Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #50!
This is the fiftieth in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous forty-nine.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: The Super-books were not going to marry Clark and Lois until the TV show got involved.
It’s interesting how things come about, isn’t it?
The Super-books at one point did a storyline where Lois and Clark break up.
However, it was then announced that Clark and Lois would be getting married on the TV show, Lois and Clark: The Adventures of Superman, so the comics quickly had to catch up, so eight months after the broke up, they both got BACK together and were quickly married.
So it certainly looked like the TV show forced the comic into marrying the couple. In truth, though, it was actually almost the exact OPPOSITE.
The following piece is from Michael Bailey’s article on the 10th anniversary of Superman’s death from the Superman Homepage. It’s a good deal more efficient than me just splicing together different interviews on the subject.
With four teams of creators and four titles that had such a tight continuity it was necessary for the creative forces and the editor to meet and discuss upcoming story ideas and map the future of Superman. At these “Super Summits” Carlin and crew produced the “Superman Charts,” which were a general plan for the next year that would be revised and updated as the stories were actually produced. In an e-mail interview conducted for this article Dan Jurgens described how the story meetings would work. “There were anywhere from seven to twenty people gathered all in those meetings, each with their own ideas, who somehow had to conjure a coherent story from a boiling cauldron of conflicting ideas,” he wrote. “It was very difficult, at times, for the writers to let go of some of their ideas and notions in order to make everything fit together for the overall good of the united stories. In retrospect, it’s a wonder it worked as well as it did.”
Dan was quick to point out the person responsible for the success of the format. “Mike Carlin, one of the best editors this field has ever seen, deserves a tremendous round of applause for focusing us. The creative teams were like a band, a collection of diverse experiences and notions, and he was the producer who put it all together for ‘the sound.'”
One of these summits was held to discuss not the death of Superman but the wedding of Lois and Clark. Clark had proposed at the beginning of Superman #50 and by the time the issue ended Lois had accepted. A few months later in the pages of Action Comics #662 Clark even told Lois the truth about his double life. It was an event in real life as well when the press picked up on the story and Superman got some ink in newspapers and mentions of telecasts across the country. Even the most skeptical reader was beginning to wonder if DC was actually going to go through with it and indeed they would have if it wasn’t for a medium seemingly more powerful than comics; television.
DC president Jenette Kahn had been working for several years to sell the concept of a Superman television series. The series would be different, though, and at one point had the title Lois Lane’s Daily Planet. In 1991 Les Moonves, head of Lorimar Television and writer/producer Deborah Joy Levine helped sell the series to ABC television with a new title, Lois and Clark: The Adventures of Superman. Despite the fact that the show would not air until the fall of 1993 the mere fact that the show was being developed had an effect on the comics.
Mike Carlin discussed the Super Summits that would deal with the wedding with comic historian Les Daniels in his book Superman: The Complete History. “There was one [Summit] where we literally came into hoping to talk about the wedding with the TV people, but the show got put on hold for a while and they weren’t there. We were stuck. And I do think that there was some resentment from the talent that they weren’t able to do what they had planned.” The reason for this was simple. As Carlin put it, “DC’s decision was that it would be a good idea to hold off the wedding and do it at the same time as the TV show, if it got that far.”
So the creative team was left with a story vacuum. Despite the fact that the wedding was on hold the teams still needed to produce stories to fill the comics to put on out to the stands. The solution came from something that had become a running gag at the Super Summits. Mike Carlin told Comics Scene Magazine in 1993, “This isn’t the first Superman meeting where somebody said, ‘Let’s kill him off'; this is not the first meeting or plotting session I’ve gone to on any character where they said, ‘Let’s kill him.’ I mean that happens in life and that happens in comics. At the meeting we had planned to do another story, but due to extenuating circumstances we had to push that back a little bit and then we had to fill the gap. So somebody said, “Let’s kill Superman.'”
So yes, years later, it was a push by the TV show that got Clark and Lois married, but not before the TV show KEPT them from being married!
It’s interesting how things come about, isn’t it?