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Top Five Most Iconic Jimmy Olsen Covers

Here are the top five most iconic covers featuring Jimmy Olsen (with iconic being determined mostly subjectively by what covers are called to mind when one thinks of Jimmy Olsen, but first being determined with a prominent objective standard of whether a cover is homaged a lot or featured a lot in histories of the character). The notable exception is no covers from a character’s first appearance (which isn’t applicable to all characters, of course, just those who appeared on the cover of the comic they debuted in)! Here‘s a list of all characters featured so far.

Enjoy!

5. Artists: Curt Swan and George Klein

This cover nicely captures the hilarious absurdity of a typical Jimmy Olsen story with one of the more striking covers of the era.

4. Artist: Neal Adams (with some Murphy Anderson corrections)

Here’s another one, coupled with a striking (no pun intended, honest!) Neal Adams cover that stuck in folks minds well after the issue was gone.

3. Artists: Curt Swan and Stan Kaye

Swan’s cover for the first issue of Jimmy’s solo comic is about as pitch perfect in capturing the essence of Jimmy Olsen as you could get – if the other two covers ahead of it weren’t so famous, this one would definitely be #1, as it’s the clear #1 strictly in terms of “best summation of Jimmy Olsen as a character.”

2. Artists: Curt Swan and Stan Kaye

Easily THE most notable transformation Jimmy Olsen ever had (cover-wise, at least). Some points taken off for being an homage of an old science fiction book cover, or else this would be #1.

1. Artists: Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta (Al Plastino Superman face)

Kirby is here!

Who else but Jimmy Olsen could luck into having Jack Kirby use his comic to launch the freakin’ Fourth World!?!?!?

Extremely iconic cover and moment, and Jimmy was right there in the middle of it (sticklers for detail will note that Superman’s face is drawn by Al Plastino).

52 Comments

[Mike Nealson] Is there really such a thing as an “iconic” Jimmy Olson cover? Wouldn’t it be more fair to say “the cover has Jimmy Olson on it most of the time”? [/Mike Nealson]

Actually, I’m quite surprised that not all of these covers have yet been featured on the superdickery site.

I think there’ll be a lot of disagreement about these choices. #1 is the only one I’d say is a lock.

Obviously you have to have a Turtle Man cover, but I prefer JIMMY OLSEN #104 for that:

http://www.fortunecity.com/tattooine/asimov/20/g38.jpg

I think you need an Elastic Lad cover also. My choice for that is JIMMY OLSEN #111:

http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/jimmy-olsen/111-1.jpg

One could argue for several of Jimmy Olsen’s 80-page giant covers. I think they capture the craziness of the series even better than the regular covers:

http://www.fortunecity.com/tattooine/asimov/20/anuales4.html

P.S. If you want a quick read on what’s iconic, search for “Jimmy Olsen” in Google Images.

P.S. If you want a quick read on what’s iconic, search for “Jimmy Olsen” in Google Images.

That really doesn’t do much, as you do not get many covers period, but I will note that the #1 choice DOES show up, and it’s from a piece on this blog, where Bill Reed used the #1 choice to illustrate a piece about how great Jimmy Olsen is (the #1 pick shows up higher if you don’t use quotes around Jimmy Olsen).

I’m halfway through the third “Fourth World” Ominbus. It’s a gas, but I will admit my least favourite of the rotating titles is the Jimmy Olsen series. Still you can’t not have that #1 issue at the top of the list.

I will agree we need one Elastic Lad cover in there.

I actually DID want to use an Elastic Lad cover, but the only good one was the one Rob linked to, and it just wasn’t THAT famous to make up for the fact that it was the, like, fifth Jimmy Olsen Elastic Lad cover. If that cover was an early appearance of Elastic Lad, I could see it.

Four of the five covers on the list are more famous than the Elastic Lad cover, and the only one not as famous was the #1 cover, which was just so perfect for Jimmy Olsen that I had to feature it.

You don’t get many covers? If you search Google Images for “jimmy olsen” without quotes, 21 of the first 40 hits are covers. A couple more are cover images without the logos or text. “Not many” is subjective, of course, but most people would say the majority = many.

I wasn’t suggesting Google to disagree with you, Brian. I simply meant it as another tool for separating the iconic from the non-iconic. For even better results, add the word cover–e.g., “jimmy olsen cover.”

“Jimmy Olsen” got me 8 covers out of 20 (one of them is my #1 ;) ).

In any event, I don’t like using Google Images because there’s really no rhyme or reason to what covers show up. I did try Google Images when I began this, but I didn’t really think it was helpful.

This might be my favorite Jimmy Olsen cover:

http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/jimmy-olsen/98-1.jpg

The Wolfman cover is DEFINITELY a famous Jimmy Olsen transformation cover.

I just think it’s behind “Brain Jimmy” and “Turtle Boy” Jimmy in terms of fame.

But yeah, Wolfman Jimmy is easily Top Six, Top Seven.

You could have your Google preferences set differently from mine. For instance, your results may include all the Jimmy Olsen porn images while my results screen them out. ;-)

Hah!

That’d be hilarious if I had 12 Jimmy Olsen porn photos.

I wonder what happens if you search “Jimmy Olsen porn.”

Can anyone imagine doing the same type of JIMMY OLSEN or LOIS LANE series today? Forget about the reverence paid to Hal Jordan and Barry Allen. One could argue that the defining characteristic of DC’s Silver Age is fun comics such as these two–e.g., WORLD’S FINEST, SUPERBOY, and ADVENTURE starring the Legion of Super-Heroes. Along with SUPERMAN, ACTION, and FLASH, these were the mainstays of my collection for years.

Yeah, agreed, there’s no way a comic like Jimmy’s would work today, financially. Look at the latest Jimmy Olsen special that came out the other week, a “grim and gritty” Jimmy Olsen comic. Blech!

Re “Jimmy Olsen porn”: Now we all have to try the search, of course.

You may not find any nude images of Jimmy Olsen and Lucy Lane. Not even Jimmy as Elastic Lad, which would be something. But if you search long enough, you’ll find this:

http://www.swapsale.com/toppag400.jpg

one kirby and almost the rest swan could not come up with a better list. espically seeing a cover done by the king. even if its the run with jimmy leading a biker gang.

Curt Swan did covers only or also interior art?

now i want to see a Jimmy Olsen vs. Rulk crossover.

Curt Swan did covers only or also interior art?

Interiors, as well.

And they were as good as you might expect.

Jimmy Olsen is the best, and these covers prove why. Nowhere but comics has this kin d of zaniness.

Actually, Brian, the cover to #4 was only partially drawn by Neal Adams-specifically, the left leg and lower torso of Jimmy. Murphy Anderson drew the rest. I got this straight from Murphy himself when he was signing my copy. He told me he was having trouble drawing that leg for some reason, so Neal finished the figure for him (he may have inked Murphy’s pencils too, but I can’t remember for sure on that. I received a correction credit on GCD with that story.

Also, are you sure about Plastino doing the Superman head on #1? Because Murphy did the heads on the interior of that and pretty much all of Kirby’s Jimmy Olsen run. Murphy signed that book for me, so I know he worked on the interior art.

Hehe, Mike, I was considering adding a bit about Murphy Anderson for #4 (as I did for #1), but I was curious to see if someone would point it out. ;)

As for the first cover, that’s Plastino on the head. Anderson ended up doing the vast majority of Kirby’s Superman faces, but Plastino did the first couple.

Come on! No “Jimmy marries a gorilla” cover?

Anybody else think it’s ironic that the #1 pick has the smallest image of Jimmy himself, behind–who is that, Big Bear from the Forever People?

“Jimmy marries a gorilla” is my favorite comic cover of all time, but I don’t think my constant praise of it has lifted it to iconic status.

Yeah, agreed, there’s no way a comic like Jimmy’s would work today, financially.

No, no! Don’t say that! I have two years of Jimmy Olsen plotted out! (Really.)

I probably would have put Turtle Boy at #1, but you’re right; it is an homage from somewhere else, and therefore loses a spot.

I might have put Werewolf Jimmy at #5, or one of the Elastic Lad ones; but that one’s pretty much a crapshoot. It depends on which image of which transformation you think is the most notable!

Brian, I’m loving these posts … and sort of hating them too. It’s the trick of the “iconic” label. I get that to achieve icon status, the covers probably have to be older. But then we end up leaving out great images like this:

http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=260566&zoom=4

Or this one:

http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=278068&zoom=4

which, I would actually argue, deserves some consideration, as it clearly includes the iconic setting (the title of the series was “Superman: Metropolis,” after all) and depicts Jimmy as a photographer. Plus, gorgeous Danijel Zezelj art! (Did anybody read this 12-issue series? If so, how was it? I was sorely tempted, just for the art, but budget constraints ended up forcing me to decide against it.)

Other than that, I’d say great list — except I’d put “The Bride of Jungle JImmy” in the Top Five. (Don’t see yourself short, Bill!)

http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/jimmy-olsen/98-1.jpg

No, no! Don’t say that! I have two years of Jimmy Olsen plotted out! (Really.)

Bill, when I scrape together $4 billion to rescue DC Comics from the (indifferent) clutches of Time-Warner, you are on the “Jimmy Olsen” re-launch.

No “Bride of Jungle Jimmy”! What were you thinking?

Great selections, Brian.

I totally agree on #3. It really does sum up the entire premise of the character in one visual. It gives you everything. Jimmy has a clear, easy to understand motivation. We know Jimmy wants get out from under the shadow of his “big brother”. Superman has a clear, easy to understand attitude about Jimmy’s motivation. Jimmy’s antics strike him as being amusing. The use of the disguise tells you that Jimmy is going to use his wits to adapt to whatever comes up.

It bums me out that in an attempt to “Marvelize” their product that DC have largely abandoned the iconic approach to story-telling. For the forty years, highly iconic images have been treated as being juvenile. However, guys like Jack Cole and Wally Wood had no problem dealing with adult themes in a highly iconic way in their non-superhero stuff. Cole and Wood were a LOT more adult than either Kirby or Ditko and they worked in style that suited what made DC unique a lot better than either of those two men.

Sorry Brian, you messed up big time here :-)

Don Rickles + Jimmy Olson = Comic Gold!

http://www.misterkitty.org/extras/stupidcovers/stupidcomics20.html

Turtle Jimmy

“homage” being French for ‘swipe.’

I think that #54 is more inconic than 136 – but agree on the others.

http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=16357&zoom=4

It’s likely come up on here somewhere before, so I apologize if I’m repeating old info, but some of these covers are based on old pulp magazine covers. The Turtle JImmy, King of the Giant Ants, as well as the Private Monster from #43 were all swiped from Thrilling Wonder Stories edited by none other than Mort Weisinger.

I like #1 and all the subsequent covers where Jimmy is trying to kill Superman. I think #4 looks more like Hulked Out Jimmy than anything else.

If Garth Ennis were writing Jimmy’s adventures today, he’d likely have Superman snap Olsen’s neck in the very first issue and small that damned signal watch.

One site’s display of top JIMMY OLSEN covers:

http://www.coverbrowser.com/highlights/jimmy-olsen

Does anyone find these covers more interesting than Marvel-style “When Titans Clash” covers? I sure do.

Here’s Jimmy Olsen in a dark, post-modern style:

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/Jimmy%20Olsen%20Metropolis.jpg

Who prefers this to a classic JIMMY OLSEN cover?

I don’t think Big Bear and the Forever People showed up in JIMMY OLSEN #133. Here’s a summary:

http://www.i-mockery.com/weeklies/weekly.php?type=comics&id=47

Plot: Media Mogul Morgan Edge buys the Daily Planet, and his first order of business is an assignment for…Jimmy Olsen? With the assistance of The Newsboy Legion, Olsen penetrates the ‘Wild Area,’ a lawless zone of dropouts, hippies and motorcycle gangs. Jimmy defeats gang leader Iron Mask and takes over “The Outsiders.”

Jimmy Olsen 133 is the Doggy Door to the DC universe. Entering through it, Kirby would soon introduce The Fourth World and give DC arguably its greatest villain, Darkseid.

I said when I began doing these lists that I was quite willing to have some audience participation – if you folks convince me that a cover should be represented, I’ll do it – and for the first time, you have convinced me – Jimmy marries a Gorilla does deserve a spot more than “the second best Jimmy Olsen transformation cover.”

So it is done!

(By the way, “Jimmy Marries a Gorilla” is the only Curt Swan cover that does not correspond with Curt Swan interiors inside the issue)

Brian, when you started this series, I was expecting all the usual suspects. You’ve delighted and surprised me each time.

Kudos.

Sorry to double post, but I’m dying to know Jimmy’s first cover appearance.

And the 15 cent cover price tells me that the green monster Jimmy came out after the Hulk debuted. How many times did DC rip off the Hulk?

And Turtle Man should have been #1.

Wish I knew how to bring this over, but a strong contender that popped into my head is a Swan cover from Action 253, June 1959 for the story “The War Between Jimmy Olson and Superman.” Don’t know if this is the origin point for this cover, but it has been reused many times.

These are all great. Though I wish there was room for this one: http://www.studiosanning.shawbiz.ca/superman_family/chronology/jimmy_olsen/jo76/1.htm

For those that are mentioning Big Bear on the cover of Brian’s #1 (issue#133)… that is not Big Bear of the Forever People. It is a member of the Outsiders biker gang who live in the Wild Area.

Also, if folks are longing for more recent Jimmy Olsen material its not all the grim and gritty stuff Brian rightly bemoaned. Okay it is from 1999 (not exactly super new), but Legends of the DC Universe #14, by Mark Evanier and Steve Rude (doing awesome Kirby takes) is pretty wonderful.

Not a big Jimmy Olsen fan, but benday-dot is right. Legends of the DC Universe #14 is damn near perfect.
Some beautiful work by Rude and the story is a lot of fun.

Eric L. Sofer, the Silver Age Fogey

September 9, 2009 at 3:51 am

Given my choice of iconic covers – and especially iconic stories to go with them – I would pick Jimmy Olsen #72, “The World of Doomed Olsens”. Superman on the cover, several different weird Jimmy’s, and the story inside is a personal favorite (being a Silver Age Superman Family story as it is – and if you haven’t read it, you’ll have some good fun!) http://www.wtv-zone.com/silverager/jo/jo72.jpg

You should let us vote on all the covers. Put up the top 10 and let us each pick five. Can’t Poll Daddy handle that?

Noble thought but bad idea.

All the fun of these posts is arguing about which ones Brian gets wrong, or defending our choices. If he has a poll for the top five of each character: A) We’ll know the choices going in; B) We may know the place each selection takes (I don’t know how Poll Daddy works); and C) it’s less fun for Brian. I’d rather tell you why my favorite covers are what they are then have to cut and past twenty and let you do the deciding for me.

All the fun of these posts is arguing about which ones Brian gets wrong, or defending our choices. If he has a poll for the top five of each character: A) We’ll know the choices going in; B) We may know the place each selection takes (I don’t know how Poll Daddy works); and C) it’s less fun for Brian. I’d rather tell you why my favorite covers are what they are then have to cut and past twenty and let you do the deciding for me.

Plus, there would STILL be complaints about what cover should have been #11.

Does anyone find these covers more interesting than Marvel-style “When Titans Clash” covers? I sure do.

Me too.

The “When Titans Clash” storyline was a Marvel device. It worked great for Marvel. Like everything Marvel did, the Bronze Age creators that moved from DC to Marvel brought it along. Some of the stuff was better comic book story-telling, but a lot of it just replaced DC styles with Marvel styles without really improving anything.

I’d say the “When Titans Clash” cover is an example of the later.

Hardly iconic, but I have to nominate any cover where Jimmy crossdresses.

http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/jimmy-olsen/95-1.jpg

Sadly, of the many times he crossdressed, that was the only one that made the cover. And he was only partway done! And it only got part of the cover, at that!

I was disappointed not to find any of those stories in the recent /Many Transformations of Jimmy Olsen/ TPB. I mean, come on, DC; it says “Trans” right in the title!

The most iconic Jimmy Olsen cover, in the sense of being burned into my retinas, is this one:

http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/action-comics/563-1.jpg

He’s a blob on the floor, eating the foot of Ambush Bug, who’s wrestling Mr. Mxyzptlk over who gets to replace Superman as star of /Action Comics/!

I thought of the Mr Action cover from countdown, surprised that no modern covers made it.

Heh, happy to oblige, Brian.

What issue was the red-headed Beatle of 30,000 BC? That’s my all time fave!

what about the one with jimmy and aquaman crawling in the desert with superman holding a pitcher of water?

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