perfectly straight guy who fosters a live in, male juvenile companion. As for the index artwork, I think it is probably a bit too jaunty, looks like they're larking about.

Rib breaker said...

wow what a homophobic post!
"certain minorities can feel good about themselves"
using the word "bent"
I'm gay and I don't want Supes sexuality changed either!
I also don't want to see offensive language like that on what is otherwise one of the best blogs I've discovered on British comics.

Rip Jagger said...

Most likely DC's mavens just didn't like the Kirby version of the artwork, like so much of what he did for them at the time. It's sad and weird to hire the guy and then pick at what he does so distinctively.

As for Superman representing a minority community, the saga of a man from another land with different abilities who has to change his name and hide his true nature to blend into the larger society to make everyone else feel comfortable likely seems sufficiently on point that specific changes would be moot.

Siegel and Shuster were talking about ethnic identity most likely, but the paradigm still holds for others who feel ostracized by the dominant culture.

Rip Off



Kid said...

'Larking about', DSE? Sounds dodgy to me. They look far too happy. A dose of the army is what they need. That sort of thing doesn't happen there. (Does it Colonel Darling? Darling, Answer me! Mehhhh!)

******

Homophobic? Me? If that were true, I wouldn't like Tchaikovsky. You don't want Superman turned gay? What a 'homophobic' comment, surely? Or is that only when I say it? Seriously 'though, you're at the wind-up. Creating a new profile merely to comment on this post? And the word 'bent' (hardly an objectionable or offensive word in itself) is the opposite of the word 'straight' and is merely used for humorous effect in a bit of word play. Also, Superman is an American comic, I think you'll find. A sense of humour is a wonderful thing, you know.

******

Good point, Rip. And yet still some people insist that the dominant culture must be forced to bend the knee in obeisance to the demands of the minority, it seems. I don't depend on the approval of others to validate my behaviour or tastes, or that others must accept me in order that I can feel good about myself. If I did, I wouldn't be reading comics, which is traditionally seen by many to be an infantile pastime for the intellectually challenged. People should just do what they want to do (within reason of course) without insisting that everyone else has to accept and approve it.

I sometimes think that DC hired Kirby more to spite Marvel than for what they thought he could do for them.

DeadSpiderEye said...

He's an alien, from another planet right? So he's a different species to us natives and we know is philology significantly diverges from human, so...

...they could make him a lesbian, think about it, there would be a flashback to his discovery, Marther examines the necessaries and lets out a gasp. 'Is it a boy?' They. mistakenly attribute his sex and he's brought up as the wrong kind of human. Cor, that would tick all the boxes, we have him/her all angsty and confused during the Superboy years only to come out to Lois at a suitable crisis point. I off to send off the treatment to DC now.

Kid said...

Gasp! Dos that mean Supergirl is a boy, DSE? But I fancy Supergirl. Now I'm confused. I'd better nip out and buy a handbag.

DeadSpiderEye said...

I'm not sure if fancying a comic character makes you gay but it definitely doesn't fall within the accepted boundaries of heterosexual behaviour. Don't fret Kid, you're not alone, I've always had a thing for Tin Tin from Thunderbirds. I don't know why she wastes her time with that closet hound Allen.

Colin Jones said...

To me Superman looks like he's dancing rather badly - like somebody's dad trying to get down with the kids. Marvel would have used a couple of faces, end of problem.

Kid said...

Tin Tin, Venus, Atlanta Shore, Marina, Supergirl, Scarlet Witch, Wasp, Sue Storm - hey, I fancy them all. I take it where I can get it - even if it is puppets or cartoons. (For a moment I thought you were talking about Herge's character, DSE - you had me worried.)

******

Coo, you're right, CJ - he does look as if he's trying to dance. The 'old man shuffle' I think it's called. Jimmy's saying "C'mon Supes, time you sat down."

Anonymous said...

The image DC used instead, of Supey giving Jimmy a shoulder rub, didn't look gay at all did it?

Kid said...

I don't usually publish anonymous comments, but I'll make an exception for this one. No, it didn't - not to me anyway. He was shaking his pal's hand and had his other hand on his shoulder. Perfectly manly-looking to me. Invent a name for yourself next time, please, or I won't publish your comment.

DeadSpiderEye said...

Oh crikey, CJ's nailed it, they're dancing. They're probably in the Blue Oyster bar.

H.Y. said...

What if a lesser character was turned gay like Lee and Kirby's Iceman?

Kid said...

You've lost me with that one, DSE. Don't think I've heard of the place. Is it in a film?

******

But why, 'H.Y.'? It's like rewriting history to make Oscar Wilde straight.

DeadSpiderEye said...

The Blue Oyster Bar is a running joke in the Police Academy flicks -- yeah, I have seen a couple of 'em. If I recall correctly, it's a wharf-side bar, hapless antagonists occasionally find themselves stranded in there, entertaining the patrons to the refrain of El Bimbo, It's a pretty good joke.

Kid said...

Shows you what I know, DSE. Don't think I've ever seen a Police Academy film, except for the odd clip.

DeadSpiderEye said...

You haven't missed much, they're OK flicks to watch on weekend afternoon with a few mates and plenty of beer and nibbles, when you couldn't get a decent Arnie flick at the video library. Other than that, they're a bit painful to sit through.

Kid said...

I wouldn't have enjoyed them then, 'cos I don't drink beer. American versions of the Carry On movies, but on the one theme, I presume?

DeadSpiderEye said...

Very close to something like Carry on Constable, similar themes like: the disadvantaged little guy, triumphing over autocracy. The gags focusing more on the trouser department and on the humiliation of the antagonists.

Kid said...

I see. Ta for the info. I don't think I'll be rushing to watch one.

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