Friday, October 18, 2013

Jimmy Olsen Disguises Himself as Half of the Employees at a Hotel

Jimmy Olsen's Greatest Costumes and Disguises #7

I like the way Superman tries to talk to Jimmy out of the corner of his mouth, as if no one in the hotel lobby would notice him hanging out there.
Jimmy Olsen was no stranger to disguising himself as a hotel bell-hop.  He first did it in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #6, when he went undercover as a bell-hop to bust a counterfeiter at a magician's convention (don't ask) who had passed $25,000 in fake bills.  But he took things to the next level in the story "Disguises of Danger" in issue 48, when he took his entire costume trunk to a hotel, and imitated half of the staff, in order to catch another counterfeiter... one who had counterfeited 50 cents!

In the story, Jimmy discovers that a gangster named "Big Joe" has a fake 50 cent coin that will somehow make millions of dollars for the criminal world.  "Big Joe" then accidentally loses the coin in a poker game to another gangster, "Flush" Sawyer.  "Flush" is staying at the Metropolis Hotel, so Jimmy poses as a variety of different hotel employees, hoping to receive the 50 cent coin from "Flush" as a tip, so he can figure out how the criminals will use it to commit crimes.

In order to not be recognized as Jimmy Olsen, Superman's pal and boy reporter, Jimmy dyes his hair brown, and covers his freckles with make-up.  He then changes into a variety of outfits during the course of the story, and continuously interacts with "Flush," hoping to get a 50 cent tip.  His costumes included:
  • A hotel bell-hop
  • The hotel doorman
  • The hotel barber
  • A window washer cleaning the hotel's windows
  • A waiter in the hotel's coffee shop
  • The hotel shoe shine boy
  • A blind man begging on the street outside the hotel
Surprisingly, given Jimmy's love of cross-dressing, he never dresses as the hotel's maid.

"And did I mention that my cousin, brother, uncle, and I all look identical?  It's kind of like the Patty Duke show, only more stupid.  That's perfectly believable, right?"
In all of these costumes Jimmy has exactly the same hair and face, he just wears different clothes.  At one point, the gangster notices that Jimmy looks familiar, and Jimmy plays it off, by saying he has a lot of relatives working at the hotel.  But really, unless he has half a dozen identical twins (sextuplets, I guess) it seems kind of far-fetched that "Flush" would believe that.  But this is a Jimmy Olsen comic, after all...  so the best thing to do is just accept it and move on.  Jimmy also runs into his girlfriend, Lucy Lane, who happens to be in the hotel for a stewardess convention (don't ask).  Lucy doesn't recognize him either, but for Lucy, that's nothing new.  I think she barley knows who Jimmy is when he is wearing his green suit and red bow-tie.

"I wonder if she'll recognize me?"  My heart broke just a little when Jimmy thought that.  Poor kid.
Eventually, Jimmy tricks the gangster into giving him the 50 cent coin.  Jimmy and Superman examine the coin, and discover that it is made out of  a mysterious metal that blocks the signal from Jimmy's Superman watch.  Superman then deduces that the criminals intended to give the coin to Jimmy all along, after which they would kidnap him, possibly kill him, and then go on a "crime rampage" throughout Metropolis.

Superman's not the sort to let a little thing like "probable cause" stand in his way.
But Superman has no evidence to prove this theory, other than the coin being made out of a mysterious metal.  And the theory doesn't even make sense if you think about it.  If they were going to kidnap Jimmy, blocking his Superman signal would be a good thing, sure.  But they could just carry some chunks of the mystery metal in their pockets while they attacked Jimmy, if that's what they wanted to do.  Why would they need to fashion the metal into a coin, and trick Jimmy into carrying it first, and then kidnap or kill him?  Like I said, it doesn't really make sense.  But once Superman gets an idea in his head, there's nothing anyone can do to stop him, I guess.  So Superman arrests the gangsters for their "conspiracy" to murder, kidnap, and go on a "crime rampage," and the last panel has Superman standing in the background, laughing at "Flush" and "Big Joe" as they are booked at the Police Station.  I hope those gangsters have a good lawyer.

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