Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen by Matt Fraction & Steve Lieber

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the field nomination form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams will feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation will be listed as well. At year’s end, the team will use that list of nominated titles to select a final list and Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are also made available on The Hub.

Cover Art

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen: Who Killed Jimmy Olsen? by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber 
DC Comics
Publication Date: October 27, 2020 
ISBN: 9781779504623

Iconic sidekick Jimmy Olsen is the focus of this comedic limited series. Jimmy is a Pulitzer award-winning photographer, a member of one of the oldest and richest families in Metropolis, and also a goofy content creator for the Daily Planet‘s website whose antics keep the newspaper in the black. However, when one of his stunts ends up destroying a major landmark, he becomes embroiled in a mystery. After an assassin “kills” his decoy body, Jimmy goes into hiding to try and solve his own murder. 

This is an offbeat, fast-paced comic with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments anchored by an interesting mystery. It definitely helps for readers to have some familiarity with DC comics and the history of Superman, but Jimmy’s shenanigans both reference his classic stories with odd transformations and include more modern hijinks (especially acting as “irresponsible blogger Timmy Olsen” while undercover in Gotham). The artwork and coloring feels like a classic Silver Age comic and is accessible and full of visual humor.

Jughead by Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson is a good read-alike that also reimagines a classic sidekick, and the chaotic storyline would appeal to fans of Gerard Way’s Doom Patrol reboot. Fans of irreverent superhero movie adaptations like Deadpool and Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) may also enjoy this trip into the weirder parts of the DC Universe. 

—Kacy Helwick

Other Nominated Titles

  • Odessa by Jonathan Hill (November 10, 2020)
  • Bad Machinery, vol. 10 by John Allison (January 26, 2021)

Want to suggest a title? Access the nomination form to read more about the requirements. 

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Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.