Out of all the supporting characters in the Superman mythos, Cub reporter Jimmy Olsen owes the most to non-comics media. Arguably debuting as a nameless "office boy" in Action Comics #6 (Nov 1938) it wasn't until radio's Adventures of Superman that the red-haired boy wonder got his name. While he made only sporadic appearances in the comics through the forties, he had a big role in the Columbia serials Superman ('48) and Atom Man Vs. Superman (50), played with pugilistic gusto by ex-Our Gang member Tommy Bond.

It was on television, however, that Jimmy found his greatest fame, embodied by the talented and charismatic Jack Larson, who made Jimmy a super-loyal chum with a heart as big as all outdoors and a brain...well, considerably smaller. The popularity of the show and Larson's portrayal led directly to the 1954 launch of Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen, marking the first time a superhero's civilian sidekick was awarded a title of his own.

For years, the comic book Jimmy mirrored his TV counterpart: worshipful of his super-powered pal, with a knack for landing in hot water, nearly boundless gullibility and a charming if largely unfounded confidence in his own talents. His comics were full of lame-brained hijinks and frequent transformations into bizarre new creatures, all related with the kind of "hip lingo" and insight into American teenage life you could only get from the forty- and fifty-something stuffed shirts at DC Comics.

In the early 70s, Jimmy would get a radical overhaul at the hands of Jack Kirby, who evolved Olsen from "cub reporter" to man of adventure, and paved the way for the "Mr Action" persona he would adopt for the balance of the 70s and 80s. Still, it's "goofy" Jimmy that always interested me most, so those are the stories I focus on here: