Silver age Jimmy Olsen comics are the best! Full of crazy situations, often politically incorrect behavior (especially by today’s standards), and Kafka-esque transformations, the Jimmy Olsen stories of this period are just plain fun to read; plus, most issues had two or three different stories. No multi-parters or “stretch out a story to fit it into a trade” here. They also have some great covers.
Of course, the beauty of these from a collecting standpoint is that they are pretty cheap as back issues, and incredibly cheap if you read the Showcase Presents reprints.
Here’s a random gallery of some of my favorites from my collection.
Jimmy Olsen #24. One of the more common things that would happen to Jimmy in his stories is that he’d be changed into something, whether it’s a turtle man or a wolfman, a superhero, or, in this issue, a gorilla. I like how the person that arranged the brain swap also made sure to provide Gorilla Jimmy with a desk, nameplate, and a typewriter.
Jimmy Olsen #44. One of Jimmy’s more famous transformations. Jimmy is constantly getting into trouble because of his relationship with Lucy Lane, Lois’s younger sister. This is one of those situations.
Jimmy Olsen #51. I always get a kick out of seeing Jimmy being carried around like a baby. This is another one of those cruel relationship stories involving Lucy Lane. Seems like half of these stories have some element of Lucy dumping him and going out with another guy (in this case, a Frankie Avalon clone), and Jimmy trying to get back at her or make her jealous.
Jimmy Olsen #53. Another classic transformation, with Jimmy turning into a giant turtle man. The turtle man story in this issue was written by Jerry Siegel.
Jimmy Olsen #60. Jimmy Olsen dressed as a general leading an army of aliens? This must have sold a million copies!
Jimmy Olsen #61. Great cover with some more weirdness… but the notable part about this issue is the second story.
Jimmy is out on a date with Lucy where they go see an act called the Apache Dance where a guy slaps his dance partner. Lucy doesn’t seem to disapprove, and Jimmy completely misinterprets her comment into thinking she might like him more if he were a domestic abuser. While Jimmy weighs whether he should be loading up on sleeveless white tee shirts, he notices a spider lowering itself near Lucy’s face and…
That’s right. The “hilarious” premise of this story is that Lucy keeps accidentally being punched and slapped.
Jimmy Olsen #63. Another transformation tale, only this time it’s Superman on the receiving end. I kind of wish that DC Direct Showcase Presents Superman action figure I talked about a month or so ago would have come with an old man head with a big white beard.
Jimmy Olsen #71. As Superman debates which Jimmy to save, they all fall to their deaths! This cover is also notable because I think the “Jimmy Olsen Meets Cleopatra” story would have been a better cover. Come to think of it, “Jimmy Olsen Meets Cleopatra” sounds like an episode in a series of Jimmy Olsen movie shorts. Why aren’t there Jimmy Olsen movie shorts? These stories would be perfect! Make it happen, Warner Bros.!
Jimmy Olsen #72. I’m not an original art collector, but if I could have one piece of Silver Age art, it might be this one.
Jimmy Olsen #76. Triplicate Girl, you minx! This story was reprinted in Showcase Presents Legion of Superheroes Volume 1, which I just read! Once again, it’s a story where the female Legionnaires Saturn Girl, Lightning Lass, and Triplicate Girl conspire to help Jimmy out by making Lucy Lane jealous. There’s something very charming about these supremely powerful beings caring so much about the relationship problems of a teenager from a thousand years in the past. Meanwhile, crimes are being committed, disasters are killing civilians, space wars are raging, and suns are probably exploding somewhere.