Showing posts with label jimmy olsen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jimmy olsen. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Happy Birthday, Jimmy Olsen!

November 29th is, it seems, the birthday of one James Bartholomew Olsen, Superman's Pal.

It's nearly impossible to capture all the different interpretations of Jimmy, especially as he first appeared as a major character not so much in the comics - where he was an unnamed copyboy - but in radio.  In the 1950's, Jack Larson played Jimmy on The Adventures of Superman, and the character really took off.  National Comics responded by launching a comics which would run for almost two full decades, Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen.

I couldn't tell you exactly why I'm a fan of the character, but there's no question he's a fascinating character across a wide field of media.  And, yes, his comics are absolutely mind-bending as National tried to figure out what to do with the character in issues after issue.  Never underestimate the creative power of an unwinnable situation.

Even more so than Superman, Jimmy can change and bend to meet the needs of a story, so long as he's the youngest and most naive guy in the room.  And as a lead protagonist, the reader feels two steps ahead of our hero.  A lot of actors have had a lot of takes on Jimmy, and I have my favorites, but they've all brought something unique to the character.

Happy birthday, Jimmy.  I hope someone got you a cake.

Jimmy in "The Adventures of Superman"

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Supergirl Watch: Season 1, Episode 3

Much like Smallville, I suspect that any critical viewing of Supergirl will be an exercise in shooting fish in a barrel.  So, I've brought my 12-gauge and CBS has provided the barrel.  Let's maim some metaphorical fish.

good thing this bronze statue is actually lead.  Hope no one misses it so I don't have to find a pipe or literally anything but this valuable looking statue.

I came to many realizations watching this week's episode.

  1. Reactron is not a terribly creative villain.  He was kind of a one-trick-pony/ no personality guy in the comics, and here...  more of same.  Why did I used to like that guy?  Costume design?  No idea.  I like the name, though.  Could be that's it.
  2. If Cat Grant were anymore one-note on this show, she'd be a tone in Koyaanisqatsi
  3. The writers have just absolutely nowhere to go with Win.  That dude is going to die horribly so anyone can give him a passing thought and he'll ever have mattered in the show.  Also, I am not sure working a low-tier job at CatCo would set you up to hack satellites, get you $30K in equipment, and all the rest of the Smallville Watchtower responsibility he's taken on.  He's so forgettable, I have to place him every time he appears in frame.
  4. I have no idea what Kara's sister's name is after 3 hours of television.  She's just "Kara's-Sister".
  5. By episode 6, not one character in the DCU will have a secret identity unknown to Win.  truly, that man is the nexus of the DCU

Three episodes in, I'm a little stunned at how badly the writers are handling Cat Grant.  I have no huge expectations, but that the "interview" scene was incredibly poorly managed after the big build up last episode.  It's like Cat's terrible dialog is infecting everyone else's forgettable or fortune-cookie dialog.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Jack Larson, TV's Jimmy Olsen, Merges With The Infinite

The Signal Watch is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Jack Larson, who played Jimmy Olsen on the 1950's television series, The Adventures of Superman (1952-1958).

Over six seasons, Jack played the young Daily Planet reporter, leading to such a spike in Olsen's popularity that the character spun out of second-banana obscurity and landed his own comic book, Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen, that ran from 1954-1974.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Holy cats!  Variety reports the upcoming Supergirl show will include Jimmy Olsen!

So, who is Mehcad Brooks?  Is he Jimmy Olsen material?

Well, according to IMDB, Mehcad is from AUSTIN, TEXAS, so, how could I NOT pull for this guy?

Now let's see how he looks in a bow tie and sweater vest.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

No Post Thursday - Superheroes on TV

I watched the first 2/3rds of What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? for the first time since college, and its even better than I remember.  Saving the rest for tomorrow, but, man, everyone in that movie is so good.

Anyway, we'll talk about that movie later.

And, we really need to find me a copy of Straight Jacket.

Also watched a PBS show, Pioneers of Television, that I think Randy originally sent me the link for.  Anyway, the topics was superheroes, and featured Batman, The Hulk, The Adventures of Superman, The Greatest American Hero and (sigh) Wonder Woman.

You can watch the whole thing on the PBS site, so go nuts.

Watch Superheroes on PBS. See more from Pioneers of Television.

Here, Lynda Carter has had enough of your nonsense:

Here's, like, 9.5 minutes of Diana Prince turning into Wonder Woman.  It's kind of weird.

 And, as a reminder, The Adventures of Superman is a terrific TV show.

Monday, January 28, 2013

We continue to explore the strange marriage of Jimmy Olsen and Supergirl

Before reading this post, read last night's post.

So, I was all put out that I didn't know where to get Part 2 of the Supergirl marries Jimmy Olsen story, and Signal Corpsman Stuart of Kansas informed me the reason it sounded familiar was because it was in Jimmy Olsen 57, which I'd previously read.  Normally, that issue would be in a long box and hard to get to, but...

I had recently bought a reader copy that hadn't made it into the longboxes.

So, what DOES happen in Part 2?

A whole lot more nonsense.

I like Jimmy's odd sense of vanity that runs through the Superman comics.  I envy him his cocksure certainty, but I guess when as many alien princesses have thrown themselves at you as they have at Jimmy, after a while, you have to start believing your own press.

By the way, something went wrong with how I was taking pictures, but I'm running with the weird effect on the pictures in the second half, so just bear with me.  I can't be bothered to take more pictures.

One thing I should make clear is that I didn't really ping to the fact that, while reading the comic last time, this is an "imaginary story", an out of continuity story that explores a "what if?" scenario in the world of Superman.  They're always fun, and somehow up the already batshit-crazy factor in Superman comics by a factor of 1000%.

Beg my pardon.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I'm Pretty Sure This Comic Was Implying Jimmy Olsen Made it With Supergirl

Somehow I had forgotten about this particular Silver Age tale, but I had read it before. I was going through some back issues I need to read and then file, and came across this story, that I'd either read in a collection of somewhere else, but here is the reprinting of a prior Supergirl/ Jimmy Olsen tale in Action Comics 351.

Here's our set-up. Jimmy and Supergirl are getting MARRIED. Not an uncommon starter to a Silver Age Superman story.

No, this is not scanned.  Yes, I snapped these pics with my iPhone.  You get what you pay for at The Signal Watch.

This tale unfolds during that weird period of actual plot development that occurred when Supergirl arrived on Earth.  During this story she's still living in the Midvale Orphanage where Superman was keeping her a secret from the world so she could act as his "secret weapon".

Yes, Superman stuck his poor cousin in an orphanage after she arrived on Earth after watching her parents slowly die from kryptonite poisoning.  And then asked her NOT to get adopted.  True Super Dickery.

In case Superman's inner-monologue above did not tip you off, for reasons that are really too inconsequential to go into, Jimmy is visiting the Midvale Orphanage.  Lest anyone not know and marvel at the fact he knows Superman, he presents the orphans with his Superman collectibles, including a rare, radioactive space rock which may or may not be lethal to humans.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Star Trek Wars, Jenny Olsen, and so much I missed while I was on hiatus

A lot happened while I was out.  Presidential Inaugurations.  The Sixth Gun got optioned for a TV show.  I watched a handful of pretty good movies programmed by Eddie Muller on TCM.

Anyway, while I was out I guess people online put together than Jimmy Olsen will not be Jimmy Olsen, but Jenny Olsen in the movie, Man of Steel.  I am sure five years ago that would have launched a 3000 word column from me on why it would be better if WB would respect the history and we'd all be snarky and sneer knowingly at the studio people for making some bad decisions.  But...

Yeah, I guess I don't really have the energy to get worked up about it anymore.  The studio is going to do what the studio is going to do, and it's not like they won't get my ticket on opening day.  Or that the prior five Superman movies really did anything with Jimmy as a character.  In fact, he got more to do in Supergirl than in pretty much any other film.

Not without precedent

I will always like the Silver and Bronze Age Superman comics, I think Jack Larson was great, but I think I'm kind of past thinking Superman is any one, particular thing.  I have my opinions of what works and what doesn't, but the past decade around Superman has really been about DC and WB wrestlimg with what they think Superman is or can be.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

An Excursion to Mile High Comics in Denver, CO

I wasn't terribly excited to have to get on a plane and head to Denver Saturday morning.  It's been a busy couple of weeks at work, and I wrapped up major meetings Thursday and Friday.  But off to Denver I went, asked to present at a conference that was aimed at my industry, but not so much directly at me and what I do.

When I was first getting into comics and believed I only really needed Batman, X-Men, Teen Titans and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in my life, I came to find out that a couple years before I learned what an X-Man or Teen Titan was, there has been a crossover between the Big Two, and an Uncanny X-Men/ Teen-Titans comic had actually been printed.  It blew my mind.  I never saw the cover of the comic, or who had worked on it.  It existed as a line-item in ads for a place on Denver called Mile High Comics as a title and price point.*

Eventually I saved up some money rather than taking whatever I had and riding immediately to Piggly Wiggly on my bike to look at the spinner rack.  My mom wrote a check and in some amount of time, the comic arrive in the mail.  It was like magic.  And the cover to the comic was pretty awesome, even if the story set the tone for how poorly I've always felt crossovers worked.

Over the years of following comics, I'd always heard legends of the store itself - a massive space that dwarfed the imagination (this was back when Austin Books was about 1500 square feet and half of that was dedicated to sci-fi books) and had an amazing selection.

Eventually, I even bought a couple of issues from them online before deciding the fun of collecting comics is in the hunt, not just ordering something off the internet.

I had just crawled into bed Friday night when I realized:  hey, I'm in Denver with time to kill.  I could jump in a cab and...

So Saturday afternoon I stepped outside my hotel, negotiated a return trip with a cab driver and off I went to the Mile High Comics Superstore.  And a Superstore it is, indeed.

this represents about 1/2 of what you can actually see inside the door...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Comics Haul: 8.15.2012

So this is what I picked up after 2 weeks away from the shop.

2 issues of Atomic Robo (ongoing series and a mini), Popeye ongoing #1, a Daredevil Annual, Saga #6, the new Allred project - which is an old Allred project, It Girl!  I have no idea what It Girl! will be about, but I'm betting that at least I'll like the art.

And I came across Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #30 in pretty iffy condition, but it's a book I've been lacking from my Jimmy Olsen collection and one of my favorite Jimmy covers, so there you go.

The Phantom Eagle I picked up on a whim, but it's a Marvel war book from the 60's-era Marvel and obviously meant to grab some of that sweet, sweet Enemy Ace money.  Several years ago Garth Ennis used the character in his book War is Hell: First Flight of the Phantom Eagle.  I hadn't thought much about the character since, but the cover jumped out at me and I figured it was a good addition to my aviation comics.

Yes, I sort of buy and collect military aviation comics.

Shut up.

I also put a few sheckles down on my lay-away copy of Action Comics 101, a comic that I will one day actually have in my home.

Digitally, I've picked up the one-shot Busiek and Lieber comic, Thoughts on a Winter Morning, published here by MonkeyBrain Comics.   It's a lovely slice-of-life story, and makes you wonder what else Busiek would be writing about if he walked away from superheroes and whatnot for a bit.  It's a nice meditation on time and perspective, and uses the medium of comics beautifully.  At least, it seemed so on my laptop on guided view.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A couple of quick Superman Reviews: Superman Family #3 and Superman #11

Superman Family Adventures #3
by Baltazar and Franco

The fact that this book isn't moving 80,000 copies per month is a crime.  Good-natured, action-packed, zany, bizarre and purely in love with the Superman mythos, this book is a perfect comic to hand a kid as well as your hipster pal looking for a good laugh.  If you're into a balanced diet in your comics, this is sort of the lovely pudding you should save to savor at the end of the buy pile.  Or something.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

No Post Thursday: Hail to the King

This is from a Jimmy Olsen comic book from Kirby's run circa 1971.  Jimmy.  Olsen.

Take your "edgy" comics and stick 'em in your ear.

Monday, April 18, 2011

No Post Monday

Last night we had a little to-do here at League HQ.  I had a blast, and I hope all of you Leaguers who made it had as good a time as I did.  If you didn't make it, I hope you can make some future shindig.

Heck, The Dug will be here in pretty short order, and that seems like reason enough to raise a glass or three (and possibly screen Birdemic while hangin' out with my family).

Anyway, rather than beat around the bush, this is about it for my post tonight.  I've got some other things on tap, and I'm a bit tired.  So here's something for you to ponder:

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Signal Watch Reads: Jimmy Olsen One-Shot #1

A long while back, DC announced that Action Comics would go to $3.99 per issue, adding 8 pages to the page count which would be a Jimmy Olsen backup. Your humble blogger was, of course, thrilled.

You may have noticed from the image above up there in the banner, we're Olsen fans at this site from way back. And if you know the slightest bit of Super-trivia, the name of this site should alert you to our commitment to Olsen-Mania.

I theorize that one cannot achieve Olsen fandom until one has passed through a few phases of comic fandom, including "comics are not as dumb as I thought", "superheroes are tortured souls and the only good ones are grim'n'gritty", "comics are literature", "hey, this old school superhero stuff is really pretty neat" and then one winds up at "oh, my God. You have to read this story where Jimmy Olsen is woo'd by a vindictive alien princess. These guys were geniuses or crazy.  Ha ha ha.  Sweetie?  Where did you go?"

Now, I came to appreciate Olsen a while back, and I confess that I have spent some time and money building a collection of Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen comics that will make sense to few mortals. I have asked Jamie to include them in the Viking Funeral Pyre that I intend to have on the banks of Lady Bird Lake here in Austin when the pirates finally get me.

However, late last year, DC called an audible and reduced the price of all their mainline comics to $2.99 and reduced page counts.  Action Comics was as mainline as one was likely to find at DC, and suddenly, mid-story, the Jimmy Olsen story got shelved.  Briefly.

Writer Nick Spencer already had his script done, and while I'm not clear why it took this long to collect the existing chapters and add the complete rest of the story, this week the comic turned up at my local comic shop.  And its really good stuff.

Jimmy Olsen One Shot, 2011
Semi-harmless alien invasions, 5th-Dimensional Pixies, diabolical plots, Jimmy getting promoted from Pal to a loftier role, the return of the Daily Planet Flying Newsroom...  In just a few pages, the thing covers a lot of new territory while making call-backs to the sort of bizarre adventures Jimmy had in his own title from the 1950's to the early 70's.  In short, we here at The Signal Watch recommend this comic, and give it our official stamp of approval.

The comic hits at a curious time.  I'd not say that the "grim'n'gritty" era of comics is over.  That sort of thing sells well, and I enjoy it in a good number of titles I read.  But it does seem like superhero comic fans are beginning to make room for the weird/ zany side of comics which was considered verboten during the post DKR years and, frankly, right up until the past three years or so.  I can understand that comic fans wishing to identify their reading material as "for adults" could see anything whimsical or silly as "for kids" and therefore suspect.  Superman having a dog, for instance, still gets a good number of comic fans fairly roiled (fans who would never pick up a Superman comic because of all the ideas they have about Superman as "bad for comics").

But with the victory securely had, and the ability to put as much violence, crime and werewolves or whatever else used to upset the Comics Code Authority into the most mainstream of comics, its okay to also look at what made comics fun before the audience self-selected itself down to 15-30 year old males in search of power fantasies (something I didn't used to subscribe to, but these days...).  Certainly an aging readership that has seen the limits of grim'n'gritty is going to welcome both faux-nostalgia for comics they couldn't have been there to read the first time (that's me) and for modern interpretations of what made the old stuff work, rather than writers deciding to "update" or "get X character retro-fitted for Insert Current Year Here".  Ie - go back to the well on some of that old stuff that sold like gangbusters once upon a time.

Its been interesting to see online reaction to the comic as generally very good.  And the 20-something female clerk at Austin Books was more excited to see I was buying Jimmy Olsen than that I was also buying Godzilla comics on Godzilla Day.  It didn't seem like she'd read any old-school Olsen, so here's to hoping we get another Olsen-Acolyte.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Weird World of Jimmy Olsen: And then there was that time Olsen was responsible for the death of thousands

edit note:  special apologies to Mike Sterling of Progressive Ruin, who I belive is the originator of the "And then there was that time..." series of comics posts.

Holy smokes.

So over the Thanksgiving holiday I ran by Austin Books' Sidekick Store.  The ABC Sidekick Store is an outlet that opens only when the Comic Gods (Brad, I guess, who would look sharp in Sun God robes), consult the star charts and tea leaves and make decrees such as "Yea, in the days following the eating of the Turkey, we shall open the doors and release upon the public a torrent of $1 back issues".  Fortunately for me, some kids of days-of-yore didn't take good care of their Jimmy Olsen comics, and there's often some issues that I don't have, or if I do have them they ones here are sort of in "dollar" shape, so I'll grab a "reader" copy while I'm picking up Superman back issues (usually from the Bronze Age).

Yes, I am the guy buying those comics.

And so it was that I found myself  reading Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #120 over the weekend.

The feature story was about how Superman, for no particular reason, propagated a misconception that Jimmy had obtained "Hyper-Strength", which led to Jimmy believing he had accidentally killed Perry White (who wasn't really Perry, but Superman in disguise.  Back in the day, it was all about disguises. I have no idea what issues editor Mort Weisinger was working through, but they were many). And, as always, Jimmy refused to learn anything from Superman's chicanery.

In the 8 page back-up story?  Jimmy kills 2200 people and calls it a "boo-boo".  I am totally not kidding.

In this tale, Superman is duped into looking in other eras, but Jimmy tracks The Climate King to 1889 (yes, the year), where the Climate King is wreaking general mayhem.  Olsen and the Climate King tussle, Jimmy steals a "Sun Wand" from CK (basically a laser), the beam of which goes astray, knocking over a dam. 

Which leads to the following:

Oops, Jimmy!  Ha ha ha!  ...hey, wait a minute...

For those of you who didn't bother to read the panels, what's been clearly stated is that Jimmy Olsen caused the Johnstown Flood of 1889.  According to Wikipedia (that has no real motivation to lie), the flood killed 2200 people and did untold damage.  The place even has its own National Park.  And here's an article.

And here, gentle readers, is where our story ends.
That's it.  That's all she wrote.  After that is an ad for a toy car, some fan letters, a half-baked humor strip called "Ollie", ads for Sgt. Rock and Batman in Brave and the Bold, an ad for a submarine toy, an ad for fake mustaches (I have no idea), and the back cover selling you 100 Toy Soldiers for $1.25 (which, even in 1969 dollars, seems like a steal).

By today's standards, that page alone would be a summer cross-over and three-year-in-the-making event, with the scenes of the 4 panels above spreading out over at least three issues.  But back in the day, you could kill 2200 people and be reasonably certain that it just wasn't going to be mentioned ever again.  I assume Jimmy was home by supper and slept like a baby.

I know the Comics Code Authority had their hands full and likely didn't keep a World Book Encyclopedia handy, but the mind boggles. 

Most curious is that there's no reaction seen by Superman to the news that his "Pal" has been uncovered the the source of a terrific tragedy.  Is he giving an "aw shucks" smile?  Is he staring on in horror, knowing that he has no ability to change the course of history? Was life really that cheap in Metropolis in 1969?  Was Superman covering Jimmy's tracks?  Was there a philosophical "no fault if you're in the past, sorry about that butterfly" rule in effect?

Just when I think I'll see nothing new in a Jimmy Olsen comic...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jimmy Olsen has partied too hard

Jimmy learns an important lesson in making promises to one's self before hitting Bourbon Street.

Chloe Sullivan jumping from Smallville to Comics in upcoming Jimmy Olsen Feature

In its 9 seasons on the air, the Superman-before-he-was-Superman TV program Smallville has done much more to borrow from the comics than its created new or given back. But the addition of Chloe Sullivan to the series has been a welcome one. Played by Allison Mack, Chloe has filled many roles, from a sort of proto-Lois Lane, to unrequited admirer of Clark Kent, to information hub/ proto-Oracle of the JLA. Mack has had to literally grow up on the show, and has become one of the more capable actors on the program, even if she's been given some iffy character and plot points the past few seasons. You kind of have to hope she finds more work after this most recent season.

Chloe is Super-Tech Support for the JLA

A few years ago DC Comics announced Chloe would be making her way into the actual print comics, where she has never appeared (outside of a special Smallville comic or two). Looks like that's finally happening.

The gameplan then was to bring her on as a junior reporter of some sort. On the show, she's also Lois's cousin, so that may be happening again here. I'd certainly expect the journalist angle rather than the JLA help desk support angle.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Writer Discusses Jimmy Olsen Feature

Nick Spenser is writing the upcoming Jimmy Olsen feature which is supporting the Lex Luthor story in Action Comics*, and unlike the endless mess we saw in DC's already forgotten "Countdown", this seems to be an attempt to recapture some of what makes Jimmy the funnest guy in comics.

Finally the answer to the eternal geek question: who would win in a fight, Olsen or Superman?

Read the interview here.

Well, that really is one of the fun things about working on Jimmy's adventures - you can do anything. That's a huge part of his charm, that's he's this normal, usually non-powered guy, but his exploits span pretty much every possible genre and sub-genre out there. There are Jimmy Olsen pirate stories, Jimmy Olsen werewolf name it. He just gets thrown into these absurd, inconceivable situations by virtue of his own thirst for excitement. So we're definitely going to take him in a lot of different directions here.

and I love this:

What I love about Jimmy is that he's a normal guy. Now, people say this about Batman or whoever all the time, and to some degree that's true, but really, Batman is an extraordinary human being, something few, if any, could be. But Jimmy, anyone could be Jimmy.

Anyhow, it does seem that Jimmy is in good hands, what is what you want to know about your favorite characters (I mean, you Dr. Who fans want good writers, a good actor as The Doctor and a reliable companion, right?). So, yeah, I want someone who actually cares about getting it right versus someone taking a writing assignment because it was just an opportunity.

Hooray! Its new Jimmy Olsen.

*If you did not pick up issue #890, you totally should. This is going to be fun.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Amazing World of Jimmy Olsen

I went and saw Sunset Boulevard tonight and then watched an hour of Louis on FX (it's okay. A bit different.).

Anyway, no post as my plans now include reading some Batman comics and then going to sleep.

So I leave you to ponder at what point this party got out of control:

This is exactly why you want to leave before Superman tears the roof off the joint.