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Lana Lang and Jimmy Olsen Prove Their Devotion to Superman

In "To Quote a Phrase," I spotlight memorable quotes from comic books.

Today, we look at a memorable moment from the Alan Moore and Curt Swan classic, "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?"

Jimmy Olsen has one of the more complicated histories out there among Superman characters in the sense that he has had multiple "debuts" but some of them are extremely vague. For instance, in an early issue of Action Comics, there was an "office boy" character who you could easily say, in retrospect, that "Oh yeah, that was totally Jimmy Olsen!" but the character was not named and was almost certainly just intended to be a background "extra" character. Then the Superman radio series introduced Jimmy Olsen because radio inherently needed extra characters for exposition and stuff like that. So then, in Superman #13's "The Archer" (by Jerry Siegel and Leo Nowak), we meet Jimmy for the first time (no last name, but I suppose it does make sense in this context that this WOULD be Jimmy Olsen)...

He shows up again later in the story...

And then we see his resourcefulness...

In the end, he gets that byline!

When the Superman TV show came out, Jimmy Olsen's prominence on that program led to him getting his own comic book series. In Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #31 (by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Ray Burnley), Jimmy gains "elastic" powers...

Forty-one issues later, in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #72 (by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and George Klein), Jimmy is inducted into the Legion of Super-Heroes after he figures out that a group of mutated versions of himself are really the Legion in disguise...

Lana Lang, meanwhile, first showed up in Superboy #10 (by Bill Finger, John Sikela and Ed Dobroka), as pretty much explicitly the Lois Lane for Superboy...

Years later, in Superboy #124 (by Otto Binder and George Papp), Lana acquires insect powers and becomes the Insect Queen...

In Adventure Comics #355 (by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and George Klein), she applies for Legion membership and is declined...

but then proves herself and gets to be made a reserve member in the Legion...

Lana ends up in Metropolis as an adult as a rival with Lois Lane for Superman's affection...

In Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #21 (by Jerry Siegel and Kurt Schaffenberger), Lois and Lana gain superpowers and become superheroes to try to force Superman to finally pick one of them...

Superman realizes that their powers are temporary, so he just strings them along until they run out of steam and then, just to be a jerk, he taunts them a bit at the end...

I love that Lois is like, "Or maybe my sister, Lucy!" Where did THAT come from, Lois?

Okay, so that sets up the role of Lana Lang and Jimmy Olsen in the life of the Man of Steel. Clearly, they are important characters, but distinctly secondary ones, as well, as obviously Lana is never going to be Lois and Jimmy is also never going to be quite as close as Lois to Superman.

That doesn't mean that they don't love the Man of Tomorrow any less...

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