In the fourth stop on our Summer Vacation itinerary, we stayed close to home – within sight of Metropolis, in fact. “The Big Game Hunt of Metropolis,” in Superman 97 (May 1955) tells us all about it.
Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen, gets an odd piece of mail – an invitation to hunt wild animals at Jack Borden’s Safari, an animal preserve located just outside Metropolis.
Editor Perry White thinks it’s a great idea – there might be a story in it – and tells Olsen to get Clark Kent to come along, too. Clark has been ruining his health working nonstop on his exposé of the Swindle Syndicate, a crime ring. White thinks Clark could use some off time.
But when Kent waves him away, Jimmy decides to go to Borden’s Big Game Hunt alone.
Sure enough, there are plenty of wild beasts. When a rhino charges Jimmy, Borden tells the cub reporter to point his rifle and shoot. Oops! There aren’t any bullets in the rifle – it’s a camera! Jimmy hits the dust, sure that he’s about to be gored or trampled – but Borden just laughs as the beasts licks Jimmy’s face. “Old Leatherside is as tame as a mouse! He only came charging eagerly for some tidbits to eat!”
Yes, the Big Game hunt is a tourist resort, full of tame critters – a safari photo-op for would-be bwanas. And when the enthusiastic Jimmy tells Clark about it, Kent decides to join in the fun the next day. Little do both Planet staffers know that the Swindle Syndicate has Kent in their sights.
Through a tricky little double-cross, the Syndicate has pulled a variation on the Folger’s Coffee switch. Instead of switching Instant Folger’s Coffee for fresh-brewed, the Syndicate has switched some REALLY wild animals for the tame ones.
So when a gorilla runs up to give Clark a hug, they find out the great ape isn’t playing around. Clark uses some super-breath to blow the critter into meeting a tree head-first. Then, as Jimmy is running for safety, an un-tame tiger strikes Clark, ripping off his Kent clothes.
Jimmy is captured and caged by members of the Swindle Syndicate, who had set the whole thing up – including Jimmy’s original invitation – to get that pesky reporter Kent into a little deadly jeopardy-by-leopardy (kinda rhymes, huh?).
The thugs head into the brush to find Kent’s body and instead discover the Kent clothes. Obviously the tiger just et him up, they figure. It must be only a coincidence that Superman has happened. Drat! They’re caught in a dead-fall trap.
The tale ends with Clark doing a fig-leaf routine and the final exposure of the Swindle Syndicate.
This little tale would have been just as at home in an issue of Jimmy Olsen, wouldn’t you agree? But no matter where it was read, it’s loads of fun.
Our next slideshow from our Summer Vacation involves an uncharted island and a wedding ceremony. Hmmm…
See you next Friday!