James Bartholomew Olsen

Jimmy OlsenThis appears to be the trailer’s week, as also Supergirl got one, with quite a bunch of characters to speak about. Let’s start from the most famous…and unrecognizable one: Jimmy Olsen, the goofy photographer who in the show will be portrayed by Mehcad Brooks. This Jimmy, however, won’t be goofy at all, apparently, quite the opposite, and he’ll also act as a liaison between Kara Danvers and her cousin Superman (and he’ll be Kara’s love interest). Jimmy is a fundumental part of Superman’s mythology, and has appeared in nearly every movie or tv series about the Man of Steel: his very first live action appearance was in the Superman serial, portrayed by Tommy Bond, while the most popular is probably Marc McClure‘s version, since he played the character in all five the original movies (including the Supergirl spinoff). Aaron Ashmore portrayed him (and his older, nearly omonymous brother) in Smallville, while Sam Huntington did the same in Superman Returns. In every portrayal, Jimmy was the brave yet clumsy photographer with a particular relation of friendship with Superman…and it seems Brook’s portrayal will differ quite a lot from the usual Jimmy, at least for the clumsy part, and in appearance. Waiting to learn something more, let’s see who he is in the comics.

James Bartholomew Olsen was born in YonkersNew York, the son of military officer Jake Olsen and of his wife, newsagent Sarah. When Jimmy was still a kid, his father went missing in action while on a secret mission in Asia, and was declared dead soon after (he wasn’t dead though, but working as a secret agent for Cadmus). As a result, Sarah became overprotective over her son, and Jimmy was constantly guarded by his mother, growing up a little bit insecure. The Olsens moved to Metropolis, where Sarah started running a newsagents: Jimmy wanted to jimmyolsencomics1help, so every morning he woke up early and read all the newspapers, collecting the stories he liked the most, cutting out pictures and articles and pasting them into a scrapbook he made. With time, he became more and more passionate about journalism, and in particular about photography. With his first savings, he bought a camera, and started practicing, learning the technique from books he borrowed. Growing up, Jimmy Olsen proved to be pretty smart, but school wasn’t exactly his thing: he often got bored during lessons, so sometimes he just cut classes to attend lectures he really was interested in; he also used the time he didn’t spend in school practicing with his camera. All the hours spent outside school eventually paid off, as during a lecture he met Perry White, the editor in chief of Metropolis’ most important newspaper, the Daily Planet. White had quite a liking for the boy, since in Jimmy he saw a younger self; the two became fast friends, and Perry eventually offered the boy a job as an intern at the Planet, everything while Jimmy was still a junior high school student (of course, in the deal with Perry, Jimmy had to promise he would have finished school). From a day to another, Jimmy found himself working with some of the best journalists in the city, including the nearly legendary reporter Lois Lane. Jimmy befriended Lois as well, and he saw her talent as unrivaled…until something unexpected happened: Lois lost a scoop.

Metropolis found its new hero in the greatest of them all, Superman, a flying man who kept saving the day, without revealing anything about himself. Jimmy tried to take some pictures of the new costumed hero, but Superman was too fast, and the best he got was a red-and-blue blur. Everyone, Jimmy included, believed Lois would have been the first one to discover something about the flying man, but another reporter beat her on time: Clark Kent, who obtained the first interview ever with Superman, and was immediately hired by Perry White as a result. Jimmy befriended Kent as well (usually entertaining himself with the rivalry Lois had started with her new colleague). jimmyolsencomics2Following Kent’s interview, Jimmy tried to learn everything he could about Superman, so that he would have been the first one to take a picture of him…but his efforts went all in vain. One night, however, one of his school friends, Chrissie Walker, knocked to his door: she had tried to committ suicide with a pill overdose, but she had changed her mind immediately after, and she now asked for help. Jimmy and Sarah put the dying girl on their couch, but they were unable to contact any emergency personnel, or to bring her to the hospital: thinking fast, Jimmy assembled parts of his father’s old radios, sending a hypersonic signal in a frequency that, according to the interview, Superman could hear. Jimmy’s plan miraculously worked, and the Man of Steel himself rushed to the source of the signal, recognised the emergency and brought Chrissie to the hospital, saving her life. Complimenting Jimmy for his wit, Superman built a miniaturized version of Jimmy’s sonic device, and gave it to the boy in the form of a wrist watch: from that time, if Jimmy was in an emergency, he would have been able to summon Superman with the same signal. Exploiting the occasion, Jimmy also took a photograph of Superman, the first good one since the hero had appeared: the picture was a success, and Jimmy was promoted from simple gopher to photographer (who occasionally acted also as a reporter). Finally, he could follow Lois Lane or Clark Kent on the field as a professional photographer, with his works usually taking the front page of the Daily Planet: his dreams had come true.

Jimmy Olsen is an extremely smart kid, resourceful and fast-thinking, able to muddle through any kind of situation, albeit being incautious and sometimes even goofy always puts him in trouble. He’s a skilled photographer, always ready to catch the perfect moment, and he’s an ambitious young man who dreams of becoming a renowned photojournalist. He’s also Superman’s pal, and he possesses the one and only Signal Watch, a device he can call Superman with any time there’s an emergency (being quite the fanboy, he even used it for more trivial and mundane matters, getting scolded by Superman as a result). Brave and intelligent, Jimmy Olsen is a loyal friend and a daring young journalist, a “kid” for all his mentors, but also a colleague who earnt their respect.

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7 Comments

  1. […] characters: Lucy Lane, who’ll be portrayed by Jenna Dewan Tatum. In the show, Lucy will be Jimmy Olsen‘s ex girlfriend, and this will likely put her at odds with Kara Danvers, who has a crush on […]

  2. […] for his “crimes”, kidnapping Lana Lang, Lois Lane, Perry White, Steve Lombard and Jimmy Olsen and using them as jury. Past Superboy managed to take back control of his body, and Pete was […]

  3. […] but Supergirl crashed it when she was about to eat the welcome cake…which happened to be Jimmy Olsen. During the ensuing battle, Supergirl realised that Bizarro-Girl was her opposite under any point […]

  4. […] find herself uncapable of defeating her without some help…help that comes in the person of Jimmy Olsen, who brings her to the Fortress of Solitude (Superman‘s hideout) in search for clues on how […]

  5. […] in a much older version: nicknamed simply “Bo“, he’s the one who speaks with Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent, always at the Ace O’ Clubs. Last but not least, he also appeared in Man of […]

  6. […] been quite a change in Supergirl‘s supporting cast recently, as Jimmy Olsen decided to finally stop being a side-kick and, with the help of Win, created a brand new […]

  7. […] in The Darkest Place. In his first deeds as the heroic Guardian, things go pretty well for James Olsen, until one of the thieves he arrested is found dead, and he’s framed for the murder. The real […]


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