Co-dependent, Lois Lane
Over in his "Deck Log" blog, Commander Benson posted
great review of "Superman and Batman's Joke on Lois
Lane," a story that reveals Lois as a devious, conniving
nut job. In my case, he's preaching to the converted, but
a glance at the rest of that same comic (Superman's Girlfriend
Lois Lane #59, Aug. 1965) offers plenty of supporting
evidence for the still-unconvinced.
In the lead story, "Lois Lane's Super-Perfect
Crime," Lois receives from friendly aliens an
elixir that grants her invulnerability, making it possible,
she reasons, for Superman to finally take a wife without fear
that his enemies will strike at him through her. The only
catch with the invulnerability formula, say the aliens, is
that she'll have to consume at least one glass of milk every
day to ward off the potion's dangerous side effects.
All that's left now is to clue Superman in on this happy
development, so Lois quickly arranges a meeting with the Man
of Steel and explains the whole thing in a logical and rational
manner. Haha, just kidding! Instead she summons him to a rocky
ravine with an emergency signal watch and uses dynamite to
dump an avalanche of boulders on herself while Superman looks
on in horror. As he digs her out in a state of shock and grief,
he's astonished to find her hale and hearty.
Naturally a little thing like invulnerability is handy indeed
when you live a life as peril-filled as Lois Lane's. In fact,
it's fair to say the term "trouble magnet" was invented
with this gal in mind.
To Lois' consternation, her newfound ability does not move
Superman to immediately pop the question. Quite the contrary;
when asked on a television chat show when he'll get around
to marrying, Superman answers quite frankly, "Never!"
and Lois, watching the program, flips her wig.
Naturally Lois assumes that "marriage" for Superman
means marriage to her. If you're thinking this tirade
is a bit over the top even for Lois, you're right. It seems
she forgot to drink her daily glass of milk the night before,
and that "side effect" the aliens alluded to is,
well, insanity. Oops.
As fate would have it, Superman picks this very day to reveal
to Lois and Lana Lang the secret hiding place
of a deadly Kryptonite ray gun (honestly, won't he ever learn?)
and Lois takes advantage of this opening with a plot to rid
herself of both Supmern and Lana, killing the former while
disguised as the latter.
Based on eyewitness accounts and Lois' (true) testimony that
only she and Lana knew about the Kryptonite gun, Lana is convicted
of Superman's murder and months later, she's executed in the
electric chair. All is well for Lois, until one night she
finally drinks a glass of milk and comes to her senses (really,
months between glasses of milk? For shame, Lois!). Lois does
the honorable thing and confesses to her crime, but the courts
rule she was insane at the time and let her go. That's small
comfort to Lois, who's killed her friend and her true love
and has to endure the angry stares of people who know what
Luckily the whole thing is revealed as an hallucination;
Lois experienced a dizzy spell after drinking the invulnerability
formula and imagined the rest of the story. She quickly demands
an antidote to the formula to keep her vision from coming
true, and the aliens wave their farewells.
So the old "it was all a dream" ploy leaves us
(and Lois) unsure of just what she might really be
capable of (though the image of her murdering Superman can't
help but linger), but the second tale in this issue is less
ambiguous about her character. In "Lois Lane's
Romance With Jor-El," the girl reporter interviews
a scientist who's drawn up plans for a massive tower that,
if built, could aim a ray at the Earth's core which would
prevent the sort of atomic reactions that might explode the
planet. When Lois asks if the invention might have saved Krypton,
the scientist agrees it could have, and gives Lois the plans
for the tower so she can share them with Superman. "Superman,
nothing!" she thinks, " I'm going to follow this
Borrowing an experimental time machine from Professor
Potter, she travels to Krypton, careful to pick a
time period where Jor-El is still young enough to actually
build the tower before it's too late. When she arrives, Jor-El
has yet to marry his steady girlfriend, Lara.
Deciding the Jor-El of this time period would scoff at claims
Krypton was doomed, Lois presents the tower as a defense against
alien attacks aimed at the planet's core.
Someone might want to tell Lois that if she has
just succeeded in saving Krypton, she won't find Superman
waiting for her on Earth to hear the news. Anyway it's a moot
point since she returns to her time machine to find it non-functional,
and realizes she's stuck on Krypton. Immediately she decides
to make the best of it by stealing that hunky Jor-El away
from Lara ("If I can't have the son, then why not the
father?" she thinks, doing her best Joan Collins impersonation).
Lara offers to let Lois room with her, and is rewarded with
betrayal, as most of Lois' girlfriends eventually are.
At the beauty salon, Lois tries to turn Lara's hair green
but ends up accidentally dyeing her own. When she recovers
from that boo-boo, she tries to win over Jor-El at a dance
all three attend. That too goes badly, so Lois gets even bolder,
altering Lara's datebook so she'll miss a romantic moonlight
appointment with Jor-El, then disguising herself to take Lara's
Okay, now tell me Lois isn't a complete sicko. Anyway Lara
sure thinks so when she walks in on this scene and slaps Lois
in the face. The next day, Jor-El prepares to activate the
newly-constructed planet-saving tower in a public ceremony
when the tower and the town it's next to mysteriously disappear.
Lois realizes the tower has been built on the outskirts of
Kandor, and she's just witnessed the city's
theft at the hands of Brainiac.
Suddenly getting off of Krypton has become a bit more of
a priority, so Lois returns to the time machine to try it
out again. Luckily the atmospheric anomaly that rendered it
inoperable has been counteracted by a second weather effect
and now it works again. Lois takes her leave, but before returning
to the present, she sets her dials for only a few years hence,
and stops at the El home to stalk a very young Kal-El.
Okay, I'm pretty sure that sort of thing would get you locked
up in any state in the Union. Once the shudder of disgust
passes, check out that groovy Kryptonian architecture on Jor-El's
house. Wooden siding , neatly trimmed hedges, a white picket
fence and a healthy green lawn. Turns out Kryptonopolis looks
a lot like Beaver Cleaver's "Mayfield."
Commander Benson has already ably covered the third story
in the book, "Superman and Batman's Joke on Lois
Lane," but I figure it's worth including these
panels to give you the gist of Lois' character in the tale:
Okay, so in one issue we see Lois murder Superman and frame
her "friend" for the deed (albeit in a dream), try
to steal Superman's father away from his mother (at one point
making out with him while disguised as someone else), snatch
an unsuspecting couple's toddler from his yard for an inappropriate
display of affection and plot to marry Bruce Wayne
only because she thinks he's really Superman. And remember,
she's supposed to be the hero of this book.
In fairness, of course, it must be noted that this sort of
behavior was pretty standard for our favorite girl reporter
and yet Superman always came back for more, making him what
psychologists would call a "co-dependent," every
bit as messed up as Lois is. Bruce Wayne, at least, seems
to understand this, as indicated in this panel where Lois
willfully misinterprets the teachings of Norman Vincent Peale:
Or as Cameo sang back in the 80s, "She's strange. But
I like it."