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CSBG Archive

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.

1/27/07

27. Jimmy Olsen

Jimmy Olsen Metropolis.jpg

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:

Jimmy Olsen 98.jpg

(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:

Jimmy Olsen 72.jpg

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.)

jimmy olsen 1.JPG

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.

Jimmy Olsen 133.jpg

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.

jimmy olsen 2.JPG

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.

Jimmy Olsen incest.jpg

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.

Links:
Jimmy Wiki
Jimmy at Supermanica

21 Comments

Great write-up of Jimmy, my favourite supporting cast member of all time!

He really is a great character isn’t he? Too bad he has been consistently misunderstood and badly written for the last twenty years (excepting Grant Morrison of course).

My favorite Jimmy era was the seventies “Mr. Action” period when he was cool, smart and fun and the artists had the intelligence to draw him without that goddamn bowtie.

Rockin’ entry. Thanks Bill! Your (and Morrison’s) take on Jimmy is right on. btw, does anyone know if that Metropolis mini (maxi?) was any good? I loves me some Zezelj art (whadda name!) … but then again, Chuck Austen?! So I never picked it up. Great cover though.

That cover of Jimmy Olsen #72 tells me that continuity-mad fanboys have been writing comics for longer than we think!

MY GOD! He’s driving that spacecycle into Superman’s dick!

The best thing about the “Bride of Jungle Jimmy” cover is that they felt the need to specify that Jimmy is marrying a “*female* King Kong.” Because, in 1960s comics, implied human/gorilla bestiality = no problem, but implied *homosexual* human/gorilla bestiality…well, now, that’s crossing a line.

I think the best Jimmy related cover HAS to be the one with Superman destroying the dressing gown which Jimmy had bought him for Fathers Day “to teach him a lesson.”

Rebis, Zezelj only did the art on the first six issues of Metropolis. Teddy Kristiansen took over for the second half of the series.

As for Austen, the Superman Homepage seemed to dig his work. You can find that site’s reviews of the series here: http://www.supermanhomepage.com/comics/2003-post-crisis-reviews/c-review-2003.php

…and here: http://www.supermanhomepage.com/comics/2004-post-crisis-reviews/c-review-2004.php

The “Superman: Metropolis” mini is all kinds of terrible. Stay as far away from it as possible.

If you like Jimmy or Silver Age insanity in general, you owed to yourself to pick up the “Superman Family” Showcase volume. It’s got the first 20 issues or so of “Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen” and they are pure LSD-laced comic goodness.

Sorry, the bottom cover just reminds me of the line from Spaceballs- “Supermaid! She’s gone from suck to blow!” :)

Favorite Jimmy Olsen memories? Well, last March I bought a slightly tatty copy of the “Strange Lives of Jimmy Olsen” 80-Page Giant. And that was really my first taste of Jimmy Olsen comics. What an experience it was!

That first cover you posted looks great.

Meh – I’m not a huge fan of Jimmy. I know we have to put up with him because he’s part of the mythos, but I like to keep his appearances minimal.

That’s what I thought too, DanCJ, until I read the “Showcase Presents Jimmy Olsen” (or, as they actually called it, “Showcase Presents Superman Family”.) But Jimmy actually comes off pretty well. The bowtie and slang are horribly dated, and they’re what stick in the memory, but Jimmy himself is a good character. Nice guy, pretty smart, not bad in a fight, cub reporter who’s always looking for a big scoop, tries his best, sometimes (but not always) in over his head, but still perserveres…oh, and when he gets in real trouble, he can call Superman for help. It’s a surprisingly good read.

TOTALLY agreed, John.

I loved old-time Jimmy Olsen.

He was not only a cool character, but he was a great FRIEND to Superman. I love that aspect. Outside of All-Star Superman, we just don’t see that anymore.

Back in the 80s, Fred Hembeck compiled Jimmy’s cross-dressing adventures (once to get information about a criminal, once to trick Perry White). I guess dressing like a woman isn’t as extreme as actually changing into a giant turtle boy but I have to wonder about writers of that era.

I used to read lots of pre-Crisis Superman comics, and he didn’t bother me the, but I was a lot younger.

I guess I’ll have to wait for All Star Superman to come out in TPB

spacecycle to sail in timeless dreams to fruit the univers

The Kirbydotter

March 10, 2007 at 10:54 am

Silver Age Jimmy was beyond weird!
I love all the Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen covers!
But if you have to own just one, I guess you got the good one with # 72 and all those weird versions of Jimmy on that single cover.

sad assholes

i need help here

question if anyone may answer, which issue is that where Jimmy says he look great?

just curious…..

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