Lois Lane has been around as long as Superman has, debuting in the Siegel and Shuster story in Action 1 alongside the hero. Over the years she has been portrayed as an upstart sob sister trying to do a man’s job, a Superman-hungry manipulator, willing to do anything to get her man to marry her, and a courageous investigative reporter, working with the police to stop crime and wading into fights as though she were a martial artist. A new Lois Lane ongoing series has just launched, so I think it’s worth looking back at the various series, miniseries, and one-shots that Lois has starred in over the years. I will not be paying much attention to appearances in other Superman books, nor will this be delving into the Mr and Mrs Superman series, from Superman Family.
When we first meet Lois Lane, she is already working at the newspaper, originally the Daily Star, later the Daily Planet. She writes advice to the lovelorn, while longing for real newspaper work. She is willing to risk her life for a story, and also thinks nothing of lying to Clark to steal a story out from under him. She is portrayed as fully capable of doing a “man’s job,” but must constantly fight to be allowed to do so. Her willingness to jump into the danger results in Superman coming to help her out. After a couple of rescues, she realizes she has fallen in love with Superman. Meanwhile, Clark Kent has fallen for her, and even takes her out on a date, but to preserve his secret identity he acts like a coward. Lois has nothing but contempt for him. When Clark first learns of Lois's feelings for Superman he has to go off and laugh to himself. This dynamic between the characters was set early on, and would continue for decades.
In Superman 28 Lois Lane got her own series, “Girl Reporter,” which ran for the next couple of years in the interior pages of the book, appearing in issues 28, 30 – 40, and ending with issue 42. The series, originated by Don Cameron and Ed Dobrotka, was intended to be along the lines of the Adventures of Alfred strip appearing in Batman. Light and humourous tales. But the sexism prevalent in this strip gives it a much heavier character, at least to a modern reader. In story after story, all the male staff at the Daily Planet, including both Clark Kent and Perry White, openly dismiss Lois because of her gender, and refuse to take her seriously. Rather than a funny series, Lois Lane, Girl Reporter reads like a strip about a woman who faces unceasing discrimination, but never lets it get to her, and consistently proves herself to the men around her, even if they never acknowledge it. Frederic Ellsworth and Sam Citron would also contribute to the series during its run.
In her the first story, Lois sent out by Perry White to cover a jumper on a ledge. Jimmy Olsen cameos in the first and last panels, though if she had not used his name, his identity would not have been obvious. Heading on to the ledge to talk him down, Lois instead gets frustrated with the man and encourages him to jump. She then falls off the building herself. Lois survives the fall by fluke, although she seems to take credit for it, all proud that she succeeded at surviving without Superman's help.
It's not a really auspicious start to her solo series, but at least it sets the tone that this is about Lois as a reporter, not as an appendage to Superman.
Lois Lane’s second outing is more impressive than her first, as she is sent out on an assignment she finds humiliating, to write a “household hints” column. Heading to the bakery, Lois gets suspicious when she sees known criminals going in and out. When she tries to buy a loaf of bread on the counter, and it is taken away from her, she knows she is on the right track. A little persistence, and Lois discovers that an illegal lottery is being run through the bakery, with the lottery slips concealed in the bread. She alerts the police, and turns her “woman’s assignment” into a front page scoop. That’s how it’s done, Lois! This story also introduces Steve Bard, an obnoxious and sexist reporter, the prototype for the Bronze Age Steve Lombard. He would be the only supporting character introduced in Lois’ first series.
Lois Lane gets her best adventure so far in Superman 33. The police and some male reporters pass off a phone call from a woman, calling about a stolen piggy bank, to Lois. The men all think this is just some hysterical woman, but when Lois listens to her story, she discovers that a diamond necklace was in the bank. She gets evidence as to who the thief was, tracks him down, and then entraps him, enticing him into helping her with a gem theft. At the climax, she even takes down the gang herself, throwing suits of armor at them. This Lois don’t need no Superman to get a story.
In Superman 40 Perry White sends Steve Bard out to investigate some silk thefts, while Lois is sent to cover a kite meet. Lois spots a kite made of silk, and, questioning the boy, gets on the trail of the hidden bolts. She even uses the silk to take down the thieves.
Lois Lane’s series comes to an end in Superman 42. She is walking with her rival reporter, Steve Bard, and they see an odd confrontation in front of a house with a moving van. Steve has no interest, but Lois does. Lois uncovers a furniture theft ring, follows the thieves to a bowling alley, lacquered the balls so the get their fingers stuck, and then throws pins at the rest. She gets a front page story, but Steve still disses her.
Lois Lane’s series ended as a result of a page reduction, the same way Alfred’s did in Batman. Steve Bard would vanish from the Daily Planet staff, although he would make a return in a Mrs. and Mrs. Superman story in Superman Family in the 80s.
It would be nice to be able to state that when Lois moved into her own book, following a two issue launch in Showcase, the stories continued to develop the character as a hard hitting reporter, fighting against the sexism of the era. But that was not the case. The title of her book, Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane, was a clear indicator of that.
Like her earlier series, the stories in this book did tend towards a more humourous bent than Lois’ appearances in the main Superman titles. And the series was extremely popular for much of it’s long run. The two Showcase issues, 8 and 9, appeared in 1957, and her own book ran for 137 issues, from March/April 1958 to September/October 1974. Kurt Schaffenberger would define the look of the series, though others, such as Irv Novick, would contribute over the years. Writers would include Otto Binder, E Nelson Bridwell, Leo Dorfman, and Robert Kanigher.
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.
Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 55 contains an "untold story" of Lois Lane's days attending Raleigh College. This is another story which consists of Lois talking about her achievements in the days before she met Superman, while Superman reveals that he was really behind every situation. In this case, he relates the truth of the events to Jimmy. So, as before, this leaves Lois as a pure dupe of Superman, and not able to do anything notable on her own. There is very little pleasure to be taken in finding out that the things she is most proud of were not the result of her actions at all. But at least we learn where she went to school.
Lois returns to Raleigh College for a reunion in issue 69, only to find her former classmates all married with children. A reclusive millionaire gives Lois an interview on his private island, and she discovers that the man has loved her from afar. And in a really creepy way, too, having robots built of her, dressed the ways he "dreamed" of her. But this doesn't bother Lois, who is blown away by the man's vast wealth and devotion to her. But in the end, she decides not to marry him, that she wants to wait until Superman is ready. Then, surprise, the millionaire was really Superman all along! Just another evil mind game he is playing on Lois. He succeeded in getting her to say she would wait till he was ready. Nyah nyah nyah! Gotcha!
With the first couple of years of the book’s run, Lois Lane’s sister, Lucy, and her parents, Sam and Ella, would be introduced. While Lucy Lane would become a regular supporting player, both in this book and in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen, in which she had an on again off again romance with the cub reporter, the parents would only appear occasionally. Lucy made her bow first, in Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 9, which sees everyone turn on Lois after she publishes an article revealing that Clark Kent is Superman. Perry White is furious with her for bypassing him, but Lois has no idea how the story made it into the print basket. She had written it, but months earlier, and discarded it. But now she has angry Perry and Jimmy to deal with, as well as Clark, who admitted to being Superman. You just know there has to be a big twist to all of this, and there is. It was all part of a set up to get Lois to the live taping of This is Your Life, with Ralph Edwards.
Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 13 introduces Sam and Ella Lane. We learn that Lois is from the town of Pittsdale, and has been invited back home for the 100th anniversary of the town's newspaper. Lois cannot get a flight, not even with Lucy trying to use her influence. Superman agrees to fly Lois out to Pittsdale, and is then invited by Sam and Ella to stick around for a while. Sam tries to talk to Superman about marrying Lois, and this conversation gets overheard and misconstrued by a nosy neighbour, who starts spreading the rumour that the pair are in town to wed. Remarkably, both Superman and Lois act really mature and responsible about the situation, neither trying to use it to their advantage. Superman does not want to humiliate Lois or her family by backing out, while Lois does not want to trap Superman into marriage, for once. They decide to play along, all the way up to the ceremony. Lucy Lane helps save the day, co-ordinating a fly by to take place and drown out the wedding vows. Superman then explains he has to get going, and flies off with Lois, leaving everyone confused, but no one embarrassed.
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’s family is also important in the story from issue 71, in which Lois gets blackmailed. It's Lucy Lane who figures out that something is wrong with her sister, after Lois starts acting all strange. Lucy shares her suspicions with Clark Kent, who quickly determines that Lois really is paying someone off. He cannot imagine what Lois could have in her past worth blackmailing, and pays a visit to Sam and Ella Lane. Going through Lois' things, we see a model of her riding a float as Queen of Perfection. Geez. No wonder Lois has such an attitude. It turns out that Lois is paying off a blackmailer to conceal evidence that Superman callously murdered a group of people. Once Superman finds this out, he explains to Lois that he was really just killing off alien criminals in disguise who had already been sentenced for execution on their homeworld. It's still a bit of a stretch for a hero who never kills, but nothing worth paying blackmail over.
Right from the start, the series had Lois fantasizing about one day marrying Superman. In her debut try out issue, in Showcase 9, Lois gets knocked out, and while she sleeps, she dreams of being married to Superman. The doctor warns that hero that if her dream is too desirable, she will never wake up. So Superman keeps whispering suggestions into her ear, prompting the dream into bad situations. The way she would feel neglected by him rushing off to help people, or the difficulties in raising a super-baby. But Lois always feels that being married to Superman is worth it. It's only when he pays on her jealousy, having him get a kiss from a beautiful woman he has saved, that she wakes from her dream.
The opening story from her second try out issue, Showcase 10 is of a type that would become a mainstay in her own book, a tale in which Lois tries to trick Superman into marrying her. In this case, prompted by her friend Millie, Lois enlists the aid of a young actor to pretend that they have run off and gotten married, in hopes that Superman will realize what he lost. When she tells him she is not really married, her hope is that he will propose. It's not a very good plan, and it doesn't work. Superman believes it, and is crushed but supportive. When he winds up saving the life of the actor, the guy repents of his part and tells Superman the truth. Then the two guys pretend to fight over Lois, just so that Superman can get some revenge on her for hurting him. These two are so screwed up.
Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 53 delves into the past to reveal how Lois Lane first became enamoured of Superman. The story is set just as Clark Kent begins working at the Daily Planet. Lois is already a staff member, and joins in with Perry White in pulling hazing pranks on Clark. There is some friendship there right off the bat, but Lois has no regard for Superman at all, and considers him a show off. Perry assigns Lois a story that requires her to go to a remote island, and despite her protests, Superman flies her there. When they arrive, a tremor opens up the ground and reveals a red kryptonite meteor. This steals Superman's powers, but also endows him with telepathy, so he can read Lois' mind. Learning of her low opinion of him, Superman does all he can to win her over, while fighting off weird plant and animals, and making her a shelter. Lois becomes so impressed with Superman's consideration and perseverance that she begins to fall for him. Just as she kisses him, he feels his powers return, and his telepathy fade. What's kind of disturbing, or sad, about this story is that Superman tries so hard to win her over, and yet once he has, spends the rest of his career avoiding consummating their relationship.
Speaking of the Daily Planet, Lois becomes the editor of the newspaper in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 54. While conceptually it is great to see Lois taking the reins of the Planet, in actuality this story is incredibly sexist and condescending. Lois only even become editor because it is "Ladies' Day" in Metropolis, when women get to step in to their bosses' jobs. Lois gives most of the staff humiliating and insulting jobs, and assigns Clark to stories that potentially will prove he is Superman. To get around this, Clark borrows a super serum that Superman had given Jimmy Olsen, and uses it to explain why he suddenly has super powers. So Lois' tenure in office basically consists of her being a bitch, and getting duped. Clark even winds up saving her life, but she pushes that story to the back pages of the newspaper.
Lana Lang, Superboy’s girlfriend, had been around in the comics for many years, but always as a young woman, not a part of his adult life as Superman. That changed in Showcase 9 with the introduction of the adult Lana Lang, making her a part of Superman's world, and a rival for Lois. Lana Lang has come to Metropolis to look for work in television, and though Lois does help her land an audition, the two women are instantly competitive, each certain that they are the one Superman really loves. Both try to prove this, by interrupting a scheduled event between Superman and the other woman. In both cases, Superman is courteous and aids them, but also refuses to neglect the other one. Lana gets her job, and when Lois realizes she will be staying in Metropolis, the two woman decide to suss out Superman's preference once and for all. So they both set up situations where they appear to be in deadly danger. Superman figures out what they are doing, and makes it impossible for them to determine which one he really saved. One might dislike Lois and Lana for their childish behaviour, but really, Superman is no better, toying with and leading both on.
Lana’s next adult appearance was in Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 7. Lana has clearly hit some really hard times. When last we saw her she had just been hired by a tv station, but in this story she is living in rags as a homeless woman. Lois Lane takes her in, and they bond over romantic stories about Superboy/man. Lana shows Lois a ring Superboy gave her, and shortly afterwards Superman makes a ring for Lois. Then things take a darker turn, as Lana begins to sabotage Lois' relationship with Superman, and make the moves on him herself. And Superman seems to be responding! Lana keeps upping the stakes until Lois finally explodes, and throws the ring at Superman. And that had been the whole plan. Superman learned that the metals in the ring were deadly, and needed to get Lois to remove it. All quite absurd and over the top, but it sets the pattern for the "friendly" rivalry that Lois and Lana would have, as well as Superman's cowardly way of never revealing which of the two he prefers.
Lois and Lana cut cards for the new hero in town in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 56. The tale is set shortly after Lana Lang moves to Metropolis. It's billed as an Untold Tale, and I suppose is meant to represent the first time Lois and Lana became rivals for Superman. After Lois and Lana have their first spat over Superman, Lois overhears a conversation he has with another hero, Ideal Man. Lois edits the tape and plays it for Lana, to make her think that Superman and Ideal Man will be permanently trading worlds. Lois and Lana cut cards for Ideal Man, although as seen on the cover, Lois arranges to lose. She then goes out of her way to make herself seem unappealing to Ideal Man, intending him to get Lana out of her hair. But the whole plan backfires badly. Ideal Man was really Superman all along, teaching both woman a lesson.
The two women briefly become roommates in Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 12. Lana Lang now has her own apartment, but is forced to move in with Lois again when it is being painted. Lana steals the strength formula and bathes in it, stealing the powers Lois planned to have herself. This is yet another example of the kind of story where the women have no interest in doing anything other than landing Superman. Lana is more concerned about the state of her clothing than in using her powers to help people. Lois convinces Lana to do a tour to show off her strength and impress Superman. Lana agrees, not realizing how her body would bulk up from the use of the super strength. Once again, Superman operates at the end of the story to turn Lana back to normal, although she loses her powers as a result.
In Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 50 Professor Potter, a scientist who frequently appeared in the Superman books, brings a time machine to the Daily Planet office. Lois decides to go back to Smallville and prevent Lana Lang from getting her first kiss from Superboy. Lois sabotages Lana's entry in an essay contest Superboy is judging, and later drugs her, so that Lana will sleep through a performance of a play in which Superboy kisses her. Both plans backfire, but Lois does get a friendly peck on the cheek from Superboy before he kisses Lana, and she consoles herself with knowing that he kissed her first.
Both women appear to give up on Superman in a two part story that begins in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 76. Lois and Lana go surfing, and Lois finds a genie in a bottle. Vitar tries to get Lois to release him, but Lois wants to bring the genie to Superman first. Before this can happen, Lois drops and breaks the bottle, and Vitar emerges. He seems to be a decent guy, and even rebuilds the bottle to show Lois his powers. Lois asks Vitar to use his magic to create a perfect night for her and Superman, and he does. After spending the evening dancing with Superman, Lois returns to Vitar and kisses him on the cheek. Lois lets the existence of the genie slip out while talking with Lana Lang, and she heads off to find Vitar as well. She gets Vitar to use his magic to create some new super-powered costumes for Superman, which he appreciates. She rewards Vitar with a better kiss, but he is still not happy. At this point we discover that Vitar is really from the bottle city of Kandor, a member of the Superman Emergency Squad. He had fallen in love with Lois and Lana, and with the help of a friend come to Earth and adopted the genie disguise, using an enlarging formula and its counter agent to enter and leave the bottle. It turns out that Vitar had also been impersonating Superman. That the man Lois went out with, and the one Lana presented the costumes to, was not the real Superman, but Vitar all along. He professes his love to the women, and asks Lois and Lana to return to Kandor with him. To Superman's shock, the women accept the offer, and shrink down to go live in Kandor.
The story concludes in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 78. The opening overlaps with the conclusion of the previous one, and we get to see Lois and Lana travel into Kandor with Vitar, while Superman ponders what he may have lost. We get to see a lot more about the Superman Emergency Squad in this story than in any other. It's a fairly large organization within Kandor, training recruits and seemingly providing security throughout Kandor. Vitar is sentenced to solitary reading for his illegal actions in the previous story, while the women undergo placement tests. Lois is assigned to be a detective, and Lana an archaeologist. We also get introduced to the Look Alike Squad, a group of Kandorians who resemble Superman's friends, and who are willing to sacrifice their lives to aid him. Sylvia, the Earth woman who looks like Lois, is part of this group, and goes into action with Ti-Arra, the Lana Lang lookalike, to aid Superman. Meanwhile, Vitar comes to accept that neither Lois nor Lana will ever love him, but he creates a serum to endow one of them with super powers. Vitar has them compete at their jobs to get the serum, and fortunately the case Lois is on leads her to an underwater dig, so the two wind up having to go head to head. But both wind up getting sabotaged. Lois believes the woman behind this is Vitar's old girlfriend, wanting revenge against them, but in fact it was Sylvia and Ti-Arra, each attacking the doppleganger of their opponent. Doesn't really matter, the serum doesn't work anyway. Lois and Lana are so fed up with the whole thing that they choose to come back to Earth at the end. The one lasting element of this story is that Lois learns a Kryptonian form of martial arts, Klurkor, in this story. She will use it many times in her own series over the next fifteen or so years.
Another recurring story type saw Lois Lane gaining super powers. The first of these appears in Showcase 10. An archaeologist sends Lois a mysterious box that he has found. That's just weird to begin with, but ok. She finds some gloves, glasses, and a cape inside, and when she dons them, discovers that they give her super-powers. Superman reads the inscription, and discovers that this box of weapons was sent to Earth by Jor-El in order to help Superman. How is not exactly clear. Lois starts using the super-stuff to fight crime and deal with emergencies, but Superman worries that she will hurt herself. Keeping silent about their origin, Superman tricks Lois into using them to move a big kryptonite asteroid, which strips them of their power. Jerk.
Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 8 sees her become a blonde Superwoman. It's Superman himself who is responsible for giving her powers, as a present. They are only temporary, and don't even wind up lasting as long as Superman expects them to. Sadly, the story does not veer into seeing Lois saving the day as Superwoman. Instead, it becomes a reversal of the usual story pattern, with Clark trying to prove that Lois is really Superwoman. She has tried to keep her identity a secret, thus the blonde wig. And Clark isn't really playing fair, as he knows full well that she has powers. Lois has to use her ingenuity to keep proving Clark wrong. When the powers wear off, Clark takes things even further, insisting that she never was Superwoman. He's a real jerk.
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.
Lois also gets to take on Lana Lang’s Insect Queen abilities in issue 69. Lana is once again staying with Lois while her apartment gets redone. It seems like Lana gets her apartment redone an awful lot, but this story also makes it clear why. Lana forgets to do things like turn off taps, and she winds up flooding Lois' apartment. Lois moves in with Lana while her place is getting redone, and immediately starts digging through Lana's things. She finds Lana's Insect Queen ring and puts it on, going off to help fight a fire. At least there was a somewhat legitimate reason for Lois to use it. As Superman is out of town for a while, Lois decides to keep up this Bug Belle identity, and patrol Metropolis as a hero. She also writes about this in the Daily Planet, and is so open with it all that a reader comes by, pretends to have made an appointment with Lana, and steals the ring, which was exactly where Lois described it in her article. The woman becomes a variety of Kryptonian insects, trying to kill Superman. Lois gets the ring back, and then she and Lana toss it back and forth, changing into various insects as they defeat the woman together. Lana is remarkably understanding about Lois taking her ring in the first place. Maybe she is just glad she got to be Insect Queen in this book.
From time to time Lois would have deal with other men who were attracted to her. Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 8 introduces the Ugly Superman. He is a wrestler who wears the Superman outfit. Lois does a story on him, and responds to his interest out of kindness. But then he believes that she is in love with him, and the story spins off from there. The Ugly Superman beats up Clark Kent to prove himself to Lois, so Superman decides to take him down, humiliating him first, and then beating him up. This does work, as he feels to ashamed to go after Lois anymore. The story ends with the man getting plastic surgery to become the Gorgeous Superman. But clearly he didn't wait for it to heal, as he is back as the Ugly Superman a couple of years down the road in the pages of Jimmy Olsen.
In Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 54 a scientist develops a beam that allows him to peer into another dimension. He shows the machine off to Lois, but a creature from that realm uses the beam to come to Earth. The creature falls in love with Lois, and though his actions are destructive, he is merely trying to woo her. He only really becomes dangerous when Superman shows up, and they battle for her love. In the end, Lois has to trick the creature into returning to his world. Lois asks to be able to view the realm again, and sees the creature pining for her, and is clearly moved by this. Lois comes off much better in this story than in 90% of the ones in her book.
The monster returns in issue 57. Lois is still thinking about the poor creature, and drags Jimmy Olsen along as she goes to use the ray machine to take another look at him. Lois enters the creature's realm, and when Jimmy tries to grab her back, he winds up there as well. Although Lois feels badly for the creature, she really didn't want to marry him, but now finds herself pretty much trapped into that situation. There is a female monster who likes the monster, so Lois coaxes Jimmy into playing up to the female, to make the male jealous. This doesn't work at all, and Jimmy finds himself engaged to marry the female monster. Lois only solves the problem when she figures out that the monster is allergic to her make-up. By wearing lots of it she makes the monster sick, and they have to break up. The monster then consoles himself with the female, who never really wanted Jimmy in the first place.
The series would see Lois work with a number of other guest stars, some real, some from the other Superman books, and some from the wider DC universe. Of these, Supergirl was the one who made the most appearances in her book.
Popular singer Pat Boone plays a significant role in Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 9. The Daily Planet is putting together a variety show, and Pat Boone has volunteered to be a part of it. Clark is told to write a song about Superman for Pat Boone to sing, along with Lois, whose voice has impressed him. But then Superman suddenly realizes the song must never be heard, and spends the rest of the tale doing things to mess up the recordings. It's all very goofy, but the logic is even worse. Without realizing it, Clark had spelled his name in the initial letters of the lines of the song. He was sure that people would interpret this to mean he was Superman, although the far more likely assumption would be that he did it because he was the songwriter.
Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 14 marks Supergirl’s first appearance in Lois Lane’s book. At this point, Linda Lee was still Superman's secret weapon, living in Midvale orphanage. Supergirl watches Lois and Superman from afar, and decides that she will help Lois land her cousin. She flies around, altering billboards and such, to make Clark Kent think that he is seeing Lois everywhere, hoping this will prompt him to believe he is madly in love with her. When this fails to elicit a proposal, Supergirl tries to make Superman jealous, by making it look like Batman has fallen in love with Lois. It's Supergirl who sends the Batwoman outfit. This also gives her away, as Superman notes that the real Batwoman costume does not have a bat symbol on the cape, like the one Supergirl sent to Lois. So then Supergirl tries some hypnosis, to make Superman propose. Superman turns the tables on this, proposing to every woman he sees, so that even when he does propose to Lois, she doesn't take it seriously. This is not the only time Supergirl will try to play matchmaker for her cousin.
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. Supergirl also shows up at the end of a story in issue 35, which deals with an aging actor and his collection of apparently cursed wigs, to save the day, and again in issue 38, in which Lois is given a signal watch by Superman, which gets damaged, and winds up calling Supergirl instead. I really tend not to like the resolutions that pull Supergirl in out of the blue. Too much like cheating, when there was a good premise going on without her.
That is not the way things play out in Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 55. But, to be honest, the story is even worse. It begins as Lois is woken up by Circe, who claims to be wanting vengeance on Superman. To ruin his life, Circe reveals to Lois that Superman has been secretly married all along, and just toying with her. Lois accepts this with very little argument, and then tries to figure out who Superman's secret wife really is. She goes through the usual suspects, Lana Lang and Lori Lemaris, and even winds up suspecting her sister, Lucy. But there is no secret wife. There is not even really a Circe in the story. Supergirl, affected by red kryptonite, impersonated Circe to make Lois upset, and later creates robots to make Lois think that Superman has children. And then the red kryptonite wears off and everything goes back to normal.
There story in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 61 begins like many, with a crazy experiment going wrong, and Lois getting transformed. She and the scientist becoming glowing reptile people, although their intelligence gets massively increased. Isolated from the world because of their radioactivity, the two seem to fall in love. But then we get the big twist. Reptile Lois is not real Lois, who is being held captive. Lois manages to escape, and contacts her sister Lucy for help. She disguises herself as reptile Lois, and hunts down the impostor, replacing her. The story keeps on twisting. We, and Lois, assume that the reptile people are the villains in the story, but they wind up getting kidnapped by tiny aliens. The aliens are the actual villains, and the reptile people turn out to be the heroes. The reptile people are really Superman and Supergirl. They captured Lois to keep her out of the way, rather than just asking for her help, because that's the way things were done in comics in the 1960s. What makes this story work, for me, was the cutaway with the revelation that the reptile Lois was not the real Lois. An effective and genuinely surprising twist.
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.
In Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 31. Professor 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.
Speaking of Aquaman, he makes a guest appearance in Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane 12. Lois is doing some underwater photography for a story when the wreck of a ship falls on her. Aquaman is nearby, and rushes her off to a doctor. The guy has only one way to save her, and that is to turn her into a mermaid. The guy appears to be a human, but his vast knowledge of Atlantean physiology, which he displays as he transforms Lois makes me think Aquaman just took Lois to Atlantis. She discovers that she is no longer able to exist above water for more than an hour, and tries to hide this from Superman for a while. Aquaman is keen to start a romance with her (this is long before Mera showed up), and Lois reluctantly does so. But when Aquaman gets injured, and Superman comes to his rescue, he sees Lois as a mermaid. Superman rushes her off, and then goes and gets a medical degree so that he can operate on her and restore her legs and breathing ability.
But before I move off of guest stars from the Superman universe, in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 50 three members of the Legion of Super-Heroes come to the present to join Lois Lane's fan club. Apparently not just anyone can join her fan club, and the three women, Phantom Girl, Shrinking Violet and Triplicate Girl, all adopt new identities to go through the process of proving themselves worthy of becoming members. The story is basically a reversal of the story in which Superboy joins the Legion, with him having to prove himself, and then being rejected. Each of the women wind up using their powers to aid Lois, but subtly to maintain their secrets. Lois does wind up figuring out who the Legionnaires are, but since there is no record of her being aware of the Legion, the women wipe her memories of everything they have done. This means Lois has no recollection of anything they did to join her fan club, so they get rejected. I feel bad for poor Lois. Superboy, Supergirl, Krypto, Streaky, Comet, Jimmy Olsen, Lana Lang and even Pete Ross get to join the Legion in some capacity, but not Lois.
And then there’s a creepy story from Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 59, which guest stars Superman’s father, Jor-El. Lois heads back in time to Krypton before it blew up, bringing a device that will prevent the destruction from taking place. This means that Superman will never come to be. When Lois discovers that her time machine is broken, she decides to just stay on Krypton and steal Jor-El away from Lara. The story becomes very much like a Lois/Lana battle, except for the Kryptonian location. Things take a turn for the worse when Lois realizes the city the neutralizing tower was built in was Kandor, which gets stolen by Brainiac. Lois frantically tries to repair her time machine before Krypton blows up. She succeeds, but as she leaves gets struck by the beam from Jor-El's Phantom Zone projector. So she winds up back in the present, but in the Phantom Zone, until Superman can release her. And she never tells him she tried to bang his father.
A lot of Superman family guest stars show up in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 56. Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane work together to pull off a mind reading act, in hopes of luring out a superstitious gangster. The story is good at detailing the kinds of tricks mentalists use. Then the gang kidnaps Lois, and forces her to use her telepathy to help them in their crimes. Superman happens to be out in space, and not around when really needed for this plan to come off. Bad timing. Lois makes a number of prognostications, and to her shock, they all prove to be correct. Superman finally does show up and catch the bad guys. Supergirl, Lori Lemaris, Saturn Girl and Comet the Super-Horse all make a really brief cameo at the end of the story, as Lois suspects that one of them must have used their powers to "aid" Lois' telepathy. But it turns out that she simply made random but correct guesses. I suppose that is better than having one of the usual guest cast pop up at the end to have saved the day. But not much better.
The very first person to guest star in Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane was Robin, who made his appearance in issue 6. Lois Lane makes up lies in order to sneak aboard an experimental rocket ship, and Superman decides to teach her a lesson. He recruits Perry White and Jimmy Olsen into his scheme, and tries to get Batman as well, but the hero is out of town, so Robin steps in. They all work to convince Lois that she went into space and was in orbit for years as time passed around her. So basically, pulling a reverse Rip Van Winkle. Lois figures out what is going on, and turns the tables on Superman. Although we do not find out how this came about until the conclusion, Lois blackmails Robin after taking an impression of his fingerprints, and forces him to pretend to be Superman, Jr, and starting up a romance with Lois.
Batman had to wait until issue 56 for his first guest shot in the book. Batman was filling in for Superman, and Lois spies him changing from Superman into Bruce Wayne. So she sets her sights on the Gotham millionaire. There is a real charm to this tale, as Lois imagines ways that Batman is concealing using his Superman powers, which of course he is not. Because he isn't Superman. When Superman figures out why Lois has started chasing Bruce, he and Batman concoct a plan. Bruce Wayne proposes to Lois, and she accepts. When Superman shows up at the ceremony, she realizes he cannot be Bruce Wayne, and calls off the wedding. Bruce has a great explanation for why he dressed as Superman, and had a Batman costume, and Lois is left feeling like an idiot.
Both Batman and Aquaman, as well as 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 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.
In Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 24 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.
Superman’s major villains would all appear in Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane. Lex Luthor, Bizarro, Mr. Mxyzptlk and Brainiac would all make at least one appearance, with the imp showing up the most often. The Superman Revenge Squad would appear, as would Batman’s classic enemies Penguin and Catwoman.
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, but his only appearance in this book.
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 would return in the Supergirl series in Action, becoming a semi-regular supporting character there.
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.
In the second, 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.
In issue 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 doppleganger, before abruptly being sent back to her own world.
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.
Bizarro himself shows up 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.
Both Superman and Lois have to deal with a super-powered would-be hero in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 74. The guy, who wants to be called Hero, comes to Earth in a spaceship with a reverse cushioning device, and wears a costume which resembles that of the Flash, but with the colours reversed. Hero brings Lois along as he heads out to save a ship, but despite professing a romantic interest in her, drags her by the hair, and tosses her into the ocean. The various super deeds that Hero performs all match the speed tactics of the Flash. In fact, Hero is a Bizarro, but imperfectly imperfected. He looks and sounds normal, so was exiled to Earth. But by the end of the story his transformation into Bizarroness is complete, and he no longer finds Lois attractive, so he willingly goes home. The brief cameo by Bizarro in this story is the final appearance of the character for almost a decade.
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.
In issue 61 Mr. Mxyzptlk has created Superman money, forcing Superman to perform acts to redeem the currency. Mxyzptlk gives Lois a bill good for a marriage. To her credit, Lois spends far more of the story trying to trick the imp into saying his name backwards than into getting Superman to marry her. Superman works with Lana to defeat the imp, having Lana show up at the wedding with a bill that will make Superman get a divorce. Reading it, Mxyzptlk says his own name backwards.
Politics takes centre stage in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 62 although the story avoids naming the parties in a senatorial race. Superman enters the race, to Lois' shock. He had always remained separate from politics. And as he begins to campaign, Lois gets upset at how much Superman starts acting like any other politician. Lois disguises herself as a bag lady to try to get pictures of Superman cuddling up to young women and ignoring old ones. But this backfires when Superman pays a lot of attention to the bag lady. Then Mr. Myxzptlk shows up. The story actually references the one in the previous issue in which the imp appeared. He goads Lois into running for senator against Superman, and become her campaign manager. Jimmy Olsen figures out that Mxyzptlk is involved after Lois shows a film about Superman's exploits, which could not possibly have actually been shot with a camera. Only the imp's magic could have created it. The story has a few twists as it reaches the ending. It turns out that Superman knew all along Mxyzptlk was on Earth, and decided to run for senator knowing (somehow) that this would prompt the imp to become Lois' campaign manager. Why Superman wanted this to happen is far from clear. But there is little time to think about it as Perry White winds up winning the election, completely out of the blue. The final couple of panels introduce Van Benson, who will be taking over as the editor of the Daily Planet while Perry is serving in Washington thoughout the Superman books.
In Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 73 a woman approaches Lois and claims to be her fairy godmother. Lois is sceptical, but the woman pulls out her magic wand and tries to create a perfect date for her with Superman. Superman thinks Lois is actively behind this, and blames her, so she gets all upset with the fairy godmother. When the woman keeps using her magic on Superman, against Lois' wishes, she tries to use the wand against the godmother while she is sleeping, only to discover it has no effect. This clues Lois in that the woman herself must be magical, since the wand isn't. Lois makes the extremely good guess that this is really Miss Gzptlsnz, the girlfriend of Mr. Mxyzptlk. Lois tricks the woman into saying her name backwards, and she really doesn't seem too upset to going back to her own dimension. We see her trying to cuddle up to Mxyzptlk as the story ends. This is, incidentally, the final appearance of Miss Gzptlsnz.
Lois and Lana, the two eternal rivals, work together when another woman catches Superman’s eye in issue 52. Superman starts taking an alien woman, Illena around and showing her the sights, and both Lois and Lana notice how attentive he becomes to her. Feeling threatened, they begin to spy on Illena, and discover that she is an agent of the Superman Revenge Squad, making their first appearance in this book. Illena has a Medusa skull cap that she has been using to turn people into stone. It seems like she is doing so to catch evil doers, but the women find out that she is attacking innocents as well. Illena plans to use the cap on Superman, and tries to use it on Lois, but she has already stolen it, and turns Illena to stone as well. Superman is nice enough to turn her, and her victims, back to being human before sending Illena off to space prison. name backwards.
Van Benson, the new editor of the Daily Planet, is at the core of the story in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 63. The story is set immediately after Van Benson takes over as editor of the Daily Planet. Alarmingly, one of the first thing Benson does is ask Lois to go out to dinner with him, and then takes her to what appears to be the Playboy Club. Sexual harassment much? I guess not in 1966. Anyway, Lois is not bothered by any of that, but is upset when she finds that a message is being passed to Van Benson through a pair of glasses. Lois heads back to investigate, and winds up taking out the female whip performer from the club, and taking her place for the secret meeting of S.K.U.L. This group goes the full James Bond villain route, with disguises and secret meeting places. They get together to throw fake kryptonite at a fake Superman, and then have a draw to determine which member of the team will get the mission to kill Superman. Lois, or rather the woman Lois is impersonating, is the one to get drawn. Lois tells Lana Lang about all this, and wants to put a banner in the newspaper to warn Superman. But then Van Benson shows up, dressed as Superman. He tells Lois and Lana that he is with the FBI, working to bring down S.K.U.L., and enlists Lois and Lana in his mission.
The story concludes in issue 64. Even though Van Benson, revealed as an FBI agent, says he needs the help of Lois and Lana on the case, he really only seems to need Lois. Van Besnon has infiltrated S.K.U.L., and arranges to expose Lois, but explain that she is really an agent with altered features, part of the plan to kill Superman. We also learn that S.K.U.L. stands for the Superman Killers Underground League. Shame they couldn't think of one more L word. The story gets a little too complicated for its own good. Superman winds up impersonating Benson, which causes confusion for Lois, who thinks Benson betrayed them. The whip woman turns out to be the secret leader of S.K.U.L., and Lois gets to be the one to take her down. Perry returns from his amazingly brief stint as senator, and Van Benson leaves the Daily Planet. In the 70s, another criminal organization, Skull, would form, with no direct connection to this group.
Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 70 features Batman and Robin, as well as the Penguin, but the big news is Catwoman's return in the issue. Catwoman had not been seen in a DC comic since 1954, 17 years earlier. In the story, Lois suspects that the Metropolis bird sanctuary will be the next target of the Penguin, who escaped from jail after being put there only a week or so earlier, in the pages of Brave and the Bold. Lois goes to the sanctuary, but instead of the Penguin she runs into Catwoman. Catwoman captures Lois and hypnotizes her, getting her to dress up and act like Catwoman. Lois, as Catwoman, tries to kill the Penguin at a parade. First Lady Lady Bird Johnson is in the parade, as well as her daughter Linda. It's never quite clear why Catwoman hates the Penguin so much. It's not like the two of them ever shared a story before. Clark allows himself to be captured, hoping to break the spell on Lois. Lois sicks a bunch of big cats on Clark, and they rip open his clothes, revealing that he is Superman. But the story almost immediately lets us know that Lois will not remember this once she regains her proper mind. Catwoman tricks Superman, making him think that she is Lois, which allows her to get close enough to use Circe's wand on the hero, and turn him into a cat. Lois gets free of the trap Catwoman left her in. Her mind now restored, she tracks Catwoman, and finds Superman as a cat.
The story concludes in issue 71. The Penguin is not involved in this part of the story at all, and even Batman and Robin are done with quickly, locating Catwoman as she and Lois fight, and taking down their old foe. Lois goes to visit Catwoman in prison, hoping to convince her to change Superman back into a human. Catwoman reveals that, even if she wanted to do so, she has no idea how to change Superman back. Lois tries to keep Superman's transformation a secret, but eventually Super-Cat is spotted in action. President Lyndon Johnson has a cameo in this one, which makes sense, as his wife and daughter appeared in the first part of the story. In the end it's Lana Lang, and her archaeologist father, who wind up saving the day. Lana receives a magic cats paw from her father, good for one wish. Lana debates using it to gain powers, but decides to turn Superman back into a human. Superman rewards Lana with a kiss, while Lois fumes. As for Catwoman, she returns later in the year to face Batman in his own book.
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 winds up with Luthor again in a two part story that begins in issue 64. Lex Luthor is operating as a Robin Hood thief, Lexo. He leads a criminal gang, but secretly donates what they steal to charity. Superman is his heroic nemesis, but Lois Lane is far more on Lexo's side than on Superman's. When not living his criminal life, Luthor is a prominent pianist, whose candelabra and gold glittery jacket pretty much define him, for the era, as being Liberace. Luthor meets Lois, and is impressed by her articles defending Lexo. Later, meeting her as Lexo, the same clipping falls from his pocket, and she realizes Lex is Lexo. But while Luthor gets exposed to a personality altering idol, and winds up feeling like he must become good, Lois is excited by the dark side, and wants him to give up the Robin Hood part and just become a crime lord. Lois and Luthor marry, and she adopts the criminal identity of Lola.
In issue 65 Lex has a desire to reform, but Lois has been hit by a ray that turned her evil, and drives Lex to further crimes. She does have some good ideas, like having a bunch of Superman impostors with fake kryptonite lie around moaning so that when they use the real stuff on the real guy no one notices or pays attention. There is a sad shadow of the Superman/Lois romance. Superman still longs for her, and is miserable that she married Lex, but Lois is completely devoted to her husband. In fact, she is back to her old insane jealousy, but now about Lex instead of Superman, thinking that Lana and Lex are in love, until she has Lex prove his devotion. Superman has no idea Lois is Lola until close to the end, when he stops her from putting a Lexo mask on the Statue of Liberty. Lois begs for one week before she turns herself in, and Superman agrees. But Lois just uses that week to get ready to take Superman out of the picture. The pair get Superman to bring a xylophone type instrument from Kandor, and Lex composes a piece of music that, when played on the instrument, will paralyze Superman. He and Lois do this, but then both wind up having extreme breakdowns from guilt. Lex has the music played backwards, which releases Superman from the spell. Lois turns herself in, but refuses to divulge Lexo's identity. Luthor breaks into prison to free Lois, but gets killed in the process. This one is a real downer, as even after Luthor's death Lois remains devoted to him, and not interested in Superman at all.
The Imaginary Story in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 51 sees the hero marry each of the three women he cares for in succession. The tale begins not unlike other Imaginary Stories, with Superman and Lois Lane deciding to get married. Lucy now prepares to marry Jimmy, but Lana Lang is left alone. Superman gives Lois powers to protect herself, but she decides to make the most of it, and goes into action as Super-Lois. But then Lois discovers that the powers are actually killing her. She writes about this in her diary, and tries to destroy it, but one of the animals from the Interplanetary Zoo steals the book. Superman is disconsolate at her death, and retreats from the world. Luthor reforms, and begins spending a lot of time with Lana Lang. Believing that Superman will never get over Lois, Lana agrees to marry Luthor. Superman learns of this and swoops in at the last minute to propose to her. Luthor gets ditched, and Superman marries Lana. Lana spends their entire time together worrying that Superman really loves Lois. They also have to deal with Luthor's attempts to kill them. Lana winds up sacrificing her life to save Superman after seeing what she thinks is a memorial to Lois, which is actually just presents Superman was making for Van-Zee and Sylvia. Then it's Lori Lemaris' turn. Ronal, her husband, winds up dying, and the two finally wind up getting back together. Superman is worried about misfortune striking again, but they check with a computer, and it forecasts happiness. They marry, and then Lori gets killed by Phantom Zone villains Jax-Ur and Professor Vakox, who had used their mental powers to alter the computer's results. It's tragedy times three. The only thing I really dislike about this story is the very conclusion. Superman finds a formula that could have saved one of his wives, but which one would he have chosen? Well, gee, I guess whichever wife he had been married to at the time he had discovered it.
Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane updated itself in 1968. The Kryptonian elements of the series, the guest stars from the Superman Family, the outrageous situations were all played down, and Lois' job as a reporter really became the basis of the series. She was finally allowed to change her hairstyle, although not much. But the first few stories from this year were really not very good.
In Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 85 Lois gets invited to return to Kandor, along with three other women, all tops in their fields. Although the bulk of this tale does take place in the bottle city, the story does not bring in the Superman Emergency Squad, Van-Zee and Sylvia, or the other Kryptonian elements we are used to seeing there. Instead, the Kandor that Lois arrives in is one that resents Superman's friends, feeling that they take his time away from trying to find a way to enlarge them. Lois and the other women get attacked, and Lois gets knocked out from a gas bomb. She wakes up in the institute of the people who invited her, and unwisely accepts a serum from them that gives her super powers. Lois has fun with the powers, showing them off. They are meant to be temporary, but once they wear off Lois finds herself plagued by horrible ringing noises in her head. The doctor who gave Lois the serum explains that she can take the ringing noises away, but Lois will have to take more of the super power serum. Lois does, although she realizes she is becoming an addict. The serum does allow her to rescue Superman from a kryptonite trap, as seen on the cover. Lois does not to tell Superman about the side effects of the powers, because he agrees to marry her.
In issue 87 the evil Kandorian doctor makes Lois fly out to gather an alien animal as a gift for Superman's Interplanetary Zoo, and Lois agrees. She does not realize that the alien bird will shed its crystalline feathers, which alter Lois, giving her powers permanently. But only as long as she stays in Kandor. The doctor then shows her how a similarly father doused animal melted into a blob upon leaving Kandor for Earth. So Lois has to put her wedding plans on hold. She lies to Superman about the reason she is staying in Kandor, and the doctor leaves to take her place, trying to romance Superman. Lois eventually figures out that the doctor was lying to her, and she will not die if she leaves Kandor. So she does, and she and the doctor have a big powered catfight to conclude the story. Lois' powers do wind up wearing off, after she has defeated her Kandorian foe.
Comet, the Super Horse, a recurring romantic interest for Supergirl, made his only appearance in this book at this time, in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 92. He comes to Lois Lane's aid, and then a comet passes overhead, turning him back into human form. He gets a job as a magician at the resort Lois is staying at, and he and Lois hit it off right away. Brion explains his long and complicated origin to Lois, how he was a centaur changed into a human but then cursed by Maldor to become a horse except when a comet was passing by. It turns out Maldor is also hanging around, close enough to overhear everything Brion is saying to Lois. Seeing how much Comet is interested in Lois, Maldor uses his magic to turn Lois into a horse. Thus the brief centaur phase. As a horse, Lois comes to Brion's aid when he gets menaced by wolves. Lois does not want to use the telepathy that comes with her equine form to tell Brion who she really is, but then the comet change wears off and he becomes Super-Horse again, so they bond in that form as well. Together they stop Maldor from killing Superman with a kryptonite trap, and then Comet flies away while Lois returns to human form, with no memory of the time she spent as a horse.
I am fairly certain that the cover story from Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 97 was inspired by the Kurt Vonnegut novel, the Sirens of Titan. The image of the three beckoning women, plus the use of the word sirens in the title, convinces me. The story has no resemblance to the Vonnegut novel, though. Superman is not sure what is going on when he runs into Lori Lemaris, who tells him that Ronal has died and now she is out to marry Superman again. They kiss, but then she vanishes. Superman at least has the decency to talk to Lois about it. It happens twice more, with his Kryptonian girlfriend, Lyla Lerrol, from when he travelled back in time, and the Supergirl lookalike, Luma Lynai, who he briefly dated. Each woman appears, comes on to him, and then vanishes. Superman is all out of his mind over the women, and Lois is the one to act rational, which is a pleasant change. She winds up discovering that these are Durlan renegades, a shape changing race that, at this point, was only appearing in Legion of Super-Heroes stories, set a thousand years in the future. Lois escapes from the trap they put her in and contacts Durla. They send out some Durlan police, who round up the girls, while Lois breaks the spell they put on Superman by falling off a building. Superman has to rescue her, and the intense familiarity with that situation clears his mind.
Diana Prince, the powerless Wonder Woman, gets a role in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 93. We learn that Lois had previously considered Wonder Woman a threat to her relationship with Superman, but since Diana Prince lost her Amazon powers (as currently taking place in her own book), Lois thought she was safe on that front. When Diana and Superman wind up performing together at a charity circus, Lois' old fears come back. Superman and Diana start spending a lot of time together. Perry White must really have a mad on for Lois, because he assigns her to cover the Superman/Wonder Woman romance, fully knowing that this would drive the woman around the bend. Lois starts training and working out, and finally challenges Diana to a fight. Diana completely trounces Lois, and then flies off with Superman. Lois figures out that the powers Diana is displaying are greater than the ones she had as Wonder Woman. Using a lot of lucky guesswork, Lois finds and frees the real Diana Prince. The one romancing Superman is really a Phantom Zone escapee. Superman never twigs on to this, not once. He doesn't even pick up on the obvious clue of Diana Prince suddenly flying. Although at the end he claims he had decided not to marry Wonder Woman, it’s clear the woman captivates him in ways Lois never has.
Lana Lang was written out of the adult Superman books following a big two parter for Lois Lane’s 100th issue. The story in issue 99 begins as Lois Lane and Lana Lang are brought onto a live tv show, seemingly for the sole purpose of having the two get into a fight over Superman, which is exactly what happens. Lois goes totally off the deep end, and winds up apologizing to Lana after the taping, and offering her a lift home. Bad decision. Lois' car goes off the road in the rain, and she winds up in the river. Lois escapes from the car, but is in shock. She flags a passing motorist and goes to a hotel, but completely forgets about Lana. That is not good news for Lois at all. Superman tracks her down and brings Lois back to the scene of the wreck, just as the car is being brought out of the water, with Lana's dead body inside. Lois gets charged with murder. Bruce Wayne of all people comes to see Lois, and then, as Batman, takes over as her defense attorney, despite not being a lawyer or anything. But that's ok, Superman winds up getting appointed to be the prosecutor. No legal degrees are needed to practice in Metropolis it seems. Nor is there any concept of conflict of interest, having Superman prosecute the woman he has been openly romantically involved with for years. Superman does a re-enactment of the death of Lana, timing it to see of Lois could have rescued her. It's really a bad idea. Superman is, first of all, experienced in such things, and not suffering the shock and trauma that Lois was. The fact that he could have saved Lana does not prove Lois could have. Incidentally, this entire scene, at the time, would have made readers think of the death of Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick, and Ted Kennedy's escape from the sunken car.
Astoundingly, the story in issue 100 is even worse in terms of legal practice than the previous issue. Superman really pushes Lois on the stand. He talks about fights that Lois and Lana had had in the past, and goads Lois about her jealousy so much that she loses it on the witness stand and slaps Superman. Not doing her own case much good with that. The prosecution and defense rest, and the jury goes off to debate the verdict. Superman thinks nothing of using his powers to spy on the jurors and listen to their secret discussion. It's only when the jury are about to come in with the verdict that Batman thinks about checking out Lana Lang's corpse. No autopsy had been done on it. None. This is a major murder case, the death penalty is involved, and NO ONE DID AN AUTOPSY! Thank goodness Batman checks the body out, because it turns out to be an android. Superman then goes about tracking down the real Lana, and finds her a prisoner on an alien spaceship. The story doesn't talk about time, but for Lois to have been arrested, and then gone on trial, months must have passed for poor Lana. Superman brings Lana to the courtroom and the jury's verdict gets torn up. The reader is left to wonder how the jury voted. But does it matter? Lois didn't kill Lana. Lana was never dead. And the justice system in Metropolis is terrifyingly bad.
Lana Lang says farewell in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 109. The story has a former university professor of Lana's invite Lois over, having recently invented a machine to suppress emotions. The lady had lost a boyfriend many years earlier, and feels that Lois has been ruining Lana's life by chasing after Superman. The machine eradicates Lois' feelings for Superman, but also all compassion and empathy. So this turns Lois into even more of a bitch than she tends to be, and she gets all nasty with Superman. When Superman spots Lois rescue a child in danger, he realizes that she still has all her emotions, she just doesn't think that this is the case. So he pulls off a big hoax to make her think he is having her feelings magically restored, and Lois believes it, so it happens. As for Lana Lang, she had already given up on Superman before this story began. At the very end, the tale makes mention of Morgan Edge, who has not yet appeared in this book. Edge gives Lana the job of foreign correspondent for WGBS, and Lana flies away. The adult Lana Lang does not return to the Superman books until the late 70s.
Rose and Thorn, a wildly different version of the character from the 1940s Flash villain, makes her debut in issue 105 and begins an ongoing backup series in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane, as well. The Thorn part of the split identity gets introduced right at the top. The Thorn drops leaflets throughout Metropolis announcing her crusade against the 100, a criminal organization. Thorn is only tangentially involved in the Lois Lane story, but her parts are very welcome, because the story itself is awful. A death row inmate, part of the 100, asks for Lois to come see him, and proposes to her. It turns out that, years earlier, he had saved her life when she fell through the ice. Lois and the man really do get married, but the marriage was part of his escape plan. Lois only agreed because she thought he was going to be executed, but winds up a hostage during the escape. Superman and Thorn are both after the people involved in the breakout, all members of the 100. The guy winds up dying to save Lois, so by the end of the story she is a widow and free to chase after Superman again.
Lois and the Thorn would team up twice more. Well, that might be pushing it too far. In Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 121 they do each appear in the other woman's story in this issue, but in no way do they team up. Lois has been missing for a while when the story begins. Only days, although her hair has grown as if it has been months. She has been trying to cope with Lucy's death, and makes some big changes to her life. As well as starting to dress in a way not common for reporters, Lois quits the Daily Planet, explaining to Perry White that she wants to go freelance and choose her own stories. Since the Planet will continue to run her stories, this isn't as big a change as it feels. The first story she goes after involves elderly residents being lured out of their tenement building by the developer, who wants to raze it and construct a high rise. Lois does a lot of the legwork on her own in this tale. Superman is around to help, but Lois also has news for him. She is tired of being a convenience for him, and basically puts a stop to their relationship. But as they still clearly love each other, you know it won't last. At the end, Lois moves in with three other women affected by the tenement story. As with Wonder Woman, who also moved in with some single women at this time, the roommates never get really developed as characters. But this also makes Lois neighbours with Rose Forrest. In the Rose and Thorn story from the issue, Thorn decides she needs Superman's help to take down the 100, and discovers that she is living near Lois Lane. Thorn even breaks into Lois' room to watch her sleep, which is sort of creepy.
Lois Lane and the Thorn aim to bring down the 100 once and for all in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 122. Superman and Lois Lane come to the grave of Rose Forrest's father, for some reason, and happen to run into Rose there, along with her boss, the leader of the 100. Superman and Lois promise Rose that they will bring the 100 in, so the boss guy decides to go after Lois Lane, and has her brake lines cut. Superman and Lois keep squabbling throughout this issue. She keeps insisting that he is being demeaning to her, even though he keeps rescuing her. It's pointless bickering which does a disservice to feminism, frankly. But it does mean that Lois and Thorn decide to go after the 100 themselves, without Superman's help. That's good, because the 100 are after them. Even Lois' roommate winds up getting attacked, but shows she can fight back with the best of them. Thorn insists that they need the aid of K.A.R.L., a submerged super computer, and the two women dive to try to retrieve it. Superman shows up to help, and we find out that Thorn teamed with Lois simply because she knew that Superman would get involved. Good thing she didn't tell Lois that. So the last 77 members of the 100 get rounded by pretty darn quickly. Makes you think Superman really had been slacking, if he did it this quickly and easily. Thorn takes off, to wonder where her series can go from here. As it turns out, the 100 was much larger than either woman suspected, and would return to plague Lois in later stories.
By far the most notorious issue of this book is Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 106. Curiously, this is also the first issue of the book I ever read. I'm not sure how old I was, maybe seven or eight. I picked it up in a barber shop and read it while waiting to get a cut. The story in it is clearly inspired by the book and the movie Black Like Me, in which a reporter got made up to look like a black man, to write about how it felt. Which I guess was seen as more efficient than asking a black man to write about how it feels. But the title of the story does not play on that ("Black Like Lois" is how I like to think of this story), instead opting to play off I Am Curious (Yellow), the first widely released pornographic film in the US, imported from Sweden I think. Lois tries to write a story about life in the ghetto, but finds herself rebuffed for being white. She meets an angry young activist, Dave Stevens, who calls her the enemy. Lois feels really shitty, and decides to have Superman use a Kandorian skin transformer on her, to make her into a black woman for a day. The story is earnest and sincere and well meant, but still kind of painful. It does attempt to show what facing constant prejudice is like, but gets buried into stereotypes with rat infested slums and taxi drivers refusing to stop. There are some evil white gangsters, and Dave Stevens gets shot. Superman swoops in to take down the bad guys and save the day, and Lois has to give blood to save Dave's life, because, despite their skin colour, they have the same blood. Yes, so powerful. Ok, it's trying. On the other hand, one can only cringe at the scene in which Lois asks Superman to marry her, and when he won't, tries to say it's because she is black. Like, no, he ALWAYS refuses you. Skin colour has nothing to do with it. And it's a little awkward that it is the black guy, Dave Stevens, who has to learn to let go of his anger and accept white people, rather than Lois who has to learn something from this encounter. Dave does remain a recurring cast member in the Lois Lane and occasionally in the wider Superman universe.
Native land rights and interracial adoption are at the core of Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 110. Lois is sent out to do a story about good mothers. She gets accused of not being able to write about the topic because she is not a mother. Later, her and Clark head out to a reservation where a dam is being constructed against their wishes. Lois and Clark both get criticized for not being able to convey the native view, because they are white. While Superman goes into action to move the dam to a place where it won't piss anyone off, Lois winds up taking in a native child whose father was captured in Vietnam, and whose mother dies. So Lois gets to learn a bit about motherhood, although the story then weakly raises the notion of native kids being taken away and raised by white people. As with many of the stories from this era, it's the natives who are meant to overcome their prejudice of whites. Go on, take all their kids! The boy Lois was raising does get reunited with his father, who escaped a POW camp.
Beginning in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 111 elements of Kirby's Fourth World, currently unfolding in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen, were brought into this book. Lois is relaxing on the beach and falls asleep. A miniature Justice League show up and perform some nebulous alterations to her. We find out that the mini JLA were created by Simyan and Mokkari, although neither of those characters appear in the story. One effect of the changes they have done is that Lois gains precognition, which she uses to aid Superman. A group of Intergang thugs appear in this sequence. Superman is so thrilled with Lois' new power that he agrees to marry her, and they kiss. But the evil JLA has altered Lois' lips as well, and her kisses drive Superman insane. The miniature JLA then show up to attack. Lois, in this story, knows of, and even has a direct phone number for, the Project. In this story, we hear that Superman had brought her there once, but this is really her first tale with the DNA Project. They are well prepared though, and send out an army of mini Loises to battle the Justice League members, as well as some special lipstick, so that she can cure Superman with a kiss.
Morgan Edge, the owner of the Planet, makes his first appearance in this book in issue 114, siding with Perry White as he sends Lois out to find the black journalist writing from the slums of Metropolis, talking about the fight against the 100. For Edge, who controls Intergang, this is a great way to fight his rivals. It turns out that the writer Lois is looking for is Dave Stevens, and the story briefly recaps the one in which Lois became black, which introduced the character. We also meet his girlfriend, Tina Ames (not given a last name in this tale, though). Tina is jealous of Lois at first, but slowly warms to her. The 100 are after Dave because of his stories, but the Thorn shows up to help defend the ghetto paper. Dave is upset about being defended by a woman, but Lois calls him on his sexism. Still, it's an ok story, but not a great one. Thorn gets some action, but very little development. Superman swoops in to save the day, as usual. Dave Stevens winds up joining the Daily Planet at the end of the story, with Tina coming along as his assistant.
In Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 115, Lois turns out to be friends with the sister of Willie Walker, the paralyzed Vietnam vet who is the physical form of the Black Racer, the New God whose touch means death. That's an ominous way to start a story, but like far too many Black Racer tales, the New God flies around a lot but isn't really important to the overall story. The main thrust of the piece deals with a typewriter Lois receives (thanks to Morgan Edge), which types up news reports of people's deaths before they happen. Lois keeps going to check on the reports, but always arrives just in time to see the death but not prevent it. Then the typewriter types up a report of her death! Oh, no! Actually, the whole thing was a lure for Superman, with a bomb under the letter j. Makes for a very weak end, and though they say in the story that the tech is Apokoliptian, it really doesn't feel like it.
Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 116 hints at the two Morgan Edges plotline, when what appears to be a mirror reflection of the head of WGBS does not turn away when the original does. Dave Stevens begins hosting a tv show, and Tina Ames has moved from being his assistant to his co-host. The show seems to consist mostly of Dave ranting against the 100, but it does provoke them enough that they appear to attack him while riding motorcycles. Superman is suspicious, the bikes are high tech, not like anything the 100 uses. He and Lois follow the trail of the bikers back to Happyland, the amusement park run by DeSaad in the pages of Forever People earlier in the year. DeSaad is still hanging out there, and the biker attack was just to lure Superman in to the mirror maze, with mirrors that distort and deform his body. Superman smashes things while Lois, Dave and even Tina fight DeSaad's bikers. DeSaad flees back to Apokolips, but even the cameo by Darkseid doesn't make this feel like a true Fourth World story.
Lois Lane 118 opens as Morgan Edge breaks free and goes on the lam. Curiously, in this story Lois gets kidnapped by some really dexterous members of the 100, who form a human pyramid to grab her and put her in a helicopter. Superman swoops in to save her. What I find unusual about this is that Lois winds up dealing with the 100 in her story, and Thorn faces Intergang in hers. Effectively, they trade off foes. We learn, in this story, that the Morgan Edge who is running Intergang is a clone of the real one, created by Simyan and Mokkari. Darkseid ordered the clone to kill the original, but he found himself unable to do so. Instead, he kept him a prisoner in a secret room in his office, a room from which the real Edge has now escaped. The clone Edge makes it look as if the real one is a crazed impostor, even though this helps Superman track Edge down. When he is caught, no one will listen to his outrageous sounding story. Edge is taken away, but escapes once again, and remains on the run.
Lucy Lane, whose appearances in this book had been frequent but rarely important, develops a new attitude in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 119. Lucy had broken up with Jimmy Olsen, and now becomes a risk taker and a wild girl. Superman saves Lucy's life when a risky parachute jump almost causes her death, and Lois begins to really worry about her little sister, keeping her near for the rest of the Kanigher, Roth and Colletta tale. The real Morgan Edge, and the clone's attempts to find him, take the main thrust of the tale. Edge winds up meeting the Outsiders, the biker gang that Jimmy Olsen rode with, and Yango takes Edge in. The fake Morgan Edge sends Lois out to take photos of groups of people, figuring that the real one must be being taken care of by some community. He spots his double in a shot of the Outsiders, and sends Lois out to learn more about the group. At the same time, he gets Simyan and Mokkari to make up a bunch of dead clones, which he has buried near the Outsiders, in an attempt to make them look like a murderous cult. Lucy briefly joins the hippie like group as well, and Superman gets in on the action to clear the team of the murder charges. Lois, Lucy and Superman all remain oblivious to the fact that the read Edge is with the group during the course of the story, and he flees all the attention at the end.
Lucy Lane is believed to be dead by the end of issue 120, even though no corpse is found. The 100 are spreading out from Metropolis, and the action in this story involved a Central American country, which they are making moves on. Superman is on the track of a man in that nation who is working on a new super bomb, while Lois is there as well, tracking down her missing sister. Lois finds Lucy's diary, and learns that her sister became an agent of the 100, and was trying to get the plans for the new bomb by romancing its designer. The man figured out what Lucy was after, but kept on seeing her, hoping she would give up her evil ways for love. That didn't happen. Lois gets grabbed by revolutionaries who want the bomb, but Superman saves her, and the guy destroys his own plans. Lucy is written off as dead. She isn't, and will show up again the following year in the pages of Jimmy Olsen. At least they didn't try to explain her death with an android and no autopsy.
In Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 123 the 100 turns out to be a much larger organization than anyone thought. Superman and Lois pull the information off of K.A.R.L.. Not only does the 100 have special sections for athletic criminals, magicians and women, it even has a space pirate section! The 100 have some nasty plans to link all the satellites in orbit with wires, and turn it all into a big electromagnet. WGBS is launching its satellite, and when the astronaut falls ill, Lois just gets into the uniform and flies the spaceship. She fights off the 100's space pirates, and of course Superman shows up to help.
Another faction of the 100 come into play as Lois deals with the Hunters in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 124. Lois suspects something weird is going on when she witnesses a robbery involving a rhino, a tiger, and a man dressed as Tarzan. K.A.R.L. once again proves himself incredibly useful, actually guiding Superman to an artificial jungle just outside Metropolis, which this branch of the 100 are using as a base. Lois winds up there as well, although she has to actually follow clues and such. Both her and Superman get hit with mind controlling serum on darts. The 100 tries to use Lois to kill Superman, but he had actually grabbed his dart, and was just playing along to gather information, and for kicks. Superman saves Lois and takes down the Hunters.
Lois Lane is in Greece in issue 127, covering a marathon event, the Trans-European Olympics, a race that has land, sea and air elements, with two competing teams. Superman is around as well, though he is on the case of a stolen diamond, which is due to be smuggled out of Greece somehow. Hmm, could the two plots be related? That doesn't occur to Superman or Lois for quite a while. Lois is distracted by the fact that one team keeps possession of the torch in every event, the opposing team having what seems like a run of terrible luck. But after a shark messes up the one team's chance in the water part of the race, Lois goes diving and finds that the shark is a robot, and has the markings of the 100. It's the evil athletes branch of the group! The 100 are rigging the race to make sure one team stays in possession of the torch, because the stolen diamond is inside of it.
The cover of Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 131 features not only the Lois Lane story from the issue, but announces the debut of Melba Manton. And yet, her role in this story is very small. Curious. In the following issue, there is a story, "Introducing Melba Manton," and I think that might have been intended for this issue, what the cover is referring to. Aside from the cover story, this issue contains only a reprint from an earlier issue. The cover story itself is not the best. Some hoods are trying to kill Lois with a high tech device, while she is going around telling people she is with her son, although no one can be seen, not even by Superman's vision powers. Perry White is concerned about Lois' mental state, so he calls in Melba Manton. All we know about her is that she is a newscaster for WGBS, and Perry has high regard for her. She spies on Lois, but this doesn't really pertain to the resolution of the story at all. It's Superman who figures out that Lois' "son" is a kid from the future, with a weird condition that renders him invisible to all but one person. He had decided to have Superman and Lois become his parents, and made Lois think of him as her son in order to force Superman into marriage.
Wonder Woman, who has regained her powers, gets into a romantic coupling with Superman in issue 136. Melba Manton gets only a small role in this story. She has been reduced to little more that Lois Lane's foil already. Superman and Wonder Woman begin a pretty public romance. After the initial shock, Lois decides that this must all be a hoax Superman is playing for some reason, so is not bothered by it. Or so she claims. Lois keeps watching Superman and Wonder Woman, and they keep acting like a couple, even when they think no one is watching them. And as Lois sees how effective Wonder Woman is at fighting crime, she herself comes to believe that Wonder Woman would make a better match for Superman than she would. But in the end, it does turn out to all be a hoax. A crazy lady had escaped from an asylum, and Superman knew she would try to kill whoever it was that Superman loved. The woman does kidnap Lois at first, until she believes the reporter that Superman and her are no longer a couple. Then she goes after Wonder Woman, a fight she has no chance of winning. Once the crazy lady gets caught, Superman and Wonder Woman reveal their deception.
The final issue of the series, Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane 137 came out months after issue 136. By this time, Lois Lane's book had already merged with Supergirl and Jimmy Olsen to form Superman Family. Lois was now only appearing in new stories in one out of every three issues of that book, so this final issue of her own series may have been released to get rid of a couple of backlogged tales. On the other hand, she was only appearing in a new story once in every six months, so this also might have been seen as a summer special, as it was released in later June. The cover tale is very odd, beginning with Lois coming across a man who died of fright, prematurely aging. It turns out that the subway cars are being stolen by alien dinosaurs, looking for the relatives they left behind on the planet so many millions of years ago. Yup, alien dinosaurs. The usual reason for subway problems. The second and final story takes place in a crumbling old building, the last one on its block. An elderly couple do not want to move out of the home they have lived in for so long, but hoods are trying to force them out. Superman and Lois Lane get involved, and for a while the story feels like it will become really tragic, when the wife gets shot. But Superman saves the day, rebuilding the structure, and exposing the corpse buried within its walls so long ago, the reason the gang boss wanted to take over the building himself, so that his crime never got revealed.
Lois Lane’s strip in Superman Family continued the trend begun in 1968. The stories centred more on her as a reporter, although in practical terms, she functioned as more of a detective, solving crimes, not just writing about them. There were still occasional stories that dealt with her romance with Superman, but these were no longer the mainstay of her strip. Similarly, her days of facing off against Superman’s major villains was mostly in the past. From issues 164 – 181 (1974 – 1976), Lois got new stories in one out of every three issues, alternating with Jimmy Olsen and Supergirl. Beginning with issue 182 through to the end of the book’s run, issue 222 (1982), the whole book consisted of new stories. Cary Bates and John Rosenberger, who had helmed Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane, in its later days, would launch her series in Superman Family. Marv Wolfman and Gerry Conway would be among those contributing her stories during this run, while Jose Delbo and Bob Oskner would illustrate her adventures.
Lois Lane’s first outing in Superman Family came with issue 166. Lois gets into an altercation with Simon Cross, a spy for the SIA, at the top of the story. The two wind up arguing, which allows the man they both want to take care of to get murdered, by having a seed shot into his brain by a killer with a robotic arm. This sets off a bizarre spy thriller, in which Lois gets recruited to be a secret agent. Oddly, the SIA meets inside a garbage truck. There is a secret new plant that has been developed, which is at the core of the story, and the reason for the murder. There is no great reason for the SIA to include Lois on the case, they could just as easily force her not to print her story. But they allow her to accompany Simon, feeling that her position as Superman's girlfriend means she must have some skills. And though she does display some talent for Klurkor, a Kryptonian form of martial arts she learned in Kandor, she fails completely to stop the killer from murdering Simon Cross. She also makes some poor guesses as to who the villain of the story is, going after a good guy while giving lots of information to a bad one. Superman has to come rescue her and take down the one-armed man at the end of the tale. And Lois wasn't even the one to signal him. There was a message left, spelled out with leaves. The implication is that it was the ghost of Simon Cross who did this.
The story gets a follow up in Lois’ next adventure in Superman Family, in issue 169. Lois is still working as an agent for the SIA in this story, and now has the ghost of agent Simon Cross working from beyond the grave to protect her. He is pretty good at it, stopping bullets and making inanimate objects fly into the bad guys. Lois gets put onto the case of the Tarantula, a killer vigilante who patterns himself on an old comic book hero, and tv character. It might have been nice if this in any way resembled the Tarantula from the 1940s, but he doesn't. Lois goes to check on the boy who was the biggest fan of the character and meets his parents, who insist that the boy has been home every night. But after Lois leaves, the reader learns that the kid has gone missing... The Tarantula learns that Lois Lane is on his trail, and gets proactive, trying to kill her. Superman shows up to save her, but is stunned when the ghost of Simon Cross does this instead. Lois remains cagey with Superman, who in turn winds up spying on her. He finds out about her connection to the SIA, and through them learns about Simon being a dead agent of theirs. While Lois continues to chase the Tarantula, Superman hauls out an ectoplasmic exorciser to try to communicate with, and get rid of, Simon. Cross does seem right on the mark when he accuses Superman of being jealous of him. But Simon is dead, after all, and that's no basis for a relationship. Lois finds out that the fanboy is innocent. His father is the Tarantula, and he has been keeping his son locked away at a cabin, as a decoy to the police. Simon and Superman aid Lois in taking the man down. As the story ends, Simon gives up the ghost and vanishes. This also spells an end to Lois Lane's spy career.
Inspector Henderson, a Metropolis police officer who had originated on the Superman radio show in the 1940s, and been a regular on the Adventures of Superman tv series, had recently been introduced into the comics in the pages of Black Lightning. He made his first appearance in the Superman world in the Lois Lane take from Superman Family 185. The story deals with a killer who attacks muggers, and is apparently an old man, from the report of witnesses. While pursuing this, Lois meets a female cab driver with no sympathy for the victims of the vigilante. She is an actress as well as a cab driver, and her father is in a catatonic state after having been mugged a while back. It's no surprise at all when this woman proves to be the one going after muggers, using her acting skills to pretend to be an old man.
Melba Manton was slowly dropped from the strip, but she did get a larger than normal role in the Lois Lane story in Superman Family 186, which deals with an African dictator loosely based on Idi Amin. Manton goes missing while reporting on his atrocities, and Lois heads to Africa to find out what happened to her. Superman insists on accompanying her, and thought Lois is stubborn about this, Morgan Edge agrees with Superman. Of course he does. What is Lois really going to do on her own other than get captured as well? Mind you, that basically happens anyway. The dictator has a mind control weapon which is powered by kryptonite, so even Superman is vulnerable to it. The guy sends out Superman to round up his enemies, including the two reporters. Lois Lane once again disguises herself as a black woman, with Melba' aid, and together they scam their way out of the prison, dress up as romantic companions for the dictator, and get close enough to take him down. In their fight with him, he falls into the mind control ray, which both releases Superman, and fries the dictator's brain.
Superman Family also saw a number of stories crossover between Lois Lane’s and Jimmy Olsen’s strips in the book. The first of these occurs in issue 187. It begins with the Jimmy Olsen tale, as the young reporter heads for a meeting with Dave Winston, only to see the rarely appearing cast member get shot. Jimmy pursues the shooter, but is not able to take the man down. He does learn from Winston that this has something to do with Reverend Sun, a solar energy advocate and religious leader. As well as Dave Winston, the tale also gives small roles to Meg Tempest and Percy Bratten, who tail Jimmy, in hopes of scooping him on his own story. Jimmy uses his Elastic Lad serum and goes in disguise to tail a mobster who had been spotted hanging around Reverend Sun's church. Lois Lane pops in, playing nurse for Stevens, and we get to see his extremely rarely appearing girlfriend, Tina Ames. Jimmy's tail proves successful, and he uses his Elastic Lad powers to take down the mobster and the shooter. He believes his work is done, but we see there is more to the case, and that Lois is in danger of imminent attack. The story also features Superman in a small role, tying in to his story from the same issue.
The story resolves in Lois’s outing. Lois Lane may be wearing a nurse's outfit, but she seems much more suited to the role of bodyguard, as she fends off the killer until more security come, and he flees. Lois goes to check out the Reverend Sun, his solar temple and weird jet. She sees angry protestors outside, lead by the Reverend's ex-wife. The Reverend himself doesn't seem to have all the wheels on the road. Superman gets into the action, taking out the would-be killer when he strikes again. But it's Lois who deduces that the attacks on the Reverend were all feints, and that he is the actual mastermind, aiming to steal the solar jet from STAR Labs. Meg and Percy, on the other hand, have nothing to show for their efforts, despite being in both halves of this story.
In Superman Family 188 Lois is spying on a gangster, who is meeting with the head of an anti-crime committee. She gets recognized, and almost captured by them, but is aided in her escape by an eager new hero, the Human Cannonball. The guy tells his story to Lois, which is pretty simple. He always wanted to be a hero, so he made himself one. He has rockets that allow him to fly, and a really tough helmet, because he likes slamming in to things head first. There is also a plot about Dave Stevens taking a long time to recover from his gunshot wound, and Tina Ames agreeing to try out a new healing machine. It malfunctions, turning her into a rampaging energy being, which Lois and the Human Cannonball see broadcast by Melba Manton. The Cannonball intends to just slam into the thing head first until he wins, but Lois finds out what is going on, and gets a machine that reverses the effect on Tina. The Human Cannonball would continue as a supporting player in Lois’s series.
In issue 189 the Human Cannonball gets to meet Superman, and makes his interest in Lois plain. Superman casually crushes some granite into dust. Like he clearly wants to do to Cannonball's head. But there is a third romantic rival in the tale as well, a sentient, mobile star which comes to Earth to woo Lois. But Lois is not interested in a big ball of burning gas, and rejects him. He respects her wishes, and flies away.
Superman Family 190 links all six of its continuing features into a long epic adventure. I absolutely loved this issue when it came out, and I still really enjoy it today. Although issue 200 also linked all of the stories, this remains easily my favourite issue of this series, and I think I really have no option but to relate the entire tale, not just Lois Lane’s chapter, since she plays a role throughout the event. The Jimmy Olsen story opens the issue, as the minions of King Cougar burst into the Daily Planet, looking for revenge against Olsen for taking down their boss. Jimmy springs into action and takes down the armed men all on his own, earning a kiss from Meg Tempest, envy from Percy Bratten, and some general yelling by Perry White. Jimmy then gets a phone call from his father, but in the middle of the call the line goes dead. Jimmy heads off to investigate. The Newsboy Legion, not seen since their last appearance in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen a few years earlier, show up looking for their old friend. They are on the trail of the Guardian, and have noted Mal Duncan, of the Teen Titans, wearing Jim Harper's old costume. But this is really just a set-up for the Jimmy Olsen storyline that begins in the following issue. Jimmy heads out to the town his father lives in, only to find it completely gone. There is a strange glowing hole in the sky, and Jimmy gets the best of an alien who emerges from it, tying the guy up and stealing his uniform. Entering the hole, Jimmy finds himself in a vast museum of collected civilizations stretching across time and space. His father's town was taken to join this collection. Jimmy's ruse eventually gets spotted, and he gets taken down, but not before setting off his signal watch and tossing it through the hole back to Earth. Superman gets the next chapter. He has just dropped off Lois Lane in Kandor when he hears the signal watch, and flies off to investigate. Just like Jimmy, Superman enters the glowing hole and flies around examining the various civilizations that have been collected in the Museum of Eternity. Nightwing and Flamebird, in their civilian identities, have a small role in this as they accompany Lois for her interview with TNT, a 1940s hero who had recently popped up in the pages of Super Friends, and is now being kept isolated in Kandor due to his radioactive nature. As Superman flies around, he is unaware that Kandor has become the next city gathered for the Museum.
Lois Lane's chapter flows right out of the Superman one, as she finds herself in the Museum, along with everyone else in Kandor. Nightwing and Flaembird go into action to fight a robotic guard, but his goal is Lois, who is not native to this city. Neither is TNT, but no one seems to care about that. Lois does her best to fight back until the robot destroys her gravity-nullifying boots. Lois gets tossed into a cell with Jimmy Olsen, but together they break out and steal one of the robot's flying crafts, trying to find their way out of the Museum. Krypto's chapter picks up on the dog’s disappearance from the previous issue, as we learn that he was taken to be part of the Kandor exhibit. But while all the people are allowed to roam at will, Krypto is kept in a cage made of light. Superman, Nightwing and Flamebird figure out how to disrupt, and essentially "break" the cage, freeing Krypto. But more importantly, they figure there must be some major reason why Krypto was kept caged. There is a degree of mental control taking place in the Museum, preventing the people from leaving the exhibits that they are in. But this does not work on animals, and Krypto is able to enter and leave the glowing holes at will. They send him to go get help, and after some wanderings he comes across Jimmy and Lois, who tell him to take them back to Kandor. Nightwing and Flamebird have to deal with Phantom Zone villains, who have been released by the "curators" of the Museum, and are now running free in Kandor, in their chapter. Jax-Ur, General Zod and Kru-El are delighted to be out of the Zone, and completely unconcerned about the whole Museum thing, simply aiming to take control of Kandor. As seems to be usual with this strip, it's Flamebird who winds up taking the more important role in the story. He faces off against Jax-Ur, defeating him physically, and making him, and the other Zone villains, realize that the Museum is just another prison, and they are not in any way free. Supergirl closes out the story, as she brings her parents back to Kandor, only to find it gone. Supergirl leaves Zor-El and Alura at the Fortress, and flies off to check out the missing city, entering by that glowing hole that seems to never go away. As it's the final chapter, she quickly runs into Jimmy, Lois and Krypto, and they arrive at the hole that leads to Kandor. They pull Superman through, even though the mind control make him not want to leave. Once out of the city, he is in control again, and the super-cousins use their strength to rip open the hole, freeing Nightwing, Flamebird and the Phantom Zone villains as well. Together they destroy the control room for the Museum, and return Kandor and the other Earth city to their normal place, including sending the villains back to the Phantom Zone. They find an uninhabited world to transplant all the other civilizations onto. Sure, it could have been better in places, and the ending is a bit quick. But for the time, this was an amazing tale.
In Superman Family 191 Lois Lane is investigating the kidnapping of a child. She has been working on this case for a while, and knows it is part of a larger scam to sell the kidnapped kids to people who want to adopt babies, through a shady lawyer. Lois visits Jimmy Olsen to get a disguise, and enlists the aid of Ryan Chase, the Human Cannonball, to play her husband. But Chase is too recognizable, and when asked if he is really the Cannonball, is eager to admit it. Fortunately, both he and Lois are skilled enough fighters to take down the babynappers and rescue the kids.
The next three issues bring the Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen strips back together for another crossover. In issue 192 the Human Cannonball proves particularly useless as he accompanies Lois, who is on the trail of an assassin aiming to kill the members of the UN. He falls asleep while on a stake-out, and then gets knocked out by the bad guys. We also catch up on Tina Ames, still dealing with her uncontrollable powers, from waaay back when Dave Stevens got shot. The wanna-be killer is a crazy one-armed man with a deadly gun replacing his other limb. Lois is able to take him out herself, without needing Superman or the Cannonball. The guy mentions that he serves a man named Adam, linking this to the Jimmy Olsen story in the issue.
The plot continues in Lois’ tale from issue 193. Dave Stevens has finally recovered from being shot, and is now hovering over Tina, as Professor Potter tries to remove the energy that sometimes overwhelms the woman. The Human Cannonball continues to appear totally inept. When masked men on flying discs burst into the hospital, trying to kidnap Tina, it's Lois who fights them off at first, and Tina who defeats them with a blast of energy. As the story comes to a close, Professor Potter contacts someone he thinks might be able to help Tina, and she gets turned over to Adam. So even though they fought off goons from the Project, Tina still winds up in their hands.
Superman Family 194 concludes the hunt for the Guardian storyline, in a combined Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane tale. Lois twigs on that the same people who tried to abduct Tina Ames are the one who they turned her over to, and gets the Human Cannonball to fly her out to the Project. The Newsboy Legion find their originals, now all being held as prisoners by Adam. The original Legion explain how they were working to create the most perfect clone possible, and called him Adam. Once released from his chamber, Adam wound up becoming the leader of the Project. The story ties in to an issue of New Gods from a couple of years earlier, during which there was an attack on the Project. Adam took advantage of this to take complete control of the facility, locking up the original Newsboys, and creating his subservient Jimmy clone army. Adam has also created a giant clone of his own brain, which he uses to control all the clones under his command. Adam is planning to drain Tina Ames' energy to power a sonic disruptor which he will then use to conquer the world. Well, clearly Jimmy and the Newsboy Legion are not going to let that happen. Jimmy alerts Superman with his signal watch, just as Lois Lane and the Human Cannonball arrive at the facility. The Cannonball may not be more adept in this story than in previous ones, but at least he shows himself willing to fight and risk his life. Adam releases an army of tiny Justice League clones to deal with Superman, while Speedy frees the Guardian and Dubbilex. While the Guardian battles Adam, and Dubbilex does nothing, apparently, Lois Lane alters the frequency of the sonic disruptor, which starts frying the giant brain. The big brain explodes, which takes down Adam and all of his clones. It's a big conclusion, if not a great one. I had heard people talk so highly about the DNA Project stories, but this was all I knew of them when I was young, and it failed to impress me at all. The epilogue shows Tina Ames all cured, finally. Human Cannonball is looking fine, and proud of himself, and yet we never do see the guy again. For that matter, this is also the last time we see the Guardian, the Newsboy Legion or Dubbilex until the post-Crisis reboot of Superman re-introduces them. So I expect they recruited the Human Cannonball into whatever secret group they formed afterwards. The final panels of the story show a mysterious figure approach the wreckage of the Project. It will not be made clear for a few years who this is, but it's Robby Reed, making his first appearance since Dial H for Hero ended, as he starts using the facilities of the Project as he creates his identity of the Master.
The Lois Lane story in Superman Family 198 is only loosely linked to the Jimmy Olsen tale, as Perry White challenged both of them to get the better story. This has taken Lois into the world of roller derby. So Lois is right on the spot when one of the woman skating goes wildly out of control, mowing down her own teammates and slamming into the wall, dying because of it. The team is billed as the fastest team ever, and indeed, their skates are rigged with motors. The dead girl's were rigged even further, by a jealous teammate whose boyfriend she had stolen.
Superman Family 203 begins another multi-part story for Lois, which will eventually tie in to Jimmy Olsen’s strip. In the first chapter, Lois gets gassed in the elevator, kidnapped and brought to a mad scientist, the Extractor, who uses his machine to wipe Lois' memories, which he has been paid to do by a mystery employer. The plan is then to kill her, which makes one wonder why they removed her memories in the first place. But that part of the plan fails, and Lois escapes from the car death trap, winding up on the run. Lois winds up meeting a widower who owns a seaside restaurant, and begins a new life with him as Lanie. She falls in love with the guy, and is content with her new life until the Extractor's men find her, and try to kill her and her new guy. Lois winds up leaving him and heading back on the run.
In issue 204 the goons hired by the Extractor keep finding Lois, no matter where she goes, and Lois eventually figures out that there is a homing beacon in her bracelet. She heads to STAR Labs, and though they cannot restore her memories, they do a funky playback thing, which allows her to see who did this to her. Lois tracks down the Extractor and his men, and even gets to see the computer bank her memories are being stored in. But a stray gunshot starts a fire, the bad guys flee, and Lois is left in the burning building, with the computer destroyed.
In issue 205 there is a Lois Lane story, a Jimmy Olsen story, and then a Lois Lane/Jimmy Olsen story. Really, it’s one long tale, winding up Lois’s memory loss plotline. It starts off with Lois Lane surviving the fire from the previous issue, but with no apparent way to regain her memories. She heads to the library to scan newspapers to see if there are any reports about her, and discovers that she is a famous reporter. Heading back to her home, she searches for any clues as to what she might have been working on, but it's pure luck that she happens to be there when a call comes in, luring her to the bad guys. Lois falls into their trap only briefly, fighting her way out when her solo chapter ends. In Jimmy’s chapter he gets the information he wanted, by impersonating the congressional candidate. He brings this to Inspector Henderson, who has been doing some checking on his own. Henderson is now on board with Olsen's suspicions, but Jimmy still decides to try to bring in the bad guys on his own, breaking in to their office. Jimmy, and the reader, learn that the candidate and his people are really working for HIVE, the big bad guys from New Teen Titans. The second chapter ends as Lois and Jimmy confront each other. The third chapter begins as a fight between Lois and Jimmy, as Lois has no idea who Olsen is, and thinks he is another of the bad guys. He eventually manages to show her his press pass, and convinces Lois that they are on the same side. Jimmy brings Lois back to the Daily Planet, where she explains her memory loss to everyone. Jimmy wants to call in Superman, but Lois, not recalling anything about their relationship, is hesitant. HIVE even get to make a brief appearance, as the candidate finds out that his plans have gone so wrong that HIVE is ready to have him killed just to get him out of the way. Lois and Jimmy go into action together and manage to get into the HIVE base, steal the memory tapes of the candidate, who is undergoing the same process Lois went through. In the ensuing battle, the base gets blown up, but the two reporters get free, with all the proof they need to write their story. In a nice epilogue, Lois uses Jimmy's signal watch to call Superman, to have him fill in the blanks of her life.
That takes place in Superman Family 206, as Superman brings Lois to the Fortress and hooks her to a machine that will retrieve her lost memories. While this might have been an opportunity to look back at all her crazy adventures from the past, the story stays more serious, and gives us some background on the character. Frankly, none of it is very exciting. The story picks up a bit when the machine overheats as she learns about her relationship with Superman, and it turns into a nightmare. The best part of the tale, by far, is the conclusion. Her memories restored, she now has Superman bring her back to the guy she met just after losing them. The brief romance she had as Lanie. The two know they are not meant to be, but that the feelings they had, the time they had together, was real nonetheless. It's a bittersweet, and very effective, conclusion.
The only Lois Lane story from this period to have a guest star other than a member of the Superman Family appeared in issue 183. Lois visits a psychic research institute in Metropolis for a story she is working on, and the man in charge is very open with her about his work there, showing how they test people for psychic skills, hold seances, and work on astral projection. Lois does some of the tests, and scores very high. There is an odd localized earthquake, which makes Superman show up, but no apparent point to it. The story starts to become odd when Lois dreams that she is flying in her bed that night. It takes a stranger twist when she wakes, and finds soot from her apparent dream on the bed, with a warning to help Superman. The next day, Superman begins behaving very strangely. Firstly, he is aggressively romantic towards Lois, but later seems unaware as to how to use his powers. It starts to become clear that someone else has taken over Superman's body, especially after Lois receives another mysterious message. It turns out to be the head of the institute, who caused the tremor to lure Superman, and then exchanged astral forms with him, taking over his body. Through another of the man's techniques, sleep learning, they program him to believe that Lois is stronger than he is, and chase him out of Superman's body. The very last couple of panels of the story reveal who the narrator, and mysterious helper was in the tale - Deadman, in an unexpected cameo.
While the frequency of Superman villains in Lois’ stories decreased in Superman Family, they still did pop up occasionally. Issue 172 featured Lois Lane marrying Lex Luthor. The tale opens with a celebration of the forthcoming wedding by the Galaxy staff, one that includes many of the new characters introduced in the Superman series, Steve Lombard, Lola Barnett and Johnny Nevada, as well as Morgan Edge, Perry White and Jimmy Olsen. Then the story moves into an extended flashback to explain how this all came about. While Superman and the other Justice League members were off planet, Earth became threatened by a deadly green radiation from space. Luthor offered to stop this, but demanded a complete pardon. Lois Lane accompanied him into space, and despite not trusting him, was impressed with Luthor's dedication, risking his life to stop the irradiated meteors. When they land, after completing the mission, Luthor plants a kiss on Lois, who reciprocates. Superman then shows up, all ready to haul Luthor back to prison. Or just beat him up. But Green Lantern gets a cameo, intervening and explaining to Superman that the President had just pardoned Luthor, who is now a free man. Luthor saves Lois from some other thugs, and the romance grows between them. Or at least it seems to. Lois has been faking all along, certain that Luthor was up to something, and using the romance to get close and spy on him. Luthor catches her, and uses a hypnotic spray on her to make her go through with the wedding. Luckily, she wrote a note to Superman first. So though the wedding takes place, the minister is just an actor. Luthor tries to use a truth ray on Superman, but he had traded places with Jonny Nevada. Luthor's plans get exposed on live television, but the real crowning moment of the story comes in the last couple of panels, as Lois and Superman argue over her actions and the risks she took, not realizing that Johnny Nevada is broadcasting this all live.
Skull, a criminal organization causing Superman a lot of problems in his own book, appeared in a couple of Lois Lane’s outings. In Superman Family 182 Lois Lane is doing a piece on the world of professional wrestling. The story assumes that pro wrestling is real, as Lois interviews a number of wrestlers who cannot figure out how one guy, who is always easy to beat in practice, keeps taking them down in the ring during the matches. They describe odd feelings, like their muscles turning to jelly. Lois really begins to suspect something is up when she spots operatives of Skull lurking around the ring. It turns out that the wrestler who has been winning is completely unaware that Skull has been using him, and really, the organization does not come off terribly impressive in this outing, as their goal seems to just be rigging the matches using their super-weapons to incapacitate the other wrestlers.
Lois Lane winds up becoming a pawn of Skull in issue 184. Lois is investigating a meditation master, Father DeMurr. She would much rather be continuing her expose on the criminal organization Skull, but Morgan Edge insists she give that a break. Although he is abrupt and rude about it, one can easily see this is probably for Lois' safety more than anything else. But wouldn't you know it, the meditation practice is really another front for Skull, prepping people for mind control. When Lois stumbles across this, she winds up being programmed to kill Clark Kent, whose reports on Skull activities have been just as much of a nuisance as Lois' articles. Lois really doesn't try too hard to fight off the command to kill Clark. He overhears her repeating her orders, and shorts out her programming by changing back and forth to Superman in front of her. It's not a bad story, but it does end really abruptly, without DeMurr or the Skull operatives actually being apprehended.
Superman Family 200 was the second and last issue of the book to link all the stories into one longer one. In this case, all of the tales are set 20 years in the future, building up to a wedding anniversary party for Lois and Clark. In this case, since it does not all blend into one massive tale, I will only look at the Lois Lane chapter, which opens the issue. We see her and Clark married, with Lois knowing that her husband is Superman. The pair also have a teenage daughter, Laura. Lois left her reporting career to raise Laura, but now that the girl has grown, she is getting back into things. Her old instincts and habits prove useful, as she heads to pick up an anniversary present at the underwater home of an artist, only to find the man dead, and the hologram gift showing Clark's identity as Superman, even though Lois was not aware that the artist knew this. Lois tracks down the killer, a cranky old art critic who does not believe holograms count as art. In his attack on the artist, he caused two different holograms to get fused together, replacing Clark with an image of Superman by pure coincidence.
One of my favourite Lois Lane tales from this run appeared in issue 207. An airhead columnist for the Daily Whisper beats Lois for the investigative journalism award, which upsets the reporter no end. The scene is well written, and there are a lot of laughs, not the least of which sees Lois go through the roof when Steve Lombard also wins an award. But Lois is not about to take this sitting down. She checks out the woman's story, and is impressed at how much better it is than she expected. Too good, it seems to Lois, who decides to check on things further. And indeed, she uncovers proof that the story is actually part of a revenge scheme by a rival businessman getting back at his former partner. A light opening and a serious ending combine for a solid tale.
A new Daily Planet staff member gets introduced in Lois’ story from Superman 216, and will travel over to Lois’ series in Daring New Adventures of Supergirl. Mark Spencer apparently graduated the top of his class in journalism at Metropolis University, which doesn't say much for their program, as the kid has a massive ego, and no real idea what being a reporter entails. Perry White assigns him to accompany Lois. Perhaps to scare the kid out of wanting to be a reporter. As usual, Lois gets way in over her head while investigating a story, and both of them almost get killed. Lois winds up having to rescue Mark. But Perry White is impressed. Probably because Mark didn't just run away screaming. He gets a job as a gopher for the paper, essentially putting him in Jimmy Olsen's original job.
Lois Lane is given a really solid puzzler for her final outing as Superman Family comes to an end with issue 222. Lois returns to her apartment after work, only to find it occupied by another woman, who looks just like her. She insists that Lois moved out, and indeed, all her furniture is gone. Lois fears this may be a sign of her memory wipe from a number of issues ago, and heads to the "new address" the woman has given her, only to find it a vacant lot. Returning to her apartment, the furniture is all back, but the woman is dead. The solution is remarkably clear and logical for such a wild set-up, with the other impersonating Lois for an interview with an undercover spy, who killed her when he realized what was going on. The furniture was taken to hunt for recording devices. Lois pieces it all together, impersonates her imposter, and takes down the bad guys.
After the cancellation of Superman Family, Supegirl moved into her own book for some “Daring New Adventures.” Lois Lane would get a back up series, which began in the second issue, and ran to the twelfth. No longer having his own series, Jimmy Olsen would become a major supporting player in Lois Lane’s strip. Tamsyn O’Flynn, who had scripted Lois’ later tales in Superman Family, launched the back up series, and Joey Cavalieri would also write some of the stories, while Bob Oskner remained the main artist.
Mark Spencer was back as Lois’ new series began, and there was now another new Daily Planet staffer, Jamie Gillies. They develop a romance over the next few issues. At first Mark is taken by a mystery woman he sees at a film festival, but Jamie keeps pursuing him. The first storyline deals with a 14 year old model, with a missing father. Her mother keeps pushing her, and though the young girl is idolized by her fans, it's clear she takes little pleasure in her life. Another plot thread deals with a story that Lois finds left on her desk. She has no idea who wrote it. The next day, she discovers that the story told about events that had not yet taken place.
The story continues in issue 3. Jimmy Olsen announces to Perry White and Lois Lane that he knows who wrote the mystery story that told the news before it happened, but then that plot gets put on hold. Instead, we spend a lot more time following the teenage model, who gets reunited with her missing father. Turns out the guy has debts, and gangsters chasing him. The model is more than happy to run off with her dad, but as Lois gets onto the case of the missing model, she winds up confronted by the hoods.
Lois Lane flees from the hoods chasing the teenage model's father in issue 4. This is a very strange chapter. It really feels like the dad is pulling some scam. He even admits to acting a role when the hoods attack him, killing his wife. But he gets to play the hero to his daughter, who decides to use her money to pay off her father's debts, allowing him to open a restaurant. The chapter ends by picking up on the thread of the mystery story, as Jimmy Olsen tells Lois and Perry White that he was the one who wrote the tale, reporting the news before it happened.
The back-up in Daring New Adventures of Supergirl 5 gives Jimmy Olsen the focus, although the strip is still billed as Lois Lane’s. Perry White does not believe Jimmy when he insists that he wrote the story, telling the news in advance. Jimmy storms out of the office, and Lois follows him, not convinced that he is lying. He isn't. His news story was a holdover from the precognitive powers he gained from Brainstorm in his series in Superman Family. Brainstorm has also figured this out, and has his goon kidnap Jimmy. Lois sees this, and trails them. As the chapter ends, Lois passes herself off as a hamburger delivery person, getting into the room with Jimmy, though with no clear plan as to what to do next.
The Brainstorm story continues in this issue 6’s Lois Lane chapter. Lois' disguise as a delivery person fails, when the hoods see her high heeled shoes. To Jimmy's surprise, he is able to burst free of his bonds, and joins Lois in fighting off Brainstorm and his men. Jimmy believes that this is a new power as well, to make his wishes come true. But when the pair return to the Daily Planet, Jimmy tries to use this wishing power to fly, and just falls on his face. Still, he really did write the precognitive story, and has a new scoop for Perry White about Brainstorm. The issue ends as Lois finds a baby on her doorstep, left by an old roommate, Kristin Cutler. The next day, Perry tells her that Kristin Cutler has been murdered in a mob hit.
The plot thread about the baby gets resolved in issue 7. The mother had been murdered in a mob hit. Lois and the annoying young couple of reporters in love figure out that it must have been her mobster ex-husband. They lure the guy out with a phony story, pretending to have proof. Lois gets Darwin Jones involved, although the rarely seen head of the Bureau of Scientific Investigation really doesn't actually do anything.
It’s Lois Lane’s birthday in her back-up story from Daring New Adventures of Supergirl 8. Perry White, Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent, among others, are all gathered for a surprise party in her apartment. She also gets a message asking her to meet an old flame. But the guy gets kidnapped right in front of Lois, who spends the remainder of the tale tracking him and freeing him. It proves to be a big prank, an April Fool's Day gag/birthday surprise combination. Still, it's a fun piece.
Issues 9 and 10 contain a fun two parter. Jimmy Olsen gets a small role in the tale as well. The story centres on popular actress who stars in a lot of horror films of dubious quality. The actress is given the name Jenny Lind Keaton, but is clearly intended to be Jamie Lee Curtis. Through a relatively absurd sequence of events, a man comes to believe that Lois is really the actress, and also thinks the actress is really a witch. He kidnaps Lois, to make use of her magical powers.
In issue 10, rather than argue with her deranged kidnapper, Lois agrees that she is the actress, and a witch. The man wants her to cast a spell to destroy a rival hotel, and she pretends to do so, writing out the spell, but placing shorthand notes within it, explaining the situation, then leaving the note behind. Perry White gets the message, and they scam the man into believing the spell has worked and the hotel was destroyed, while the police track the man down. A good one.
There is a good little mystery story in issue 11’s Lois Lane back-up. She is jogging in the park, and is passed by a woman on horseback. Shortly after, she comes across the woman's dead body, and notices that her gloves have gone missing. The gloves bother Lois, and she starts poking around, finding some peanut shells, which leads her to a vendor. Lois tries to get Inspector Henderson interested in the case, but he is working on one that involves a stolen gem. The two cases turn out to be the same one, and Lois winds up working hand in hand with Henderson to bring in the thief and killer. A darn good tale for such a short one.
Lois Lane's back-up series in Daring New Adventures of Supergirl comes to an end with issue 12. It's not a great story. A stoolie contacts Lois, telling her he knows who a blowdart using killer really is, even though he doesn't. Lois meets him, but the guy gets killed by the blowdart killer. Seriously, what did he think was going to happen? The story does pick up as Lois grabs the dead man's bike, and chases the killer. She single handedly captures the killer, which is admittedly impressive. It's just not as good a story as the one before it, and not a great tale to go out on.
Shortly before the post-Crisis reboot of Superman, Lois Lane was given a two issue miniseries by Mindy Newell and Gray Morrow. It was a much heavier, much darker story than she had been given in any of her previous runs. Though it ran only two issues, it was clearly intended as four. Each of the two issues contains two stories. Given the bleakness of the overall plot, I think compressing it into two oversized issues was the wise choice.
The story opens with Inspector Henderson at a crime scene. A dead child has been found, though no one knows who she is. Lois has been out on a date when she passes the scene, and stops to find out what is going on. As Lois pokes her nose into the situation, we find out that she is not in the good graces of the Daily Planet at the moment. She screwed up some big interview on the situation in the Middle East, and has been put on minor stories for a while, as punishment. Lois, being Lois, is none to keen on that. Lucy Lane gets a supporting role in this. She is back at her job as a flight attendant, and ostracized from her sister. She tries calling Lois, but gets no answer, and later shows up at her apartment, but Lois is not there. Lois pushes her way through to see the body of the child, and it affects her strongly. From Henderson she learns that there are a lot of missing children, and not all the ones they find get identified. Lois is certain this is a major story, and wants the front page held for her. There are some good scenes spread throughout this dealing with editorial decisions, and all Lois can get is one column. This infuriates her, but the reader is allowed to understand how, with the other editorial issues, and Lois in the dog house, this is the best possible outcome. Lucy shows up at Clark Kent's apartment, where he is having breakfast with Lana Lang. As in pre-Crisis continuity, Clark and Lana were dating at this time, while Lois and Superman had broken up. Lucy talks about the difficulty she is having connecting with her sister. Lois gets immersed in the abducted children situation, and spends much of this, and the next, issue researching cases. This means we get a lot of really terrible tales of kidnapped and abused children. We see the trauma it causes the parents, and how one family turn on each other with guilt and recriminations. Ironically, when Lois and Lucy do get together, Lois is all remote, completely obsessed with her story, and has no interest in her sister.
The second half of the tale is really well done, although it does almost go overboard with the amount of dreadful child abduction stories. At the start of this one, Lois barges her way in to see Inspector Henderson, demanding to know why he hasn't solved the case of the murdered child. The plethora of word balloons floating over the scene quickly conveys just how busy the police are, making us understand why Lois' demands are not reasonable. Lucy reconnects with Jimmy, and although there is no real hint of romance between them now, they do pretend to get married. This is part of some scam they pull, which is in some way connected to the missing children. They write up their actions, a story that helps draw attention to the situation. What they do, exactly, is never clearly explained, though. Lois finds more and more cases to report on. So we get to read just awful things about kids being sexually abused and such. It becomes just sickening. Again, it was probably smart to condense this to two issues, since I doubt many people would have kept coming back for more. Lois' behaviour also gets pretty bad in this one. She was already sort of bitchy to Lucy in the last issue. Now she flips on Lana Lang, accusing her of wanting to muscle in on the story and exploit it on television. Lana sincerely wanted to give the issue bigger exposure, but Lois has lost her objectivity. No one actually comments about that, but they do get concerned that she has become increasingly obsessed with her story. On the one hand, its an important story and deserves attention, but we can also see Lois is not handling it well. She has a conversation with Clark, but will not listen to him when he tries to help her get control of herself. Incidentally, one of the best things about this miniseries is that, although Clark Kent appears, Superman does not. Lois patches things up with Lana, after Lana opens up and reveals that she had a child who was kidnapped, and never seen again. Newell places this during the years Lana spent in Europe, and also reveals that she had been married during that time. Although this is all brand new information, it works, since Lana comments on it being the reason she never talks about her time in Europe. And, indeed, she never did. There is no happy ending here. The dead child is buried, without ever having been identified, and no killer is found. Lois' story is just a small one, easily forgotten or overlooked. But the issue also contains a couple of pages of listings of organizations dealing with runaways and abused kids. It's a very well done miniseries, in both story and art. But geez, what a downer.
In the post-Crisis era, Lois Lane received only a handful of one shots to herself. On the other hand, her role in the Superman books expanded greatly. She received far more development within those volumes than she had in her own long running series. Her inability to spell had already been adapted from Margot Kidder’s performance in the Superman movies, but now we really got to see her as an army brat, and as a reporter willing to do anything to get a story. Her strained relationship with her military father and remote mother were given a lot more play, as were her dealings with her sister, Lucy. In time, we would discover that both women were jealous of the way the parents treated the other one, and the expectations placed on them.
One major change was the Lois no longer devoted much of her life to pursuing Superman. She accepted early on that this was a romance with nowhere to go, and moved on with her life. As for Superman, he refused to lead Lois on, hoping against hope that somehow he could win her over as Clark Kent, despite the bitterness she felt towards him for stealing the scoop on the hero. Each of the two were given an alternate romantic interest at first. Clark Kent dated Cat Grant, while Lois fell for Jose Delgado, the hero Gangbuster. But neither of those relationships would last, and eventually the two moved from rivals to friends to lovers.
Clark would propose to Lois, and she would accept, and then he had to deal with the fear of revealing his true identity to her, and having her accept that he had been lying to her all along. Eventually that took place, and though they went through some rough patches, the pair eventually married.
Once Lois knew that Superman was Clark Kent, the dynamic between changed significantly. She became much more of a partner for him, doing research on cases, giving him alibis for his mysterious absences. Lois even became friends with his super buddies, and was admired and respected by them. Thanks to some reality altering events, the pair managed to conceive a son, Jonathan, who has recently adopted the Superboy identity.
But before I get all the way up to the present, let’s look at her three one shots during the post-Crisis period.
Lois Lane get the cover billing for the lead story in Showcase 95 issue 9, but inside, she shares it with Jimmy Olsen. Cindy Goff scripted the tale, with art by Sal Velluto and Dick Giordano. Lois is working on a story about a missing heiress, and Jimmy gets involved when an elderly lady from his apartment disappears as well. Together they follow the trail to a cult lead by Mother Grace, who preaches about gaining salvation by disposing of one’s worldly goods. Like money. Her followers are entranced, but Lois and Jimmy spot how the money that supposedly gets burned up actually falls through a trap door. Jimmy winds up down in the basement with the other missing people, while Lois gets kicked out onto the street. She figures out where Jimmy is being held, and shows up just in time to help him and others escape when a storm breaks out and the sewers overflow, flooding the basement. Mother Grace is down with the others at the time, and drops her benevolent guise when her life is in danger. Lois and Jimmy get the missing people to safety, and then somewhat reluctantly help Mother Grace. It’s not a bad story, but very much in the vein of their Superman Family adventures.
The story in the third issue of Showcase 96 is quite different. The Jordan Gorfinkel, Jennifer Graves and Stan Woch tale teams up Lois with Black Canary. Well, kind of with the Birds of Prey, but Canary takes out her earpiece early on, so Oracle’s part in the tale is quite small. The story takes place during the period when Lois had called off her engagement to Clark, feeling that she could never be the most important thing in his life, so long as he had his responsibilities as Superman. She and Black Canary meet while both are digging into some human smuggling from Santa Prisca, people bringing the immigrants into the US illegally, then forcing them into slave labour. The man behind it appears to have electrical powers, but it’s Lois who deduces that the villain’s powers are actually psionic, and that he is drawing energy from the enslaved workers. Sadly, this leave Black Canary little to do. Even in the big fight scene, Lois is shown holding her own, as though her fighting abilities were on par with Canary’s, one of the top martial artists in the DC universe! I wish Canary had been given more of a chance to show her stuff, but the crime plot is really just the hook onto which the emotional core of the tale is hung. Green Arrow had died, sacrificing himself to save Metropolis, a year or so before this story. Dinah shares her bitterness over having the man she had loved put his hero-ness ahead of her, even though, as one herself, she understood his decision. This means that when Lois opens up about her feelings about her own relationship, Black Canary is able to relate. It’s not like either woman finds closure or moves on after this, but it does form a bond between them, one that would have been worth developing, though that never happened.
June 1998 saw the release of a number of one shot specials under the banner Girlfrenzy. Batgirl, Donna Troy, Tomorrow Woman, the Secret, the Mist, and the Ravens all received solo tales, as did Lois Lane.
Barbara Kesel, Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti were the creative team on the issue. Superman gets a cameo at the top of Lois Lane’s Girlfrenzy one-shot, but aside from that she is operating on her own, in the city of Winston, in Northern Manitoba, on Hudson’s Bay. In other words, she’s in Churchill. I do like that the story dealt with ecotourism and the people who come to Churchill to watch the polar bears migrate through the town. But that’s on the side of the tale. Some bears are being taken and experimented on, being made into bear-human hybrids. Lois wears what sure looks like a costume as she digs into this, breaking into the lab and finding Sarge Steel a bottled-up captive, soon to be experimented on. Steel is too out of it to join in the fighting, so Lois gets to keep on top of the action, though some RCMP join her towards the end. And they are even dressed like real Mounties! Not in the stereotypical dress reds! Lois isn’t really excited about that fact, though. I doubt she even notices, as a horde of angry polar emerge from the lab and turn on the scientists. The story’s conclusion reveals to the reader that Contessa Erica Del Portenza and her Agenda were behind the lab, but Lois remains unaware of that. Again, this isn’t anything significantly different from a Superman Family tale.
Now Greg Rucka and Mike Perkins have launched a new Lois Lane book. Clark Kent plays a supporting role. The series doesn’t appear to shy away from using him, but unlike Lois’ long running series, her romantic issues are not the core of story. And Lois is still investigating crimes on her own, and working with the Question in pursuit of the truth. But more than this, Lois is primarily being defined as a reporter, and in the USA of today, when reporters are being labelled enemies of the people by their president. Extreme right wing politics have transformed the United States, and Lois is battling against a lying press secretary and an authoritarian White House, running concentration camps and denying children basic human rights. At a time when being a reporter has become a dangerous profession, and world leaders yawn and look the other way when newspeople are butchered and carved up alive, Lois’ choice of career is heroic in and of itself. She doesn’t need to become a lizard girl, or defeat evil aliens creating a museum of humans. Getting the truth out there is the greatest challenge to be faced, and one that could wind up costing her her life