EP0048: Lois Lane: A Celebration of 75 Years, Part Two

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A look at some later Lois Lane adventures as part of a celebration of 75 years of Lois Lane.

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Transcript below:

Graham: I look at some more modern day Lois Lane comics as we continue our look at Lois Lane, A celebration of 75 Years straight ahead.

Announcer: Welcome to the Classy Comics podcast where we search for the best comics in the universe. From Boise, Idaho here is your host, Adam Graham.

Graham: Well the first comic featured in part 3 of this book, is actually from Man of Steel Number 2. It is the John Byrne mini-series which relaunched Superman post-crisis and provided new detailed origin stories for Superman and his world. And I will say this, while John Byrne can be criticized for some of the elements he introduced for Superman, I think both this and also the story for Lois Lane that he plotted in Action Comics 600, which is also included in here, is really a grand story and does quite a bit of justice to Lois. The story does have some comedy to it, as she is just desperately trying to find Superman, get an exclusive and be able to hunt down this big story and you just appreciate how hard she worked and it’s not like she is humorous for trying to pursue the story. You almost feel for her because she goes to all this work to track down this story and nothing seems to work out but you do see the strength of her character even while she tries, which gives it a really good feel.

The Action Comics # 600 story is a backup feature featuring Lois that first has her tracking down a big story and getting it shoved to the inside of the paper because of a Superman story, which shows some of her professional frustration and then we get some personal frustration as she is dealing with rumors of a relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman; something that makes sense to a lot of comic book fans. That you have the strongest man, strongest woman; why don’t they get together and I think there certainly are people in comics who have tried that angle but it shows how it affects her as it just makes her feel like, well of course how could Superman be interested in a normal woman, how could you possibly compete with Wonder Woman.
Taken together this is a short story that just really works well. Even though it’s 8 pages long, it gives you some insight into Lois’ character. You see her as the hard-nosed reporter but you also still see a sort of vulnerability that makes her relatable. Action Comics #662, first of all, is a good comic. It’s a good story about Superman battling Silver Banshee and the conclusion of a multi-issue story involving Silver Banshee and it’s also where Superman reveals the truth of his identity to Lois Lane, and of course that’s a significant moment. The problem with this book is that the reveal of his secret identity comes right at the end of the issue and it’s advertised on the cover so it’s not a surprise to anyone. I guess other than it’s a surprise that they didn’t do a fake out, as often happened in previous ages of the comic but as a Lois Lane story it’s a bit dubious decision to include it because she doesn’t get to do a whole lot other than worry when Clark runs off and we don’t even get to see her reaction to this big revelation.
Then we get Lois Lane #1 and this was just a special issue. D.C. Comics was doing a series called Girlfriends, where they took female characters particularly, romantic interest who didn’t have their own comic book and gave them their own adventure and this is one where Lois goes vacationing, extensively with Clark, who arrives as Superman but then has to fly off in the middle and she stumbles into a mystery. It’s not an amazing comic by any means, but it’s a fun read where Lois gets to adventure and save the day and have some fun. Generally, this wouldn’t seem like the sort of thing that would go in a compilation books like this but then again this is one of those challenges with modern comic book storytelling and not having a lot of issues that were singularly dedicated to a character.
Then we get into part 4, which is 21st century Lois and you have a couple of things here I think the big problems with modern comics do stand out. You have the multi-part stories where we’re only getting one part of the story. This is actually not a problem I think with this reign where this is set during the time when Lex Luthor was president and Lois has been banned from the White House but she has also learned that Lex still has his kryptonite ring and so we get a Lois Lane and Batman team up to steal the kryptonite ring from the White House and it’s an awesome story. We don’t actually get a firm resolution as to what happens after the story but just watching the adventure is fun so I like that one.
Next up is She’s A Wonder from Wonder Woman #117 and this is a story I actually first read in Wonder Woman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told from the early 2000s and I really did not like this comic. I think it’d be fair to say I loathed and despised She’s A Wonder. The big problems I had with it was it was just way too over talkative and self-congratulatory about Wonder Woman. The story is about Lois essentially shadowing Wonder Woman for a day as she goes about her very long day doing essentially everything you can imagine. From making a speech at the UN to helping women in war-torn countries learn self-defense, working on something on the JLA Watchtower and volunteering at an AIDS assistance center in New York City.
There are some very just extreme amounts of talking, particularly where she appears on the D.C. Universe version of The View. Plus there’s also just some goofiness in the story which is really unintended and distracting. Her constant wardrobe changes and often inconsistent wardrobe changes, for example she goes just as Wonder Woman to deliver a speech to a college and then she changes into a t-shirt and jeans to go and volunteer at the AIDS group. She changes to another outfit to go to lunch. So these are some bizarre decisions and I should say that both the writer and the artist on this are men and then you just have some basic laziness, lack of communication.
Like on the first page describing Wonder Woman, we are told by the balloon that Wonder Woman wears no makeup despite the fact that the artist drew Wonder Woman wearing lipstick and nail polish. Yet, in this book there is some merit to it as it relates to Lois’s relationship to Wonder Woman and also when I think back to the John Byrne story from Action Comics #600 because part of the reason that Lois took this story was hoping that she would find something in Wonder Woman, a chink in her armor, that she could kind of highlight and feel more secure with the fact that her husband is, as a member of the Justice League, spends a lot of time around Wonder Woman and it’s a good conclusion that they’ve managed to discuss and talk through this and Lois walks away from this with full assurance that Diana understands and respects that Clarke loves her and Diana makes clear that even when they spent a thousand years together in some Justice League adventure, that he still was talking about Lois. So there you go. It’s still not a great story because you could have gotten that on the last few pages without all the 20 pages of political preaching and self-congratulatory stuff but there you go.
Battery part 5 is from a story by Greg Rucka that’s a multi-part story and as the title implies, it’s part five so it’s probably the penultimate story. It has Lois involved but I don’t really have a sense of what’s going on. It might have been nice if you’re going to use part five, in a way, to kind of explain in a text page what happened in the other 4 parts. There’s nothing particularly Loisey about the story other than she’s just coincidently they.
Patient-centered Care is from a Superman Jon issue from 2010 that has Lois sick and Superman/Clark having to take care of her. It’s a cute little story, not really all that good but it is one that focuses on Lois, which is the reason for its inclusion. After that, we are given a section called Imaginary Tales. The first feed, it comes from a series in Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane, where Superman and Lois have been married. Lana Lang has taken Lois’ old job at the Daily Planet and Lois is feeling very insecure and needs Superman to do something about it. It’s not really all that great a story. It tries to be funny and I think it’s included by the compilers for a social commentary on the 60s but I didn’t care much for it.
Superman Takes A Wife from Action Comics # 484; as I mentioned before, during the pre-crisis era, it was taken that the Golden Age of D.C. Comics occurred on Earth 2. So, this is actually about Earth 2 Lois and how she and Superman were married and it’s a good story. It uses a lot of the tropes from the Golden Age and Silver Age such as Superman getting amnesia and it has a situation where Superman loses his memory and that identity of Superman is essentially, temporarily erased and all he remembers is being Clark Kent and so you have a story where Clark Kent acts more brave and acts more like Superman would act if he didn’t have superpowers than who Superman pretended to be and Lois falls in love with him and they get married. It’s a good story and provides a good explanation for how they got married and I really enjoyed it and I don’t think I’ve seen that reprinted elsewhere so it was definitely a fun read.
Then we have two issues of All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison and that is just a great series. Essentially, the plot of All-Star Superman is that Lex Luthor finds a way to kill Superman by luring him too close to the sun so that he absorbs too much solar radiation and he has only a limited time to live. So, Superman takes advantage of that time to do nice things for the people he loves and to make sure that the planet he cares about remains safe after he’s gone and early in the book he deals with Lois and reveals his secret identity, in this particular story they aren’t married, and takes her to the Fortress of Solitude to give her a birthday present. It’s really a fun read and it includes Lois getting superpowers and a lot of updated stuff from the Silver Age. I really enjoyed it. I won’t spoil a whole lot of the story. I will say that All-Star Superman is just a great series and it’s worth reading. I don’t agree with everything Morrison says and does in there, particularly some of his bio ethical and cloning sort of stuff is kind of dubious but it’s still a really good Superman story and what we’ve got in this book is really solid.

So, overall I enjoyed Lois Lane, A celebration of 75 Years. Of course, at the time of this release we’re going to be closer to 80 years of Lois Lane but there are some great stories in this book. There are some there where Lois is only kind of tangentially involved and also some stories that don’t really seem to be all that great but there are enough really good stories that I haven’t seen reprinted before as well as some just absolute classics, for me to give this book a rating of classy. I will also add in terms of modern Lois Lane stories that probably the last 2 to 3 years, with Dan Jurgens on Action Comics and Peter Thomas say, on Superman, have probably provided some of the really outstanding Superman stories of the post-crisis era and I would hope that in any future release for either like the 90th or 100th anniversary of Lois Lane, that we would see those sort of stories included as well

Alright, well that’s all for now. If you do have a comment, send it to me, classycomicsguy@gmail.com. Check out the website classiccomicsguy.com but from Boise, Idaho, this is your host Adam Graham signing off.

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