Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lois Lane

I think Lois Lane's time has come. If any character could carry a comic book, it's her. Her silver age series only interests me as a historical curiosity. Her persistence in trying to prove that Superman is Clark Kent is a literary dead end. It's only partly because she should be able to figure it out after a couple of days. It's really because it's not terribly interesting as a story. So she figures it out. So what?

I think Lois is a compelling character even without Superman in the story. Sure, the attempts to give her a showcase haven't been all that successful, but they also don't seem all that sincere. Jimmy Olsen should get a series of stories in which he trots across the globe, Indiana Jones style, having supernatural adventures. Lois Lane needs the investigative journalist series. I can't be the first person to think this is a good idea (actually, now that I do a google search for a lois lane series, I see all sorts of fan fiction, a proposal for a series of novels, fan campaigns on mtv geek and newsarama, etc.).

Early drawing of Lois by Joe Shuster.

The way I see Lois, her life is a series of constant frustrations. She begins in Action #1 complaining that she never gets the good stories. She is eternally thwarted in her hope to expose Superman's secret identity. She eventually becomes the lauded reporter she's always wanted to be, and she gets the guy--only to lose him in the recent reboot.

There's been a lot of talk recently about marriage in superhero comics, but I don't think it's relevant to Lois. On her own or as a wife, I think she could be a great lead character. She doesn't need to take a back seat to a leading man, even when that man is Superman.

When writers are given a chance to work on Superman, they often feel the need to address certain concerns, elements of the Superman mythos that have been there for decades and are maybe less than logical: Where does he get his morality? What is Clark Kent like? Why is Luthor a bad guy? And, interestingly, why does Superman like Lois so much?

Until the end of time. Pretty much literally, too.

In the last decade, we have had a few different answers to this question. Mark Waid's Birthright  shows a Lois who inspired awe in Clark Kent when they first met. She stands up for people, doesn't take crap from anyone, and is a woman strong enough to make Superman say, "Wow."

Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman has Lois herself pose the question, "Why me, Superman?" Simply asked, simply answered: "Well...I guess there has to be one thing I just can't help, Lois."

I like Waid's better. Morrison's seems more like a dodge than anything.

I haven't found a woman's take on this one, outside of, maybe, the first season of Lois and Clark, developed by Deborah Joy Levine. Though I have seen that show recently, I don't really have much to say about it.
I will say that I thought Lois Lane was perhaps the best part of Smallville.

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