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I Love Ya But You’re Strange – That Time Jimmy Olsen Spanked Superman

by  in Comic News Comment

Every week, I will spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

Today, based on a suggestion from reader Charlie Ward, we take a look at the story of just why Superman decided to make Jimmy Olsen his “pal”…because as it turns out, Jimmy was Superman’s babysitter back on Krypton! Confused? Well, read on to see what the deal was…

Charlie actually brought up the story from a different context besides just “what a strange comic,” choosing instead to note the oddity of how the story decided to give the origin of how Superman came to choose Jimmy Olsen of all people to be his pal. As Charlie I think correctly notes, it is an explanation that no one really was curious about. I mean, Superman works with Jimmy Olsen as Clark Kent, so why would it be hard to believe he’d be pals with him?

Anyhow, the third story in 1959’s Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #36, by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Ray Burnley, opens with Jimmy Olsen hanging out with some friends when Superman stops by to give Jimmy a new souvenir (he loved giving Jimmy souvenirs). His friends are all, “Man, how the hell did THAT dude end up becoming Superman’s pal?” leading Jimmy to a flashback sequence where he tells the story of how he became Superman’s pal. He did so by first becoming Superman’s BABYSITTER!

It all started when Jimmy first came to Metropolis…


Gotta love Metropolis that there is enough crazy stuff going on that that dude’s classified ad didn’t seem THAT weird. So Jimmy ends up on Krypton. Luckily for him, they were doing a sort of science fiction type convention where people were cosplaying as Earthlings, so no one noticed Jimmy (while some of the Kryptonians were dressed up as Earthlings because they were legitimately interested in Earth, some not-so-hot women dressed up as Earthlings just because they wanted to make the nerdy guys who liked Earth a lot to think that they were really hot and then to buy them stuff. Because that is clearly how things work everywhere).


As noted in an old Abandoned An’ Forsaked, back then, Superman got most of his powers from the gravity of Earth. Anyhow, so, of course, Jimmy ends up becoming Superman’s babysitter.

Which, of course, involves eventually having to spank baby Kal-El…


And then making sure Kal-El escapes to Earth…



I love that the time travel guy will only pay you for his dangerous experiment if it works.

Anyhow, this is why Superman showed up and gave Jimmy the signal watch and asked him to be his pal…


Back in the present, Superman gives Jimmy the souvenir and ends the story on a really weird note (of all the things to say to a guy right before you fly out the window)…


That was a strange comic book story! But a fun one!

As someone noted back when I featured this other story (perhaps it was buttler?), this story definitely serves as a bizarre counterpart to the story of how Superman once adopted Jimmy Olsen (only to then torment him into trying to make Jimmy stop the adoption).

Thanks for the suggestion, Charlie Ward! If YOU have a suggestion for a story that you’d like to see featured here, feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com. I’m not going to use all the suggestions, but if you send me one I like, I will definitely use it!