The Day Lois Lane Forgot Superman!
In Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #19 (Aug. 1960),
everyone's favorite girl reporter finally gives up on her
dead-end romance with the Man of Steel, and moves on with
her life...sort of.
Robert Bernstein is credited with writing
this Kurt Schaffenberger-drawn tale, which
begins with Lois being flown home to her apartment by the
chivalrous Superman after a late-night reporting assignment.
When Superman doesn't kiss her goodnight, the forever-frustrated
Lois breaks down in tears and confesses to her sister Lucy
that she wishes she could "stop loving Superman...or
get him out of my mind!"
As luck would have it, Lucy stumbles on a solution in her
job as an airline hostess...
Yes, thanks a lot, stewardess, for alerting the other passengers
and preventing any chance I might have had at privacy. Boy,
I bet the movie stars love Lucy on those bi-coastal flights.
Anyway, when a nervous passenger begins to panic over her
"premonition" that the plane will crash, Majo
hypnotizes her into calmness, leading Lucy to hope
he might also help Lois forget Superman.
Sure enough, Majo agrees to see Lois after a performance
at a Metropolis theater and hypnotizes her with his monocle,
commanding "from now on, he'll mean nothing to you...understand?"
Lois' first test comes as soon as she leaves the theater,
and the procedure seems to have worked...
Nonetheless, Lucy understands that any sudden shock could
restore Lois' former feelings.
At the Daily Planet offices, Lois finds her typewriter
ribbon snarled, and Clark Kent offers to
fix it. As he does, she looks on, thinking, "What a
gentleman Clark is! Always so sweet and courteous! How come
I never appreciated him before? I must get this guy to date
Clark agrees to go with Lois to a showing of a 3-D movie
and, growing uncomfortable with the attention she's giving
him, makes a big show of yelling in "fear" during
a scary scene, hoping to earn her disgust. Afterwards, he
apologizes for his shameful display, but Lois is okay with
it. As they walk home, a mugger accosts the pair and Clark,
trying again to sell the "coward" act, makes a
show of running away. Unfortunately fate has other plans...
Since the knockout "punch" was delivered in the
shadows of an alleyway, Lois didn't see it, and is left
to assume Clark's actions were purely heroic (after "confusing
the thief by pretending to run away"). The next day,
she turns up the heat.
Wow, check out the way she's playing with his tie. And
is she going to sit in his lap? I have to confess I still
haven't seen Mad Men, so I'll have to rely on you guys:
Was this sort of thing acceptable office behavior in the
Anyway, Clark tries to beg off by pleading poverty, but
that just leads Lois to invite him to her place for a home-cooked
meal. Once there, Clark does what he can to cut the evening
short, first over-freezing her frozen dinners with super-breath,
then incinerating her hamsteak with heat vision, but she
manages a dinner anyway.
Oh yes, I hate that Superman, he means nothing to me. That's
why he keeps coming up in casual conversation...so I can
stress just how little he means to me. Because he means
nothing, you know. No sir, that Superman doesn't even rate
a second thought from me. I could probably go the rest of
my life without thinking about him. I bet some women always
think about Superman, but not me...
Clark ducks out of dinner early with a feigned stomach
ache and saves that pair of ferry boats from crashing into
each other, but the next day Lois is back at it again, taking
Clark to the Annual Planet Ball.
Did I mention how glad I am not to be with Superman? He
means nothing to me, you know.
A radio report warns of a bomb in Metropolis Terminal,
and Clark ducks out of the dance, citing sore feet. It's
interesting to note that (1) the Daily Planet is so cheap
that its "annual ball" uses a radio for music
instead of live musicians and (2) in a room full of reporters,
only Clark Kent seems at all interested in the fact that
a bomb has been planted at Metropolis Terminal.
Zooming to the terminal, Superman discovers the bomb inside
a "huge organ pipe" and disposes of it by blowing
on the pipe like a giant blow-gun and sending the bomb into
Metropolis Harbor (where it narrowly misses a passing tugboat
before exploding. First two ferries, now a tug. Water travel
simply isn't safe in Metropolis, folks. This issue was brought
to you by your friends at the Metropolis Toll Bridge). Again,
I'm not much of a railroad buff, so I'll turn to you guys;
Do train terminals usually feature huge pipe organs?
Clark returns to the dance, but Lois doesn't miss the fact
that his absence coincided with a Superman siting. Her suspicions
grow the following day, when Clark slips away from her at
the Annual Planet Beach Picnic (don't these people ever
work?) to save the swimmers from sharks. Ironically, Lois'
suspicions take the opposite direction from usual, as she
muses: "If Clark is Superman, I'm through with him!"
The next night, Lois tests her theory by barging into Clark's
office brandishing what she says is a "prop" machine-gun.
Clark begs her to turn it away, just in case it's loaded
with real bullets, but Lois has other plans.
Wakening from her swoon to find Clark holding her, Lois
pushes him away. "How dare you put your arms around
me? You know I only love Superman!" As forewarned,
the "sudden shock" of Clark's near death has jolted
Lois back to her old self. Status quo restored, we've reached...The
But, Great Shades of Freud, is this broad a nutjob or what?
Glenn Close's character in Fatal Attraction
looks positively well-adjusted in comparison. Check out
that reasoning in the machine-gun scene: "I wouldn't
want to be Superman's wife, so I'm glad you're not Superman,
since I'm going to be your wife, right? After all, we've
been on three dates already. So, here's how it's going to
go down; you invite me to the Empire Club on Friday night
and present me with a ring from Finklestein's Jewelry. They're
the ones on Grant Avenue. Here, I've written down the inventory
number, just ask for Harry, he's got it set aside..."
But hey, what guy wouldn't want to be with a woman who's
just threatened him with a machine gun? Even if it was only
loaded with blanks ("Ha! Ha! The look on your face
when you dove under your desk!") in an elaborate scheme
to get the truth out of you ("Sorry honey, but I had
to be sure..."). Note to Lois' female readership: If
you're looking to land a man, it's traditional to save the
real craziness until after the wedding,
Also note how Lois practically does a lap dance for Clark
earlier in the story, then bristles like a frigid old maid
when he has the audacity to put his arm around her shoulders
to help her up off the floor. She's like a walking catalog
of neuroses...the girl your mom always warned you about.
What's really amazing is that this story is from Lois'
own comic, where you'd think the object would be to paint
the title character in a favorable, if not heroic light.
That is not what we get here, to say the least, which makes
me wonder: were DC's writers and editors just in way over
their heads trying to write comics for girls, or was the
readership of Lois Lane really mostly male? And
if the latter, why didn't we end up even more afraid of
girls than we already were?