Tuesday, February 10, 2015

James Olsen, Underwear Model

This,  apparently, is the actor (Mehcad Brooks) playing Jimmy Olsen in the forthcoming Supergirl series.

Suddenly, the Jimmy Olsen Fan Club makes a LOT more sense.

So, what's wrong with this picture?

Hint: it's not that this guy isn't a white guy with red hair and freckles.

Because, after all,  these guys (although white) don't really have the red hair and freckles thing going that (visually) is always what made Jimmy Olsen recognizable either!

Except maybe that first guy.  He was fairly Olsenesque.  Which is now a word.

I don't care whether Jimmy Olsen is black. Or has red hair or freckles.

I care that he seems like... Jimmy Olsen.

Jimmy Olsen was frankly, a geek. He was a stand-in for the comic book reader, a Superman fan but one who got to hang out with Superman. He had an unreasonably high opinion of his own abilities and his biggest power was lack of foresight.   Jimmy Olsen was a mess, but he was a mess that readers could identify with.  Was he a little goofier than you? Maybe.  Was he occasionally smarter at some crazy Silver Age last minute idea that save the day? Probably.

But Jimmy Olsen was not an underwear model who's two inches taller than Superman>

I'd really really like to identify with that.  But I can't.

ALL they had to do to make this work smoothly was NOT make him Jimmy Olsen. Make him Richard Malverne, who actually WAS Supergirl's love interest.  

Supergirl needs a man like this in her story (don't we all?!).  But she deserves her own, not one borrowed from her cousin's storyline for the sake of name recognition.  It's one thing to do that on the Flash with the likes of Cisco Ramone and Linda Park; it's quite another to do it with Jimmy Olsen, who's know to the entire viewing public.


John said...

I get what you're saying, but I don't know if I can agree with it. Partly, the creative team made me care about Green-expletive-Arrow and made the Flash fun. Partly...wasn't this the opposite argument against Michael Keaton as Batman? Too goofy, too nerdy, too thin, so the movie was going to tank.

It's all in the acting and the direction.

And c'mon, Jimmy Olsen had every side job imaginable. If we never read the story where he was an underwear model, it's only because they couldn't convince the artist to draw it or the Comics Code prudes rejected it...

Being more associated with the core Superman franchise is a bigger worry, but they might have a better story behind it than the various Smallville introductions. Or maybe (like Arrow freely pillages the Batman stables) they're just going to pretend Superman doesn't exist.

SallyP said...

Jimmy Olsen needs to be able to wear a wig, a skirt and high heels, and make it WORK! I don't know if this rather beautiful young man could pull that off.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy Olsen probably shouldn't be built like Superman. If he's physically imposing, it suggests he can take care of himself without difficulty, which is so totally not Jimmy Olsen.

I get to thinking of Mehcad Brooks as Superman, though: he's got the physique and the smile. Which makes me think, maybe DC ought to do a thing where Superman actually becomes black, Middle Eastern, etc for a little while. That way it sort of "blesses" the notion of Superman being any color you want him to be.

I'm not sure how to explain this away without it being stupid, so I think we need to embrace the stupid and invoke Cei-U the Thunderbolt, Master of Granting Unintentional Wishes, wherever the hell he is in comics these days:

Random Mob Grumbling: Superman doesn't care about minorities.

Johnny Thunder: Say you guys, it doesn't matter what Superman looks like, he's still the same hero underneath.

Thunderbolt: It's a deal! Superman can look like ANYONE now.

Clark Kent would soon discover that he doesn't have to change clothes and take off the glasses -- he can just think about it and he's Superman, but with a face that changes every so often. And his opinion ... ? "Actually ... this is probably a GOOD thing."

CobraMisfit said...

Perhaps "Superman's Pal" will now become "Superman's Workout Partner".

Scipio said...

"Jimmy Olsen needs to be able to wear a wig, a skirt and high heels, and make it WORK! "

End of argument!

Bryan L said...

End of argument!

Agreed. Sally wins.

SallyP said...

I just like Jimmy's fashion sense.

Brian said...

Frankly, I want one of the Jimmy Olsens to eventually actually be played by a guy with red hair and freckles. In the rare occasion (like Daredevil) wear they don't change the redheaded male character's look, they hire a brunet and color his hair lest he actually look like one of us gingers! We may not have souls, but we have feelings, you know!

Slaughter said...

I don't get the USAmerican obsession with DIVERSITY!!!111 Want more black people? Make more new characters or reuse old ones. The right ones, mind. Its not like there's a lack of good black characters in DC - Steel, Black Lightning, Mr. Terrific, Vixen, Cyborg etc.

Lord knows that Cyborg in the league is a POSER, and that his place rightfully belongs to the original DC black super-hero - Black Lightning. Cyborg in the league doesn't make sense without all the titans catchet he had.

Slaughter said...

Anyway, this guy doesn't look like Jimmy Olsen. This is even worse than black Johnhy Storm, its the equivalent of casting Stalone as Superman. The actor doesn't look like the role. Black Jimmy Olsen should look like a black nerdish guy, not a model.

Anyway, I think the problem is that they've been losing Jimmy Olsen for decades. Nobody knows how to work that dude in a plot properly since the triangle era of Superman comics.

I have been reading some of the old Jimmy Olsen material as part of Kirby's Fourth World stuff I got recently, and boy, Jimmy Olsen is a geek, true, but he's one hell of a canny, bold lad at the same time.

Jimmy Olsen used to be the kind of guy who, through his blundering, took over a techno-biker gang (accidentally, because he punched out their leader during a fight, and they went by you punch it, you brought it rules) and then had his new-found gang shoots Superman with kryptonite rays because he wants to keep following a story.