Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics
Jimmy Olsen #46Cover date: July 1960
"Jimmy Olsen, Orphan"
Writer: Jerry Siegel
Penciller: Curt Swan
Inker: John Forte
Editor: Mort Weisinger
Reviewed by: Osgood Peabody
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!"
Story - 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!
Art - 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.
Cover 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
- Action Comics #1 (June 1938)
- Action Comics #2 (July 1938)
- Action Comics #3 (August 1938)
- Action Comics #4 (September 1938)
- Action Comics #5 (October 1938)
- Action Comics #6 (November 1938)
- Action Comics #7 (December 1938)
- Superman Archives: Volume 1 (1939)
- Superman #1 (Summer 1939)
- Action Comics #8 (January 1939)
- Action Comics #9 (February 1939)
- Action Comics #10 (March 1939)
- Superman #13 (November/December 1941) - The Archer
- Superman #19 (November/December 1942) - Case of the Funny Paper Crimes
- Action Comics #60 (May 1943) - Lois Lane - Superwoman
- Superman #30 (September/October 1944) - The Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk
- Action Comics #80 (January 1945) - Mr. Mxyztplk Returns
- Superman #38 (January/February 1946) - The Battle of the Atoms
- Superman #42 (September/October 1946) - The Death of Clark Kent
- Superman #45 (March/April 1947) - Lois Lane, Superwoman
- Superman #53 (July 1948) - The Origin of Superman
- Action Comics #124 (September 1948) - A Superman of Doom
- Superman #60 (December 1949/January 1950) - The Two Identities of Superman & Superman Fights the Super-Brain
- 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
- Superman #134 (January 1960) - The Super-Menace of Metropolis
- Jimmy Olsen #42 (January 1960) - The Big Superman Movie!, Perry White, Cub Reporter!, and Jimmy the Genie!
- Jimmy Olsen #44 (April 1960) - The Wolf-Man of Metropolis
- Adventure Comics #271 (April 1960) - How Luthor Met Superboy
- Jimmy Olsen #46 (July 1960) - Jimmy Olsen, Orphan
- Superman #141 (November 1960) - Superman's Return To Krypton
- Superboy #85 (December 1960) - The Impossible Mission
- Jimmy Olsen #51 (March 1961) - The Girl with Green Hair
- Jimmy Olsen #52 (April 1961) - Jimmy Olsen, Wolf-Man
- Superboy #89 (June 1961) - Superboy's Big Brother!
- Action Comics #279 (August 1961) - The Super-Rivals
- Superman #147 (August 1961) - The Legion of Super Villains
- Superman #149 (November 1961) - The Death of Superman!
- Jimmy Olsen #57 (December 1961) - Jimmy Olsen Marries Supergirl
- Superman #155 (August 1962) - Superman Under the Green Sun and The Downfall of Superman
- Justice League of America #13 (August 1962) - Riddle of the Robot Justice League
- World's Finest #129 (November 1962) - Joker-Luthor, Incorporated
- Superman #158 (January 1963) - Superman in Kandor
- Superman #160 (April 1963) - The Mortal Superman
- Superman #161 (May 1963) - The Last Days of Ma and Pa Kent
- Superman #162 (July 1963) - The Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue
- Superman #163 (August 1963) - Wonder-Man, the New Hero of Metropolis and The Goofy Superman
- Justice League of America #21 & #22 (August/September 1963) - Crisis on Earth-One! and Crisis on Earth-Two!
- Superman #164 (October 1963) - The Showdown Between Luthor and Superman
- Superman #165 (November 1963) - The Sweetheart Superman Forgot
- Superman #166 (January 1964) - The Fantastic Story of Superman's Sons
- Superman #167 (February 1964) - The Team of Luthor and Brainiac
- Superman #168 (April 1964) - Luthor - Super Hero and Lex Luthor, Daily Planet Editor
- Superman #169 (May 1964) - The Man Who Stole Superman's Secret Life
- Action Comics #314 (July 1964) - The Day Superman Became The Flash
- Justice League of America #29 & #30 (August/September 1964) - Crisis on Earth-Three! and The Most Dangerous Earth of All!
- Superman #173 (November 1964) - The Triumph of Luthor and Brainiac
- Action Comics #318 (November 1964) - The Death of Luthor
- Action Comics #319 (December 1964) - The Condemned Superman
- Superman #175 (February 1965) - Clark Kent's Brother
- Superman #181 (November 1965) - The Superman of 2965
- The Legion of Super-Heroes - Archives Volume 4 (1965)
- Superman #184 (February 1966) - The Demon Under the Red Sun
- Action Comics #338 (June 1966) - Muto - Monarch of Menace
- Action Comics #339 (July 1966) - Muto versus The Man of Tomorrow
- Superman #189 (August 1966) - Krypton Lives Again
- Action Comics #346 (February 1967) - The Man Who Sold Insurance to Superman and The Case of the Superman Imposter
- Superman #194 (February 1967) - The Death of Lois Lane
- Superman #196 (May 1967) - The Star of Steel
- Superman #199 (January 1967) - Superman's Race With The Flash
- Superman #200 (October 1967) - Super-Brother Against Super-Brother
- The Flash #175 (December 1967) - Race to the End of the Universe
- Justice League of America #63 (June 1968) - Time Signs a Death Warrant for the Justice League
- Superman #211 (November 1968) - The Name of the Game is Superman!
- Superman #215 (April 1969) - Lois LaneŠ DeadŠ Yet Alive
- Superman #224 (February 1970) - Beware the Super-Genius Baby
- Action Comics #393 (October 1970) - Superman Meets Super-Houdini! and The Day Superboy Became Superman!
- Jimmy Olsen #133 (October 1970) - The Newsboy Legion
- Action Comics #394 (November 1970) - Midas of Metropolis and Requiem for a Hot Rod!
- World's Finest #198 (November 1970) - Race to Save the Universe!
- Action Comics #395 (December 1970) - The Secrets of Superman's Fortress and The Credit Card of Catastrophe
- Jimmy Olsen #134 (December 1970) - The Mountain of Judgement!
- World's Finest #199 (December 1970) - A Race to Save Time!
- Superman #233 (January 1971) - Superman Breaks Loose!
- Jimmy Olsen #135 (January 1971) - The Evil Factory!
- Superman #234 (February 1971) - How to Tame a Wild Volcano
- Jimmy Olsen #136 (February 1971) - The Saga of the D.N.Aliens
- Superman #235 (March 1971) - The Sinister Scream of the Devil's Harp
- Superman #236 (April 1971) - Planet of the Angels and The Doomsayer
- Jimmy Olsen #137 (April 1971) - The Four-Armed Terror!
- Superman #237 (May 1971) - The Enemy of Earth
- Superman #238 (June 1971) - Menace at 1000 Degrees
- Jimmy Olsen #138 (June 1971) - The Big Boom!!
- Superman #240 (July 1971) - To Save a Superman
- Jimmy Olsen #139 (July 1971) - The Guardian Fights Again!!!
- Superman #241 (August 1971) - The Shape of Fear
- Superman #242 (September 1971) - The Ultimate Battle
- Jimmy Olsen #141 (September 1971) - Will the Real Don Rickles Panic?!?
- Jimmy Olsen #142 (October 1971) - The Man from Transilvane!
- Jimmy Olsen #143 (November 1971) - Genocide Spray
- Jimmy Olsen #144 (December 1971) - A Big Thing in a Deep Scottish Lake!
- Superman #247 (January 1972) - Must There Be A Superman
- Jimmy Olsen #145 (January 1972) - Brigadoom!
- Jimmy Olsen #146 (February 1972) - Homo-Disastrous!
- Jimmy Olsen #147 (March 1972) - A Superman in Super-Town!
- Jimmy Olsen #148 (April 1972) - Monarch of All He Subdues!
- Superman #292 (October 1975) - The Luthor Nobody Knows!
- Action Comics #458 (April 1976) - Make Me a Super-Hero! and Masquerade of the Nutty Kid!
- Superman vs. Muhammad Ali (Spring 1978)
- Action Comics #484 (June 1978) - Superman Takes a Wife!
- Superman #328 (October 1978) - Attack of the Kryptonoid
- Action Comics #489 (November 1978) - Krypton Dies Again and Where There's a Will... There's a Fray
- Superman #329 (November 1978) - I Have Met The Enemy... And He Is Me! and The Secret of the Talking Car
- Superman #330 (December 1978) - The Master Mesmerizer of Metropolis!
- Action Comics #490 (December 1978) - No Tomorrow For Superman
- Action Comics #491 (January 1979) - A Matter of Light and Death
- Superman #331 (January 1979) - Lockup at 20,000 Feet
- Action Comics #492 (February 1979) - Superman's Secret Afterlife
- Superman #332 (February 1979) - The Eternity Cage
- Action Comics #493 (March 1979) - The Metropolis UFO Connection
- Action Comics #494 (April 1979) - The Secret of the Super S
- Action Comics #495 (May 1979) - Attack of the Ultimate Warrior
- DC Comics Presents #14 (October 1979) - Judge, Jury... and No Justice!
- The Superman Story (1979) - The Life Story of Superman
- DC Comics Presents #57 (May 1983) - Days of Future Past
- DC Comics Presents #67 (March 1984) - 'Twas the Fright Before Christmas
- DC Comics Presents Annual #3 (1984) - With One Magic Word
- Superman: The Secret Years #1 (February 1985) - Dreams and Schemes and Feeling Proud!
- Superman: The Secret Years #2 (March 1985) - Reach Out and Touch
- Superman: The Secret Years #3 (April 1985) - Terminus
- DC Comics Presents #80 (April 1985) - A World Full of Supermen!
- Superman: The Secret Years #4 (May 1985) - Beyond Terminus
- DC Comics Presents #85 (September 1985) - The Jungle Line
- Superman Annual #11 (1985) - For The Man Who Has Everything
- World's Finest #323 (January 1986) - Afraid of the Dark
- DC Comics Presents #97 (September 1986) - Phantom Zone: The Final Chapter
- Superman #423 & Action Comics #583 (September 1986) - Whatever Happened To The Man of Tomorrow?
- Showcase Presents: Superman Family - Volume 1 (October 2005)
- Superman/Batman: Saga of the Super Sons (December 2007)
- Not Brand ECHH #7 (April 1967) - The Origin of Stuporman
Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.