First, a consumer tip: this book is in black and white, printed on pulp paper. If you are waiting for these stories to be reprinted in color and on glossy or archival paper, you probably have a long wait ahead of you.
Like the Golden Age comics of the 1940s, these Silver Age comics are the product of a time gone by. The technology and economics of producing comic books has advanced dramatically and there's no going back to those more "innocent" times. Originally published in 1960 and 1961, these stories were produced during a time closer to the invention of comic books (and Superman) than they are to today.
Reprinted in this volume are all the stories from Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #17-26 and Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #45-53. They were written and drawn during the fabled Mort Weisinger era, the DC editor who oversaw the expansion of Superman's large supporting cast and the classic mythos of the Man of Steel's life. Faced with the difficulty of producing interesting stories about a superhero who basically could do anything, Weisinger sought the conflict needed for interesting stories by relying on Superman's friends and co-workers. He also had to do this while gearing these stories to a pre-teen audience.
Thus, this is the Lois Lane who desperately wanted to marry Superman, who kept trying to prove her suspicion that Superman was really Clark Kent and who constantly exposed herself to life-threatening danger in pursuit of her "scoops" for the Daily Planet. In the meantime, Jimmy Olsen continually got into hot water trying to prove his journalistic abilities and demonstrate to Lois' sister Lucy that he was worthy boyfriend material. Jimmy also had a bad habit of getting himself physically transformed into bizarre forms, such as the Giant Turtle Man depicted on this book's cover.
The artwork in these stories is flawless, the majority illustrated by Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger whose work of a half century ago still puts most subsequent comic book artists to shame. And for longtime comic book fans, it warms the heart to realize that some of these stories were written by Jerry Siegel, one of the original creators of Superman (even though he was denied much of the recognition and remuneration for his historic work at that time).
Now, my confession: I was smack-dab in the middle of that pre-teen audience when these stories first appeared and I was enchanted by them. I cannot separate my love for these stories from my ability to objectively critique them. They might be too old to appeal to modern comic book fans, even today's children. And the lack of color in this book might be an added barrier to an audience that barely knows movies were once all in black and white.
But if you were there and sucked these stories in like oxygen as a child, this collection is wonderful. It also comes as a bit of a surprise, since it has been four years since volume 3 was published, a huge gap that made one fear the earlier volumes didn't sell enough to continue the series. Maybe DC is hoping the release of a new Superman movie this summer will juice up sales for this book. Whatever the reason, it is a treasure for today's old timers who literally grew up with these stories and for comic book fans who value these innocent old stories as a time capsule of the days before "The Sixties" profoundly changed virtually every aspect of American society.