The Day Lois Lane Forgot Superman!

In Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #19 (Aug. 1960), everyone's favorite girl reporter finally gives up on her dead-end romance with the Man of Steel, and moves on with her life...sort of.

Robert Bernstein is credited with writing this Kurt Schaffenberger-drawn tale, which begins with Lois being flown home to her apartment by the chivalrous Superman after a late-night reporting assignment. When Superman doesn't kiss her goodnight, the forever-frustrated Lois breaks down in tears and confesses to her sister Lucy that she wishes she could "stop loving Superman...or get him out of my mind!"

As luck would have it, Lucy stumbles on a solution in her job as an airline hostess...

Yes, thanks a lot, stewardess, for alerting the other passengers and preventing any chance I might have had at privacy. Boy, I bet the movie stars love Lucy on those bi-coastal flights. Anyway, when a nervous passenger begins to panic over her "premonition" that the plane will crash, Majo hypnotizes her into calmness, leading Lucy to hope he might also help Lois forget Superman.

Sure enough, Majo agrees to see Lois after a performance at a Metropolis theater and hypnotizes her with his monocle, commanding "from now on, he'll mean nothing to you...understand?"

Lois' first test comes as soon as she leaves the theater, and the procedure seems to have worked...

Nonetheless, Lucy understands that any sudden shock could restore Lois' former feelings.

At the Daily Planet offices, Lois finds her typewriter ribbon snarled, and Clark Kent offers to fix it. As he does, she looks on, thinking, "What a gentleman Clark is! Always so sweet and courteous! How come I never appreciated him before? I must get this guy to date me!"

Clark agrees to go with Lois to a showing of a 3-D movie and, growing uncomfortable with the attention she's giving him, makes a big show of yelling in "fear" during a scary scene, hoping to earn her disgust. Afterwards, he apologizes for his shameful display, but Lois is okay with it. As they walk home, a mugger accosts the pair and Clark, trying again to sell the "coward" act, makes a show of running away. Unfortunately fate has other plans...

Since the knockout "punch" was delivered in the shadows of an alleyway, Lois didn't see it, and is left to assume Clark's actions were purely heroic (after "confusing the thief by pretending to run away"). The next day, she turns up the heat.

Wow, check out the way she's playing with his tie. And is she going to sit in his lap? I have to confess I still haven't seen Mad Men, so I'll have to rely on you guys: Was this sort of thing acceptable office behavior in the 60s?

Anyway, Clark tries to beg off by pleading poverty, but that just leads Lois to invite him to her place for a home-cooked meal. Once there, Clark does what he can to cut the evening short, first over-freezing her frozen dinners with super-breath, then incinerating her hamsteak with heat vision, but she manages a dinner anyway.

Oh yes, I hate that Superman, he means nothing to me. That's why he keeps coming up in casual I can stress just how little he means to me. Because he means nothing, you know. No sir, that Superman doesn't even rate a second thought from me. I could probably go the rest of my life without thinking about him. I bet some women always think about Superman, but not me...

Clark ducks out of dinner early with a feigned stomach ache and saves that pair of ferry boats from crashing into each other, but the next day Lois is back at it again, taking Clark to the Annual Planet Ball.

Did I mention how glad I am not to be with Superman? He means nothing to me, you know.

A radio report warns of a bomb in Metropolis Terminal, and Clark ducks out of the dance, citing sore feet. It's interesting to note that (1) the Daily Planet is so cheap that its "annual ball" uses a radio for music instead of live musicians and (2) in a room full of reporters, only Clark Kent seems at all interested in the fact that a bomb has been planted at Metropolis Terminal.

Zooming to the terminal, Superman discovers the bomb inside a "huge organ pipe" and disposes of it by blowing on the pipe like a giant blow-gun and sending the bomb into Metropolis Harbor (where it narrowly misses a passing tugboat before exploding. First two ferries, now a tug. Water travel simply isn't safe in Metropolis, folks. This issue was brought to you by your friends at the Metropolis Toll Bridge). Again, I'm not much of a railroad buff, so I'll turn to you guys; Do train terminals usually feature huge pipe organs?

Clark returns to the dance, but Lois doesn't miss the fact that his absence coincided with a Superman siting. Her suspicions grow the following day, when Clark slips away from her at the Annual Planet Beach Picnic (don't these people ever work?) to save the swimmers from sharks. Ironically, Lois' suspicions take the opposite direction from usual, as she muses: "If Clark is Superman, I'm through with him!"

The next night, Lois tests her theory by barging into Clark's office brandishing what she says is a "prop" machine-gun. Clark begs her to turn it away, just in case it's loaded with real bullets, but Lois has other plans.

Wakening from her swoon to find Clark holding her, Lois pushes him away. "How dare you put your arms around me? You know I only love Superman!" As forewarned, the "sudden shock" of Clark's near death has jolted Lois back to her old self. Status quo restored, we've reached...The End.

But, Great Shades of Freud, is this broad a nutjob or what? Glenn Close's character in Fatal Attraction looks positively well-adjusted in comparison. Check out that reasoning in the machine-gun scene: "I wouldn't want to be Superman's wife, so I'm glad you're not Superman, since I'm going to be your wife, right? After all, we've been on three dates already. So, here's how it's going to go down; you invite me to the Empire Club on Friday night and present me with a ring from Finklestein's Jewelry. They're the ones on Grant Avenue. Here, I've written down the inventory number, just ask for Harry, he's got it set aside..."

But hey, what guy wouldn't want to be with a woman who's just threatened him with a machine gun? Even if it was only loaded with blanks ("Ha! Ha! The look on your face when you dove under your desk!") in an elaborate scheme to get the truth out of you ("Sorry honey, but I had to be sure..."). Note to Lois' female readership: If you're looking to land a man, it's traditional to save the real craziness until after the wedding, 'kay?

Also note how Lois practically does a lap dance for Clark earlier in the story, then bristles like a frigid old maid when he has the audacity to put his arm around her shoulders to help her up off the floor. She's like a walking catalog of neuroses...the girl your mom always warned you about.

What's really amazing is that this story is from Lois' own comic, where you'd think the object would be to paint the title character in a favorable, if not heroic light. That is not what we get here, to say the least, which makes me wonder: were DC's writers and editors just in way over their heads trying to write comics for girls, or was the readership of Lois Lane really mostly male? And if the latter, why didn't we end up even more afraid of girls than we already were?