Monday, February 25, 2013

365 Comics...56: Action Comics #893 (Free Preview)(2010)

Over the past 30 or so years I have literally read hundreds of comics starring Superman, and you know, I can't think of a single Jimmy Olsen story that stands out among them all.  I think Jimmy's fine, and he's part of the mythos, but I've never seen Jimmy as being much more than a very, very minor player in Superman scheme.  Clark sort of acts as his mentor, Lois treats him like a dutiful kid sibling, and he's as close to a sidekick as Superman gets, except this sidekick is always getting into trouble and needs Big Blue to bail him out.  I don't ever recall Jimmy being fleshed out much outside of his role at the Daily Planet.  I seem to recall at one time he dated Lois' sister who got turned into Bizarro or something.  Okay, I don't really recall.  There was another time I may or may not recall Jimmy drank some of Elongated Man's gingold stuff and reacted badly... but again, that was just a story where Jimmy does some dumb shit and Superman bails him out.  Hell of a character trait.

So beyond the signal watch, red hair, freckles, and bow tie, there's not much to Jimmy Olsen.  In the New 52 Jimmy seems to be a contemporary of Clark's, rather than his junior, which should be a step up, but they're still trying to establish Superman, never mind his supporting cast, not that I'm really paying attention (see 365 Comics #52).  But just prior to the Flashpoint reboot, while experimenting with the new $3.99 price point by way of 10-page back-up features, Jimmy Olson finally came to life.  And I missed it.

You bet I missed it, because I didn't care.  OH! So they're introducing a character from that TV show I barely like (yet secretly really enjoy... see 365 Comics #37 and #9), I didn't really care.  So Jimmy Olsen is starring in an ongoing story for the first time in decades, yeah, cared even less.  But good words were coming out that back-up feature, this Nick Spencer guy... really talented.  Everyone was saying so... well, maybe not everyone, but still the reaction was really strong.  It was on my radar, and I decided to trade wait.

And wait.
And wait.

Still waiting.

Nick Spencer's become one of my favourite writers.  He finds a very human angle to surreal characters.  T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents was my first exposure to him, then Ultimate X-Men, then Morning Glories, and now a whole bunch of other stuff.  He's good and worth following.  But I'm still endlessly curious about that Jimmy Olsen run.  Why is it not in trade?

I was cruising the "free comics" in Comixology and found this free preview of Action #893 (the full first Jimmy Olsen 10-page backup), and it's every bit as good as I'd been led to believe.  Jimmy, still Superman's pal, but now he's got a supporting cast of his own, a nemesis, a maybe girlfriend, and both major swagger and a lack of self-esteem.  Spencer cuts to the root of Jimmy Olsen, a man empowered by being a pal to the mightiest being on Earth while at the same time left lacking his own identity without him.  Brilliant.  It's everything I expect out of a Nick Spencer story, and far, far more than I ever expected out of Jimmy Olsen.

Still waiting.
I want that trade.


Carey said...

While DC never released a trade of the Nick Spencer/RB Silva Jimmy Olsen series, they did release it as a one shot comic book compiling all seven parts, and it can be found on eBay:

It's one of the best things Spencer has written, and proof for me that of the big two companies he's a far better fit with DC than Marvel.

And as a fan of Jimmy lsen, have you read Abhay Khosla's short story from the Superman 80 Page Giant a couple of years back? It can be found online here:
and is definitely worth the time to read.

KENT! said...

I thought for some reason that the one-shot was the final chapter of Spencer's Olsen story... perhaps I was getting that mixed up with Jeff Lemire's Atom story which got the one-shot finale.

I'll have to dig that out.

Also I'll check out the link, thanks for the tips Carey.