[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Jimmyolsentransformations_1447.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:250:Either Jimmy is freaking out over his transformations or he's [[PstandardPsychicPstance trying out his new mental powers]] [[TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou out on you]].]]
->''"Introducing JIMMY OLSEN...\\
He's a MASTER of DISGUISE:\\
He's DEVIL! He's a GANGSTER!\\
He's a dozen other guys!\\
He's a BEARDED BOY, a MARTIAN,\\
A ROCK-'N'-ROLLER and a CLOWN...\\
TEXAN, CAVEMAN, GIRL and ROBOT...\\
Man, he really goes to town!\\
He's a KNIGHT and he's a CONVICT[=--=]\\
(Though it's only for a gag!)\\
Why, he's even '''SUPERMAN'''\\
In this, his latest '''GIANT''' mag!"''
-->-- '''Advertisement''' for ''Jimmy Olsen Vol. 1 No. 95''

Jimmy Olsen is "Franchise/{{Superman}}'s best friend" and the second best known character from the hero's [[RegularCharacter supporting cast]]. He was created for the [[Radio/TheAdventuresOfSuperman Superman radio show]] in 1940, mainly as someone for Superman to talk with (besides ComicBook/LoisLane, who was both a woman/LoveInterest and [[StrawFeminist sometimes rather contrary]]) so he could [[TheWatson explain things to the audience indirectly]]. Jimmy was [[CanonImmigrant later introduced in the comics themselves]].

An anonymous character who looked like Jimmy turned up as early as ''"Action Comics''" #6 (November, 1938). But the first actual comic book appearance for Mr. Olsen was ''"Superman''" #13 (November-December, 1941). Presumably, he was also created as an AudienceSurrogate for the show's fans, who were mostly young boys. Jimmy also has some resemblance to {{Archie}} (who was also very popular at the time) in that both were impulsive but well-meaning red-haired, freckled teenagers. They even dressed alike, including wearing bowties!

Jimmy works as a photographer for the Daily Planet, which is an excuse for him to accompany the [[IntrepidReporter intrepid reporters]] Lois and Clark in their adventures without being one himself. However, he has absolutely no problem getting into far more trouble and sent on far more bizarre adventures than he seeks out, and his unique status, which since ''CrisisOnInfiniteEarths'' has almost taken the form of a RunningGag, is the fact that he is possibly the single most powerful WeirdnessMagnet in the entire DC Universe (and in this respect is often compared to Comicbook/TheAvengers' ally Rick Jones from {{Marvel}}).

Jimmy became so popular he actually starred in his own comic book series, the humorous ''Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen''. Which lasted for 163 issues, from September, 1954 to March, 1974. This series is better remembered today for the amount of bizarre transformations Jimmy underwent in many of its stories. However those were only part of the wackiness featured in the series, which ranged from romantic problems with his girlfriend Lucy Lane (Lois' sister) to temporarily adopting his own superhero identity (several different ones in fact.)

The description of the SuperpowerSillyPutty trope features JimmyOlsen, and for a reason! That trope could have perfectly be changed to ''"The Jimmy Olsen"'' and nobody would have really noticed.

Jimmy owned a supersonic wristwatch that he used to summon Superman whenever he wanted (only Superman could hear its buzzing). The hero must have regretted giving it to him, as Jimmy either called him to ask mundane favors, or needed help from problems he constantly got himself into (including trying to arrest criminals on his own) on the assumption that Superman would come and save him. Maybe it was because of this that, like Lois, Jimmy often was a target of Superman's [[SuperDickery surprisingly mean sense of humor]]. And yet, Superman never took the wristwatch away.

(Actually, it was the SilverAge of comics, and many of [[DCComics DC's]] stories back then were sold on the basis of bizarre or unexpected turn of events- though Jimmy's were certainly the most varied of all.)

Jimmy's series lasted into the [[TheSeventies 1970s]], when, as with Lois, DC tried to make him a more modern, believable character. He got a new set of clothes (loooong after Archie had stopped using his own similar set) and had adventures that didn't involve Superman or zany plots. He even picked up the nickname "Mister Action" (despite not starring in DC's Action Comics). Ironically, the weirdness came back with a vengeance when, of all people, JackKirby came along to write and draw the series. Kirby, fresh off MarvelComics, decided to take this series as there was no assigned staff at the time, so he wouldn't cost anyone his job. With the clean slate, Kirby used the series to launch his NewGods saga (which means that, yes, {{Darkseid}} debuted in ''this'' title!) Kirby also used the series to bring back his own, older creations, the Newsboy Legion (both as adult scientists AND as their teenage clones) and the superhero The Guardian. On top of that, he also invented the DNA Project (known now as Cadmus) that would later have an impact on characters such as ComicBook/{{Superboy}} with their cloning techniques. Oh, and in case you think he forgot about Jimmy, he added one more transformation to the character's collection: "Homo Tremendus", i.e. Jimmy as a berserking caveman!

After Kirby's departure, Jimmy's title was combined with Lois' and ComicBook/{{Supergirl}}'s to create ''Superman Family'' in which Jimmy's stories became more realistic urban crime adventures. In them, the crooks are usually GenreSavvy enough to remove his signal-watch, forcing him to rely more on his own wits. Fortunately, Jimmy is more than up to the task as a two-fisted IntrepidReporter.

Jimmy's role has since waned over the decades; while he still appears in most versions of Superman, his role as best friend has effectively been taken over by Lois, as she not only is more agreeable, but is now *married* to Superman. Besides, most writers seem to recall Jimmy more for his silly adventures than for his serious ones. His last major story arc (which took place in the much-maligned ''CountdownToFinalCrisis'' series) had him apparently gaining all the powers he had during his Silver Age series, but out of his control; it was eventually revealed that the reason was because [[spoiler: Darkseid had chosen him as the vessel of the energy for the dying New Gods... for some reason]].)

However, Jimmy later got his own mini-series, starting as a co-feature in Action Comics, before getting canceled, and later reprinted with the storyline complete. In fact, it was praised as one of the best series' of the year, and deeper delving into Jimmy's character, particularly his Genre Savviness about his cosmic plaything status, has yielded surprisingly solid results. Imagine Jimmy as the non-time traveling [[DoctorWho Doctor]] of the DCU.

This storyline also finally introduced the popular {{Smallville}} character Chloe Sullivan into official DC Comics continuity, and paired the two fellow [[{{CanonImmigrant}} Canon Immigrants]] (Chloe from {{Smallville}}, Jimmy from the radio serials) together.

This renewed interest in the character just goes to show, Jimmy is likely to remain a part of the Superman Mythos forever.
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!!Jimmy Olsen provides examples of the following tropes:
* AmbiguouslyGay: A few times, and hilariously so in ''ComicBook/AllStarSuperman''.
* AdaptiveArmor: His powers during "Countdown" were triggered only when he was in actual danger.
* ActionHero: As Mr. Action.
* {{Adorkable}}: Jimmy's outdated clothing, innocent demeanor, and extreme loyalty to Superman make him this.
* ArchEnemy: He gets his own arch-enemy in the ''Action Comics'' backup strip: a young Lexcorp executive called Sebastian Mallory. He aknowledges that "Superman's Pal vs LexLuthor's protege" might seem a bit obvious, but they really do hate each other.
* AttractiveBentGender: Jimmy looks pretty darn fetching as a woman, and in one story, a mobster falls for the disguised Jimmy.
* BadassNormal: Pre-Crisis, Jimmy did some pretty heroic things, mostly to avoid the inevitable debris of hanging around the planet's most powerful being, on top of providing exposÚs of crime rings for public viewing. Technically, this is mostly a case of DependingOnTheWriter; the Jimmy Olsen from ''Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen'' #1 is '''very''' different from the one that starred in ''[[MeaningfulRename Superman Family]]'' #222. Sadly, ''post''-Crisis Jimmy stayed a [[StatusQuoIsGod complete and total putz until a few years ago]].
* BalefulPolymorph: Some of the forms Jimmy was turned into include:
** A werewolf (of the "really hairy man" type.)
** A giant turtle-man (in effect, a {{Kaiju}}).
*** Which becomes a MythologyGag when Olsen scored a TV job as "Turtle Boy".
** A human porcupine, with the ability to shoot quills!
** A RubberMan (see NeverBeAHero).
** A really, REALLY fat man.
* {{Bromance}}: With Superman.
** They ''tried'' to give him one with Robin back in the SilverAge.
* ButtMonkey: Poor Jimmy is a constant target of SuperDickery.
* CameraFiend: Some versions of Jimmy.
* CanonForeigner: Introduced in the radio show, though some claim an (unnamed) copy boy in an earlier Superman comic was supposed to be Jimmy.
* CaptainErsatz: Superman and Jimmy Olsen become ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' and ''Comicbook/{{Robin}}'' [[{{Expy}} Expies]] Nightwing and Flamebird in the bottled city of Kandor, allowing Jimmy to fight crime alongside a depowered Superman (since Kandor is under a red sun.)
* CloningBlues: The Newsboy Legion. Pre-[[CrisisOnInfiniteEarths Crisis]], they're [[UncannyFamilyResemblance the completely identical sons of]] [[ItRunsInTheFamily the original Newsboy Legion from]] TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks, whose fathers made tiny clones of, [[WhatTheHellHero without their prior consent]]. Post-Crisis, their UncannyFamilyResemblance is explained by them being direct clones of their "fathers".
* CosmicPlaything: Jimmy didn't need to know Superman or even do anything extraordinary for things to *just happen* to him.
** FridgeBrilliance: That may be ''why'' he's Superman's best friend.
* DeusExitMachina: Quite a lot of stories had Superman doing something in space, or Jimmy's watch would be broken, or tampered with, or ''something'' would have happened to it.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: With a direct punch to the gut Olsen once took the breath out of TheJoker... Post Crisis Joker that is...
* DisguisedInDrag: Jimmy does this [[http://www.tgfa.org/comics/jimmy_olsen/jimmy_olsen.htm pretty darned often]], to the point he may just be a WholesomeCrossdresser.
* [[HenpeckedHusband Henpecked Boyfriend]]: Lucy was as shrewish to Jimmy as Lois was to Superman.
* HeroicBystander:
** Jimmy rushed to Superman's aid when the hero was overcome by kryptonite fire on his suit. A few burns were nothing when it came to saving his pal.
** In the early story "The Hunted Messenger", Jimmy rescues a deliveryman from two muggers.
* HeroicSacrifice: Jimmy attempted this in ''Superman Family'' #173. In order to counteract a virus affecting all of Kandor, he planned to blow up the bottle--and himself with it--thus giving the Kandorians the powers necessary to be cured. He was only saved by the super-tough Kandorian fabric he was wearing.
* [[IHaveYourWife I Have Your Sidekick]]: Jimmy was frequently taken hostage to get to Superman, to the degree where he tried to [[DefiedTrope defy]] it once or twice.
* ILoveThisTown: Played ''literally'' in the arc when [[{{Brainiac}} Brainiac 13's]] nanotechnology causes [[GeniusLoci the entire city of Metropolis to become sentient.]] It manifests a [[RobotGirl female personality,]] and she and JimmyOlsen fall in love. It's all weirdly very sweet. Naturally, StatusQuoIsGod and Metropolis goes back to being just a city.
* InnocentBlueEyes: Jimmy is a ([[DependingOnTheWriter sometimes]]) naive NiceGuy who, according to the DC sites, is blue-eyed.
* InterspeciesRomance: Jimmy had one with Forager (technically Forager III) in ''CountdownToFinalCrisis''. Forager is one of the "Bugs" from [[NewGods New Genesis]]... in other words, a humanoid insect. However, [[StatusQuoIsGod she breaks up with him at the end of the serial]] and goes on to form a team with [[WonderGirl Donna Troy]], [[GreenLantern Kyle Rayner]] and [[TheAtom Ray Palmer]] with the intention of serving as "multiversial border guards".
* InterspeciesFriendship: Superman is Kryptonian; Jimmy is a human. But that doesn't keep them from being fairly close.
* InstantFanClub: Jimmy had one, in some of the comics.
* TheLoad: In [[TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks the silver age]], [[PostCrisis modern]] comics have managed to avert this to an extent, by making him a closer friend of Clark Kent's than Superman's.
* MadScientist: Often the cause of Jimmy's transformations.
* MasterOfDisguise: In the earlier stories, Jimmy could disguise himself so well that Perry, Lois, and even Superman had trouble recognizing him.
* NeverBeAHero: Because his role was always to be Superman's little buddy. However, unlike Lois, Jimmy did get to replay some of his superhero identities: in particular, he was Elastic Lad and Flamebird (sidekick to Superman under the identity of Nightwing, playing [[{{Expy}} expies]] of Batman and Robin.)
* NiceGuy: this is a trait of most of Jimmy's incarnations.
* NowLetMeCarryYou: Jimmy sometimes (usually when there was Kryptonite around) got the chance to repay Superman for saving his life.
* ParentalSubstitute: Jimmy's father either died or disappeared (depending on the incarnation) sometime before they could really have a relationship. His bond with Superman is therefore partially this.
* PintSizedPowerhouse: in the earlier stories of his series. Jimmy was 5' 10" but could take on taller and brawnier crooks, sometimes more than one at a time. In "Superman's Ex-Pal", he gets into a scrap with the BigBad. The bad guy never lands a hit on Jimmy, who pummels him sufficiently to keep him from getting away.
* RedHeadedHero
* [[SomethingOnlyTheyWouldSay Something Only He Would Know]]: In one early story, Jimmy is being held hostage and forced to give crooks trying to win a million-dollar game show answers about Superman. As one of his answers, he slips in a detail that only he and Superman were aware of. Superman realizes he's in trouble and flies to the rescue.
* SuperDickery: The [[TropeNamer original site]] even has its own DrinkingGame for him!
** For anyone interested, there's only one rule; if Jimmy gets a super-power, take a shot.
* SuperpowerSillyPutty
* TookALevelInBadass: In his ''SupermanFamily'' stories, Jimmy got much tougher as an IntrepidReporter, ready to punch out the bad guys without Superman's help.
** His ActionComics story runs with this, and the idea that Jimmy is essential The Doctor of the DC universe. He's resourceful, a talented journalist, fit, and genry savvy enough to stop Sebastian's schemes.
* TransformationComic: Practically; just look at the page image!
* [[UnderstandingBoyfriend Understanding Husband]]: in one imaginary story, Jimmy got married to ComicBook/{{Supergirl}} when (thanks to Red Kryptonite amnesia) neither of them knew who she was. When his new wife recovered her memory and revealed that she was a super-powered alien, Jimmy thought it was "terrific."
* UndyingLoyalty: This (to Superman) was intended to be Jimmy's foremost quality. Whether it was varied from story to story.
* UnluckilyLucky: Even in his more competent iterations he's a world-class WeirdnessMagnet with a tendency to get into major trouble as a result. However, except for a few occasions, he always comes out with nary a scratch or even angst.
* WeirdnessMagnet: Holy ''crap''.
* WholesomeCrossdresser: Oh, he also disguised himself as a woman on occasion as part of a mission. Makes you wonder...
** Played, er, "straight" in ''ComicBook/AllStarSuperman'', when asked if he's in disguise for a story, he simply replies, "Nope."
* WrittenSoundEffect: His signal watch's: ''Zee! Zee! Zee!''
* ZanyScheme: Jimmy either made them, or got involved in them.
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