Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics

Jimmy Olsen #57

Jimmy Olsen #57

Cover date: December 1961

"Jimmy Olsen Marries Supergirl"

[reprinted in Action Comics #351 & 352, and again in Superman Family #181]

Writer: Jerry Siegel
Penciller: Curt Swan
Inker: Stan Kaye
Editor: Mort Weisinger

Reviewed by: Osgood Peabody

Click to enlarge

1961 was the year the concept of the "imaginary story" blossomed throughout the Weisinger fiefdom. Earlier in the year, a series of imaginary tales had run in Lois Lane, relating the trials and tribulations of the married Mr & Mrs Clark Kent. This was followed by the grand-daddy of all imaginary novels "The Death of Superman" in November 1961.

The first imaginary Jimmy Olsen story was in Jimmy Olsen #56 (Oct. 1961) and it was called "The Son of Jimmy Olsen". This story followed the adventures of Jimmy Olsen, Jr., the offspring of Jimmy & Lucy Lane. But it's telling that this tale began with the couple already middle-aged with a grown-up son (as if the actual fruition of a Jimmy & Lucy romance was too unbelievable even for an "imaginary" story!) and it ended on a semi-tragic note.

Ironically, the very next issue, which is the subject of our review, would see a different brand of "imaginary" storytelling, with a far different outcome.

We begin with a beautiful 2/3 splash page, with the caption reading: "Here it is, at last the story thousands of readers have demanded an imaginary tale in which young Daily Planet newshawk Jimmy Olsen marries - Supergirl!" A wedding scene is depicted, showing Jimmy slipping a ring on a beaming Linda Danvers. A stoic Superman stands in as best man, while in the background stands a grinning Perry White, and a more somber Lois Lane, accompanied by her sister Lucy (ah, well, always a bridesmaid as they say).

The story unfolds one morning (on a day which may or may not ever happen we're told), with Perry once again denying young Olsen a raise until he's able to come up with an unusual news story. On reflection, Jimmy remembers his previous adventure where he had to stay at the Midvale orphanage, and decides to go back there for a human interest story on the orphans. [Another point of interest here: This may be the only "imaginary" Weisinger tale that actually refers back to events that took place in a "real" story!]

At the orphanage, Jimmy impresses the children with various trophies of his adventures with Superman, including the infamous Wolf-Man potion from another of our previous reviews. He also displays a strange space jewel, in which he yells into, but to everyone's astonishment the jewel muffles Jimmy's scream into a whisper. However, he makes the biggest impression on Linda Lee Danvers, who happens to be staying at the orphanage while her new foster parents are traveling in Europe. Linda is fascinated by Jimmy, and even thinks the young reporter is cute! Jimmy is likewise captivated by Linda, and when she asks for his autograph, he instead offers to give her one of his trophies. To Linda's dismay, Jimmy's gift happens to be a chunk of Red Kryptonite, which he explains has already affected Superman, and so cannot harm him again. But mysteriously, Linda's fearful expression vanishes right away. Why? The narrator relates that the Red K immediately affected her, not only removing her super-powers, but any memory of having ever been Supergirl!

Encouraged by Linda's interest in him, Jimmy immediately asks her on a date to the amusement park, which she eagerly accepts. At the park, the couple enjoy themselves at the attractions. After Linda compliments Jimmy at his prowess at a miniature rifle range, Jimmy raves to himself, "She's not only pretty, but bright! She appreciates me!" Later, at a dance pavilion, Jimmy spots Lucy Lane dancing with a pilot but shrugs it off, "Who cares? I'd be a chump to chase her now, after I've met a living doll like Linda! Lucy's never appreciated me, but Linda thinks I'm great!" In the Tunnel of Love, Olsen makes his move, and as the young couple kiss passionately (as passionately as the CCA allowed back then, anyway), Linda thinks "Jimmy's kissing me I'm so happy!," while Jimmy gushes to himself "Gosh, she's wonderful!". Overcome with elation, Jimmy blurts out "I know this is real sudden, Linda, but I'm crazy about you! Please say you'll marry me!" Without hesitation, Linda accepts!! [I know, a very quick courtship, but even without her powers, Kara's kisses can still apparently work magic!!]

The next day, Superman returns from a space mission, and is stunned when his pal announces his engagement, and even more shocked when he meets his intended. At the first opportunity, the Man of Steel takes Linda aside, "What are you doing? How can you be my secret emergency weapon now?". Linda is flustered and confused, and as she fumbles with her purse, Jimmy's gift of red K tumbles on the floor, allowing Superman to piece together what happened to her. But, to his credit, he thinks, "They're so happy I'll keep mum, and do nothing to spoil their happiness!" As depicted on the splash page, the couple weds, with Perry thinking, "Too bad Clark couldn't attend the wedding, due to an urgent out-of-town assigment!", while Lois ponders, "Now that Lucy's lost Jimmy, she's sorry she didn't take him more seriously!"

We now skip ahead in time to after the honeymoon, with the newlyweds grappling with bills as they furnish their new home. A disgruntled Jimmy again demands a raise from Perry, and when he's denied, he storms out saying, "Then I quit! I'll get a job where I'm respected!" As Jimmy struggles to find new employment, Linda is rearranging the furniture at home when she suddenly flies into the air holding a sofa! Her powers and memory have finally returned! [It was later established by Mort that Red K's effects would wear off after 48 hours - at the time of this writing, either that dictum was not yet firmly in place, or it was conveniently ignored!] "Oh, dear," thinks Linda, "I can't tell Jimmy right away he's married to a Supergirl! Heaven knows what the shock might do to him! I - I need time to decide what to do!!"

Jimmy returns, and despondently tells his wife that he must sell off his Superman trophies to raise money. Suddenly, an earthquake strikes the area! Sirens blare from a nearby airport, and Jimmy and Linda speed there by car to see if they can lend a hand. At the airport 2 of the 3 runways have been destroyed by the quake, and the control tower is out of commission. A crisis arises as a plane approaches, and there is no way to alert it to divert to the runway that remains intact. Linda advises Jimmy to use the space-jewel that he displayed at the orphanage. After all, if one side of the jewel stifles his voice, the other side should magnify it. Jimmy obligingly shouts emergency instructions to the plane, but unknown to him, it is in reality Linda's super-shout that saves the day. However, she happily lets her husband take credit, and he accepts a $5,000 reward from the airline president, as Lucy Lane looks ruefully on. After reading Jimmy's first-hand account of the incident, Perry promptly rehires Jimmy with a higher salary. But Linda is still stymied - how does she break the news of her super-identity to Jimmy? She decides to break it to him gradually by first letting Jimmy know of Supergirl's existence, and then by getting him to fall in love with her as Supergirl!

As Part II begins (entitled "Jimmy Olsen's Two Brides"), Linda follows Jimmy via her telescopic vision while he's on the job, knowing his knack for getting into trouble. Sure enough, the young reporter is sent to cover an amusement park reputed to have unsafe rides, and Jimmy inexplicably decides it would be fun to try the Superman ride while no one's looking. He is soon literally sent flying, and Linda promptly switches to her Supergirl identity to rescue him. As Jimmy is about to use his signal-watch, he's stunned to see a super-powered heroine coming to his rescue. Supergirl introduces herself, and indicates that being Superman's pal, she trusts him to keep her existence a secret. [Déjà vu! This reminds me of their very first encounter in Jimmy Olsen #40!] Jimmy is naturally skeptical [déjà vu all over again!], but Supergirl relates her origin story, and how she came to Earth in a rocket after Argo City's demise. Jimmy is satisfied this time with her story, and assures her that her secret is safe. Supergirl then further flusters our freckled friend by saying "You're smart, cute, and loads of fun! Just the kind of man I'd like for a husband!" Jimmy thinks, "Golly, what a girl! She's not only pretty, but super-powerful, too!" But, to Olsen's credit, on returning home and greeting Linda, he says to himself, "Linda isn't super-powerful, but she's the sweetest wife any fellow ever had!" Linda, for her part, is impressed that Jimmy proves worthy of her trust, not revealing Supergirl's existence even to his own wife!

Later, Jimmy is on his way to go bowling with the boys, when Linda continues her scheme by flying down to meet him as Supergirl and promptly proposing marriage! Jimmy tries to spare her feelings, and indicates that he can't really answer her, as he really doesn't know her that well. Supergirl responds by suggesting they fly off to another world to get better acquainted. On the alien planet, Jimmy is menaced by a weird creature which spins him like a yo-yo, and the Girl of Steel must come to his rescue (thus satisfying the need to match this issue's cover!). Upon their return to earth, she urges Jimmy to consider her proposal. And he does, thinking, "She's got everything! I'd marry her in a minute but I've already got a wife!" Jimmy returns home and is greeted by Linda, who has baked him a cake, complete with "Love to Jimmy" written on it, and he ponders, "Two wonderful girls each madly in love with me! Gosh, I don't want to break the heart of either of them!"

Now really conflicted, Jimmy the next day stumbles into more trouble. Falling into a bottomless pit while covering a story at Purplestone National Park, his fall is broken by an updraft and he amazingly encounters a subterranean civilization and their powerful queen, Tania. Tania at that moment is being menaced by an unruly suitor named Daglar who wants to marry her to gain the throne, but the queen isn't standing for it. She remembers an ancient prophecy that a handsome visitor from the surface world will rescue her. Sure enough, Olsen emerges from the tunnel, and Daglar immediately turns a "punishment jewel" on him, as he fears him to be the pre-ordained rescuer. Poor Jimmy is turned into a big yellow blob, just as Supergirl, who has seen his plight, flies on to the scene. Unseen by the sub-dwellers, Supergirl destroys the jewel with her heat vision, and is relieved to see Jimmy return to normal. She then knocks out Daglar by hurling him against the wall via super-breath. Queen Tania is quite impressed, and visibly excited by Olsen's apparent magical feats, "Never leave me wondrous one! Wed me! You will sit beside me on my throne!" But Supergirl quickly scoops Jimmy back in her arms, as she quips, "Sorry, I saw him first!"

Back at the surface, Supergirl again urges Jimmy to marry her, and Jimmy finally decides enough is enough - "Forget me Supergirl! I must never see you again!" Supergirl flies away distraught that Jimmy doesn't care for her super-powered identity, but in actuality, Jimmy thinks "Poor kid! I care a lot for her! In fact too much! But she'll have to learn how to live without me!" On returning home, Jimmy's conscience troubles him, and he confesses to Linda "I've met another girl - a Supergirl! I love you - but when I'm with her, I - I can't help thinking what a swell wife she'd make! I feel like a skunk!" Overjoyed, Linda changes before Jimmy's eyes into her Supergirl costume, and Jimmy faints dead away in shock, "Great Scott! My own wife is Linda you're Supergirl! Oolp!" After he revives and everything is explained to him, Jimmy is thrilled to be married to both the girls of his dreams. Supergirl is likewise satisfied that she broke the news to him gradually, as the shock would have been too great otherwise. As we bid goodbye to the happy couple, Mort reminds us that "Yes, this story had a happy ending, but remember, this has only been an imaginary tale, and may never happen! And besides, Lucy Lane is still around!"

5Story - 5: It's easy to see why Jimmy Olsen fans loved this story. For one shining moment, their hero is a lovable loser no more. He gets the girl of his dreams, who adores him, and the fact that his love happens to be the most powerful woman on the planet is just icing on the cake! And Supergirl, for her part? Well, let's look at Jimmy's competition at the time - Dick Malverne? Jerro the Mer-boy? And I won't even mention the rather disturbing relationship she would soon develop with Biron, the centaur who was transformed into Comet the Super-Horse!

5Art - 5: Curt Swan & Stan Kaye turn out a beauty. The splash page is especially impressive, and Kara never looked better.

4Cover Art - 4: On the cover, we see Jimmy being assaulted by a bizarre alien, and crying out, "Help, Supergirl! This Martian creature is spinning me up and down like a human yo-yo!" Supergirl is shown flying confidently to his rescue, saying, "Don't worry, Jimmy dear! I won't let this nasty monster hurt the boy I'm going to marry!"

This imaginary treasure is also unique in a couple of respects: Firstly, it is the culmination of the previous Jimmy/Kara stories (see previous reviews), and in all likelihood would not have come together without their paving the way, as opposed to the standard imaginary "flight of fancy". Secondly, it gives the protagonists an unambiguously happy send-off. Aside from the utopian "Superman-Red and Superman-Blue", you'll be hard-pressed to find another Weisinger "imaginary" tale that does not end tragically, or, at best, with mixed blessings. Finally, Editor Weisinger thought enough of this story to grant it the honor of being the very first 2-part (17-page) Jimmy Olsen tale!

As much as I admire this gem, it's not without its flaws I admit. For one thing, where the heck are the Danvers? If you squint real hard you can pick out Fred in the background of the wedding scene, but a couple of panels could've been spared to have Jimmy meet Fred and Edna to get their parental consent, not to mention absolve him of any "cradle-robbing" charges. I also would've liked to see Linda confess to Jimmy not just her Supergirl identity, but her previous "Miss X" and "Ka-Ra" disguises, to at least suggest that her affection had been long in developing, and she was not just bowled over like a schoolgirl by Mr. Olsen's charms. And throwing in an entire subterranean civilization just to advance the story a couple of pages was a bit superfluous even by Weisinger's standards.

All in all though, this final tale brought the Jimmy/Supergirl relationship to a most satisfying conclusion. And perhaps it was best that they had to leave it there, having said all there was to say. The pair would never encounter each other romantically again. Yes, there would be other sporadic guest appearances, but Supergirl would go on to be revealed to the world 2 months later, and perhaps knowing her to be his pal's cousin would subsequently serve as a deterrent to any romantic advances from young Olsen. Both of them would go on to have other romances in the Silver Age, but none would come even close to being as happy a match as this one.

It's tantalizing to imagine what could have been. But there'll always be this story to commemorate the fairy tale romance of Jimmy and Kara.

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”




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