Supporting character to Superman
. The character first appeared in Action
Comics #6 in 1938.
Jimmy Olsen in the pre-Crisis DC universe was a cub
reporter for the Daily Planet, the premiere newspaper
in Metropolis. Olsen was a good reporter, but often
got himself into difficult situations, requiring the
aid of Superman to escape the peril. Olsen and
Superman became good friends over time, gaining
Olsen the title of "Superman's Pal." Superman gave Olsen a watch specially attuned to a frequency that Superman could hear (think "dog whistle Timex"). Jimmy used his "signal watch" to call Superman (Zeeee-zeee-zeee) when he was in need of rescuing.
In 1954, Jimmy Olsen joined Lois Lane in having a comic book devoted
exclusively to his exploits. Olsen experienced many
odd adventures during this time, from being transformed
into a giant turtle and a wolf boy to falling in love
with beautiful alien women. Olsen often found himself
in more trouble than he could handle and had to again
be rescued by his pal, the Man of Steel. Olsen also
became a superhero as well, not just once but twice.
First, he teamed with Superman in the Bottled City
of Kandor as Nightwing and Flamebird. Later, he gained
the ability to stretch his body parts and became
Elasti-Lad and was given honorary membership in the
Legion of Super-Heroes.
In Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #133, the storyline took
a turn. The new writer was Jack Kirby and Jimmy
Olsen was soon introduced to the New Gods and the
Forever People. The comic continued until the
early 70's when the title was canceled.
The character of Jimmy Olsen has been portrayed by a
number of actors in both movies and television over the
years. The character gained his largest popularity
during the 1950's television series when he was played
by Jack Larson.
I am deeply indebted to Gamaliel
for reminding me about the signal watch.