more-like-a-justice-league submitted to hellyeahsupermanandwonderwoman:
Thanks for the submission. This is of course Super Lois Lane and Superman from All Star Superman, where Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely imagine a version of Superman granting his Lois Lane Super Powers.
And thanks for giving me an opportunity to revisit the history of Superman’s romances - especially before the relatively modern 1990’s engagement & marriage, and editorial decision that Morrison wished to reverse two years later in the 1998 proposal he put forward with Mark Waid, Mark Millar and Tom Peyer. These creators like many fans felt the Marriage was a misstep.
Broadly this was because it ran counter the Canon Mythos that preceded it. For generations of readers had been told time and again Lois and Clark couldn’t work.
Let’s just consider Grant Morrison’s distillation of the Superman mythos in All Star; in short Lois and Clark are not married, Lois declares “He’s not my idiot” there is no romance between them. Superman discovers he is dying. He only then reveals his secret to her. To enable her to understand him he grants her Superpowers for a day. Only in extremis does he reveal his feelings for Lois.
Lois Lane Super Woman is an old old trope…
We’ve got to go back to 1943 to see the first Super Woman aka Lois Lane (Act No. 60: “Lois Lane—Superwoman!”)
Here sure Lois becomes Super over night too, following an car accident she receives a blood transfusion from Superman that heals her instantly.
Yeah I bet you thought that was a Sparkly Vampire trick? Nope Superman was doing it first.
Any ways long story short it’s all explained because it’s a dream people.
So that explains how she can be super overnight without spending boyhood learning how to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Siegel is smart you see.
Something like this actually happens before. Remember the blood that heals? Super Blood ( far superior to Tiger Blood or Tru Blood ) first makes it’s appearance in Superman #6 1940
As it happens “imaginary stories”, dreams etc, were often used in comics over the years to test market ideas.
Supergirl as a concept was tested this way for example. ( she debuted as a magical creation via a proverbial lamp rubbed by James Oslen )
Well back to the 40’s for the next outing for the Super Lois trope was in Superman No. 45/1, Mar/Apr 1947: “Lois Lane, Superwoman!” Again this wasn’t real, but rather than a dream, it was Superman faking Lois’s powers using super slight of hand. That joker!
In May 1951 Lex Luthor accidentally gives Lois powers, in Action #156 “The Girl of Steel”
Siegel also again gives Lois and Lana Lang powers in Lois Lane #17 1960 using a blood transfusion.
There are other examples - but all follow the established comic book rule where everything returns to the way it was at the beginning of the story, so Super Lois is always a temporary experience. ( Hence Morrison gives his Lois powers for only 24 hours )
I am of the opinion that Siegel was aware of the problems a normal human would logically face as the partner of his imagined - millions of years more evolved than human - Superman.
I strongly suspect that to make the partnership work between Lois and Superman (as Siegel imagined as early as 1940 in the unpublished K-Metal from Krypton Story,) would have included Lois becoming Superwoman. Equally he may have intended their relationship to remain an platonic partnership.
I say this because Siegel is on record saying that he never thought Lois and Superman should be married outside of “Imaginary Stories" ( the kind of tale DC calls Elseworlds now ) ie out of continuity.
What we do know is that in the Canon Mythos Lois never got her permanent powers - for half a century she was never married Superman, and for most of the Mythos Superman resolved he couldn’t have a relationship because of the never ending battle.
During this time Superman however did propose at least the idea of marriage to a number of women who were not Lois Lane or Lana Lang, such as Lori Lemaris, Lyla Lerrol, Lola-La, Luma Lynai, ( and Sally Selwyn ) However comics being comics everything reverted back to the Status Quo at the end of the story, and Superman stayed single.
These stories however reinforced the message that Lois and Clark weren’t a couple in a meaningful way, if Superman really loved Lana or Lois why did he propose to these other girls?
The reasoning presented in the comics over the years that prevented Superman from having a relationship with Lois and Lana it was principally because being human they would be in constant danger.
( see above Lois Lane example cover )
These “imaginary stories” ( often in Lois Lane Superman’s Girlfriend ) where Superman married Lois or Lana or Lori almost always showed how marriage for Superman was bad and or ill fated idea.
Hence the message since 1938 was for over fifty years that Superman couldn’t have a relationship with someone without Super powers - and when an that someone did arrive in the shape of for example, Luma Lynai, or even as some fans concluded Supergirl ( as the other ‘last’ Kryptonian ) circumstances contrived to make an union impossible.
Of course that was because Comics were for kids, and kids by and large didn’t want married Super Heroes - and this was of it’s time.
In fact it seems that any one with LL in their name is either bad news, like Lex Luthor, or off limits romantically, Linda Lang (supergirl) or Lara Lor-Van, (Superman’s mom) or a doomed romantic relationship like Lana Lang, Lois Lane, Lori Lemaris, Lyla Lerrol, Lola-La, Luma Lynai…
Hence the idea Lois Lane is essential to Superman being Superman is a modern contrivance. It was of it’s time - the 1990’s too, and I admit I liked the idea back then, it seemed to be the right call, and a fit for the fashion of the times.
Yet it had unintended consequences.
For decades Superman was smart enough to come up with the idea of a secret identity all by himself, and his parents were good enough at loving him to ground him - teaching him right from wrong, and what it means to be human, he didn’t need a human anchor to remind him of his humanity.
By making Lois essential to Superman, DC weakened the character who Siegel imagined doing the right thing before he ever met Lois. Perversely Superman became more alien and less human, someone who needed a human anchor to prevent him from losing his humanity - as opposed to moral individual driven by intrinsic altruism, to do the right thing.
Yet this is the core of the Super Hero trope as exemplified and created by Superman, ie a hero who is strong and powerful, super, and yet still humane.
So if I’m right, the trope where Lois gains Super powers, that Morrison refers to in All Star Superman suggest strongly that Siegel even way back in the ’30s & ’40s saw the logical in story consistency that demands Superman to be paired with some one who has Super powers.
Let’s briefly consider what have other notable writers done.
Mark Waid, Alan Moore, and Frank Millar, for example all Shipped Wonder Woman and Superman. So did John Byrne effectively in his reboot, and also in his Superman & Batman: Generations storyline he paired Superman up with an immortal magic ie super - Lana Lang.
Why is this the case?
I suspect the answer lays in the famous saying of Earnest Hemingway, that a book is like an iceberg, you only read 9/10ths of what is going on.
To create compelling stories writers imagine stuff that never hits the page, and yes that includes the nitty gritty business of snoo snoo, and how could Superman have a family comes to mind.
So where does our Super Adam, find his Super Eve? And visa versa?
Given that for 70 years neither Lois or Steve ever became Super - giving either super powers, would be like giving Batman super powers - it would seem contrived and against type.
Since changing Lois or Seve or creating a new ‘hero’ from scratch or co-opting a Jonny-come-lately second tier character just doesn’t - I suspect - feel appropriate for most.
I believe these top tier writers looked to the obvious yin to Superman’s yang.
The character who was created as “The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.”
Wonder Woman who has since her inception being a super powered feminine counter weight to Superman, for these talented and leading comic book writers it would seem this pairing becomes the obvious and compelling choice for both icons.
This is why Geoff Johns and Jim Lee have I believe made the decision to tell new and interesting stories with this pairing.
This is a pairing that feels right for this time, this century. This is a couple who are equals and share ideals.
Both have their own strong distinctive culture and history. It is this an American tale, a marriage of aliens, that is immigrants with a common purpose that is so exciting from a story telling perspective.
In conclusion All Star is a fantastic distillation of Superman through the ages, exemplifying why Lois and Clark are a doomed romance, but the New 52 are the comic books for today.
There is an opportunity to demonstrate a relationship equals.
We hope DC pulls this off - whatever happens this blog will continue to Celebrate Superman and Wonder Woman, just as we did before Flash point, during the first year of the New 52, and now in the New Status Quo where our OTP is now canon, at least for now.
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