Comic Legends: When Lois Lane Just Re-Used Jimmy Olsen Stories

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and eighty-second week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Click here for Part 1 of this week's legends.

NOTE: I noticed that the the CSBG Twitter page was nearing 10,000 followers. If we hit 10,050 followers on the the CSBG Twitter page then I'll do a BONUS edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed during the week that we hit 10,050. So three more legends! Sounds like a great deal, right?


Lois Lane re-used the exact plot of a Jimmy Olsen comic book storyline for two different issues five years earlier.



One of the truisms that the comic book industry believed in back in the day was that comic books were a cyclical industry. The idea was that a kid would start reading comics when he or she was, say, eight years old. They would then continue to read them until they were 13 years old and then they would drop comic books for other interests. It is literally the plot of the classic Batman comic book story (well, it's a classic to me, at least) called Batman Jones, where a kid named after Batman becomes obsessed with being a junior Batman...until he loses interest and takes up stamps or something like that.

So therefore, the idea would be that every five years, you would have a brand-new audience. So you could get away with using a story twice if you waited for five years between the stories. So Superman could have the same basic fight that he had with Mister Mxyzptlk in 1955 in 1960. Of course, very often the actual creative teams would be different, so only the basic plot would be the same.

However, these would typically be a scenario where a Superman story was re-used as a Superman story. Rarely would a Superman story be re-used as, say, a Batman story. This isn't to say that there aren't concepts that pretty much all of the comic books of the era re-used (like doppelgangers, everyone loved doppelgangers), but it wouldn't literally be "Hey, here's a Superman story. Just cross out the names and you have yourself an Aquaman story."

There were some hilarious exceptions to this rule, though, and one of them popped up in 1962's Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #36, in a story drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger with a story by an uncredited writer. Since Jerry Siegel wrote the second part of the story, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that he wrote the first part, as well.

The story opens with Lois Lane coming back to the Daily Planet only to find that no one recognizes her!

A despondent Lois seemingly dies...

That's when we learn that it is all a trick, but that Lois turned the tables on them! Of course, Superman knew she did it, which is weird, since he sure seems to be upset, but whatever, that dude has no scruples...

So yeah, it was all a test to see if she could be a foreign correspondent! They were lying liars who lied about the next issue part, though, as the story did not pick up until #40, by Siegel and Schaffenberger...

Okay, so here's the hilarious bit. Five years earlier, in 1957's Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen, Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Ray Burnley told the same exact story...but with Jimmy Olsen!

Granted, Jimmy Olsen figured out his plot differently (Binder had slightly less pages to work with)...

The next issue, Binder, Swan and Burnley sent Jimmy off as a foreign correspondent...

Isn't that hilarious?

Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed - What surprisingly salacious reason led to Lois Lane being disallowed from appearing in Kellogg's TV commercials in the 1950s?

Check back later tonight for the final part of this week's Comic Book Legends Revealed!

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