Romance Special: The Star-Crossed Love of Jimmy Olsen Junior! (Or: Maeby Not)

In the run-up to this year’s Valentine’s Day, we’ve already seen that the romantic abilities of one James Olsen simply cannot be contained by mere space and time, spilling over into the world of the Imaginary Story. Sadly, that sort of thing doesn’t appear to be hereditary.

Or at least, that’s what you can learn from the pages of another imaginary story of amorous adventure from the pages of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #56 in a story that finds him in what is undoubtedly a loveless marriage with comics’ greatest harridan, Lucy Lane. What’s more, he and the shrew are even raising a son, the imaginatively named Jimmy Olsen Jr–or as I like to call him, “The Deuce”–who finds himself mired in his own impassioned entanglements with a super-powered lass. But whereas Pops was able to find happiness with Supergirl in our previous story, James the Lesser has a whole new set of problems…





Seriously, it blows my mind every time I see this thing that this cover went through at least three people–including Jerry Siegel, Kurt Schaffenberger and editor Mort Weisinger–saw this and thought it would be a fine idea to just slap up a cover with two people in the throes of passion while their mothers–who are sisters–look on with emotions that are far more mild than the situation warrants. And what’s more, not only isn’t it mentioned on the cover, but nobody even thinks to bring it up in the actual story, either. Truly, 1961 was a different time.

Then again, given Superman’s own history “exploring the House of El,” it probably shouldn’t be that much of a surprise.

“But Chris,” you may well be saying to yourself, “Surely there’s some kind of explanation offered up, isn’t there?”

Short answer, no. Long answer, well…

The whole thing gets started in the vague, 50s-style future of rocketry and atomic science when Jimmy the Deuce gets home from conquering outer spaaaaace to find that he’s just in time for a dance being held at the Daily Planet, because, you know, there’s apparently no news to report in The Future, either. Regardless, there’s a catch to the festivities, and that’s that Jimmy’s going to be the date of one Lola Kent–you know, his cousin–the daughter of Jimmy Sr.’s pal Clark:



What Jimmy Jr. doesn’t know–wait. That’d take hours. One of the things that Jimmy Jr. doesn’t know, however–and something Pops Olsen hasn’t been able to figure out after all these years–is that Clark of course is Superman, and Lola has her own crime-fighting identity as Supermaid.

And he also doesn’t know that she’s got a crush on him.



Or maybe he wasn’t interested BECAUSE HE’S HER COUSIN.

Ah well. What harm can one dance do?

Plenty, as it turns out. See, the Deuce–while originally more attracted to Super-Maid, who saves him from a very atomic explosion–proves that Jerry Siegel was decades ahead of his time and the rise of the ’80s teen movie by seeing past Lola’s glasses and to le cousin dangereaux beneath.

Sadly–which is to say, thankfully–not everyone approves of their newfound romance:



Ah, Superman! Always the moral center of the DCU! Surely he’s stepping in to stop things BECAUSE THEY’RE COUSINS, right?

Well, no, actually. Instead, he gives Lola the same old line about James the Lesser being in constant danger if the world should learn she’s Supermaid, which really ought to be a tertiary concern at this point.

Anyway, even the edicts of a mild-mannered reporter can’t stop the Deuce when he puts his mind to something, and while he’s trying to talk her into a union that even the good people of Alabama wouldn’t approve of, he acidentally discovers her secret identity, and before you can say “three-eyed super-baby,” they elope.

But not, it seems, before taking precautions:



Ladies and gentlemen… what has science done?!

Yes, thanks to the Larimus Parnae–an anagram, incidentally, for “Superman: A Liar” (also: “Samurai Planer” and the far more telling “Manual Repairs”)–Jimmy 2: Electric Boogaloo is able to overcome the last obstacle to their happiness, with the exception of THE FACT THAT THEY ARE–aw, you know where I’m going with this.

Superman’s so pleased with the results of the Malaria Prunes potion that he ends up revealing his identitiy–and Supermaid’s, of course–to the whole world, secure in the knowledge that nobody will think of insulting the unsavory breeding practices of an entire passel of super-aristocrats. And he’s right, until someone finally comes to their senses.



Lex Luthor, everybody! As always, the voice of reason.

61 thoughts on “Romance Special: The Star-Crossed Love of Jimmy Olsen Junior! (Or: Maeby Not)

  1. Doesn’t Clark have a history of creepy scenes with his own first-cousin Kara?

    Maybe they just keep it in the family on Krypton.

  2. I really wanted to say something snarky about the Superman Family’s penchant for sexual deviance but now that I have seen a girl who looks like Liz Lemon and wears Supergirl underoos under her clothes I’m just too in love. Really, like the Peer Gynt suite is playing in my head and my eyes have turned into hearts.

  3. They may be cousins and all, first cousins even, but, hey, at least they’re different species.

    That should be enough genetic diversity to prevent an inbred superkid, yeah?

    I’m with Tim C., though. Supermaid is wicked hot.

  4. It will undoubtedly shock you to learn that “larimus parnae” is not actually Latin at all, as neither of those words exist. I can only assume that the writer of this tale hurriedly typoed the similarly spelled “laridum pernae,” which is actually the Latin term for bacon lard. (Which refutes the scientific basis of this story, because, let’s face it: if bacon fat gave you super-powers, America would be replete with mutants.)

    Additionally, points for the reference to James the Lesser, the saddest of all apostles.

  5. First cousin marriage isn’t that odd; the regional American taboos against it are odder, really. It’s certainly legal in my state (and for most US citizens, for that matter.) The laws are basically a freaky leftover of 19th century misunderstanding of genetics.

  6. Chris, perhaps Kryptonians knew what human SCIENCE just recently found out, see: “An Association Between the Kinship and Fertility of Human Couples” in: Science, 2008, Vol. 319. no. 5864, pp. 813 – 816.
    The authors find that you get to have more children if you are related. Perhaps Superman just did not want too many grandchildren…

  7. That’s James BARTHOLOMEW Olsen, to you! (sorry, it just had to be said)

    Niven’s “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex” nonwithstanding, things could get…messy on their wedding night, y’know. Kryptonian Kegel exercises…YOW

  8. Actually what I like with this is that when they’re sent a LEAD BOX as a present they don’t hesitate to gather the ENTIRE FAMILY to open it.

    Hey we got a present from parties unknown, lets open it up where any problems it causes can get all of us at once.

  9. The thing is that unless Superman wanted to get it on with phantom zone villainesses is pretty much resigned to cousin interbreeding if he wants there to be any future Kryptonians. It isn’t unheard of for a species to come back from a single mating pair (there are theories that this happened in the past to cheetahs, for example).

    Unless of course you expect that somehow humans and Kryptonians can interbreed and I think we all have read Niven’s essay on that…

  10. I love the looks of pure maliciousness that Jimmy has when he unvelas the potion that will give the super powers. Like he has some real sinister plans already forming.

    And the fact the Superman looks like a stunned Don Flamengo from Punch-Out in that panel.

  11. “(I)f bacon fat gave you super-powers, America would be replete with mutants.”

    Take a good look around, Benito….;)

  12. I’m shocked and stunned that neither Chris nor any of the commentators so far has seen fit to touch the obvious gag that Seigel and Weisinger have gift-wrapped and served up on a silver platter with that cover, the one about “Their marriage will be unhappy… when he discovers… she’s secretly supermaid!” add Lola’s old maid-ish appearance, and consider that this was produced before a bevy of 80s movies indoctrinated us that geek girls are hot, and I can’t help but think of an invulnerable half-Kryptonian maidenhood barricading the way to martial bliss.

  13. “The laws are basically a freaky leftover of 19th century misunderstanding of genetics.”

    Indeed. It now goes

    1/ Standard view of genetics = don’t marry your cousin
    2/ Half of the US’s view of genetics = don’t marry your cousin
    3/ The other half of the US’s view on genetics = I can’t wait for my cousin to place a ring on my 6 fingered hand.

    (And even if we discount the genetic theory, it doesn’t say much for your people skills if the only person you can convince to marry you is already related.)

  14. I think, as Jake pointed out, the worst thing is that being cousins is completely unnecessary to the plot.

    Lucy Lane, on top of being a hateful shrew, has like three lines in the whole story, and if she’d been replaced with ANYONE else (up to and including Holga, robot viking hottie), all of the problems go away.

  15. Hey, every Superman Family X-Mas has a stack of lead-lined presents under the Kryptonian tree-equivalent. It’s the only way to keep ’em a surprise!

  16. “Let me explain something to you, pops. Um, I am not ‘Jimmy Olsen’. You’re Jimmy Olsen. I’m The Deuce. So that’s what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Deuceness, or uh, Deucer, or El Deucerino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.”

  17. For the love of baseball, apple pie, and the American Dream, please do not let Ultimate Captain America read this comic.

  18. 1/ Standard view of genetics = don’t marry your cousin
    2/ Half of the US’s view of genetics = don’t marry your cousin
    3/ The other half of the US’s view on genetics = I can’t wait for my cousin to place a ring on my 6 fingered hand.
    Is this actual science backing this up, or just “what I heard is more valid than what you heard”?
    Inter-family relationships cause problems because certain genetic diseases are caused by recessive genes. Genes come in pairs, so you’ll only be affected if you receive the recessive gene from both your mother and father. This is obviously more likely with more similarities in their genetic code.
    For first cousins, half their genetic code is from a completely different source, and there will be differences between the parents who are related. Therefore the chances of recessive genetic diseases are not much more serious than marrying anyone else from your own genetic background.
    The major problem is that if it becomes a *trend*, eventually probability dictates that you’ll get people with these recessive diseases, and if you’ve got them, that means that your children will definitely be at least “carriers” (one good gene, one bad gene), even if you marry outside the family, and if you marry inside, the chances are very high they’ll be affected.

    Frankly, in a relationship that includes Kryptonian and Olsen DNA, I’m pretty certain any genetic diseases will be from the ALIEN HUMAN HYBRID thing.

  19. Didn’t anyone else take literature classes in college? Unless it’s Victorian England, falling in love with your cousin is Not Cool.

  20. Title match for the Intergalactic VOICE OF REASON:




    Winner will thumb-wrestle Lyndon LaRouche.

  21. It could be worse, Chris. At least no one has brought up the question of whether same-sex cousins should be allowed to marry, or just mess around. That whole recessive-gene-taboo argument is pretty much right out the window there…

  22. You should huff gamma irradiated fuel drums instead. Slightly less brain damage, about fifty times the chance of developing super powers and only twenty times the risk of head cancer!

  23. This whole comments section is so damn absurd that I’m gonna pee. The only thing I’d like to add is that the great thing about the Kryptonian maidenhead is the lovely…oh, er…NOT ever again, right.

    Sorry, Chris.

  24. Looks like I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue.

    Get your finger out of your ear! You don’t know where that finger’s been!

  25. I suppose that posing the question, “Why didn’t Luthor use that ‘strange gas’ on Superman about 30 years earlier?” would only be met with the following reply:

    Because Jerry Siegel. Dammit.

  26. Hey, all I said was that between extinction and incest then incest is generally the preferred choice.

    Oddly enough I read a story a few days ago where the author advocated incest justifying it with an argument that boiled down to “We do it all the time with dogs to breed better dogs.” That just raised the question for me if that writer was familiar with the lengthy list of medical problems that most pure-bred dogs have…

  27. Wow…Lots of comments here. Frankly, I’m not certain that the actually probability of getting genetic diseases is as much of a factor in incest taboos as you’d think. While cultural taboos may have pragmatic origins, they are essentially self-sustaining and become disassociated with the original cause. Therefore: Cousin coupling is creepy because society says so and that’s perfectly reasonable. Genetics is actually irrelevant because it’s a cultural thing. And as everyone involved in this story was raised in America, they inherited the same cultural taboos and should find it creepy. The fact they don’t appear to (and find it such a nonissue that they don’t even have to defend it) becomes some kind of bizarre rebellion that grates on everyone’s sensibilities.

  28. “If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister” by Theodore Sturgeon argues that the key to utopia is incest. Apparently it was something in the water back in the 1960s or something.

  29. Personally I’m looking forward to hearing about the freakazoids who stumble on the ISB after googling “fucking cousins”.

  30. As bad as it is to do one’s cousin, I think we all can agree to one thing.

    Marrying Lucy Lane is worse.

  31. Jebediah: People, our search is over! On this site we shall build a new town where we can worship freely, govern justly, and grow vast fields of hemp for making rope and blankets.

    Shelbyville: Yes, and marry our cousins.

    Jebediah: I was — what are you talking about, Shelbyville!? Why would we want to marry our cousins?

    Shelb.: Because they’re so attractive. I, I thought that was the whole point of this journey.

  32. And as everyone involved in this story was raised in America, they inherited the same cultural taboos and should find it creepy.

    By that logic, our parents and their parents were right to be racist homophobes since mixed marriages and homosexuality are only recently NOT cultural taboos.

    Face it, the only people creeped out by cousins getting it on just don’t have hot cousins. Or they’re just prudes!

  33. Are we sure that the mother is Lucy Lane? It is a hot blonde on the cover, but does the story positively identify her as Lucy? Maybe Jimmy hooks up with some other hot blonde that just looks like Lucy? Just a thought.

  34. LJM–Please, please tell me you’re joking about being grossed out by incest being the same thing as being racist or homophobic. Because it sounds like that’s what you’re saying, and that’s just insane.

  35. Yes, she is positively identified as Lucy–although to be fair, she’s never actually called Lucy Lane.

    I’m pretty sure she’s referred to as Lois’s sister, though.

  36. I kind of love that the incest conversation has taken on a life of its own, but assuming that that is Lucy Lane, is it stated that she’s the mom of Deuce? Maybe Jimmy’s first wife died tragically?

    SPECIAL BONUS HYPOTHETICAL: Maybe Junior’s bio-mom was Supergirl and so he and Supermaid are only second cousins by way of Jor-El and Zor-El’s father. That’s only half as gross!

  37. I’m not sure which is funnier, Superman pointing out that Lex Luthor is his arch enemy to people who obviously know that, or DC pointing it out to readers of Jimmy Olsen, who obviously know that.

  38. “Face it, the only people creeped out by cousins getting it on just don’t have hot cousins. Or they’re just prudes!”

    Or they meet people outside of rodeos and barn dances.

    Anyway, according to a study done by the university of Washington, the chances of having a child with a serious genetic disease are increased by 1.8 to 2.8%. If that’s acceptable to you, then… no sorry, it’s still wrong wrong wrong.

  39. Wow, it must be the future. Lola’s wearing lycra warm-up shorts, years before they were invented.

    It’s like we’re an imperfect template of their world.

  40. Actually there can be a lot of problems by marrying your cousin. I recall some time ago, reading in the news about some arab or paki group that encourages marriage with cousins and they have a really high rate of miscarriages or disfigurement.

    Let’s do the science: Lola has a Lane-X chromosome (+X-Clark chromosome). Jimmy Jr has a Lane-X chromosome (+Y-Jimmy chromosome). There’s a 1/4 chance a kid would get an entirely lane combination. And this isn’t even taking into account any recessive disorders that Lola and Lois both carry but were lucky enough to miss out on. (shrug)


    Err. So what? It’s not as if they’re brother and sister or father and daughter. If it’s not incest (and it’s not), why all the fuss? I guess it must be some American thing.

  42. “LJM–Please, please tell me you’re joking about being grossed out by incest being the same thing as being racist or homophobic. Because it sounds like that’s what you’re saying, and that’s just insane.”

    Oh please, such a transparent demagoguery. He merely implied that the taboos change. Your ancestors had taboos against homosexuals and racial intermarriage. You have a (weird) taboo against cousin marriage. That says nothing about whether these taboos are abhorrent or not.

  43. Nah, cousins getting together is fine – I think my godfather’s brother married their cousin. It doesn’t really bother me. Some of you guys are so freaking judgemental! It’s not hurting you, so why get all down on cousins who want to get it on? Squares.