365 Reasons to Love Comics #27
Supporting Characters Week, Day Seven: Adrian’s Revenge!
Of course, this won’t end the week. I’ve decided to go at least through the end of the month, so you’ll all get a few more days of second banana-y goodness. And if your favorites don’t show up, don’t worry; quite a few of ‘em will probably appear sometime later in the year.
Today, however, we talk about the best of all supporting characters. My favorite, anyway. So it’s probably going to have an obscene amount of awesome images. Be warned.
27. Jimmy Olsen
What is it with cool supporting characters whose names begin with J?
Jimmy Olsen is the coolest man in comics. Or he should be, anyway. If it was up to me, it would be official.
I mean, he’s Superman’s best pal. The ladies would be all over him. Back in the Pre-Crisis era, they most certainly were, even if they weren’t of the human variety:
(That’s one of my all-time favorite comic covers.)
Jimmy’s Mr. Action! He’s been a photographer, a reporter, a TV newscaster, an adventurer, an investigator, a master of disguise… he’s been almost everywhere and done almost everything there is to do in the DCU. He’s been Turtle Boy, Elastic Lad, Flamebird, Werewolf Jimmy, Fatso Jimmy, Alien Jimmy, Porcupine Jimmy, Hippie Jimmy, Roman Beatle Jimmy, Radioactive Jimmy, Super-Jimmy… Here, look at this cover of the only issue of his series that I actually own:
And yeah, it is as awesome as it looks.
Heck, Jimmy’s even been a woman! Multiple times! (The old-timey crossdressing adventures were disturbingly sexist. The new ones are just a bit creepy.)
Post-Crisis, Jimmy’s usually been portrayed as a bit of a shmuck. I, as a huge Jimmy fan, am a bit upset by that. I think he could use a revamp to bring him more in line with the great character he used to be. The weirdest stuff would happen to him, and he’d take it in stride and keep on keepin’ on.
Can’t wait for that Jack Kirby Omnibus coming out in May! Yeah, the King’s Jimmy run was traded, but now it’ll be in delicious hardcover with the rest of the Fourth World stuff. Did you know Darkseid first appeared in an issue of Jimmy Olsen? Well, he did.
I would love to write a new Jimmy Olsen ongoing. More so, even, than Aquaman. And you know how much I’d love to write Aquaman.
I love Grant Morrison’s portrayal of Jimmy in All Star Superman. He dresses like a geek, he flies to work on a rocket pack, and he goes on ridiculous adventures every other day. He rocks. Hell, he makes a bowtie look good.
The same idea should be brought to Jimmy over in the main DCU. Here’s the guy who would be getting in adventures during lunch when no one’s looking. He should be touring the DC Universe in a madcap series of mayhem-filled journeys, all for the sake of a cool article or blog entry.
And I’d let Jimmy in on Clark’s secret. After all, he’s one of Clark’s best friends, and he’s officially Superman’s Pal. Stop playing with the guy and tell him, Clark. He’s got your back.
However, I’d ban one thing from my Olsen run: Future-incest.
Dear God, I hope Lucy is his stepmother. Even then, it’s still weird.
As much as I like guys like Jack Larson, Marc McClure, Justin Whalin, and Sam Huntington, I don’t think anyone’s perfected Jimmy in outside media. Not even animated Jimmy, though he was pretty cool. They’re all playing off Jimmy being a nerd and a bit of a dim schlub. Maybe he is at times, sure– but that doesn’t mean one has to forsake Jimmy’s radness.
The guy has a big heart, and his soul yearns for action and adventure. The possibilities are endless, and only nothing is impossible! This is a lesson Jimmy has learned, and something he’ll continue to experience.
At least, we can hope.
C’mon, DC– let me write a Jimmy Olsen series! I will do it for sandwiches. A zany travelog of the DC Universe, from the eyes of its favorite everyman nerd hero. And it’d be a great companion to the Daily Planet ongoing that the world needs (it’s Gotham Central, only with reporters! It’s great!) It probably wouldn’t last a full year, but I’m betting people know awesome stuff when they see it.
How about you playing at home? What are your favorite Jimmy Olsen memories?
Also, if you want more Jimmy, you can always buy Showcase Presents: Superman Family or the two volumes of The Adventures of Jimmy Olsen by Jack Kirby. Look for ‘em on Amazon or at your local comics retailer.