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CSBG Archive

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – Lois Lane’s Jekyll and Hyde Moment!

Every week, I will spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

Today we look at a neat story where Lois Lane turns into a Jekyll and Hyde creature…

The second story in 1962’s Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane #36 is this tale by Leo Dorfman and Kurt Schaffenberger titled “The Madam Jekyll of Metropolis.” Of course, Jekyll was the doctor and not the mister, but why quibble between friends?

Our tale begins as Lois goes to visit her fan club…

I love how Jimmy has to try to throw some bragging into his commentary.

Not a good sign when the only room your fan club can find at the college is next door to a freaking CYCLOTRON!!!!

So the red kryptonite turns Lois into a Jekyll and Hyde creature. Watch her go off when she sees another stupid Jimmy Olsen photo….

Once home, Lucy Lane’s hair get the treatment next….

Jealousy and insanity do not go well together, as Lois realizes when she sees Lana Lang talking about Superboy…

Ultimately, Lois is put into a straightjacket. She doesn’t question why she is kept in the Daily Planet…

Then, one of the more insane plans is hatched…

I love how they never explain how they made the Superman puppet talk.

35 Comments

So, the radioactive Red K made Lois look really strange and act exactly the way she always did back then.

You know she was just looking for an excuse to chop Lucy’s hair off, right?

God, I love the Silver Age.

How did they make the Superman puppet talk? Either a remote controlled tape recprder hidden inside the puppet, or the special talent of one the Lois Lane Fan Club is a combination of ventriloquism and impersonating the male voice.

Comic books like these were how I learned to read.

Jeez, it’s a wonder I ever got laid.

So all the members of the Jimmy Olson Fan Club have Lois Lane hair-dos?

Jack Kamen-ish Lois on panel six.

Every girl there looks like freaking Doris Day. Ah, yes! The early 60’s, right before the counterculture split comics in half. For a while there, this read like an EC Comics story …until they got to the usual convoluted explanation panels.

It would have been so much cooler to end the whole Lois/Lana/Lucy nonsense in modern slasher film style. I kinda want to know how Lana got out of this one. …But only kinda.

Lois took her rage out not on Lana, but on Lana’s Superman-related collectibles.

“Professor, nuclear physics is my hobby.”

Damn, that beats puppetry any day! I bet she ended up working for STAR Labs.

The Jimmy Olsen Fan Club always baffled me.

By what logic do you arrive at the conclusion “I’m not cool enough to be a fan of Superman. I’ll be a fan of his dorky best friend instead”?

Grodd above, this is a great one! Gotta love how she begins every word ballon with some variation on “Rrrrgh!!” REALLY committed to her monstrous-ness. The tradion of an explanation so ridiculously complex that it’s far easier to just go with what seemed to happen in the story is one of my favorite tropes of the silver age.

Ah, “tradition,” that is…

As with many of these posts, there’s almost too much goofy stuff in here to deal with! Did Jimmy really say “Ye Gods!” as an exclamation? He seems like more of a “Jeepers!” guy to me.

And yet, somehow, the most ridiculous thing about it all is that they let Jimmy write articles by himself.

Jimmy’s kind of an asshole in that first panel there. “Oh, a fan club. Just like the one *I* have. How nice for you.”

Also, note how Lois’s transformations seem to be triggered by jealousy. Because, y’know, women are jealous creatures.

You just know Lois kept the Superman puppet for herself.

If the light was invisible, how did Jimmy see it? Did he have see-invisible-things-vision that week?

I know you could basically do one of these for every single Silver Age DC story, but I really think Action Comics #243 needs a little love here. That might be one of the greatest Superman stories ever told from a completely absurd perspective. It took society 40 years to catch up to how emo Superman was within the 15 pages there.

Wow, again Lois is put in her place for being a bad, jealous woman. Those hysterical ladies have to be taught a lesson, right fellas? It’s just wonderful how long she’s allowed to think Superman’s dead. Perry has to wait until his whole explanation ends before revealing the truth. They even through in a nice “the joke’s on you!” And yes, Lois, your fan club is so wonderful they made you think you murdered Superman.

“Oh this is awful! Sob!”

She doesn’t seem TOO distraught over killing the man she loves.

I’m surprised no one has commented on the fact that they kept all these “different” Red K samples. I mean, silly me, I thought that Red K simply had random, unpredictable effects on its subjects–not that a specific piece had a specific, singular effect. (Maybe that came later.)

Also, I just love Lois’s reaction to Jimmy’s off-stage explanation: “You mean I actually turned into a hideous, hairy beast! Ugh! How gruesome!” Absolutely nothing about what she *DID* to poor Jimmy’s typewriter and desk. What’s also funny is how it shows that Lois just has to be the MOST insecure reporter on the staff. I mean, really? She’s worried about a Jimmy Olsen story? (I do wonder, though, in the Silver Age, how many front-page stories did Jimmy get that WEREN’T in a Jimmy Olsen story? Even in the Clark/Superman stories, there were plenty of “Lois vs Clark for the front page” stories, but I don’t recall Jimmy’s ever being considered a major player for the front page.)

Oh. And there’s the fan who says, “Professor. Nuclear physics is my hobby.” Well, of course. This was the early 1960s. A girl could NEVER become a nuclear physicist; she could only pursue it as a hobby. (Obviously, THAT was the “special skill” required for her to be a member of the fan club.)

Commander Benson

August 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm

“. . . I thought that Red K simply had random, unpredictable effects on its subjects–-not that a specific piece had a specific, singular effect. (Maybe that came later.)”

This property—that a single chunk of red kryptonite has its own specific effect on Superman, or another super-powered Kryptonian—was established at least as early as “The Red Kryptonite Menace”, from Action Comics # 283 (Dec., 1961)—almost a year before Lois Lane # 36 (Oct., 1962). (There may have been an earlier story that established this, but I stopped looking when I found the first one to pre-date Lois Lane # 36.)

While there were some “growing pains” in the first couple of tales in which red kryptonite appeared, very quickly, the nature and characteristic effects of red kryptonite were standardised.

Red kryptonite was created when a flock of green kryptonite meteors passed through a strange, crimson-hued cosmic cloud in space. Each of the green-k meteors passing through the cloud was converted to red kryptonite.

Each meteor of red k (which varied in size) would inflict a singular physical and/or mental mutation on a super-powered Kryptonian. The particular effect was specific to each chunk of red k and inflicted the identical change on each Kryptonian it affected. In other words, if a piece of red k turned Superman into a giant, lime-green sea-monkey, it would also turn Supergirl or Krypto into a giant, lime-green sea-monkey.

A victim experienced a tingling feeling when he was exposed to red kryptonite, and its effects would manifest anytime from immediately to within an hour. And the effects would wear off within twenty-four to forty-eight hours.

Each piece of red k could only inflict its particular change on its victim once. That is, once that chunk of red k turned Superman into a giant, lime-green sea-monkey, a second exposure to it would not affect Superman, again.

Occasionally, a red k-tale would contradict these established properties, but the script would purposefully state that the particular piece of red kryptonite in question was a rare isotope that was an exception to the stated rules. (Mort Weisinger and his writers tried hard to avoid duplicating a red-k effect, but sometimes, they got stuck for a plot.)

Lastly, the particular transmutation effect was imbued in the piece of kryptonite as it was when it originally passed through the cosmic cloud. What that means is—if someone on Earth chopped the giant, lime-green, sea-monkey-causing piece of red k into three smaller chunks, all three sections were still the “same” piece of red k. Exposing Superman to chunk number one would cause the change, but chunk number two would not.

Hope this helps.

i find it interesting the due to some radiation from a machine that the kryptonite wound up turning lois into a mr. Hyde that plus the fact she actully believed she killed super man when it was only a puppet. not to mention Lana did not wind up facing Lois in her Hyde mode . also why would Perry be willing to want to kill superman even to help lois when that would be something Luthor would do.

Commander Benson covered the point I was about to make about red k. There’s one story from the Silver Age where the Superman Revenge Squad tests red k on a captured Krypto, knowing it will have the same effect on Superman.
I’m actually quite impressed that a 1962 LL story would show a girl whose hobby is nuclear physics.

Too bad the Red K didn’t split off the dumbfuck part of Lois. The one who doesn’t realize that the only difference between Clark Kent & Superman is a pair of glasses.

Heh, I just picked up this story last week, in lois lane 95, the 1969 annual.Ahh, so funny it is!The LL and JO books, are an old pleasure of mine, thro Im a marvel fan.

“Each member has a special skill, like painting or puppetry.”

>Whew!< Glad that little tidbit came in handy at the end….FORESHADOWING!

LOVE this column – and your posts, Commander Benson! Cool stuff.

“The Jimmy Olsen Fan Club always baffled me.

By what logic do you arrive at the conclusion “I’m not cool enough to be a fan of Superman. I’ll be a fan of his dorky best friend instead”?”

Are you kidding? Jimmy Olsen is awesome! He gets to trip balls on alien plants, grow instant beards, turn super intelligent, accept the worship of godlike aliens AND marry gorillas without ever doing tedious hero things like fight crime! Superman has to attend Justice League meetings and make public appearances at anti-littering campaigns, but all Jimmy has to do is go on crazy adventures and then write about them. He’s like Hunter S. Thompson in a hideous green jacket and bow tie who doesn’t know how to swear.

Jeepers! Who wouldn’t appreciate that?

I like Lois’ line in the first panel- ‘Each one of these kids is something special, not like the losers in your stupid club.’

Gasp! What a shocking story! She even thinks the “arrrr” to herself, what a thorough savage she is. Groan!!

Except that the whole rest of the story needn’t have happened once Lucy points out that the red K effects will soon wear off on their own anyway, without the need for:
1. a hastily-constructed perfect talking replica of Superman (unless her fan club made it earlier as a gift for her to while away the weeks during Superman’s long absences to strange galaxies full of saner women),
2. green paint that can cover an object that glows red and somehow make the glow appear green,
3. weakening a straightjacket,
4. getting Perry in on the plot,
5. loading a gun with blanks and
6. tricking Lois into committing murder.

Gotta fill those high page-count books! Pad away, gents.

Well in fairness, if red k is affecting a human who knows if it’s going to work like normal. Which is not to say the plot isn’t a little er, over-elaborate.
Am I correct in assuming the backstory where this bit of red k affects Superman was made up? Or was it one I missed (I know a lot of red k stories, but I’m far from an expert). Perhaps all it really did to Clark was bring up racial memories of his dual-personality ancestor, Jek-El.

I think it’s funny that Jimmy somehow sees the “invisible light” that filtered through the red kryptonite and focused on Lois.

BARROOM! Finally, a sound effect my spellchecker doesn’t choke on. “Hey, sorry about that broken window. We had a 13-gigavolt short circuit in the next room. Happens all the time.”

“Jimmy, look at Lois! Her hands! Her face! If only we had staff photographer to record this moment for posterity! She looks awful but at least she was considerate enough to carefully open the axe case instead of just smashing the glass. Hey, why do we keep that case mounted to the wall in the file room, by the way?”

“Hey sis, sorry to hear about your hideous transformation and violent rage. Now snap out of it, coz I’ve got a date!” I think Lucy actually got off lucky in this story. If they had had Sharpies and 4chan back in 1962, Lois probably wouldn’t have stopped with a haircut.

“Say professor, although we’ve established that red Kryptonite effects are temporary, would you have any ethical reservations about blasting a human with a 13-gigavolt neutron beam just so we don’t have to spend a few more hours distracting my star reporter?” “Not at all. Just don’t tell the dean that I installed a window in the cyclotron lab so I can peep on a bunch of undergrads who cosplay as a journalist.”

Oh, and the front page on tomorrow’s Daily Planet actually was 100% Jimmy: “SUPERMAN DEAD! BAT BOY TERRORIZES METROPOLIS! PEARL EARRINGS AND CAPRI PANTS STILL FASHIONABLE! V.D. RAMPANT AMONG AIRLINE PILOTS!”

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