When Jimmy Olsen was still a young boy, his father Mark Olsen was a world-travelling explorer and archeologist; bearing the same red hair and freckles that his genes bequeathed to Jimmy. As curator of the Smallville Natural History Museum, Mark was often called upon to follow up on discoveries of significance around the globe; and the meteorite that fell in Kurtiswana was no exception.
The meteorite proved to be a lifeless Kryptonian city that had somehow survived the cataclysm that rocked the planet, and been conveyed to Earth. Searching for it, Mark was betrayed by his guide, Vedders, who stole diamonds from a lost tribe of ancient crusaders and escaped to the "meteorite", now known as the Wizard City.
Superboy also came to investigate the meteorite, but found instead the fallen city on a base of Green Kryptonite, that prevented him from approaching the war machines that Vedders let loose. In order to fool the turncoat guide, Superboy disguised Mark Olsen as an older Superman, and the ruse succeeded in removing Vedders from the stolen Kryptonian tech. For a few brief moments, Mark Olsen was Superman.
Returning to Smallville, Superboy met his future best pal for the first time — Mark's young son Jimmy Olsen. It was shortly after this first meeting that the Olsen family were in a horrific train crash, which only Jimmy was thought to have survived. He grew up believing himself to be an orphan.
Mark Olsen had survived, though suffered from amnesia and wandered for some time, before returning to search for Jimmy, unsuccessfully. Eventually Mark and his companion Hal Rand returned to their calling, and explored the pyramid of Kukulkan in the Yucatan. While climbing it, Mark was thrown from the top and, once again, was thought dead.
To speed the process of exploration, Hal dynamited the pyramid, killing hundreds of Mayans, and giving himself amnesia due to the blast. When he regained his senses, he believed that he was in fact Mark Olsen. But Mark — the real Mark — had only fallen to a lower platform, and survived as the guest of the priests of Kukulkan; dressed as their god in robes of Gold Kryptonite. He was worshipped, but unable to leave, and only got an SOS message out to Professor Lang scratched into some Mayan artwork.
As Superman could not approach the Gold Kryptonite-clad Mark Olsen without losing his powers permanently, Jimmy Olsen and Hal Rand tried to rescue him and failed, and Jimmy was forced to choose between Mark and Hal for his father. Superman bluffed the Mayans with Mark Olsen's help - as they bluffed Vedders years before in Kurtiswana. The adventurers returned to Metropolis, where their plundered fortune had provided Hal Rand — and now Mark Olsen — with a sizeable estate in Hartsdale where Mark took up residence.
Mark had returned from the Yucatan with half an amulet and the story of the first King Kukulkan, who had wielded its power. He wanted Jimmy to have it as a token of the time he'd spent away in the Yucatan. Unknown to Mark, Professor Lewis had coincidentally given Jimmy the other half of the Magic Medallion of the Maya. Merged, the reunited pieces turned Jimmy into Ultra Olsen, who was quick to appear in public — too quick, as some crooks kidnapped Mark to force Ultra Olsen to do their bidding, until Mark was again saved by Superman and Jimmy's Signal Watch.
Years later, the Cult of the Jaguar from the Yucatan tracked Mark Olsen down to Metropolis and attempted to retrieve the Magic Medallion to facilitate their own rise to power, almost killing Mark before being stopped by Ultra-Olsen and Superman.
Returning to Hartsdale, while his son Jimmy stayed in Metropolis, Mark Olsen launched a project for troubled kids called "Olsentown" after the death of his partner Hal Rand. When Mark was called away unexpectedly, Jimmy was asked to take over. Later, all of Hartdale would be "called away" unexpectedly when Mark Olsen, his estate, and the entire town would be taken to the dimensional zoo by the Preservers until the combined force of all existing Kryptonians banded together to return Mark, Hartsdale (and Kandor) to their rightful place, after which Mark finally had dinner with his son.
As an adult, Jimmy Olsen was going to be sent to report on the rediscovery of the Wizard City in Africa, which had prompted the first historic meeting between Mark Olsen and Superman. Mark told his son the history of Vedders, and the Kryptonian arms cache that was hidden in Kurtiswana. Unfortunately, Olsen had been beaten there by Mark Olsen's old foe Vedders and another man, Dexter, who created a weapons suit more powerful than Superman.
Mark went to Clark Kent when Jimmy did not return; prompting Superman — who had practically forgotten Wizard City — to rescue Jimmy. Upon their return, Clark Kent's former Smallville friends all gathered, and speculate on the fate of Wizard city, which bookended the relationship between Superman and Mark Olsen.
- This version of Mark Olsen, including all history and corresponding appearances, was erased from existence following the collapse of the original Multiverse in the 1985–86 Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series. Even though versions of the character may have since appeared, this information does not apply to those versions.
- 10 Appearances of Mark Olsen (Earth-One)
- 1 Images featuring Mark Olsen (Earth-One)
- 1 Quotations by or about Mark Olsen (Earth-One)
- Character Gallery: Mark Olsen (Earth-One)
- ↑ Kurtiswana was not actually named until Action Comics #565
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Adventure Comics #216
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #124
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Superman Family #164
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #128
- ↑ Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #129
- ↑ Superman Family #211
- ↑ Superman Family #190
- ↑ Action Comics #565