Lois Lane

From Academic Kids

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Lois Lane. Art by John Byrne.

Lois Lane is a fictional character who appears in the Superman stories produced by DC Comics. She is Superman's chief romantic interest and a reporter for the Metropolis newspaper, the Daily Planet. Lois debuted in Action Comics #1 (1938); her physical appearance was originally based on a model hired by Siegel and Shuster named Joanne Carter. Traditionally, Lois has black hair, though for a period from the late 1980s through the late 1990s, Lois was depicted with brown hair in the comics.

Aspects of Lois' personality have varied over the years (depending on the comic writers handling Lois and American social attitudes toward women at the time), but in most incarnations, she's depicted as a strongly determined, strong-willed person, whether it involves beating her rival reporter Clark Kent to a story or (in what became a trademark of 1950s and 1960s era Superman stories) proving to others her suspicion that her fellow reporter Clark Kent was in reality Superman. She also traditionally had a cool attitude toward Clark, who in her view paled in comparison to Clark's alter ego of Superman.

Lois is noted for being an attractive woman, though not in the exaggerated "supermodel" sense often seen in superhero comics' depictions of women. Often, Lois' appearance has varied over the years depending on either whatever the current fashions are or (especially more recently) the way she's depicted in various media adaptations; for instance, in the mid-1990s, Lois received a hair cut that made her look more like Teri Hatcher when Lois and Clark began airing, and her eyes were typically violet to match the Lois of the television cartoon Superman: The Animated Series after that show began airing.

Lois is the daughter of Sam and Ella Lane. In the earlier comics, her parents were farmers in a town called Pittsdale; the modern comics, however, depict Sam as a retired soldier, and Lois as a former "army brat," with Lois having been trained by her father in areas such as hand-to-hand combat and the use of firearms. Lois also has one younger sibling, her sister Lucy Lane.

In the current comics, Lois is married to Clark Kent (and aware of his secret identity), but has kept her maiden name for professional purposes.

Lois is one of several Superman characters with the initials "LL", including Lex Luthor, Lana Lang, and Lori Lemaris (a mermaid).

Contents

History

The comics have seen several incarnations of Lois Lane over the decades.

Golden Age

In the earliest Golden Age comics, Lois was featured as an aggressive, career-minded reporter for the Daily Star (the paper's name was changed to the Daily Planet in the early 1940s), who, after Clark Kent joining the paper and Superman's debut at around the same time, found herself finding Superman attractive, but being displeased with her new journalistic competition in the form of Kent. Starting in the late 1940s or early 1950s comics, Lois began to suspect that Clark Kent was Superman, and started to make various attempts at uncovering his secret identity, all of which backfired (usually thanks to Superman's efforts).

In the Golden Age comics, Lois also had a niece named Susie Thompkins, whose main trait was getting into trouble by telling exaggerated tall tales and fibs to adults. Susie's last appearance was in 1955; subsequent comics presented Lois' only sibling, Lucy, as single and childless.

After DC instituted its multiverse system in the early 1960s for organizing its continuity, it was deemed that the Lois of the Golden Age comics (i.e. comics published from 1938 through the early 1950s) lived on the parallel world of "Earth-Two," vs. the then-mainstream (Silver Age) universe of "Earth-One." In 1978's Action Comics #484, it was revealed that sometime in the 1950s, the Earth-Two Lois became infatuated with Clark Kent after the latter lost his memory of his superheroic identity (thanks to a spell cast by the old Justice Society of America enemy the Wizard), with the result of Clark acting more aggressive and extroverted. Clark and Lois began to date each other, and were soon married; however, during the honeymoon, Lois discovered that Clark was indeed Superman, and after recruiting the aid of the Wizard, restored Clark's memory. A series of stories in the 1970s and 1980s titled "Mr. and Mrs. Superman" presented the further adventures of the now-married Lois and Clark.

During the Crisis on Infinite Earths miniseries, the Earth-Two Lois Lane was seen for the last time, as she, her husband the Earth-Two Superman, and a version of Superboy from another parallel world are taken into a paradise-like dimension at the end of the story (after all the parallel Earths, including Earth-Two, had been eliminated in favor of just one Earth), after which this version of Lois was permanently discarded from DC's continuity.

Silver Age

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Lois and Lana Lang acquire super powers and fight each other for Superman's love in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #21. Art by Kurt Schaffenberger.

As the audience for comic books began gravitating towards young boys in the mid-to-late 1950s, the Superman stories shifted in focus more toward science fiction inspired plots involving aliens, fantasy creatures and bizarre, often contrived, plots. Lois's main interests in various late 1950s and 1960s stories became vying with her rival Lana Lang for Superman's affections, attempting to prove Clark Kent and Superman were one and the same, and tricking or otherwise forcing Superman into marriage. This change in Lois' personality from her earlier 1940s self might also be a result of American society's attitudes toward women and their societal roles in the 1950s.

Lois became more and more popular during this decade, and after a one-shot story in 1957 in DC's title Showcase, Lois was given her own comic, titled Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane. Most of the stories in this title placed a greater emphasis on Lois' romance with Superman, and were drawn by DC comic artist Kurt Schaffenberger; indeed, Schaffenberger's rendition of Lois became cited by many as the "definitive" version of Lois, and he was often asked to redraw Superman comic artist Curt Swan's renditions of Lois and Lana by Superman comic editor Mort Weisinger.

By the end of the sixties, as attitudes toward women's role in American society began to change, Lois did as well. 1970s stories featuring Lois depicted her as being fully capable of taking care of herself, engaged in more solo adventures without Superman being involved, and her being much less interested in things such as discovering Superman's secret identity. For example, in her solo stories in Superman Family (an anthology title started in the mid-1970s from the merging/cancellation of several previous titles, including Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane and Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen), Lois regularly battled criminals in her investigations and defeated them with quick wits and considerable skill in martial arts.

After the 1985-1986 miniseries "Crisis on Infinite Earths", writer and artist John Byrne was hired to revise the Superman comics, thus eliminating the Silver Age version of Lois from continuity; before this happened, a final non-canonical "imaginary story" was written by writer Alan Moore, meant as a send-off for the "pre-Crisis" versions of the characters, including Lois.

Modern Age

Lois underwent a character alteration beginning with John Byrne's Man of Steel miniseries, which was designed to rewrite Superman's origin from scratch. In the modern version of events, Lois was a tough-as-nails reporter who rarely needed rescuing. She was depicted as strong, opinionated, yet sensitive.

Another major change made was that Lois did not fall head over heels in love with Superman. A reason for this was because the nature of the Superman/Clark Kent relationship had changed; whereas before Superman was his main identity and Clark Kent was a disguise, now he was primarily considered to be Clark Kent, with Superman being the disguise. After some time, Lois and Clark began dating. In the early 1990s, they became engaged and Clark revealed to Lois the secret of his dual life.

DC had planned on Lois and Clark being married in 1993's Superman #75. However, with the then-upcoming television show Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, DC decided they did not want to have the two married in the comics and not married on TV (as it turned out, they desired to have the wedding occur simultaneously in both the comics and the television program). Partially as a result of this, Superman was killed in Superman #75 instead, dying in Lois's arms after a battle royal with the monster Doomsday. After a period of time, Superman returned to life, and both he and Lois resumed their relationship, though not without a few problems occurring (such as a brief reappearance of Clark's former college girlfriend, Lori Lemaris).

In 1996, coinciding with the Lois and Clark television program, Lois and Clark were finally wed in the one-shot special Superman: The Wedding Album, which featured the work of nearly every then-living artist who had ever worked on Superman. The Wedding Album itself, however, was forced to spend part of its opening pages accommodating and reconciling the then-current comic storyline of Lois and Clark having broken off their engagement (the television program's producers had failed to provide adequate lead time for the Superman comics' writers).

Today, Lois lives with Clark in an apartment at 1938 Sullivan Lane in Metropolis.

Trivia

  • Lois once owned a cat named Elroy.
  • There is a street in the Metro Detroit area called "Lois Lane".

In other media

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Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane

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