Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Frenemy of My Frenemy is Also My Frenemy: "Lois Lane" #60

I've written before about the Silver Age comic wackiness that was "Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane", but I don't know if I've ever conveyed how consistently batshit insane that comic actually was. Supergirl or the Legion of Superheroes had the occasional moment of crazy, but every single issue of Lois Lane was insane. Not only that, but most of them also had Lois trying to get Superman to marry her as a central plot element, upping the insanity so that instead of just having an issue where Lois turns black for a day, Lois becomes a centaur, or Lois is turned into an old hag, the story also includes Lois have a distraught moment of, "Why would Superman ever want to marry me now that I'm ___________?"

The blank is, of course, filled in with things like "married to Satan", "cursed with gargoyle feet", "imprisoned for trespassing", "a bearded lady". It's this kind of consistent insanity that makes me treasure every issue of "Lois Lane" that I own, and why I have the Lois Lane Archives on my wish list. When you need a smile, you need a nice, completely insane issue of Lois Lane.

Given what I've said about the consistency of the comic, though, I do want to talk about a very special issue: #60, from October 1965. Another central theme running through "Lois Lane" was her constant rivalry with Superman's other girlfriend, Lana Lang. Lana was Superman's childhood sweetheart, and came back into his life as a glamorous television reporter, a journalistic rival for Superman's heart that Lois was both friends and enemies with. The reason why "Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane" #60 is so unusual is that it's one of the few times in the entire series that Lois and Lana manage to put their competition aside and team up:

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #60 (1)

Although they're only teaming up to punish Superman for not proposing to either of them.

Before we launch into the issue, let's have a few words with the ladies themselves, shall we?

lois chatting (1)

lois chatting (2)

lois chatting (3)

lois chatting (4)

lois chatting (5)

lois chatting (6)

Maybe not. Let's just get to the comic.

Our story opens at a charity celebrity party, hosted by Lana and Lois. Like many career women in the 1960's, Lois and Lana are dressed in a way that speaks of their equality and professional accomplishments:

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #60 (2)

They manage to get along for about ten minutes, until Superman shows up to sit in the charity kissing booth, at which point an all-too-predictable version of hell breaks loose:

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #60 (3)

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #60 (4)

and Superman finally freaks out and loses it on both of them:

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #60 (5)

He's so pissed about it that the next day, when he agrees to take them to his Fortress of Solitude so that Lois can write a story about it and Lana can film a TV spot, he spends the entire trip continuing to lecture them:

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #60 (6)

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #60 (7)

I'm sure, in his mind, that Superman thought he was doing the right thing, and that they two of them would take these words to heart, learn something, and become better people.

Superman forgot that both of these women are insane.

He leaves them alone for a few minutes:

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #60 (8)

and when he comes back:

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #60 (9)

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #60 (10)

they've put themselves into 5000 years of cryo-stasis just to get back at him. Because that's what a normal, not insane woman would do, right? Leave her entire life, family, home, career, and civilization behind just to get back at a man who yelled at her?

NO.

THIS IS WHAT CRAZY PEOPLE DO.

Superman, who didn't learn a damn thing from his earlier lecturing, decides to fly into the future when they wake up and lecture them again:

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #60 (11)

There's a tiny problem, though:

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #60 (12)

Lois and Lana are now starring in a comic book version of Death Becomes Her. They've crumbled into little piles of astronaut ice cream.

Superman, rather than shrugging and getting on with his life, spends several pages trying to go back in time to stop them from getting into the deep freeze chamber to begin with but he runs into one of the crushing inescapable paradoxes of time travel: If you go back in time to stop someone from doing something, they have to have done it, or you have no reason to go back in time. Guy Pearce discovers this in the remake of The Time Machine when he keeps going back in time to keep his fiancee from getting shot, and she keeps getting shot because he wouldn't have had any reason to build a time machine if she didn't.

Defeated by this paradox, Superman spends a few minutes thinking about the good times he's shared with Lana and Lois (probably a short few minutes), and then decides that if he can't stare at them, he can at least stare at their miniaturized Kryptonian lookalikes in the Bottle City of Kandor.

You heard me.

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #60 (13)

In the Silver Age, there was a whole group of Kryptonians living in Kandor who looked exactly like Superman's friends in Metropolis. At this point in the story, there's been so much crazy already that you just kind of accept this with a shrug and move on.

So what does Superman see when he looks at the doubles?

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #60 (14)

That the doubles are hiding Lois and Lana in Kandor, and that the doubles are also insane.

It turns out that Lois and Lana, left alone in the Fortress, contacted their doubles, and the four of them (two of whom live in an artifically maintained bottled environment and are completely dependent on Superman for the survival of their city) cooked up a plan:

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #60 (15)

The Kandorians risked angering the caretaker of their entire civilization in order to help some alien Earth-women that they just happen to look like, for no reason other than that Lois and Lana asked them to. I would say that Superman is the only one in this story who isn't insane, but after all of this he still manages to forgive them, and just be happy that they're alive.

Lois and Lana, on the other hand, have learned nothing:

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #60 (16)

And then in issue #61 Lois becomes the Reptile Girl of Metropolis.

And in #62 Lois and Superman run for the Senate.

Because this is just how things rolled, month to month, in "Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane".

2 comments:

Kevin R. said...

You cursed in your blog.... I am appalled... ;)

Dani said...

I just want to say how much joy I felt in seeing Lois Lane use the word "hussy". That is a good word.