Spinner Rack: "The Girl Who Was Lucy Lane’s Double!" - Part 1

Posted by Joanna Sandsmark on 1/7/2014

This month, Joanna follows along as Jimmy Olsen goes back in time and meets his girlfriend's doppelganger!

No one loved an 80-Page Giant more than I did growing up. And there's no wonder why. I was young and didn’t really pay attention to all the different eras, artists and writers, but that’s because my focus was on how wonderful so many of the stories were. The Girl Who Was Lucy Lane's Double! was one of those 80-Page Giant stories that, through the magic of collecting back issues, I now have within the pages of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #60 from 1962. There are three wonderful stories in this issue, any one of which could be the focus of this article, but it’s that center story that draws me to it. I remember it from my youth and remember liking it. And why wouldn’t I? It has so many great DC devices. It has time travel; an ordinary person with superpowers; a mysteriously perfect double for a regular character; Jimmy Olsen as a ladies' man; and Streaky, the super cat. What's not to love?

The splash page shows Jimmy Olsen dressed in colonial attire, telling a woman of that time period what a marvelous cook she is. Her name is Lucinda and her face is a dead ringer for Jimmy's love, Lucy Lane. What are the odds? She doesn’t just look like Lucy; she even has nearly the same name? It’s almost creepy.

Lucinda reacts to Jimmy’s compliment of her cooking by telling him that if they got married she would "… cook, clean and prepare the most wonderful meals for you!" Apparently, in olden times, cooking for someone and preparing meals for them are two completely different things. I wonder if cleaning meant the same thing then as it does now. But that isn't what Jimmy is focusing on. No, he is more likely thinking about her final statement, which was, "I'd do anything to please you!" I imagine that put a little starch in Jimmy's sail. Or perhaps he was wondering how he happened to go back in time and randomly run into a woman who was identical to his girlfriend. With the same name. And who was apparently in love with him. All coincidence.

Nah, he was thinking about the "I'd do anything to please you!" line.

The story opens with Jimmy busily dusting the Superman souvenirs in his trophy room (and don't we all have a trophy room?) when he spots a dogcatcher trying to net a bunch of cats. Unbeknownst to the dogcatcher, one of the cats is Streaky, Supergirl's pet. He apparently lost his cape and without it looks just like every other cat with a lightning bolt on its side and superpowers. Sure enough, as soon as the net lands, Streaky flies off so fast he zips right through the time barrier into the past. Jimmy knows it’s the past because the cat is flying counterclockwise. This is a fun fact that I do not remember and it would've probably netted me some big bucks in a trivia contest (no “net” puns intended).

Both Superman and Supergirl are away so Jimmy decides he has to be the superpowered guardian of the super cat. He puts on a Sunevian magic belt given to him by Princess Ilona of the Sunev Galaxy. It was a betrothal gift that she forgot to take back with her (this story is from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #59, in case you find yourself unable to sleep without knowing how he got that particular trophy). He puts on the belt and then thinks to himself very clear directions on how it is used. It's almost as though he is explaining it to a bunch of people reading his thoughts. "Each jeweled button has a different magical effect! A slight pressure on this onyx button and I'll instantly follow Streaky's image into the past!" Thanks, Jimmy’s thought balloon!

He finds the cat in no time and follows him into an old New England town where everyone is dressed in Puritan clothing. Luckily for Jimmy — and this is an amazing coincidence — he is given the exact period of time by the town crier who says, "Hear ye! Hear ye! Today is Thursday, June 12, 1692! Tis’ the last day before all taxes must be collected!" Unbelievable that Jimmy would get such specific date information upon landing in an unknown time.

As the crier continues by threatening the people with the wrath of the governor, Jimmy decides to get out of his modern clothing and into some colonial duds before he attracts attention. An excellent plan. I wonder how he will accomplish that? It’s not like he can go shopping. Does he have to break into some homes until he finds his size? Well, the first thing to do is use his magic belt. OK, didn’t see that coming. Maybe the malachite button puts out a fashion ray. Nope, he presses the emerald button giving him anti-gravitational power, which is apparently necessary if you want to change your clothes (floating being the best way to find clothes?). It's also a wonderful idea to fly around Salem during the witch-burning era. OK, I’m lost.

Happily, Jimmy is not. After a short time floating, he finds a nice set of clothing on a hanging effigy of Gov. Gale, a British sympathizer. Neato! Traitor pants! Jimmy takes note of these signs against the governor as he puts on the clothing, with his snazzy, jeweled belt taking a place of prominence. First problem: solved. Now to find Streaky.

As he walks along the road, he is confronted by a wolf pack. It happens so often. You're walking along, minding your own business, wearing clothes you found on an effigy, and up walks a pack of wolves. If I had a nickel for every time that happened to me … I'd still be broke. It's only a nickel, after all.

He quickly repels the wolves by pressing the pearl button, which emits an invisible repelling ray. An interesting addition to the belt. Wonder how that came to be?

“Hey Fred, what’s that pearl button do?” “Repelling ray.” “And one would use that for …?” “An ex-girlfriend.” “You really need to get over Betty. Counseling is your friend.” “Fine. Pack of wolves.” “Yeah, like that’ll happen.”

Soon Jimmy comes upon a pair of hunters upon whom he does not use the pearl button despite their weird, matching hunter outfits. They ask him who he is and where he came from and he gives them an abbreviated, sad life story. He's from a colony to the north and is alone in the world because his parents drowned in a shipwreck. The hunters decide to help out and Jimmy feels compelled to accept their help. (Your parents died in a shipwreck? What did you expect? Of course they want to help you!) There goes his search for Streaky.

They get to the town and everyone is all atwitter (but not on Twitter, because that comes much later) about the governor's men having found a doll-effigy of Gov. Gale in Lucinda Lawrence's house. They decide to give her a public dunking. However, when young Jimmy lays eyes on Lucinda, he sees a dead ringer for Lucy Lane. Hubba, hubba, hubba, swoon!

The townspeople don't feel that the punishment fits the crime. It was just a doll, but the governor is incensed. He does, however, offer them the option of taking her place. Naturally, Jimmy Olsen decides to do just that.

The governor wants to teach the "young upstart" a lesson (the meddler!) and orders his men to submerge him. Unfortunately, he doesn’t want young Jimmy to survive.

Oh, no! Jimmy is doomed! How will he survive? Come back next month for Part 2 of "The Girl Who Was Lucy Lane's Double!"

If you'd like to learn more, including a detailed bio and more information about Joanna's books, please visit her website.

This is a guest article. The thoughts and opinions in this piece are those of their author and are not necessarily the thoughts of the Certified Collectibles Group.

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