Lois Lane had very little time to be a reporter during the period 1960 – 1964: the Silver Age. Most of her time was spent trying to trick Superman into marriage, or fighting with Lana Lang. Along the way she had to deal with a number of Superman’s enemies, and kissed a bunch of his friends.
Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 26 gives us a flashback into Lois Lane's youth in Pittsdale. Sam and Ella Lane look much younger than they did in the story that introduced them, and Lucy is a mere baby. I don't care for this tale too much, though. It spends as much, if not more, time on young Kal-El on Krypton as it does on Lois.
Both stories run parallel, with the child causing stress and problems for the parents, and get linked by a rainbow rattler. Even at this age, Lois has a reputation for making up stories, and is by far the most enjoyable part of the tale. She is, by accident or design, highly reminiscent of Susie Thompkins, the Earth-2 Lois' niece.
Lois Lane 17 contains "An Untold Story of Lois Lane," revealing how she came to work at the Planet. It's the anniversary of her being hired (though they refrain from saying how many years), and Lois takes the opportunity to reminisce about coming to work there. Perry White made her turn in three scoops in three days to get her job. Lois recounts the impressive tasks she fulfilled all on her own.
Clark is listening, and thinks back to how he actually was the one to make her succeed at each task, even though they had not yet met. It's not my favourite story, not by a longshot. It makes it so that Lois only got her reporter job thanks to Superman's intervention, not on her own merits.
In two stories Lois got to play with Jimmy Olsen’s toys. In Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 16 Lois starts asking for a signal watch, like the one Jimmy Olsen has. Superman comes up with some excuses, but Lois clearly still wants one. So, for her birthday, Superman gives in and presents her with her own signal watch. There is a nice bit of continuity with Lucy Lane reflecting on her bad experiences with Jimmy's watch, when he loaned it to her.
And much as in that story, Lois keeps using the watch to summon Superman for situations that are not emergencies, and he gets increasingly irritated with her for wasting his time. When Lois does get captured, she doesn't use the watch, not wanting to be a pest. Superman gets completely exasperated with Lois, and they argue, which results in her throwing the watch back at him. I bet he was glad to get it back.
In issue 23 Lois talks Jimmy Olsen into allowing her to drink some of the serum he takes to become Elastic Lad. Jimmy is hesitant, and only allows Lois enough to be able to perform ten elastic acts. He does give her her own Elastic Lass costume, though. Lois wants to use her powers to track down a thief, the Wrecker, and be helpful, but guest stars keep popping up and getting in the way.
Her attempt to help Lana just winds up putting the redhead in Superman's arms, and Supergirl pops by, still a "secret weapon," and prevents Lois from killing herself on weak circus gear. But at least, with her last stretching act, she does manage to unmask and capture the Wrecker.
Of course, every so often Lois would gain super-powers on her own. In Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 21 Lois and Lana Lang both bathe in a lake reputed to endow one with super powers. You know it will work, simply because the lake gets bombed and destroyed right afterwards. This time the pair spend their time trying to outdo each other, using their powers to try to prove to Superman that they would be the better partner. It eventually just turns into a straight out catfight, which ends only when their powers wear off. Superman really just exacerbates the entire situation by refusing to choose between them.
And I have to mention the most preposterous Lois Lane story EVER! Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 42 begins as Lois gets infrared proof of Superman's identity, although she doesn't bother to look at it. Instead, she gets into a car accident and bangs her head, which turns her evil. She uses the identity evidence to blackmail Superman into marriage, and he agrees. But then Lois sprays herself with a rejuvenation formula, which turns her into a little girl. The judge refuses to marry Superman to a teenager, and so Lois sprays Superman with the formula.
Now they both look like kids, and Lois gets Superboy to fly her out to a ship whose captain she knows, so that he can perform the ceremony. Superboy causes huge waves to disrupt the ship. By the time they reach shore, they had regressed almost to infant stage, but Lois presses on with the wedding, as seen in the splash page. Jimmy Olsen and Lucy Lane serve as bridesmaid and best man, but by the time they reach the altar Lois is no long able to form words, and the wedding gets called off. Then, in the last couple of panels they both age back to normal, and Lois regains her non-evilness. It's the way it had to be, but it's still a let down after all the insanity.
Supergirl became a common guest star in this book during these years. In Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 34 Lois gets mistaken by a rich old lady for her missing daughter. Lois winds up getting to live the high life, chauffeured around in a big limo.
But the old lady is really a man, and the doctor advising Lois to go along with the delusion is also part of a criminal gang. This is a massive and complicated plot to lure Superman into a kryptonite trap, using the limo. It's not a very good story, though. Supergirl pops up at the end to help.
Lois believes that she signalled Supergirl to save Superman, but we find out that the cousins were working together, and Superman had already figured out the plot on his own. Lois doesn't even get to be the hero in her own book.
She also appears in Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 35, and the story is a complicated one, involving an aging actor and his collection of cursed wigs. Lois winds up wearing the wigs, which is weird. The actor apparently died after getting shot while wearing an Alexander Hamilton wig, so Lois is really risking death. She finds the mysterious wigmaker, and more wig related murder attempts follow.
In the end, Supergirl takes her place to smoke out the killer, who turns out to be the actor, who was also the wigmaker in disguise, because he is ALSO the leader of a big criminal gang. Busy guy.
Lois Lane is given another signal watch in issue 38, but this one does not actually come from Superman. Lois is the dupe in a complex plot to get Lois to lead the criminals to some stolen loot. Knowing that Superman is in Kandor, the criminals send a man in disguise to pretend to be Superman, and gives Lois a signal watch. They pull off a couple of fake incidents, in which Lois uses the watch and the phony comes to apparently save the day.
But as the story approaches its climax the watch gets damaged, and begins emitting a signal that summons Supergirl. I really tend not to like the resolutions that pull Supergirl in out of the blue. Too much like cheating, when you had a good premise going on without her.
Lori Lemaris would also appear in a number of issues. In Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 42 the mermaid is giving Lois a tour of Atlantis. She allows Lois to wear a time travel belt, which sends her back to the time before the city sank. She winds up dealing with men who look exactly like Clark Kent and Lex Luthor. Luthor seems to be the good guy, and she helps him until she sees the Clark double sacrifice himself to save others.
Then Lex reveals that he is really a tyrant. In their fight, not-Luthor sets off his machine, which causes massive earthquakes and flooding. Conveniently, this is when Lois' time belt brings her back. Lori also reassures Lois that the destruction she saw was localized, and the bulk of Atlantis did not sink for a long time. And it happened so slowly that the people developed tails. Because yes. Slow sinking would make people grow tails. Absolutely.
Professor Potter, whose inventions cause more problems than they help, had been a supporting character in the Superman books for a couple of years now, and makes his first appearance in this title in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 31. Potter has devised a programmable emotion detecting machine, and brings the bulky thing to the Daily Planet office, where he uses Perry White and Jimmy Olsen to show it off. They wind up attaching it to Lois and programming it for jealousy, so that a bell will ring every time she feels it. Like, unreal humiliation for poor Lois. So, as one could expect, Lois goes around through the story getting jealous, but then having to prevent the bell from ringing, or covering the sound.
When Lois sees Superman talking with Lori Lemaris, she gets Topo to use his tentacle to block the bell. This doesn't seem anything too exceptional, but Topo is from the Aquaman series. Up to this point, Aquaman's Atlantis and Lori's had been kept completely separate. Anyway, Lois spends the tale trying to master her feelings, but in the end gets laughed at by all the men when the bell goes off from a malfunction. So many of these stories are basically just big humiliating tortures for Lois.
Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 15 contains a full length tale which lives up to the images on the cover. It is not a dream, not a hoax, and not an imaginary story. But it's also one of the greatest twists in this series. The story opens on a despondent woman getting on a ship for a long cruise. She is blatantly lying about her identity, and we gather that there are romantic problems in her past. Another woman on the ship is certain that she is Lois Lane.
So would every reader, at this point. When the woman falls overboard she gets rescued. She thinks the guy who rescued her is Superman. He sure looks and acts like Superman. But there is a weird panel of telling the secret identity that is oddly coy with the reader, enough that an alert one should be figuring out that something completely different is really going on. We see the two wed, at a secret ceremony. They take a trip to the Fortress of Solitude, and then head out into space, visiting other planets as the groom shows the bride the sights. They set up home on an alien world, and have two children.
Because the children have inherited their father's powers, the man creates a serum to give the woman super powers as well, so she can discipline and control them. The story then ventures into typical Lois Lane territory, as Lana Lang kisses Superman and the woman freaks out, packing up and leaving her husband, taking the kids with her. It's at this point that Hamilton starts clearing everything up. Back at the Fortress of Solitude, the characters we have been following meet up with Superman and Lois Lane.
The guy we thought was Superman is a Kandorian, Van-Zee. He loved Lois from afar, and got enlarged simply to propose to her. She rejected him, as could pretty much be expected. Meanwhile, Syliva DeWitt was an heiress who looked like Lois Lane, and had just had her heart broken. At no time during the story did these two ever call each other, or themselves, Superman and Lois Lane. So Van-Zee returns to Kandor with Sylvia and their children. Both would return later in the year. Lois drinks the super power serum that Sylvia took, but she has a different blood type, and it doesn't work on her. Everyone is really happy at the end of this tale, except for jealous and bitter Lois.
Van-Zee and/or Sylvia would go on to appear in a number of stories in Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane, and in other Superman titles as well. They return in issue 21. The tale opens as Lois Lane dolls go on sale and become all the rage. A lifesize doll is being used in promotion, but hoods get a hold of it and rig it with a bomb. As it has gone missing, the store owner enlists Lois in pretending to be a doll version of herself, and helps prompt the doll's reactions, such as crying. To duplicate the doll's sleeping, the store owner drugs Lois. Then the knocked out Lois gets mistaken for the doll-bomb, and shipped off to the Fortress of Solitude. Waking up there, Lois spends some time poking around. She checks out Kandor, and spots Van-Zee and Sylvia, introduced in this book earlier in the year. Then silly Lois knocks over a canister containing poison gas.
She tries to switch places with a Kandorian gas eating beast, but winds up trading places with Sylvia. Fortunately, because of the super powers Van-Zee endowed her with, she is immune to the gas. While Lois waits in Kandor for Superman to show up and fix all her errors, she meets Van-Zee's brother Dik, who has taken to wearing a Superman costume. Like his brother, he too has fallen for Lois from a distance, and does his best to romance her as he shows off Kandor. Dik-Zee proposes, but before Lois can answer Superman retrieves her from Kandor. Then the last couple pages get back to the doll-bomb plot, as Superman rounds up the bad guys. This is the only time we ever see Dik-Zee.
Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 24 opens with a story in which Lois goes undercover to infiltrate the mob, after hearing of a plot to kill Superman. Lois' impersonation fails, and uses her as the bait they needed to pull off the trap. But then, just as Superman is lying there dying next to a big kryptonite rock, Lois emerges from her chair, using all manner of powers to defeat the hoods and save Superman. Superman is puzzled at who this could be, as she is clearly immune to kryptonite.
It turns out to be Sylvia, the wife of Van-Zee, who had been monitoring Lois, and took her place just before the mob grabbed her. On Earth she still has the powers Van-Zee gave her, but no kryptonite weakness, as she is human. It's not a bad twist, though not one that should ever be repeated.
Aquaman, Batman and Green Arrow guest star in Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 29. After a quick opening scene in which Krypto flies through the Metropolis sky and writes a big L, Lois starts going around throwing herself at other heroes. Green Arrow is her first target, and she starts passionately kissing him on live tv, to Lana Lang's shock.
Not stopping there, Lois then goes after Aquaman, and makes out with him, again on tv. Only after her kissing scene with Batman do we learn that this was all a way to smuggle red kryptonite grains to the Justice League members, so that they could get it to Superman, who was dying from an alien attack.
It's a really crazy roundabout route to achieve the goal, but a fun story nevertheless.
Superman’s major villains would appear in Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane during this era, Lex Luthor, Bizarro, Mr. Mxyzptlk and Brainiac. Not surprisingly, Luthor was the one to appear the most often. Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 23 introduces Lena Thorul. Perry White sends Lois to do a story on a small town with legends of witches, and while doing so she meets Lena, the local librarian. Lois notices that Lena bears a strong resemblance to a witch burned by the town long before. Then really weird things start happening. Lois' typewriter disappears in front of her, the book with the picture of the woman who looks like Lena crumbles to dust in Clark Kent's hands. Lois begins to suspect Lena really is a witch, and talks Clark into going back to the town to investigate. The story then takes a huge turn, as Lex Luthor breaks out of jail and gets involved in the tale.
We, Superman, and Lois, all discover that Lena is really Lex's younger sister, but is unaware of the relationship. Lex's parents anagrammed their last name, and then died in a car accident. Lex keeps tabs on Lena from afar, but wants her shielded and safe. Superman and Lois agree to keep Lex's secret. Lena returns in the Supergirl series in Action, becoming a semi-regular supporting character.
Lex Luthor appears in two stories in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 28. In the first, Luthor tries to kill Superman with a new gun he invented, but instead he thrusts the hero far into the future, where he meets a descendant of Lois Lane, who of course looks just like her. She has powers, but so does everyone else by this time.
She takes Superman to the ruins of the Daily Planet, where he looks to find out if he did marry Lois, but the page has crumbled to dust. When he returns to the present, he discovers that the headline wasn't even referring to him getting married.
The second is more entertaining than the first. An inventor comes to the Daily Planet claiming to have a device that can turn people evil. No one believes him, and Lois tests the machine out on herself. The next day, Lois starts going all evil. Lucy discovers that Lois has been stealing jewels as Leopard Lady, and Lois has Lucy taken captive. When Superman comes to rescue Lucy, Lois reveals that has fallen in love with Lex Luthor, and they are going to get married.
Superman escapes the death trap and follows them to the wedding, which he cannot prevent. But then he thinks back to an earlier scene, and realizes that the Lois that Luthor married is really a robot. Superman finds and frees Lois, the robot gets destroyed, and Superman takes Luthor back to prison. It's a promising story, which goes off track along the way. The robot ending is a disappointment.
In Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 43 Lois observes an electrical experiment. Returning to work, she promptly gets kidnapped by Lex Luthor, who uses her as bait in a kryptonite trap for Superman. Surprisingly, the trap works, although it winds up killing Luthor as well as Superman. Lois attends a secret funeral for the hero, held by the Kandorians, who send out a robot to replace him while they choose a successor to Superman. Lois agrees to keep the secret, so no one will know Superman had died.
Then the story suddenly reveals that Lois is on an alternate Earth, one where Atlantis did not sink. Lois even finds her doppelganger, before abruptly being sent back to her own world. Another disappointing ending.
In issue 24 Perry White sends Lois off to the Middle East on a story. Lois finds wrapping herself up is good protection against the heat, and it turns out to be a good thing that she covered her features. An assassin, who matches Lois' description exactly, tried to kill the king.
In easily my favourite scene, a stand is set up for people to examine the fingerprints of the assassin. There are pens and paper, presumably to allow one to trace the fingerprints and carry them around, for instant identification. Anyway, Lois checks her prints with the wanted woman, and they match. The poor woman is almost driven out of her mind. Then Superman shows up, and out of the blue the actual assassin reveals herself, an exiled Bizarro Lois. This Bizarro Lois wanted to be arrested so that Superman would rescue her and fall in love with her. As this failed, she throws herself off a cliff.
In Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 27 a scientist is working on a machine that stores knowledge from great minds. Lois winds up using it in reverse, gaining all the knowledge the machine had acquired, and winds up super smart, but with a big bulbous head. The story is all about her trying to hide her head, with Lucy helping out.
Although the story keeps telling us how smart Lois is, her solutions seem pretty desperate, and she never comes up with an overall solution. At the end Bizarro shows up to propose to Lois. But by then her head has returned to normal, and Bizarro is no longer interested.
In issue 32 Superman decides between Lois Lane and Lana Lang by tossing a coin. Both women are shocked that he would make his decision so randomly, but as Lois is the one to win the toss, she is not complaining. Lana takes a look at the coin, and is horrified. It's actually a pretty darn good clue as to what is going on. What Lana sees, which is revealed only at the very end, is a Bizarro face on the coin.
Bizarro has come to Earth and made himself look like Superman, although this proves not to last long. Lucky for Lois, Bizarro's face returns to normal just before the wedding. Though Lana repeatedly tried to get Lois to call off the wedding, Lois was certain this was out of jealousy. These women need to learn trust.
Lana Lang gets a job at the Planet in Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 17, writing about her days with Superboy. For no particular reason, Superman offers to share his blood with her, giving Lana super powers. She even gets a costume, and goes out using them as a heroine. Lois is sulky, but then Superman abruptly offers to give her powers, and a new costume, as well.
Because both women got the powers so easily they do not actually squabble over them, but fly around having fun, until they both feel a compulsion to go to a warehouse, which promptly explodes.
Superman then explains that, after his encounter with Brainiac the previous year in Action Comics, the villain informed Superman that he would cause Lois and Lana to go to the warehouse and get all exploded. He would be incapable of stopping this. So he decided to give them temporary powers, so they would survive. No real reason to keep it all a secret. It's not a completely fulfilling ending, but it brings back Brainiac, so it can't be all bad. This was Brainiac’s second overall appearance.
In Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 29 Lois adopts the disguise of a glamourous blonde in pursuit of a story, only to find Superman fall madly in love with her. Lois is not pleased about the situation, but also finds it hard to bring it to an end, especially when Superman proposes. Lucy and Lana both have concerns about Lois duping Superman this way. And Lois herself starts to wonder at how out of character his behaviour is. When Superman agrees to marriage despite the risks to the woman's life from his enemies, Lois knows he is not in his right mind.
Simply because of the very small number of powered enemies that Superman has at this time, Lois then figures out it must be Mr. Mxyzptlk controlling the hero's mind, and gets him to say his name backwards.
Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 19 sees the introduction of an "Imaginary" series about Superman and Lois Lane. As opposed to the real series about Superman and Lois Lane. The title, Mr. and Mrs. Superman, would go on to be used later for the "real" stories in which the Earth-2 versions of the characters did get married. In real life! In Lois' fantasy she finally accepts Clark's proposal, and he reveals that he is Superman. She is so happy when they wed, but things take a downturn. Apparently reporters had no social status in 1960, as Lois is looked down upon by other wives. She takes pride in her husband's accomplishments, but cannot share them. Oh, it goes without saying that she quits her job once she is married.
Lois needs to lie to those closest to her. Superman gives her a gift of a colour changing dress, but when her sister Lucy expresses interest, Lois has to destroy the dress rather than expose her husband's secret. She also has to stand by while the publicly single Superman gets the adoration of women. The simple fact that this delves into the things that would bother the Lois of this period, rather than jumping into villains or super powers, makes the imaginary story feel more real than most real stories about these imaginary characters.
Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 20 loosely continues from the tale in the previous issue, and winds up having the same downcast mood to it. Superman reveals to his wife that he has a cousin, Supergirl, who is currently stuck in an orphanage. Lois agrees to adopt the girl, and Linda is thrilled to have a family. Lois winds up feeling left out, not being able to share having powers, but the real problem comes from the adoption inspector.
She happens by at the worst moments, and misinterprets what she sees as Lois abusing the girl. Once again, it plays out the "real" problems that these characters would have, and the stories carry a stronger emotional weight. Lois winds up losing custody of Supergirl, after her repairs to a robot are mistaken as a beating. Nobody winds up happy at the end of this one.
The third Mr. and Mrs. Superman tale appears in issue 23, and is not much cheerier than the first two. This one deals more with Lois being alone and bored, despite having two kids to raise. Superman is always off helping other people, and repeatedly getting kissed by Lana Lang. Lois decides she wants to go back to work. She tries at the Planet, but Perry misunderstands and offer to give Clark a raise if they need more money.
Lois tries another paper, but is told point blank that they do not hire married women. That's kind of mind blowing. Women are meant to be baby factories, not working humans. Lois is reduced to tears by the end of the story, unable to find work, feeling useless beside her super powered children, and neglected by her hero husband. Marriage has not turned out to be the fantasy she dreamed of at all.
Because Lois is just so miserable, Superman decides to publicly announce their marriage in Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 25. They get presents and congratulations from all over. JFK and Jackie even cameo. Only Lana Lang seems upset. But things do not turn out well at all.
Criminals keep trying to kill Lois, and Superman gives them a hyper secure house, and makes Lois travel around in a bubble car, as seen on the cover. When Lois forgets her key, she has to break in to her house, and her own security attacks her. A gift for the Interplanetary Zoo winds up destroying their entire house. As with every other chapter of this story, Lois gets her wishes, and her life winds up worse than before. This time, though, the tale ends with her and Superman in an embrace, giving it a more hopeful feeling.
Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 26 looks at a different alternate reality, one in which Superman married Lana Lang. Lana Lang stumbles across Superman's secret identity. After telling him about this, she asks him to erase her memory of it, so she wouldn't accidentally give it away. Superman is so moved by this that he proposes, and she accepts. A Clark Kent robot not only stands in for him at the wedding, but even thinks about the fact that Lois does not know it is a robot.
Because Lana has the same blood type as Sylvia, he is able to give her powers. And not having a vulnerability to kryptonite makes her able to rescue Superman.
This makes the media mock the hero, and even Superman loses confidence in himself, now that his wife is more powerful than he is. To help him regain his self respect, Lana leaves him, and Earth. Another downer.
Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 34 explores a future in which Luthor kidnaps Lois and brings her to a planet where he gets altered from evil to good. Neither Superman nor Lois is fully prepared to trust him, until he saves Lois' life, when Superman is busy off planet. Lois winds up falling in love with Luthor, and despite Superman's protests, they marry.
Superman marries Lana Lang on the rebound, but she only gets a couple of panels. Lex and Lois have a child, and the story jumps up to his teenage years. While Luthor has stayed on the straight and narrow, the son is a mass of problems.
Luthor invents a machine that gives Lois eternal youth. When Luthor discovers that his son has become a criminal, he tries to stop him, but winds up getting killed. So Lois gets yet another unhappy ending, with a dead husband and a son on the run, wanted for murder.
Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 46 follows up that tale. The story begins with action, before jumping back into a long recap of the earlier outing. Larry Luthor, the son of Lois and Lex, had run away into space at the end of his debut tale, after killing his father. Now, he leads a team of space pirates, and raids a ship that his mother is on. Lois, having been granted eternal youth by one of Lex's inventions, now appears much younger than Superman, who shows up to stop Larry, who flees with the rest of his crew. The brief mention in the earlier tale of Superman marrying Lana Lang and giving her powers gets developed more extensively here.
Superman and Lana now have a teenage, super-powered daughter, Joan, who is interested in Larry Luthor. The fact that Larry is now bald and evil both seem to make him more desirable to Joan. Joan flies out and tries to seduce Larry, coating her lips with an anti-evil formula. But she just winds up kissing an android. Larry takes Joan captive. Things get more complicated when Ironclaws, one of Larry's crew, turns on his boss and tries to kill him. Lois is willing to sacrifice her life to save her child. Larry winds up having to save his mother, and this changes him.
He helps bring in Ironclaws, and winds up even getting his hair back. Larry and Joan become a couple, and for once we get an actual happy ending to one of these stories!
Lois Lane continues in the next period, 1964 – 1967: the New Look.
Lois Lane: Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 15 - 48 (Feb 60 – April 64)