Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen by Jack Kirby

supermans pal jimmy olsen by jack kirby cover trade paperback tpb
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 9/10

Classic Kirby

Kirby's stories are an acquired taste

Comic Info

Comic Name: Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: Jack Kirby

Artist: Jack Kirby

# of Issues: 15

Release Date: 2019

supermans pal jimmy olsen #133 cover jack kirby

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #133

Reprints Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #133-139 and #141-148 (October 1970-April 1972).  Jimmy Olsen and the children of the original Newsboy Legion find themselves sent to the Wild Area by their new boss Morgan Edge.  There, Jimmy discovers a new world of adventure involving the Harriers, Project D.N.A., and a handful of clones.  What Jimmy and his friend Superman don’t know is that Earth is about to be brought into an intergalactic war with Darkseid and his minions on Apokolips.  As Jimmy and the Newsboy Legion trip the fantastic, Darkseid’s forces are growing stronger, and Jimmy and the Newsboys could unwittingly be Earth’s first line of defense!

Written and illustrated by Jack Kirby, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen by Jack Kirby is a DC Comics superhero collection.  The series has been reprinted multiple times and issues in the volume Fourth World Omnibus—Volume 1-3 and Jack Kirby:  The Fourth World Omnibus among other collections.  Not included in the collection is Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #140 (September 1971) which was a reprint issue.

When Jack Kirby would have celebrated his 100th birthday in 2017, Marvel and DC began putting out a lot of high quality complete collections of his work.  While Kirby’s Fourth World stuff has maintained an “attainable” collector’s price in general, it was great to finally get a solid, quality version of the story.  Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen really kicks off Kirby’s Fourth World adventures, but I do admit that Kirby’s writing is often an acquired taste.

Kirby’s stories are both innovative and classic…but they can also be as confusing as hell.  The whole set-up for the Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen story revolves around a place near Metropolis called the Wild Area where the Habitat is located and a motorcycle gang faces off against a group called the Harriers in a moving “mountain” in a submerged base.  The Harriers are tied to the DNA Project (which apparently Superman knows about, and he’s ok with clones being made of his friends).  The DNA Project is at odds with the Evil Project that is run by Darkseid’s men and bent on world domination.  Somehow Jimmy and the Newsboy Legion fit into all of that…plus, Don Rickles and his look alike Goody Rickels.  The story makes about as much sense as it sounds and kind of slogs along.

supermans pal jimmy olsen #141 don rickles jack kirby

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #141

This is Kirby’s style however and even in the weirdness, there are glints of great science fiction involving the cloning, Boom Tubes, and other sci-fi tropes that Kirby seems to make feel new and different.  Stylistically the writing doesn’t fit with DC Comics at the time, but it also doesn’t fit with Marvel…it is a weird in-between type of writing that feels like its own thing despite having Superman as a lead character.

What can’t be argued is that the art is classic Kirby.  With big, stylized looks, Kirby creates giant machines, flying cars, and monsters that look just as at home in the books he illustrated years before.  With Superman and Jimmy as the anchors, characters like the Newsboy Legion (who look and talk like they are from the ’40s) still manage to fit in with the style…and I also love when Kirby combines real images with cartoon images in big spreads…it feels unique to his style.

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen by Jack Kirby is a weird, wild ride that not everyone will get into.  This collection is the best and cleanest presentation of the stories which allows you to see the art and style that Kirby brought.  I can’t imagine reading Jimmy Olsen as this was released and questioning what was going on…nor can I imagine what it was like to go back to “normal” stories when he left after Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #148.  Kirby was King, and this is one of the books that made him.

Related Links:

The Forever People by Jack Kirby

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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