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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 124: Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane #93

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane #93, which was published by DC and is cover dated July 1969. Enjoy!

Oh, Lois - you're such a sap!

This issue of SGF,LL was reprinted in the second volume of Diana Prince: Wonder Woman, the trades collecting those halycon days when Denny O’Neil took Wonder Woman’s powers away. Those are some crazy, crazy comics, and in the middle of it, who else but Bob Kanigher would write a story where Diana starts dating Superman, Lois gets jealous, trains in martial arts to fight Diana for him, and then … gets totally bitch-slapped for her efforts while Superman looks on, laughing. Our Dread Lord and Master could do an entire year of “I Love Ya But You’re Strange” on Bob Kanigher comics, I’d reckon.

But it’s this first page we’re concerned about, with the traditional splash page giving us a hint of what’s to come before we loop back and find out how Lois got in this pickle. Kanigher gives us some basic information – if Wonder Woman is flying, she must have her powers back. This alludes to the fact that in her own title, she doesn’t have powers. Kanigher also helpfully provides a clue as to what’s going on in this comic on this page, too, which is nice of him. Lois narrates that Wonder Woman has Superman fooled with her “flight stunts” and that she helped Wonder Woman steal Superman away. Ooh, it’s so dramatic! Kanigher sums up the new situation for Diana in the bottom left – she lost her powers, Steve Trevor was killed – so that we’re not completely lost.

Irv Novick drew this (the credits in the front of the book don’t list an inker – presumably it was Novick himself – or a colorist or a letterer), and he does a nice job. Superman and Wonder Woman are clearly flying parallel, but because of perspective, they appear on a slight angle to each other. The regular clothing on Diana adds to the oddity of her flying, and Novick draws our eye from the two flying heroes to Lois, dominating the scene in the bottom right, where our eyes would naturally go. Lois cries far too much in this issue (and, from what I’ve seen, in every other comic she ever appeared in back then), but at least it’s not too obnoxious. What makes this era of Wonder Woman so weird is that O’Neil/Mike Sekowsky on the main title and Kanigher/Novick in this issue really tried to make it “mod,” so while the women in this book aren’t quite as cutting-edge as perhaps the creators wanted, they aren’t trapped in the 1950s. Diana has a nice, mod style, and even Lois has a nice hair style that looks more appropriate for a working woman in 1969 than we might expect.

This is an insane comic, even weirder than the main book was at this time (which is saying something). But Kanigher and Novick make sure that the first page sets up the entire story nicely, which is awfully swell of them. I’m sure Greg Hatcher digs this comic beyond all reason, and that should be good enough for you!

Next: KALUTA!!!! No, he hasn’t appeared yet in the archives. That’s the way it is sometimes!

5 Comments

This is a fantastic comic book, by the way, featuring arguably the douchiest Superman of all time. Which is really saying something.

There is real pain Lois’ face. The tears are superfluous and sloppy, compared to the care given to the eyes and face. I wonder if the mystery inker put the tears in after the fact. Irv Novick probably spent a lot of time looking at a crying woman’s face.

The cover for this one, though, is completely over the top. It has Wonder Woman, wearing bell bottoms that could cover a small Christmas tree, manhandling Lois like a Shake Weight while Superman just chillaxes, watching.

I must say I quite like that effect that everyone else in contained in the panel but Lois is out of it, placed on top of the explanation box. Makes her appear even more an onlooker while the others are having the fun.

Also funny to notice my conditioning on superhero norms, the “normal” clothes on a flying person do look weird.

"O" the Humanatee!

May 4, 2012 at 11:49 pm

The Grand Comic Book Database lists Mike Esposito as the inker on Novick’s pencils here: http://www.comics.org/issue/22855/. (I was gonna guess Joe Giella, but I guess I’m wrong.)

Isn’t it Bob Haney rather than Bob Kanigher (who was usually billed as Robert, not Bob, Kanigher) who is most associated with wacky stories?

“O”: I don’t know, I’ve read quite a few oddball Kanigher stories, too (and you’re right – he’s “Robert”). Brian should do a Haney/Kanigher Odd-Off right here on the blog! :)

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