In Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, Pivoting to Video Is Perilous

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Long, long ago, plucky youngsters like Jimmy Olsen with an affinity for the written word (or photography) and butting into other peoples’ business could build successful careers as journalists if they had the right gumption and know-how. But in today’s cutthroat media landscape, it takes a lot more than a dorky grin and a bowtie to keep the lights on.

DC’s new series Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, from writer Matt Fraction and artist Steve Lieber, is a timely update to Curt Swan and Stan Kaye’s original series from the ’50s. It re-introduces us to a Jimmy Olsen who’s becoming all too familiar with the existential crisis plaguing legacy media organizations like the Daily Planet. While the newspaper that gave Metropolis intrepid reporters Lois Lane and Clark Kent is still respected, and beloved, the fact of the matter is: The Planet’s in trouble.

Important as it is, hard-hitting news reporting just doesn’t move papers or sell subscriptions the way it used to before the digital age. News organizations live and die by their audience’s attention, and all people seem to be interested in is watching viral videos of people doing wild and inadvisable shit. Coincidentally, doing wild, inadvisable shit on camera is one of Jimmy Olsen’s specialties, and his editors quickly recognize that the redhead’s knack for getting into trouble in public could actually be an asset. The Daily Planet’s pivoting to video, and Olsen is the paper’s crash test dummy, god help him.

Ahead of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen ‘s launch this summer, you can check out a few preview pages from the comic here:

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen hits stores this July.

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