Thursday, February 2, 2012
YEAR 1938: LOIS LANE
Like Wilma Deering, Lois Lane is best known through association with a top-billed male hero, though I do consider Wilma to be a valid sidekick to Buck Rogers, whereas in the Golden Age SUPERMAN comics, Lois is more like "support-cast." Nevertheless, she is arguably the most integral part of the Superman mythos aside from the hero himself, in that Superman's debut story, which appears serialized in ACTION COMICS #1 and 2, keeps a strong focus on the strange relationship (Jules Feiffer called it "masochistic") between Lois, Superman and Clark Kent.
Regrettably, many comics-fans view Lois Lane through the lens of the Silver Age comics: as a harebrained schemer who was always trying to force Superman to marry her. The Lois Lane created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster had her flaws-- a hard-bitten nature, foolhardiness-- but she wasn't usually stupid, as she all too often was in the Silver Age. In addition, she was pretty courageous, willing to pop a hoodlum in the mouth if she got the chance-- though she did end up being the "damsel in distress" in most adventures. She briefly became a "Superwoman" for one adventure, and fannish rumor has it that perhaps DC considered spinning her off as a full-time heroine, but during the Golden Age she only received a brief backup series, largely comic in tone.
The Silver Age LOIS LANE stories have their merits, but the most interesting aspect for this blog is that in the late 1960s Lois finally gets some heroic chops and starts fighting with karate-style moves. Most later depictions give her this badass skill, though clearly she's not meant to be in the same league with real kickass heroines.