Who's Who in the Superman Comics

Olsen, Jimmy

James Bartholomew Olsen is a long time friend of Lois Lane and Clark Kent, who encouraged him to take a job at the Daily Planet. Jimmy seems to be a very competent reporter, however his ambition, pride and foolhardiness frequently sabotage his best efforts. He resigned from the Daily Planet in a fit of pique, after he missed a deadline and another reporter wrote "his" story (SUP #103). He was hired by Cat Grant at WGBS (ACT #714), where he began to make a name for himself as "Mr. Action". His need to prove himself however, frequently had him seeking sensational stories and ratings, rather than helping others.

Jimmy was born in Metropolis, and raised by his mother, as his father had disappeared on a military mission. He later found out that his father had been involved in Cadmus. Jimmy has dated a number of women, among them Cat Grant, Lucy Lane and Babe Tanaka. At one point Jimmy was laid off from the Daily Planet, and took a number of temporary jobs, including "Turtle-boy" and free-lancing for NewsTime. He ended up homeless and on the streets, where he was befriended by Bibbo.

His reputation as "Superman's Pal" began when he rigged a watch to emit a hypersonic audio signal to attract Superman's attention. Superman admired Jimmy's inventiveness with the signal watch and became a friend (World of Metropolis #4). This relationship, too, has had its ups and downs; when Superman returned from Outer Space, he inadvertently infected Jimmy with a virus that caused Jimmy's body to gain painful elastic properties, and Jimmy became quite disillusioned with Superman for a while (AOS #458). In spite of that, however, he manages to take part in many of Superman's adventures.

When Superman's powers changed, Jimmy broadcast a detailed report on just what his strengths and weaknesses were (MOS #68). Although he was chagrined that the villains used this knowledge against Superman, he was still pleased with his success. Frustrated with him, Bibbo slugged him on the Whitty Banter Show (MOS #70), making Jimmy the laughing stock of Metropolis. To salvage his reputation, Jimmy prepared to report on who Superman really was. He'd put the clues together quite well, although he decided Superman really was Colin Thornton. At the last minute, however, Clark was able to convince Jimmy that a journalist sometimes has to keep secrets, and so Jimmy declared on TV that Superman was... nobody! This final embarrassment cost him his job at WGBS (AOS #550). He was eventually rehired at the Daily Planet.

Intergang, wanting to know who Superman was, went after Jimmy, but he left Metropolis. He had adventures with Misa, Scorn, and Ashbury before returning to Metropolis, where Misa used a device that made Jimmy invisible to Intergang. When the Daily Planet closed down, Jimmy was invited to work for Lex Luthor's Internet news service, LexCom, along with Lois, Dirk Armstrong, and Simone D'Neige. Jimmy was the resident computer expert, and frequently helped Lois with the technical aspect of her job. However when Lex mysteriously sold back the Daily Planet, Jimmy returned to work on the great metropolitan newspaper as a photographer along with Lois, Perry and Clark.

First Appearance: MOS #2 (July 1986)

Who's Who in the Superman Comics


This is a listing of many of the notable characters and a few places that have appeared in the Superman comics from the 1986 revamp up until around 2008.

NOTE: A new, and more current version of the Who's Who is currently being worked on and can be accessed by clicking here.

Although Superman often appears in other DC Comics, this text's information is limited mainly to what has occurred in the regular Superman comics.

Many thanks to Scotty V, Derrick Lyle Coleman, Dean Vanek, Genevieve Clemens and Benjamin Grose who all helped out at one time or another with writing and updating these Who's Who descriptions.

The listings are displayed as follows:

  • Surname, Firstname - Text describing the character, place, object, etc...

Relevant issues of the Superman comics are listed as such:
  • SUP = Superman
  • MOS = Man of Steel
  • AOS = Adventures of Superman
  • ACT = Action Comics
  • MOT = Man of Tomorrow

The Issue Number for each of these titles is written in this manner: “#000”. (e.g. SUP #123)

“First Appearance” refers to the issue since 1986 unless otherwise noted.