- I'm Jimmy Olsen – photojournalist for the Metropolis Daily Planet – and this is where I shine.
- — Jimmy Olsen src
James Bartholomew Olsen was born to Jake and Sarah Olsen in Yonkers, NY. His father was in the military and was declared missing in Southeast Asia before Jimmy was born. In the absence of a father figure, Sarah Olsen became extremely protective of her son. His mother ran a newsagents, and he would get up early and collect stories about Metropolis from the paper for a scrapbook.
Jimmy was a very bright child, but sometimes grew bored with his schoolwork. Often, he would cut classes to attend lectures. He got a job as an intern at the Daily Planet while still a junior high school student.
Jimmy first meets reporter Clark Kent during The Man of Steel while working at the Planet, when Kent is hired after beating Lois Lane to the first interview with Superman. When one of his friend's life was in jeopardy, Jimmy jury-rigged some spare electronic parts to produce a hypersonic sound and attract the attention of Superman. His plan was successful, and Superman arrived to save the day. This led to the invention of his signal watch.
Superman and his supporting cast had their origins rewritten in the Man of Steel series written by John Byrne, following the Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1986. This was part of many sweeping changes made to continuity in the Post-Crisis DC Universe. These stories would be considered the definitive history until his origins were revised again in Superman: Birthright, written by Mark Waid in 2003.
Death of Superman
Jimmy's success grew at the Planet, rising up from a gopher to becoming a photographer and occasional reporter. Shortly before Superman's demise at the hands of Doomsday, Jimmy began freelancing for rival media magnate Collin Thornton of Newstime Magazine. When Superman was killed by Doomsday, it was Jimmy who took the infamous photograph of Superman's ragged cape, fluttering in the wind. This photograph was used as the frontspiece for a special Superman retrospective published by Newstime.
Superman's origins were heavily revised in the Superman: Secret Origin mini-series written by Geoff Johns in 2009; this made the history established by Mark Waid in his 2003 mini-series Superman: Birthright non-canon following Infinite Crisis in 2006. It would remain the definitive origin until 2011 when Flashpoint established the DCnU and Grant Morrison's Action Comics updated the story.
Up, Up and Away
Jimmy ultimately returned to the Daily Planet and took a position as a regular star reporter, replacing the demoted Clark Kent. This caused a strain in the relationship between Clark and Jimmy. In the year following the Infinite Crisis, Clark regained his original role as the Daily Planet's star reporter, and Jimmy returned to being a photographer, winning the Pulitzer Prize for his photographic efforts.
Some time after that, Jimmy discovered that he had become a repository for the ambient power of New Gods who had fallen in battle. This caused Jimmy to spontaneously develop super-powers. Each power was drastically different from the other and only manifested at times when Jimmy's life was threatened.
During Superman's prolonged battle against the god-like Atlas, Jimmy witnessed a mysterious individual present at the scene. Investigating further, he discovered that this man was actually Codename: Assassin who had been responsible for murdering Dubbilex and the original Newsboy Legion.
- Photography: Jimmy is an ace photographer and an accomplished, though amateur, investigative reporter. He has been awarded the Pulitizer Prize for photography.
Jimmy has an uncanny knack for getting himself into trouble. This often leads to Superman being forced to divert his attention from another crisis in order to rescue Jimmy. Over time however, Jimmy has become more responsible and Superman has learned that Jimmy can often take care of himself.
- Jimmy Olsen first appeared in Earth-Two continuity in Action Comics #6 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. He was reintroduced in Post-Crisis New Earth continuity in The Man of Steel #2 by John Byrne.
- Jimmy Olsen is also known as Agent Double-5, Alter Ego, and Superman's Pal.
- During the Reign Of The Supermen storyline, Jimmy wore a Spin Doctors T-shirt -- the name of the band that performed "Jimmy Olsen's Blues" from their Pocket Full Of Kryptonite album.
- Typically, Jimmy Olsen does not possess any superhuman capabilities. During the events of "Countdown," Darkseid started using Jimmy as a repository for the powers of fallen New Gods that he believed he would need in his plan to remake the universe in his image. The powers were different each time, and were specifically suited for each particular circumstance.
- 637 Appearances of James Olsen (New Earth)
- 67 Images featuring James Olsen (New Earth)
- 9 Quotations by or about James Olsen (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: James Olsen (New Earth)
Superman Family member