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365 Reasons to Love Comics #45

It’s Valentine’s Day, or, as Warren Ellis likes to call it, Horny Werewolf Day. In honor of this, the most hated of holidays, let’s take a look at a DC comic most bloggers probably wish still existed. It’s chock full of romantic overtones and it ties into Black History Month.

2/14/07

45. Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane

Lois Lane 31.jpg

That’s not true, Lois. Superman just hates you. After all, a tremendous amount of stories in your comic were about you trying to trick Superman into marrying you through ridiculous measures, and him trying to avoid sleeping with you at all costs. Take the hint, m’dear. He’s Just Not That Into You.

There are plenty of fish in the universe, though. For instance:

Lois Lane 54.jpg

I don’t think the series was as good as Jimmy Olsen’s, but I’m probably biased. Regardless, it was still zany, Silver Age-y fun, and I love that kinda thing.

Lois is a great character. When she isn’t devoting all her efforts into attempting to marry Superman (you’d think she could at least try dating first), she’s a spunky reporter with a heart of gold who doesn’t take no for an answer, or any other combination of cliches. The thing is, though, Lois defined these cliches, and she’s developed into a stronger and stronger character over the years. Just because she finally married Superman doesn’t mean she’s suddenly become superfluous, and you can still get plenty of stories out of married superhero characters and their spouses. (Really, Mr. Quesada. It’s totally possible.)

If I had my way, there’s be a Daily Planet ongoing series. It’d be like Gotham Central, but with reporters. Lois would be the lead character, but we can’t forget about Perry White, Ron Troupe, Jimmy Olsen (though I want him to have his own series, too), Alice the Copy Girl, Steve Lombard, or even li’l ol’ Clark Kent! Toss in visitors like Jack Ryder or Vic Sage and you’ve got yourself a comic! It wouldn’t sell, but it’d be great.

So how does Lois tie into Black History Month? I’m sure the hardcore among you remember this little ditty:

Lois Lane 106.jpg

“I am Curious (Black)!” The touching story of a girl trying to see what it’s like to live in a different skin, so she uses a magical transformo-machine to do it. Naturally, a message of tolerance is transmitted!

Accordion Guy points us to where we can read the story. Remember, it’s written by Robert Kanigher, so things will probably seem… odd to we normal humans.

Lois Lane is whitey.JPG

Lois is tasked with getting the “inside story on Little Africa.” She goes there to find a black man spouting anti-honky dialogue. To get a different view, she decides to use some device in the Fortress of Solitude to turn herself into Erykah Badu:

Lois Lane is black.JPG

Now that she’s black, white people ignore her or give her funny looks.

Of course, our street preacher later gets in trouble and needs a blood transfusion that only Lois can give to her! She reverts to her whitey self, but it’s okay, the dude understands the lesson– we’re all the same underneath our skin.

I suppose it’s a nice message, but some of the details are a little silly. Still, for a story written by an old white guy and published in 1970, it’s handled far better than I thought it’d be. Feel free to take a look for yourself.

Here’s hoping we get Showcase presents Superman Family vol. 2 so they can get started on reprinting Lois’ series!

12 Comments

I dunno how it was handled in Lois’ comic, and whether it was done differently than in the regular Superman books, but in the Superman comic, it wasn’t that Clark wasn’t into her, it was just that he knew that his being Superman would make it impossible for a relationship to ever work. She’d be in constant danger as Superman’s wife, et cetera, et cetera. But there never seemed to be much doubt that the two were right for each other, even if it never seemed like it was going to happen.

It’s very amusing to me, because the Lois/Superman relationship of the 50s is very much keyed at the gender politics kids understand; she’s constantly trying to get Superman to admit he likes her, because as soon as he admits that, he’ll have to marry her, and Superman is constantly trying to avoid admitting it, because he doesn’t want to marry her yet even though he really does like her. The whole secret identity thing is tied right in with that, and it just all makes perfect sense on a schoolyard level. :)

Yeah, it does make sense when you remember that comics wern’t always aimed at 30+ year old hardcore fans. Where are the comics aimed at 8 year olds these days?

I must have seen that “I am Curious (Black)” 50 times but nobody ever says if DC knew they were paraphrasing a porn flick?

Daredevil and Mrs. Jones?
Debbie does Gotham?
Behind the Green Lantern Door?
DC-Throat Presents Lana Lovelang?

Somebody had to have recognized it.

I watched a rerun of “the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” today, the one where Will’s aunt marries a white guy (Diedrich Bader of Drew Carey “Fame”-seriously, did anyone from that show go on to anything else, with the exception of the woman who played Kate [who, by the way, is married to Bill Lawrence, creator of Scrubs]-appears as the uncle) and the reaction from everyone, especially Will’s Mom, is completely f’n RACIST.

Not even veiled discomfort, but just flat out “how dare you marry a white guy!?” kind of rage and indignation. I was really shocked at how blatant it was. Lois Lane’s got nothing on early 90’s tv.

I hate to be a fun-spoiling, off-topic nerd (worst…comment…ever…), but the movie in question, I Am Curious (Orange), isn’t a skin film. It’s a political movie, somewhat derivative of Jean Luc Godard’s style, that just happens to have a few scenes of very brief nudity. Which lead to the movie landing in the center of serious legal trouble in the US at a time when any onscreen nudity was still taboo. I’m sure many people in this country who never actually watched it might have thought it was a pornographic movie. Including some talent at DC (and, God knows, many television and nightclub comedians). But it’s not.

So what’s I Am Curious (Yellow)? A different movie in the same series?

Arggh, no, I just had a brain fart. Like I said, worst…comment…ever…. :)

(There was a sequel, though, I Am Curious (Blue) – blue and yellow being the two colors in the Swedish flag).

It isn’t often that I open up and reveal something very personal…but…well…this is one of those rare times…

Way back, when I was 3 years old, a favorite uncle of mine read me a comic book. It just happened to be Lois Lane #134. I believe it’s what turned me on to comic books. I still have that issue…even though it’s been beat up to the point where I couldn’t even give it away at a yard sale…lol.
Anyway…
I vividly remember sitting on his lap while he gave every character a different voice and making him read it to me a couple more times…which he did, with a smile (even though I know he was getting annoyed).
It was just a few years after that when he was murdered at the young age of 19.
But, that day (now more than 30 years ago) still stands as one of my most happiest moments as a child and is my clearest memory of my late uncle.
And, hey, like I said earlier…I did start my love-affair with comics because of that day.

I am just waiting on tenterhooks for Grant Morrison to revisit this story.

The Kirbydotter

March 10, 2007 at 2:06 pm

Wow!
I wasn’t aware of that Lois Lane issue (#106).
DC was so timid with black characters even by the late 60’s that this is s surprising cover.

Thank you for bringing it up to light.

I was under the impression that there were two versions of I Am Curious– the ‘clean’ version (Yellow) and the ‘dirty’ one (Blue).
An issue of the Hulk from that year had a producer offer to put him in a movie called ‘I Am Furious (Green)’.

randypan the goat boy

May 25, 2011 at 12:02 am

Hey lois…Uhhh Once you go black. Im sure there were far easier ways for lois to get her Ebony experience. i would have liked to have seen that call come in on the troubalert…help me superfriends…Im a curious white girl…Great Gotham…wheres black lightning going off to so fast? { sung to the tune of the superfriends intro]….TAP THAT ASS…DUH DU DUH DUH DUH DUHTAP THAT ASS…Sorry its late….

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