Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics

Jimmy Olsen #46

Jimmy Olsen #46

Cover date: July 1960

"Jimmy Olsen, Orphan"

Writer: Jerry Siegel
Penciller: Curt Swan
Inker: John Forte
Editor: Mort Weisinger

Reviewed by: Osgood Peabody

Click to enlarge

The story begins where many Olsen tales do - Jimmy getting chewed out by good ol' Perry White, who tells his reporter to get moving to cover a flood in a nearby town, and stay out of trouble, as Superman is on a mission in space, and won't be around to save his sorry hinder (or some words to that effect). However, once on the scene, he can't resist the urge to dive in to the floodwaters to save a stray cat, and in doing so, gets knocked in the noggin by a floating piece of timber. Luckily, he's fished out of the waters by some townspeople, but awakens in the hospital with no memory, and no ID! The medical staff naturally assumes the rest of his family were flood victims, and decide to place the poor lad in the Midvale orphanage (!!), the residence of young Linda Lee, a.k.a. Supergirl.

Linda immediately spots Jimmy, and sizes up the situation quickly, "'Tom Davis' is really Jimmy Olsen! He doesn't realize he's wearing a Superman signal-watch! What a situation!" Linda decides to keep mum as to his real identity, as she ascertains, "Jimmy is a clever boy, and if his memory comes back, he may somehow find out my secret!" So trusting that Superman will set things right on his return, Linda in the meantime befriends the despondent "Tom", and tries to keep his spirits up.

The next day, Jimmy spies Linda walking down a corridor, but as he turns the corner to talk to her, she's gone! Jimmy scratches his head as he stares at an open window, "Now where in the world can she have disappeared to?" Meanwhile, Supergirl has slipped unnoticed to the hollow tree where she keeps her trusty Linda Lee robot. After instructing the robot to take her place at the orphanage, she begins patrolling the skies. Jimmy next attempts to follow the Linda robot in another attempt to speak with Linda, but is again puzzled when he follows her out of the building and she disappears. Unbeknownst to the "orphan" reporter, the robot has flown back to the tree as Supergirl completes her patrol.

Later that day, Jimmy finally catches up to the elusive Linda while she's reading the story of Little Red Riding Hood to the younger orphans, and Jimmy's memory is stirred. As he listens to the tale, the mention of the wolf in the story brings back vague recollections of his "wolf-man" caper, but the feeling quickly passes. Still later, another complication arises as a couple tries to adopt young "Tom"(!), but Linda quickly intervenes, trapping Jimmy in his room via heat-vision to the lock, and preventing him from being interviewed. Frustrated with "Tom Davis" and his tardiness, the couple leaves as the adoptive father-to-be cannot tolerate anyone being late. Linda later secretly repairs the door, so the disappointed "Tom" never learns how he got locked in his room.

Upon awakening the next morning, Jimmy's memory suddenly returns. But instead of returning to Metropolis, he decides to play out the experience in order to write an article "I Lived in an Orphanage", confiding in Linda only. But the orphanage director, apparently determined to find young "Tom" a home, brings in yet another couple looking to adopt. Linda gives Jimmy another secret super-assist by altering the couple's eyeglasses at super-speed so that Jimmy looks about 300 pounds. Horrified, the couple passes on "Tom" as they want to "adopt a child, not an enormous appetite!"

Later, Jimmy is playing catch with some of the children, and while searching for a baseball out in the woods, Linda is horrified to see Jimmy reaching into the hollow tree where she keeps her robot. Quickly, she contrives to set off Jimmy's signal-watch without his notice, and Superman (who at long last is returning from that mission), spots Linda's predicament and immediately confronts Jimmy to find out how his pal came to be in Midvale. Jimmy figures his watch was accidently set off, but after filling in the Man of Steel, Superman squelches Jimmy's Pulitzer Prize aspirations by telling him that his telescopic vision reveals Perry is about to have someone take his place (such a heartless monster that Perry - his cub reporter goes missing and his seat's not even cold before he's giving his job away!).

Jimmy departs, giving Linda a heartfelt handshake, and hoping they'll meet again someday. Linda, for her part, thinks "I'd kiss Jimmy good- bye, except it might stir his memory of the Wolf-man episode once more, and give away my secret!" As Superman flies him back to Metropolis, Jimmy brags about how he'll dazzle Perry with his orphanage expose, while the Man of Steel thinks, "Poor Jimmy! He doesn't realize he almost scored his greatest scoop discovering that Linda is Supergirl!"

4Story - 4: I know - this story is rife with holes - I mean the idea of a 20-year old being assigned to an orphanage, let alone being adopted, may seem rather silly. But in the context of Jimmy Olsen stories of this era, silly is a relative term, to say the least! In contrast to the previous stories where Supergirl's age seemed accelerated, Mort turns the tables here and tries to "de-age" Olsen instead. We could also overlook the inconsistency of Supergirl's behavior with her previous appearance, when she was more than ready to disclose her secret to Jimmy, by assuming that she got a stern talking-to from her over-protective cousin in the interim. Most intriguing was the way they tied in the earlier Wolf-man encounter, too. Apparently, a kiss from Supergirl is so breathtakingly memorable that one can never forget it!

4Art - 4: Consistently solid as always, Curt Swan & John Forte do an especially nice job of making Jimmy appear younger in this story. Gone is the trademark bowtie and jacket for once.

5Cover Art - 5: A classic Weisinger set-up, as readers looking at this would naturally want to know how Jimmy got into this predicament. On the cover by Swan & Kaye is the image of Supergirl I referenced in an earlier review. There is something about the way Curt depicts her - the face, the stature? - that belies her 16 years IMO. As she serenely looks on, Jimmy sits with a group of children at the Midvale orphanage, watching a Superman newsreel, saying, "Golly, kids, Superman is terrific! How I wish he'd adopt me so that I could be his pal! But I'm nobody just an orphan who doesn't even know his own name!" By way of explanation, Supergirl thinks, "Jimmy's amnesia has made him forget his past! And not even I, Supergirl, can help him!"

With her 3rd Olsen appearance in 6 months, it seems that Mort was still toying with this combination, and perhaps a budding romance was in the works? Stay tuned as next time Lucy Lane asks Jimmy the question "Who was that alien I saw you with last night?"

Pre-Crisis Superman Comic Book Reviews



  • Superman #76 (May/June 1952) - “The Mightiest Team in the World”
  • Superman #80 (January/February 1953) - “Superman's Lost Brother”
  • Superman 3D (1953) - “The Man Who Stole the Sun”, “Origin of Superman” and “The Man Who Bossed Superman”
  • Superman #87 (February 1954) - “The Prankster's Greatest Role”
  • Superman #88 (March 1954) - “The Terrible Trio”
  • Superman #89 (May 1954) - “Captain Kent the Terrible”, “Superman of Skid Row”, and “One Hour to Doom!”
  • Superman #91 (August 1954) - “The Superman Stamp” and “Great Caesar's Ghost”
  • World's Finest #88 (May/June 1957) - “Superman and Batman's Greatest Foes”
  • Superman #115 (August 1957) - “The Midget Superman!”
  • Superboy #65 (May/June 1958) - “The Amazing Adventures of Krypto Mouse”
  • Action Comics #242 (July 1958) - “The Super-Duel in Space”
  • Superman #123 (August 1958) - “The Girl of Steel”
  • Superman #127 (February 1959) - “Titano the Super Ape”
  • Action Comics #252 (May 1959) - “The Menace of Metallo” and “The Supergirl From Krypton”
  • Superman #129 (May 1959) - “The Girl in Superman's Past”
  • Superman #130 (July 1959) - “The Curse of Kryptonite!”, “The Super-Servant of Crime!”, and “The Town that Hated Superman!”
  • Jimmy Olsen #40 (October 1959) - “Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl's Pal”




Compilation Volumes


Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.