A Tribute to the of

After all this time I still find it interesting that the so-called Superman Family was strong enough to carry their own books for a time. Take Lois Lane, for example, who debuted in Showcase #9 [Sage #63] and went on to enjoy a solo run for over 15 years and 137 issues. It was typically an anthology book containing multiple stories, they managed to continue to crank them out all that time, despite what might be considered a limited palette of Lois mooning over and trying to win Superman's love or attempting to be her own woman via one scheme or another. Still and all, she’s been with us just as long as the Man of Steel himself, making her debut in Action #1 [Sage #113] in 1938 as well, so she’s earned her stripes. So, just for fun, let’s look into Lois Lane in her own title, issue #47 with a publication date of February 1964 [on sale 12/26/63] with an interesting cover, to say the very least by Kurt Schaffenberger. The interior stories include Lois going to the jungle and a story with some office drama at the Daily Planet, but I decided on the corresponding cover story, “The Super-Life of Lois Lane!” Our credits are skimpy. Mort Weisinger, as usual, was our editor with Kurt doing the pencils and inks, but the author, colorist and letterer are lost to the mists of time.

The opening page/half-splash gives us an idea of the mechanics of the story, with a nearly crazed-looking Clark Kent sneaking up on Lois at her typewriter with a pair of scissors, intending to prove once and for all that she is, in reality, Krypton Girl.

The following panels help to further set the stage and Supes delivers Lois to his arctic Fortress of Solitude. It seems our hero has some important experiments to work on, so he suggests that while she waits, Lois uses his super computer. It can allegedly solve any super problem, so she promptly inserts her press card and types out her question: “What would Lois Lane’s other life have been like if she, instead of Superman, had come to Earth from Krypton?

The ol’ computer gets right to work and displays the alternate reality on a large flatscreen. A costumed figure appears, looking something like our reporter, but with a domino mask and ponytail to help conceal her identity. It’s Krypton Girl.

After her return from a “vital mission” she resumes her identity at the Daily Planet as reporter Lois Lane. Then, the role reversal begins with some familiar elements when Clark Kent comments that Lois had taken a pretty long lunch and that it seems she’s never around when Krypton Girl is saving the day. He then challenges Lois to let him try to cut her hair with some handy scissors. Acting quickly and surreptitiously, Lois uses a combination of heat vision and super breath to fuse the scissors together and then nonchalantly strolls away.

The next day, another attempt is made by Clark to reveal Krypton Girl when he and Lois check out a large vault. Clark “accidentally” locks them in and says they’ll suffocate before they can get out, but the canny Lois uses her x-ray vision to reveal a radio and oxygen tank concealed beneath his suit coat. She then hatches her plan, pretending to be just as riled as he is about their plight and then feigns unconsciousness while pinching off the valve of his oxygen tank. He rethinks his plot and attempts to give her air from the tank, but of course it won’t work, so he uses a miniature walkie-talkie (remember those?) to call for help. Little does he know, the savvy Lois also removed some transistors from the unit, so he’s crying into the void. As a full-blown panic sets in on Kent, Lois chuckles to herself and decides to use her heat vision to activate the alarm and get some assistance.

Clark examines things after the police arrive and he remains suspicious. Lois decides she’s sick of his shenanigans and tenders her resignation to Perry White the next day. The “real” Lois ponders this as she continues to watch the screen and realizes that if Clark Kent is indeed Superman, her attempts to unmask him might lead to his quitting the Daily Planet.

The alternate Lois stays in the media, but as a pitch person doing television commercials. The new career isn’t all that appealing to Ms. Lane, but she reasons that by being at a television station, she can easily monitor current events and respond quickly to emergencies. The next day, however, she is flummoxed to see a new employee at the station in the recently canned Clark Kent. He’s at the news desk and tells Lois Perry fired him because he was the cause of Lois’ departure. Now he’s the shiny new news editor.

Later that night, to Clark’s delight, an emergency comes over the wire that only Krypton Girl can handle. This could be his big chance to reveal her identity as Lois Lane. Soon he and Lois are monitoring the disaster at sea, but to Clark’s incredulity, Krypton Girl is shown rescuing the ship from calamity. Kent is confused at how she can be in two places at once while a smug Lois is receiving a telepathic communique from Lori Lemaris the mermaid: “Lois, you were being monitored by the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Legion of Substitute Heroes! They observed your predicament from the future! They alerted Night-Girl and sent her to your assistance!

So, Night-Girl, with super-strength only at night, streaked through the time barrier to lend a hand in a Krypton Girl uniform to save the day. How convenient.

The next scene on the screen shows Krypton Girl taking Clark to her arctic Fortress of Solitude and he’s still on the hunt, so he helps himself to a lead-encased capsule of Red Kryptonite from a display that notes she’s not yet been exposed to it. Red Kryptonite, as any self-respecting Superman fan knows, affects Kryptonians in unpredictable ways.

While the alternate Lois has caught wise to the missing Red K, she decides she’ll duck out on a bogus sick call to avoid the meddling Kent. Clark, meanwhile, has donned a Santa suit and is sprinkling the Red K dust on his suit, setting himself up at the station entrance with a donation kettle as a ploy to ambush Lois.

Sure enough, Lois stops to make a donation and the disguised Kent makes sure she’s exposed. Lois then recalls that she’d installed a lead-glass booth at the studio as a contingency plan, so her fears of Red Kryptonite (or any Kryptonite, for that matter) are unnecessary.

Later, in the broadcast booth, she feels a familiar tingling sensation and realizes she’s been exposed. Her x-ray vision reveals the red Santa suit in the closet behind a guilty-looking Clark Kent. The jig is up. Lois Lane is officially at the end of her rope with Kent and grabs a phantom zone projector, changes into her Krypton Girl persona and takes after Clark. The results of the Red Kryptonite have manifested themselves by making her a giant. While Clark is justifiably frightened of the looming Krypton Girl, he triumphantly announces to her on the street that he’s proven her dual identity. Krypton Girl acknowledges the fact, but proceeds to take care of the problem by projecting him into the Phantom Zone and out of her hair for good.

Lois then switches off the computer and is thinking to herself that Clark got what he deserved for interfering in Krypton Girl’s career. She then realizes that none of it had actually come to pass, and then feels guilty for her own meddling ways. The final panel shows her wishing Clark a nice trip and Kent thinking to himself that her lack of curiosity is out of character. The ending caption assures us, however, that this will be temporary: “But Lois’ curiosity can’t be squelched for long! She’ll be back soon with more crafty tricks!

So, yeah, the Lois Lane of the Silver Age era was kind of a one-trick pony but we loved her just the same. I’ve always had a soft spot for the imaginary stories, too, so I’ll give this one a 7 on the 10-pint rating scale. A fun little 9-pager with some familiar elements, despite the twist. I was even reminded that Lois got a mention in a Spin Doctors song awhile back. Give a listen to “Pocket Full of Kryptonite” and see if you can catch it.

We will continue to roll along, readers and are always glad to have you with us. If you’ve got any feedback, let me know. I can be reached at: professor_the@hotmail.com.

March 15th will be the time of the next new entry here, so join us then and, as ever...

Long live the Silver Age!

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