GOLDEN AGE OF COMICS Lois Lane is already there when Clark Kent arrives on his first day at the Daily Planet, she’s working on a lonely hearts advice column. Clark gets called in to the editor‘s office and assigned a new beat. In an act of irony, he’s to cover someone who has been seen in Metropolis, looking to be a champion of the oppressed. Proximity to the vibrations of an unknown being notwithstanding, Lois soon slips into a vaudevillian vortex. Somehow a dastard is sure to create mayhem, usually a damsel-in-distress episode, an acrobatic act followed by displays of unnatural skills, w/ a secret identity string tying things up w/ a bow.
Page after page, the reader gets to know more about a super-being living in Metropolis, while he himself is getting to know more about Lois, pulling her into the maw of mayhem by his dada duels w/ super foes. Lois can’t see Clark for the super-simulacrum that he’s hiding behind, is drawn to Superman instead. Clark smiles and often winks at the reader, seemingly at ease w/ the imponderability of it all.
Lois and Clark date from the get-go; on their first one they even changed into evening dress. The next week she flies off on assignment to a foreign land and, due to misadventure, ends up blindfolded and standing in front of a firing squad. Back home again, Lois resorts to dropping a sleeping pill into Clark’s cocktail so as to chase a lead and beat him to a scoop. This brazen stunt backfires when she lands in trouble and, for the first time, falls out of a window.
But first, she hones in on Clark’s beat by looking up the Man of Mystery herself, trying to score an exclusive. Going to a traveling circus where he was performing for charity, an unexpected twist ensures she will not get her scoop. Their editor, Perry White, will sometimes send them out together, especially when murder has occurred. They’ve also covered politics and, for the sake of filing a report, once took a cruise together. On these occasions, Lois often ends up solo because Clark can and will disappear at the first sign of trouble. One time this happened, she was tied down next to a table saw w/ the on switch deployed, too annoyed though not surprised w/ Clark to bother w/ her predicament.
Chastened to live another day, Lois expands her comfort zone, finding it in herself to bring comfort to a thawed caveman, out of time and gravely disoriented. She was one w/ her natural self the time she ran around w/ a great ape. Through all this, Lois kept up her advice column, once a grateful writer even bequeathed a gold mine which, sadly, she lost. She once plunged herself into a murky tale about a fifth columnist movement in Metropolis, wading into espionage, disinformation, and sabotage. Staff photographer Jimmy Olsen could, if prodded, fill in some details. Resorting to disguise to bring down a den of thieves, committing crimes while hypnotized, getting involved w/ murder when her fingerprints were found on the revolver, being tied up w/ a bomb nearby (several times).
Around this time she meets Lex Luthor. Picking through the day’s press releases, Lois sees a tony and toothy one: Someone has called a gathering of the millionaires of Metropolis. Intrigued, Lois finds a way into the mansion and hides behind draperies. Eight men enter, followed by their host; Lois pulls out her notepad. Altogether, these men control railroads and airlines, real estate and financial firms. They’re involved in prohibition-era rackets, one has a publishing firm hawking inspirational books. Another runs a secret fascist cell, while the last to speak turns out to be a common man who had impersonated in order to give a rant on the wickedness of wealth; what happens to him is not shown on the next panel. All this Lois takes down, filling one comic page w/ nine speech balloons each of considerable length. Suddenly, Luthor appears w/ a weapon and knocks everyone, including Lois, out.
By 1943, budding popularity for her character propels Lois onto the cover w/ Superman, gasping as he goes head-to-head with crime’s comedy king, the Prankster. Lois is on the splash page too, because she has inadvertently stepped too close to a giant jack-in-the-box … a year later she lands her first series, LOIS LANE GIRL REPORTER, focusing on her exploits w/out Superman or Clark; it ran for thirteen issues.
EPILOGUE – Looking back at the Golden Age (which took place on Earth-Two), it has come to light that the biography of Lois Lane, beginning from about 1948 on, has properly belonged to the Silver Age, and its revamped version of Lois. All along, readers had grown up w/ a Golden Age Lois, there was a Golden Age Clark; and Superman, too. It turns out there has been – and always has been – some other Lois, who lived on Earth-One, w/ another Clark and a different Superman.
In 1956, fan loyalty was rewarded when DC Comics put out the first issue of SUPERMAN’S GIRLFRIEND LOIS LANE. Once again, a new Lois Lane sprang forth, helping to usher in the Silver Age. She again came fully formed – and having a lived-in backstory. The first two tales, about a witch and a wig, look forward towards the experimental 1960s, when beauty was redefined, and backwards, w/ a ginned-up glance at the battle of the sexes, when it was still in black-&-white.
What is left of the original Lois are some stories about the Man of Steel in which she features prominently, where she proves herself an intellectual equal of a super-man. These historic events embark embryonically from the heartland of America during the onset of World War II. They then roam globally, and extra-globally, disembarking at an unknown outpost known as the Cold War.
Lois of Earth-Two became marooned until the DC universe took on a reimagination. By 1978, her story was once again rethreaded into the continuity. She had married Clark in the late 1950s, discovered he was Superman, went on to new adventures, even after their son was born, passing the mortal coil in 2005, in events occurring during the Infinite Crisis.
Working nine to five as a reporter for a city daily must not leave time to do much else. As a single female working and living alone in Metropolis, how do you find balance in your life?
Lois Lane, Clark Kent and Superman are the creations of writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, two Cleveland teenagers nurturing keen tastes and quick psyches, who combined complimentary skills to make manifest their dream of another world.
“A good reporter should be able to unravel clues and invent gimmicks!”
- Lois Lane Out of their imaginations came forth a city of skyscrapers where an otherworldly creature lives and makes its living as a newspaperman, while wooing a wonderful woman, and using as his secret identity a coward’s persona, and one who wears glasses at that. Overnight their comics become a bestseller, starring Lois Lane opposite the Man of Tomorrow.
SILVER AGE OF COMICS The winds of change began blowing in the mid-1950s, when DC Comics rehabilitated a dormant character from the past and introduced a new Flash, having a new backstory and wearing a different costume. Gradually, this new DC Universe folded outwards and divided into two.
In 1956, a seminal tale had taken place on Earth-One. While Barry Allen was working late one stormy night, an accident sends a bolt of lightning crashing into the room, striking chemical vials filled w/ various liquids; Barry is knocked unconscious and falls to the floor. Lying in a suspicious-looking soup of laboratory liquids overnight, he undergoes a sea change. What had lain on the lab floor that October night was a police-lab scientist, what arose and got on its feet the next morning turned out to be an agile Adam – and harbinger of a new era. This refashioned Flash draws a chalk line at the starting point, resets the timer to zero, jumps into his costume and takes off. Soon enough he learns of the existence of Earth-Two, and visits w/ the original Flash, semi-retired but still contending w/ super-villains. Overnight, the aggregate number of super-beings doubled, then grew, as readers couldn‘t get enough.
The Lois of Earth-One lived a complicated existence, being routinely subjected to Imginary Tales of what-ifs that bedevil readers w/ known facts from familiar fantasy. This Lois had her own title, which ran for 137 issues, ending just in time to usher in the Bronze Age, and are known chiefly as having imparted a level of light-heartedness to her life.
In between, Lois left her classic looks behind and is shown on a 1968 cover tearing down part of her own masthead containing the words "GIRL FRIEND", and throwing it to the ground. This was just one step less shocking than her get-up: knee-high go-go boots and a rocking Aquanet hairdo, declaring that she was through w/ the Man of Might. This fit of feminist zeal subsided, though, and the designation reappeared on the next cover. Lois Lane, born on Earth, had up until then led an unearthly existence, all because she chose to be near the one she loves, and do battle w/ battalions of babes intent on becoming the one to make children w/ the alien Adonis.
As our story begins, Lois is about thirty years old, w/ Clark two years older than that.
Champion of the oppressed
[-1938-] Lois Lane sprang into life fully formed, alongside the genesis story of Superman. On his first day at the Daily Planet, Clark Kent knows that he is smitten w/ her, and actively pursues Lois.
When Clark is assigned to cover a mystery man w/ gigantic strength, Lois is intrigued and goes on a first date to find out more.
Twirling about the dance floor, he asks pointedly, “Why is it you always avoid me at the office?” “Please Clark! I’ve been scribbling sob stories all day long. Don’t ask me to dish out another.” All the while she’s acting bored and staring off into space, when her eyes happen to lock onto Butch, who’s been staring at her for quite some time.
Seeing his move Butch cuts in, then things turn ugly, and Lois gets an inkling that Clark may not be a man’s man. When Butch facepalms her date she storms out and calls Clark, for the very first time, “… a spineless, unbearable coward!”, and is later rescued by you-know-who. Catching up w/ the car that has just abducted her, Superman upturns the vehicle and catches Lois, for the very first time, as she spills out of the backseat window. What he does next w/ the car is famously depicted on the iconic first front cover. Turning his attention back to Lois, she backs away in mild terror until he says, “You needn’t be afraid of me. I won’t harm you.”
Transfixed, she lets the strapping stranger scoop her up into his arms and, leaping high, carries her away. This winning formula provided years of creative chaos as the three characters circled each other round and round.
Thus ends the first tale of Lois Lane’s life, and the beginning of her startling adventures to document the existence of this mental marvel and physical wonder, devoted to daring deeds that will reshape the destiny of a world.
The Daily Planet1>
Every year on the anniversary of her first day, Perry White has thrown an office party to celebrate. Then one time he became sentimental, and opened up. “... When Lois first asked me for a job, I told her I would hire her if she brought me three scoops in three days! She did it ... w/out Superman’s help!”
Picking up the cue, Lois blows out the candles, gives the first slice to Perry, and takes over. On the first day Perry handed her a couple of leads, and she chose the easiest one: securing evidence on a team of safe-crackers. She went dressed as a cleaning lady and boldly entered their lair. She then kicked over the waste paper basket, plugged in her vacuum cleaner, and turned it on. This brazen act turned up pure gold when a torn-up note was recovered and when taped back together, implications were deduced, and arrest warrants then issued. Los had her first scoop. By now slices had been made, and plates started to go around.
Her next assignment was to secure the first-ever photograph of a reclusive royal, prone to strongarm tactics in order to secure his privacy. And she comes back w/ the photo. Then Clark and Jimmy Olsen ask for another slice, both at the same time. Lois takes this opportunity to sit down, staring into the cavern created in the cake. Her car had unexpectedly broken down on the third day, and she ended up walking miles out to nowhere in order to interview an archaeologist, claiming a new discovery. She gets her story, and it’s a doozy but, w/ no easy access back, Lois devises the most ingenious methods yet known to newswriters worldwide, enabling her post to reach Perry. It is front page news, and Lois lands her dream job.
• AN UNTOLD STORY + DEMAND CLASSIC
Man or Superman
[-1942-] One time Lois and Clark teamed up to track down the Talon, titular head to a gang of thieves. She later returned to her desk, thinking she was going to write up a scoop, only to learn that Clark got there first.
There have been many versions of this story.
Exasperated, she then asked and he then gave a reason so lame that it was enough to make her wonder if Clark might be Superman.
In one telling, they were working at their desks when a commotion on the street below draws their attention: a necklace robbery was in progress. She suddenly got a feeling she knew what Clark would do next, which was to give a flimsy excuse and disappear, then a minute will pass and Superman should (and will) come flying past the window. This quizzical look does not go unnoticed w/ eagle-eyed Clark as he stages a retreat. Changing into his costume he thinks back to the very first time Lois ever did all of her wondering.
It happened one morning when he had flown over to the office, and she had caught a quick glimpse. Lois was rounding a corner and became aware of his landing on the roof of her building. “… and now he’s dropped out of sight! Good gracious! Maybe he works on the Planet staff, under a secret identity!”
[-1944-] Lois once went above and beyond her duties as the advice columnist. She had shown up at the eighth floor landing window of the Belvue Apartments, where a despondent man was threatening to jump.
Lois climbs out, telling him she too wants to jump, “Er-(gulp!) Do you think you’re the only person in the world w/ a broken heart?” promptly looses her balance, and goes over the edge. She manages to catch the corner of a election banner hanging below and before it tears off she has swung into position to plummet through a number of window awnings which cushion her fall until a fireman’s net catches her. This vivid demonstration of falling in love cures the man’s sick heart, as he climbs back in and goes to where Lois is being treated. “You’re wonderful, Miss Lane!
The next time I commit suicide, it’s going to be over you!
School for scoops
[-1961-] Through pluck and perserverance Lois becomes the number one female reporter in the United States! The University of Metropolis then asks her to give a lecture course. Hearing this news, racketeer Nick Roker sends two gunmen to the campus. Because. Lois proves a precocious professor, and w/ the help of Jimmy Olsen stages reanactments of actual cases.
Jimmy walks the class through the first scenario: Drugged by a gang she’s been after, Lois gains consciousness to find that she is bound, gagged, inside a tiny basement. Someone behind is about to put a blindfold on her. At this critical moment, Lois locates the basement’s electric meter and memorizes its serial number. This bit of information helps break the case and gets her a scoop. Before dismissing the class, she hands out writing assignments.
The students return the next day and are greeted by a gruesome set piece: Having crossed the line w/ racketeer “Duke” Benson, he entices her over to his office and there ties her up in a chair, placing a bomb under the chair before his exit. Ignoring the lit fuse, she leans forward and nudges the phone off its cradle, picks up a pencil w/ her mouth, and dials 9-1-1. By the time she grades this second assignment Lois has deduced that two are not written by journalism students.
Thinking to instruct her class by treating this as a case study, she outs them only to realize too late they were sent by Roker. Lois’s quick thinking disarms them long enough for Jimmy, using his signal-watch, to summon Superman, who makes a brief cameo at the very end.
[-1965-] One time, Lois took Jimmy Olsen and Superman to her college reunion. There she grew nostalgic and, picking up a school scrapbook, leafed through and found a clipping of her first scoop for the Raleigh Review. It was an impossible first assignment: to join an all-male only fencing team and write about the experience. The fencing captain, who was a good sport and willing to go along, gives Lois a week to practise before they were to meet in a bout.
Through diligence and sheer love-of-writing, she outfences the captain, landing Lois her very first scoop. Then she puts down her punch and begins leafing through a second scrapbook, locating a clipping of her first-hand account of discovering a new comet – accidentally, during a night at the Smallville Observatory, where she was using the telescope to write a paper for astronomy class.
The last page of the scrapebook held a tattered clipping of her strangest scoop. Taking a solo field trip for biology class, Lois had stumbled across – and captured on film – a live pterandon and a living sabre-tooth. Her biology teacher is wowed. “Those prehistoric creatures vanished without a trace, Lois! But thanks to the movies you took, we know exactly how they looked and acted!”
• AN UNTOLD TALE
[-1948-] While attending high school, Clark was once sent a letter from the Daily Planet:
clark kent, 713 main street. congratulations!
you are one of the two winners of our annual contest to honor the best school newspaper reporters. your prize is a free-trip to metropolis, where you will be allowed to work as cub reporter for one week.
Overjoyed and full of bonhomie, Clark shows up and is introduced to Lois Lane, the other winner; he takes an instant shine to her. The editor tries to break his spell by assigning a competition to see who can bring in the best story of the day, whereby the winner will get a front page byline! Lois suggests a side bet to Clark, “The loser treats the winner to an ice cream sundae?” “I never bet … but I’ll make an exception in your case!”
After handshakes all around, Lois ventures out and, based on a hunch, stumbles into criminal activity, resulting in being tied up and about to meet her end – Superboy arrives and saves the day. After he has dispatched her attackers, he glides over and unties Lois. On an impulse she jumps into his arms and asks to be carried away from the scene, a request the Boy of Tomorrow was fated to grant. She wins the competition (Clark has been too busy) and, after work, he takes her to a soda fountain and pays his bet.
They spend the week chasing stories, then it’s time to wave goodbye to Lois from a train platform, wondering if he’ll ever cross paths w/ her again.
• AN EXCLUSIVE ADVENTURE OF SUPERBOY
FOOTNOTES — LOIS LANE
LANA LANG – In 1950, the first LL to enter Clark's life happened when Prof. Lewis Lang, his wife and daughter Lana first became neighbors w/ the Kents. Lana promptly becomes prey to an ex-convict, and her life in Smallville then becomes threaded into Superboy's. It was while staying w/ the Kents when her parents go on a business trip that she began to suspect that the two boys are one and the same. This causes Superboy to fly over to Africa, helping the Langs round up animals they were contracted to procure and destined for zoos, so they could come home early.
COMIC BOOK ERAS: Golden Age [-1938-to-1955-] – Silver Age [-1956-to-1972-] – Bronze Age [-1973-to-1985-] – Steel Age [-1986-to-2015-] – Diamond Age [-2016-to-2040-]
BACK COVER AD – In the very first appearance of Lois, Clark and Superman, the back cover was bought by the Johnson Smith & Company in Detroit, Michigan. They were purveyors of, among other things: - pocket radios - midget radios - midget pocket radios - magic radios - crystal radios - radio & television books - experiment sets - wireless transmittals - telegraph sets - electric phones - electric baseballs - world mikes (a microphone) - deluxe microphones - big entertainers (an air mattress) - Stinson Reliant giant flying planes - all-metal model airplanes - wigs (blond only) - yacht caps - live chameleons - x-ray glasses - booklets on hypnotism, learning to dance, learning to tap dance, ventriloquism, and ju-jitsu - whoopee cushions - joy bussers - rings - luminous photos - luminous paints - movie projectors - telescopes - field glasses - world's smallest candid cameras - bull dog fish hooks - and Japanese rose bushes.
BASED ON reports from, among others, Tricia Annis, Tim Hanley, Steven Thompson, and the internet.
BIBLIOGRAPHY — LOIS LANE
Action No.1 (Jun 1938) SUPERMAN, CHAMPION OF THE OPPRESSED | No.2 (Jul 1938)REVOLUTION IN SAN MONTE | No.5 (Oct 1938) THE BIG SCOOP | No.6 (Nov 1938) THE MAN WHO SOLD SUPERMAN | No.7 (Dec 1938) SUPERMAN JOINS THE CIRCUS | No.9 (Feb 1939) $5,000 REWARD FOR SUPERMAN | No.23 (Apr 1940) EMPIRE AT WAR (PART II) | No.27 (Aug 1940) THE BRENTWOOD REHABILITATION HOME | No.31 (Dec 1940) THE HAND OF MORPHEUS | No.32 (Jan 1941) THE PRESTON GAMBLING RACKET | No.35 (Apr 1941) THE WORTHLESS GOLD MINE | No.36 (May 1941) FIFTH COLUMNISTS | No.37 (Jun 1941) CLARK KENT, POLICE COMMISSIONER | No.38 (Jul 1941) HYPNOSIS BY RADIO | No.41 (Oct 1941) THE SABOTAGE RING | No.44 (Jan 1942) THE CAVEMAN CRIMINAL | No.47 (Apr 1942) POWERSTONE | No.57 (Feb 1943) CRIME’S COMEDY KING | No.68 (Jan 1944) SUPERMAN MEETS SUSIE | No.80 (Jan 1945) MR MXYZTPLK RETURNS | No.139 (Dec 1949) CLARK KENT, DAREDEVIL | No.144 (May 1950) CLARK KENT’S CAREER | No.164 (Jan 1952) HALL OF TROPHIES | No.169 (May 1964) THE MAN WHO STOLE SUPERMAN’S SECRET LIFE! | No.189 (Mar 1954) CLARK KENT’S NEW MOTHER AND FATHER | No.254 (Jul 1959) BATTLE WITH BIZARRO | Adventure No.128 (May 1948) HOW CLARK KENT MET LOIS LANE | Justice League of America No.21 (Aug 1963) CRISIS ON EARTH-ONE | No.22 (Sep 1963) CRISIS ON EARTH-TWO | Showcase No.4 (Oct 1956) MYSTERY OF THE HUMAN THUNDERBOLT | No.123 (Sep 1961) THE FLASH OF TWO WORLDS | Superboy No.10 (Oct 1950) THE GIRL IN SUPERBOY’S LIFE | No.31 (Mar 1954) DEMON REPORTER | No.41 (Jun 1955) JUNIOR SLEUTHS OF SMALLVILLE | No.47 (Mar 1956) SUPERBOY MEETS SUPERMAN | Superman No.4 (Mar 1940) SUPERMAN VERSUS LUTHOR | No.6 (Sep 1940) LOIS, MURDER SUSPECT | No.12 (Sep 1941) PERIL ON POGO ISLAND | No.13 (Nov 1941) THE MACHINATIONS OF THE LIGHT | No.17 (Jul 1942) MAN OR SUPERMAN | No.19 (Nov 1942) FUNNY PAPER CRIMES | No.19 (Nov 1942) SUPERMAN, CARTOON HERO | No.28 (May 1944) LOIS, GIRL REPORTER | No.85 (Nov 1953) CLARK, GENTLEMAN JOURNALIST | No.125 (Nov 1958) CLARK’S COLLEGE DAYS | No.135 (Feb 1960) WHEN LOIS FIRST SUSPECTED CLARK WAS SUPERMAN | No.165 (Nov 1963) THE SWEETHEART THAT SUPERMAN FORGOT! | No. 169 (May 1964) THE MAN WHO STOLE SUPERMAN’S SECRET LIFE! | Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen No.34 (Jan 1959) THE MOST FANTASTIC CAMERA IN THE WORLD | Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane No.1 (Mar 1958) WITCH OF METROPOLIS | No.1 (Mar 1958) BOMSHELL OF METROPOLIS | No.3 (Jun 1958)– THE MAN WHO WAS CLARK’S DOUBLE | No.17 (May 1960) HOW LOIS GOT HER JOB | No.29 (Nov 1961) SCHOOL FOR SCOOPS | No.20 (Nov 1961) THE IRRESISTIBLE LOIS LANE | No.55 (Feb 1965) LOIS’S COLLEGE SCOOPS | No.80 (Jan 1968) SPLITSVILLE FOR LOIS AND SUPERMAN | World’s Finest No.30 (Sep 1947) SHERIFF CLARK |