The Loves of Lois Lane

November 1, 2017

In this month's Comic Book Love, PHS Editor Maya Kesh talks about Lois Lane and her relationship with both Superman and Clark Kent.

 

 

I love Lois Lane.  She is the first fictional character I remember reading.  And to this day she is my favorite fictional character.  And I have a lot to say about how she’s been treated over the years, both as an individual character and in her romance with Superman. Yes. I said Superman.  When I was growing up in the 70s? Superman was the personality, not Clark Kent.  
 

Lois Lane’s love for Superman has been a subject of derision for years.  She’s been called a gold digger.  She only loves Superman for the power. And why doesn’t she see Clark KentBecause??  He was the mild mannered disguise.  Let me repeat.  A DISGUISE.  Even Superman didn’t respect Clark Kent.  Yet we ask Lois Lane to do so. 

© DC Comics


During the Bronze age (70s) the disguise was dialed back to make it less of a caricature.  And this created more depth to the triangle for two. 

 

In the mid 80s DC Comics had a line wide event which reboot the universe. It was called Crisis on Infinite Earths. When the dust settled Clark Kent became the dominant personality. And it wasn’t until Lois fell in love with Clark that he proposed to her.  He didn’t tell her he was Superman until after they were engaged. Gee buddy, I think this is important information to share. 

© DC Comics

 

In all of this I think the onus has always been unfairly put on Lois Lane to prove her worth.  I’ve always felt Clark Kent/Superman was much more complex than who is the dominant personality. He is the sum of the whole.  He is not human.  He grew up human.  However he grew up being able to do things other people couldn’t and always had to keep a part of him hidden. 


In the mid 2000s there was another line wide mini reboot which DC Comics called Infinite Crisis which brought Superman more in line with this philosophy. 


 Mark Waid’s Birthright mini series explored what it would be like in modern times if an alien with massive powers reveals himself to us. It would be very easy for people to run in fear. Clark has to hide part of himself in both disguises. And he worries people will reject the alien.  In comes Lois Lane.  Who not only isn’t afraid?  She is his champion. She sees in Superman a person who believes in the best of humanity. Who wants to use his immense power to help not to harm. 

© DC Comics


At the same time she works with Clark. She is shown to have compassion for Clark Kent and stands up for her mild mannered co-worker when her co-workers treat him poorly. 

© DC Comics


Kurt Busiek wrote a great flashback scene in his Superman run where we see Clark Kent out to dinner with Lois. He forgets he is supposed to be in disguise and Lois is drawn to him.  It is almost painful to see him remember to pull back in to the shell he has created. 

© DC Comics

 

Lois Lane falling for Superman is not a betrayal of Clark Kent.  He is freer to be who he is when he’s Superman than when he is Clark.  Both personas are just that, personas.  And when Clark Kent lets her see beyond the glasses, she sees who he is.  

 

Expecting Lois Lane to choose Clark Kent is ridiculous. She would be choosing half a person.  Expecting her to settle for anything less than the whole man is an unfair burden for her to carry. 

 

I’ve always believed the triangle for two is a very important part of the story.  It is important for Lois Lane to fall in love with the alien.  A man who isn’t from our world who could crush us all if he chose to do so.  We (and Metropolis through her articles) see Superman through Lois’s eyes.  We see his compassion and empathy from her lens.  She is our window in to his soul.  She shows us that there is nothing to fear. 

 © DC Comics

 

Lois Lane in all incarnations has always loved the man behind the cape and glasses. It is well past time she is given her due. 

 

Maya Kesh is a lifetime reader of comic books, an active member of the online comic book community, and a regular contributor of articles on the subjects of how women are portrayed and diversity in comics. To find out more you can follow her on Twitter.

 

 

What do you think of the Triangle for Two? Let us know in the comments or by using #lovesofloislane on Social Media to join the #PHS community's discussion on this subject.

 

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