web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #402

Welcome to the four hundred and second in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, learn about whether Lois Lane was based on the future wife of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel! Plus, before Maxwell Lord became the big bad guy in Countdown to Infinite Crisis, what other obscure DC character was in the running for the role? Finally, did Peter Milligan intend to have Shade canceled twenty issues before DC finally ended it?

Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and one.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Joe Shuster based Lois Lane’s appearance on the future wife of Jerry Siegel.

STATUS: I’m Going With False

I think this one is a matter of a false syllogism.

It is true that Joanne Kovacs, the future Mrs. Joanne Siegel, did indeed model for Joe Shuster in 1935 (even that date seems a bit unclear, but 1935 seems to be the best bet for when she sat for Shuster).

However, by the time Shuster actually drew Lois Lane for the first Superman story, she was not based on Joanne Siegel.

Here’s Kovacs (who did some modeling under the name Joanne Carter)…

Here’s one of Shuster’s early drawings of Kovacs…

And here is Lois Lane in Action #1…

I think it is clear that this is a case where if Kovacs did not eventually meet Siegel again over a decade later and marry him, it never would have become a story, but because she did, the whole “Jerry Siegel married the model for Lois Lane” became such a cool hook (and don’t get me wrong, Jerry Siegel marrying the woman who modeled for them for Lois Lane a decade earlier IS a very cool story). You could perhaps stretch and say Shuster took SOME aspect of Lois from Kovacs, but I don’t honestly see that even.

What it came down to was Shuster and Siegel, two young guys wanting to look professional by hiring a model, but in the end, Shuster did not use the model when it came down to actually drawing the character. To get across just exactly what kind of state of professionalism that Siegel and Shuster were in at the time, Shuster’s MOTHER actually chaperoned the modeling session!

Siegel later claimed that the young model’s personality helped inspire Lois Lane’s, and I guess I could believe that a bit more, but even then, Lois Lane’s personality early on is pretty standard fare for female reporter characters in the films and pulps of the time.

The false syllogism comes from the fact that since Kovacs modeled for Lois Lane, she is therefore THE model for Lois Lane. I do not believe that was the case.

Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!

Did Gone With the Wind Use the Word “Damn” in Violation of the Motion Picture Association Production Code?

Did Phil Esposito Remove What He Thought Was a Listening Device While in Moscow But Was Actually the Top of the Chandelier of the Room Below Him?

Did a Trained Camel Save Peter O’Toole’s Life During the Filming of Lawrence of Arabia?

Did the Museum of Modern Art Hang a Matisse Painting Upside Down for Over a Month?

COMIC LEGEND: The original bad guy behind Countdown to Infinite Crisis was Mr. Jupiter from the Teen Titans.

STATUS: True Enough for a True

In Countdown to Infinite Crisis, we discover that the big bad guy behind an upcoming attack on the world of superheroes was none other than Maxwell Lord, the one-time head of Justice League International.

Former Justice Leaguer (and good friend of Max) Blue Beetle discovered his plans and things went poorly for ol’ Beetle…

But before Maxwell Lord was the big bad guy, for a while there it was going to be ANOTHER wealthy DC behind-the-scenes man, Loren Jupiter, who helped make the Teen Titans “relevant” for a little while in the late 1960s. Here he is in Teen Titans #25…

Dan Didio later noted that they decided against Jupiter in part because of his last name, as it seemed sort of silly that the bad guy would be “Mr. Jupiter.” In addition, they figured that Maxwell Lord was more well known, with Didio quipping, “Mr. Jupiter was in like four Titans stories in 1971.”

Story continues below

Thanks to Amit and Squashua for reminding me of this one! And thanks to Bill Walko for the Didio quotes!

Check out some classic Jerry Siegel-related Comic Book Legends Revealed!

Did Jerry Siegel have Superman reveal his secret identity to Lois Lane in 1940?

Did Jerry Siegel publically threaten to kill himself to protest the shabby treatment he and Joe Shuster received from DC Comics?

Did Siegel and Shuster produce a full Superman comic book in 1933 in the hopes of being published by a completely different comic book company?

Was Jerry Siegel’s father shot and killed in a robbery of his store?

Did DC force Siegel and Shuster to “prettify” Lois Lane in the early 1940s?

COMIC LEGEND: Peter Milligan wanted to end Shade the Changing Man with #50.


In the last twenty years, DC has shown some pretty impressive restraint when it comes to ending series when the creator best associated with the book is finished with his/her story, even if DC is the one who owns the characters introduced in the comic and the comic is still profitable.

Neil Gaiman was allowed to end Sandman on his terms…

James Robinson was allowed to end Starman on his terms…

Perhaps most remarkably, since Gaiman and Robinson at least CREATED the leads of their respective titles, John Ostrander was allowed to end Spectre on his terms…

This, of course, is not always the case. Grant Morrison, for instance, sure as heck seemed to have finished his version of Doom Patrol when he finished his run but DC kept the book going.

Unluckily for Peter Milligan, Shade the Changing Man fell into the same boat as Doom Patrol instead of Sandman or Starman.

In 1990, Peter Milligan took hold of a short-lived Steve Ditko superhero, Shade, the Changing Man, and went nuts with the idea. Ditko’s Shade was an other-dimensional agent who was framed, so went on the run with his powerful M-Vest (which stood for Miraco-Vest) to clear his name. In Milligan’s take, Shade was sent to Earth to save the planet from a swath of madness – his M-Vest was now a Madness-Vest, and he could use it to alter reality.

Brendan McCarthy designed the characters, and Chris Bachalo, in his first major comics work, drew the series, which drew much acclaim for both its surreal plots and for its intriguing character interactions.

The madness was called “The American Scream,” and Shade encountered a young woman, Kathy, who was recovering from some massive trauma (her parents were murdered by a serial killer, and her boyfriend was killed by the police because they felt he was the killer, as her boyfriend was black) – Shade somehow convinced her to go along with him on his journey to stop the American Scream, and the two eventually fell in love (even though when Shade showed up on Earth, he took the body of the serial killer, who had just been executed).

However, a great deal of twists and turns happen along the way, including Shade getting killed, like, five times or so, with him being reincarnated each time in a different dead body (once as a woman!).

Along the way, Kathy and Shade also added another traveling companion, a woman named Lenny. The trio had quite the relationship.

As noted above, the surreal nature of the comic was probably the most striking aspect of the book, specifically Chris Bachalo slowly coming into his own as one of the bigger artists of his time.

Bachalo left the title with #50, which also saw the tragic death of Kathy…

Milligan would stay on the book until it was canceled with #70.

However, as it turns out, Milligan wanted to leave with #50, as well, and have the end of his and Bachalo’s run be the end of the series. They were doing such a good job on the book, though, that DC did not want to end it so they planned on continuing the series with a new creative team, just like they did with Doom Patrol after Morrison left.

I asked Milligan about it, and he told me:

I’d planned to kill Kathy George in issue 50 and I thought that was the end of my writing the book. When I was told that DC wanted it to continue and that if I left someone else would be writing it I think I felt as though I wasn’t ready to let those characters go.

Story continues below

Thanks for the information, Peter!


Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Was Beverly Hills Cop originally written for Sylvester Stallone?

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

Here’s my new book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? The cover is by Kevin Hopgood (the fellow who designed War Machine’s armor).

If you want to order a copy, ordering it here gives me a referral fee.

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). If we hit 3,000 likes on Facebook you’ll get a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends the week after we hit 3,000 likes! So go like us on Facebook to get that extra Comic Book Legends Revealed! Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

Also, be sure to check out my website, Urban Legends Revealed, where I look into urban legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can find here, at urbanlegendsrevealed.com.

Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…

If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you all next week!


You know, I clicked the link to the Urban Legend about DC ordering Siegel & Shuster to “prettify” Lois Lane and “pretty” Lois Lane DOES look more like Joanne Siegel than the one on Action Comics #1…

I have a sneaking suspicion that the Lois Lane legend was started (or at least bolstered) by Kavalier and Klay…

Yeah, Pedro, I think it is possible that Shuster later returned to his early sketches of Kovacs (which were not even particularly good likenesses of Kovacs) and modified Lois to look like her.

After seeing the piece on Shade, it just reminded me on how much I would have loved to have seen where Ditko would have taken the story (I remember hearing one time that he had it plotted to issue #17).

Loved the original.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the Lois Lane legend was started (or at least bolstered) by Kavalier and Klay…

I think it is just that “Joanne Siegel modeled for Lois Lane” is SO easily conflated into “Lois Lane was based visually on Joanne Siegel.”

That drawing makes me suspect that maybe Shuster had a thing for Kovacs.

I don’t know about him necessarily having a thing for her, but yeah, the shy young artist being given a model to draw, it definitely does seem as though Shuster made the most of the opportunity.

The Lois Lane legend was already out there in the ’70s, decades before “Kavalier and Klay.”

Yeah, the legend has been around for decades. Like I mentioned, the fact that she did, in fact, model for Lois Lane makes it very easy for it to get from there to “she was THE model for Lois Lane.”

I think the truth is the Siegels wanted that to be the prevailing myth. You listen to Joanne Siegel speak in this interview with Nemo in 1983:

JOANNE SIEGEL: Joe was redrawing the strip, and it was going to be more realistic, rather than cartoony. I used to model for him every Saturday until he had enough drawings. He made so many stock drawings that it got to a point where he didn’t need any more.
SHUSTER: To me she was Lois Lane.

You can find the interview at http://ohdannyboy.blogspot.ca/2012/08/jerry-and-i-did-comic-book-together.html

You’re right “modelling for Lois” and “being what Shuster based his actual drawings on” are different, but I think they leaned that way right from the start.

There have been many who felt that they just emphasized Joanne’s connection to Lois for publicity value and while she may have modeled for Shuster, it wasn’t for anyone specific. I’m increasingly of that opinion.

That said, the Nemo article (which I no longer have) has a photo from Joanne Siegel’s modeling days and I have to say it’s a slightly better resemblance to the drawing of Lois that Shuster did that you include (and was included in the original article)

Clearly, Mr Jupiter’s real name is Loren Juspezcyk. . . he changed it to Jupiter because he didn’t want anyone to know he was Polish.

Before he became Earth One’s richest man, he used to fight crime while wearing women’s lingerie and was the Alan Moore’s partial inspiration for the Silk Spectre character.

Images of Mr Jupiter’s crossdressing crimefighting adventures used to come to Gardner Fox in dreams and he wrote a few of them up, but DC management squashed them because they couldn’t be published under the strictures of the Code prior to the 1972 revisions.

Oh, crap. I better shut up before I accidentally give Didio and Johns some ideas for a NuDC/Before-After Watchemen crossover epic.

Man, that Mr. Jupiter legend makes me sad, because that would have been fine. OK, maybe there are some huge fans of the swingin’ ’60s version of the Teen Titans who would have been outraged, but it wouldn’t have seemed like such an outrageous misstep as it was with Max and Ted. Maybe he could have killed Gnarrk to show how eeeevil he was.

I think the truth is the Siegels wanted that to be the prevailing myth.

I think you’re absolutely correct.

Didio sure called that one. It would have been super ridiculous to have a villain named Mr. Jupiter. Thank goodness he was replaced with the far more sensible Mr. Lord.

Yeah, that was sarcasm.

Also, good to hear it straight from Milligan’s mouth about the Shade thing.

I can see Shade having ended at #50. If you look at Shade’s more recent appearances since popping up in Hellblazer it appears that, to him, those last 20 issues didn’t really happen anyway.

Wasnt Lenny a transvestite in that Shade series? I remember how much acclaim was heaped on it when the series started and I read the first maybe 10 issues and it was so far removed from Ditko’ series that it just turned me off. I still really love the old series.

Since Lenny Shapiro is biologically female and has a child in the series, she’s only a transvestite in that she sometimes dressed in a masculine fashion.

I agree about wanting to see where the Ditko version of Shade, the Changing Man would have gone. The Vertigo version didn’t engage me.

Shadowtag: Technically, the last 70 issues shouldn’t have happened….

Man with No Face

January 18, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Doesn’t it seem likely that another reason DC went with Max Lord instead was that he was at least somewhat known to current comics fans? Mr. Jupiter hadn’t appeared anywhere in how long?

Kinda anti-climactic for the Big Bad to be revealed as “some guy who hung out with the Teen Titans 50 years ago.”

Gotta love that Teen Titans upskirt shot.

Doesn’t it seem likely that another reason DC went with Max Lord instead was that he was at least somewhat known to current comics fans? Mr. Jupiter hadn’t appeared anywhere in how long?

Kinda anti-climactic for the Big Bad to be revealed as “some guy who hung out with the Teen Titans 50 years ago.”

Hah, it’s hilarious, I was going to point out how I mentioned that in the piece, but apparently when I added that part to the article it did not get saved. Anyhow, it’s in there now. Suffice to say that Didio had almost the same exact position you had on the subject.

In the book “DC Comics: 60 Years of the world’s favorite comic book heroes,” author Les Daniels quotes Joe Schuster as saying that Lois was inspired by a girl named Lois Amster, whom one of the boys (it’s not too clear in the text) had a crush on. Joanne Carter is mentioned on the next page (25), and the same sketch shown here is captioned only as a drawing of Lois, not of Joanne Kovacs.

And I thought it was in the same book but I can’t find the correct page, but I remember reading it somewhere (maybe in one of those Nostalgia Ventures reprints of the Shadow novels), that Lois Lane’s last name was a tribute to longtime Shadow companion Margot Lane, and that some later Superman writer made reference to Lois having an aunt named Margot somewhere, as a sort of tribute. It’s been mentioned that Batman once trained under The Shadow in some never-published adventure, but it would be cool to tie the Superman books in with the Master of Darkness as well! I’m pretty sure I read it somewhere, I just can’t find it now…

Also, in the Titans legend above, I think it’s really funny that after Lilith gives her big over-the-shoulder speech about “you don’t want me around anymore,” waiting for someone to contradict her, nobody even responds to her as they ride away in the boat. “Did you hear something? Yeah later chick. Tell us more about this job, Mr. Zillionaire!”

Mr. Jupiter also appeared in the late 1990s Dan Jurgens Teen Titans series, not that it would have made his appearance in Countdown to Infinite Crisis any more relevant.

At WizardWorld Chicago in 2005, there was a panel called Crisis Counselling that went into the Max Lord selection. Newsarama had the most complete details of the panel but their article isn’t on their site anymore. But someone copied it here: http://www.sgcollect.com/forum/lofiversion/index.php/t43648.html The pertinent part is:

In a final anecdote when asked about Max Lord being a Cyborg (revealed in a past issue of Justice League), DiDio said that, in early editorial meetings when DC editorial was beginning to plan out the drumbeats to Crisis, the editors had a meeting, with one of the purposes being to find a new leader for the offshoot of Checkmate shown to be led by Lord in Countdown and OMAC. Several names were tossed out, DiDio said, such as Sarge Steel, King Faraday, Mr. Jupiter and others, and then Max Lord was suggested. Many of the editors thought that the idea made sense, as Lord had been shown to have a mean streak and to have killed previously, but the idea of using Lord was tabled after someone said, in DiDio’s words, “Yeah, but wasn’t he a Cyborg nd wasn’t he taken apart?”

According to DiDio, the focus then shifted to Mr. Jupiter, an old Teen Titans nemesis, but the editors felt “Mr. Jupiter” sounded old fashioned, so the character’s handle was changed to “Mr. J.” This worked for a while, DiDio said, until they were working through the outline of Countdown (months before writing started or plans were finalized), and came to the conclusion.

”And we got to the part where Beetle is killed, and we all said, ‘Mr. J kills Blue Beetle.’” DiDio stopped to roll his eyes as the crowd laughed. “’Mr. J kills Blue Beetle?’ Not only does it have overtones of the Joker, but it just sounded stupid.”

This led the editors to give Lord a second look, and when the mention came again that Lord was revealed to be a cyborg…”We thought about that aspect of the story some more and then asked, ‘Did anyone read it?’ No. ‘Did anyone like the idea?’ No. So we moved ahead with Max as being a human, and having been a human, and not letting that small part of the past stand in the way of this story. We wanted what was best for Countdown, and for us, that meant that Max had to be a human.”

So basically you have no facts to debunk that Kovacs was the basis for Lois Lane and instead you’re going with assumptions.

I’m saying that there’s not enough facts to support the notion that she WAS based on Kovacs.

“So basically you have no facts to debunk that Kovacs was the basis for Lois Lane and instead you’re going with assumptions.”

That’s a rude thing to say, and the situation is quite the opposite. Basically, there are no facts to PROVE that Kovacs was the basis for Lois Lane, so instead he goes with the information that exists.

and the same sketch shown here is captioned only as a drawing of Lois, not of Joanne Kovacs.

Fascinating point, Ganky. The sketch in question was only discovered in the 1970s and it was Shuster who noted it came from those early sessions, and it is very reasonable to suggest that perhaps he was mistaken as to when the sketch was drawn. I tend to believe him, although as we know by now, Siegel and Shuster tended to be a bit unreliable when it came to when early Superman materials were produced (on more than one occasion they suggested that things were produced earlier than they actually were).

Lois also owed a lot to 1937-39 movie character Torchy Blane and one of the actresses who played her, Lola Lane. Torchy is/was a tough no-nonsense reporter who was always a step ahead of her dumb cop boyfriend. She was fearless and fast talking. Lola played Torchy for one movie in the middle of Glenda Farrell’s seven movies.

Currently TCM is playing one Torchy movie a week on Saturday mornings (which are devoted to B-movies). This week is #4 “Blondes at Work” and next week is Lola Lane’s “Torchy Blane in Panama.” They’re really fun movies with great dialog which I recommend you try if you get the channel.

Jerry and Joan both agree Torcy and Lola were important to the development of the character. Jerry even wrote a letter to Time Magazine stating the fact. The 05/30/1988 issue which is online at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/0,9263,7601880530,00.html but Time has archived everything but the letters to the editor and the ads.

It’s worth noting that Torchy, Time and Lois Lane are of course all owned by Time Warner.

I’d have loved seeing what Ditko would have done with Shade. The original series was full of energy and threw out tons of seeds for subsequent plots.
The Milligan story doesn’t seem like much of an endpoint, but I’m fairly sure that’s because I didn’t read it and don’t have any context for it.
As someone else said worrying about Jupiter’s name sounds like a silly complaint. The obscurity factor–yeah, fair point.

And I say that as someone who did remember him. And that he also showed up in a two-part Wonder Girl back up in the eighties–though again, hardly makes him less obscure (Wolfman wrote him out when doing his version of the Titans’ origin, but Jurgens wrote him back in).

It’s worth noting that this is one of many reasons that mega-crossover events make for poor storytelling: all these half-assed, arbitrary decisions about who the Big Bad is going to be. Who’ll be revealed as a Skrull/Manhunter? Who’s behind Monarch’s mask? The answer is almost sure to be stupid.

Shade The Changing Man was a great series.

Shame that it only lasted eight issues.

Loved that Shade series. I wished it woulda ended at 50 as the last 27 were very spacey to say the least and kinda left a bad hangover feeling after 50 amazing issues. Kathy dying hit me hard. That kinda feeling when fictional characters become almost real to the reader. It was probably the best issue of the series also.

The original Shade sucked. There’s a reason it only lasted 8 issues. I love Ditko, but the Milligan Bacchalo version was so much better. This coming from a guy who has all the issues of both versions.

There’s also a reason why the current Shade is still more heavily the Milligan version after a continuity reset. It was just better.

Fraser – obviously that wouldn’t have been the exact ending if the series had stopped at #50 – Milligan knew the series was continuing and wrote it accordingly.

(And the pictures above aren’t the end of the issue itself.)

John Byrne, in the introduction to LOIS AND CLARK:THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN (subtitled ‘The stories that inspire the hit ABC television series) also suggests Rosalind Russell in HIS GIRL FRIDAY was an influence on Lois Lane. Although Howard Hawks’ film came out long AFTER Superman and Lois were introduced, it may be possible that Russell’s performance influenced subsequent depictions of Lois Lane (and for that matter, Cary Grant’s performance on those of Clark Kent). In particular, fans should compare the depiction of Lois and Clark in the Fleischer cartoons to Russell and Grant in HIS GIRL FRIDAY!

I LOVED that pre vertigo era of Shade and Doom Patrol. What great stories. The original Books of Magic mini (was that pre vertigo) remains one of my favorite stories ever. And sometimes the mini and refular Books of Magic makes me look at Harry Potter and go hmm

Anyway back to the column, I Became a huge fan of Bachalo for his work on Shade. The series felt like it was going to a nice ending point at that time so interesting story to read.

Pretty sure I suggested that Shade legend some years ago. I’d actually heard that Milligan write those last 20 issues badly to get the title cancelled, borne out by the nosedive in quality f tose issues, but it seems that wasn’t the case. Thanks for following it up.

Drancron, thanks–I’ve seen enough strange endings over the years I wasn’t sure.

The problem with Maxwell Lord was that they couldn’t come up with a reason why he went bad, so they basically turned J’onn into an idiot by suggesting that Maxwell Lord was evil all along and J’onn never noticed it even though he was in Max’s head. If they had used the “Max’s mom was killed by a supervillain” explanation to start with, it might have gone over better.

I really wish DC would collect the entire Milligan series. Last I heard, they had maybe 3 of those volumes out, but then they stopped. And since then, they’ve put out all of the Hitman series, they’ve been recollecting the old Swampthing series by Moore, but I have seen nothing of a complete collected series of Shade. Shame for those of us who started reading comics after that series was done.

The brief descriptions at the top of the column aren’t there. I had to SCROLL DOWN to find out what the legends were, LIKE AN ANIMAL!

I woulda guessed you’d have covered the first 2 by now.

I have a different Les Daniels book (focused on Superman, it came in a nifty box with a statue and stuff — I think from pictures he’s shown, Greg Hatcher has it too) with that early drawing you show, and iirc, it labels it as a Lois image.

I’d heard that Mr Jupiter story before. I like Donald G’s explanation.

If Shade had ended with 50, we wouldn’t have gotten that wonderful text piece in 51, where Milligan explains that the entire series was about the hairstyles. And that story is called Mad Mod Poet God, which is one of my favorite story titles ever. My comic shop has the first couple Shade trades for cheap, I oughta pick ‘em up.

re: Paul Houston: The reason the Ditko Shade lasted 8 issues was because during the so-called DC “Implosion” in 1978 most of DC’s newer series was canceled or consolidated. DC over-extended itself with a plethora of new titles during the DC Explosion years between 1976-78.

Quality-wise, IMO Ditko’s Shade the Changing Man could easily hold it’s own with the Englehart/Rogers Batman of the same period. Just my opinion of course,

I was just thinking that Milligan’s Shade began with a Ditko protagonist in the body of a dying serial killer, which led to some queasiness when he wanted to develop a relationship with the female lead. Superior Spider-Man, on the other hand…

To The Relic:

That’s not entirely true. All those Ditko books (Shade, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom) were among the lower selling titles at the time. It was an easy choice for them to get cancelled. There was actually a long time delay between issues 7 & 8 due to sales reasons.

I think Brian Cronin himself wrote about this in one column way back when.

People were not buying Shade, in all reality as it was, it was kinda corny and ill concieved. Much of the plot was randomly and incoherently thought up or not completely thought through. Or it seemed to me.

I think you’re wrong on the Lois one Brian.

Modeling does not be an exactly likeness, it can be just the shape of the body at certain angles and/or in types of lighting. Lots of male artists have problems drawing women. I think Shuster was among them and hired Joanne to model and help him get better at it. There are some differences between the early Lois and the comic strip/book version but I think that can be chalked up to making the character quicker/easier to draw, which was necessary for the comic strip deadlines he was setting himself up for had the Superman submissions had been accepted. I don’t think editors reviewing the submission would have a lot of faith in untested talent making the daily deadlines if the characters were super detailed and took a long time to draw.

Just because she wasn’t posing for Shuster while the comic was being published doesn’t mean she wasn’t the model for the character. The character was created before the comic book was published as it existed in comic strip format, being shopped around from syndicate to syndicate until it ended up at DC. Not to mention the earlier version intended for comic book publication but didn’t happen due to the publisher getting out of comic books.

By the time Superman was being published he didn’t need her posing anymore. Had had been drawing comics for a little while now and was probably a lot better at it in 1938 (24 years old) than he was in 1935 (21 years old). As they explained, he already had enough stock photos of her to rely on if he needed them.

It’s been a while since I’ve read my archives, but I don’t recall seeing a lot of different type of women in those early Superman stories either. That he kept drawing the same female character look tells me he learned how to draw 1 woman and stuck to it, and we clearly know where he got that 1 woman from.

I find it really weird you don’t take the people’s involved word on this one (like you do Peter Milligan’s and countless others). Have they ever been inconsistent on this topic? Has Shuster ever exaggerated or maybe misremembered anything that would call to question the veracity of his statements here? Joanne was known for her strong statements but I don’t recall her being inconsistent on the history of the Lois Lane character. You seem to be claiming this one as false based on the difference between the early drawing and what was published in the comics and that she wasn’t posing when the comics were being published, which doesn’t address really if she was the model for the character.

A more accurate false might be “Was Joanne Kovacs posing as Lois at the time Shuster was drawing the Superman Comic Book stories” which people might assume and is what I think you are really getting at with this one.

Why I doubt them is because the whole “Lois Lane was based on Joanne” angle only started decades after the fact, long after Siegel had been married to her. They never talked about her in the early days, and Siegel talked about the creation of Superman a lot early on.

Lois Lane did not look like Kovacs and Lois Lane looked like lots of other people, including movie actresses, which is where most Golden Age artists took the inspiration for their characters’ likenesses. This is not even bringing in the whole Lois Amster angle (who we know Jerry Siegel likely wrote love poems to while in high school with her). Heck, Amster (who was also a classmate of Shuster) looks as much like Lois Lane as Kovacs does.

We know Kovacs sat for them years before Action Comics #1 came out, but that’s about it. We don’t even know that the Lois Lane sketch from above was actually from Shuster’s sessions with Kovacs (it certainly doesn’t look like her – what it DOES look like is what Shuster later started drawing Lois like, a few years into the strip – and it also looks like about a dozen popular film actresses of the time). Shuster said they were early sketches during the 1970s, but that was decades after the fact, so who knows if he was nailing the exact year correctly?

Man, I can’t believe we’ve had this many comments without anyone saying how beautiful that Nick Cardy Titans art is. Joe Shuster sure as heck was no slouch either. Bachelo… so loved his Vertigo work, then he went to Marvel and his style evolved into something I can barely tolerate. Every time I see his name I get a little sad.

Not to be a dick, but by the ’70s, wasn’t Shuster’s eyesight so bad he was legally blind? Who knows if he could tell what was in the picture that’s supposed to be Joanne.

One point Jamie makes that I agree with, though, is that Shuster really only drew one type of woman (and one type of man, basically). Even those soft core pictures he was drawing in the ’50s looked pretty much like Lois and Clark, probably because he found his style and stuck with it.

I would disagree that that one style of woman = Joanne Siegel.

Hell, Eisner’s women all look like…Lauren Bacall, I think? One of the issues of the Spirit New Adventures from the late ’90s, written by that Alan Moore guy, points out that all the women look similar. It’s certainly not that Eisner couldn’t draw different people.

Ditko’s Blue Beetle and Captain Atom weren’t DC books in the 70s – they were Charlton books in the 60s.

DC didn’t acquire the rights to those characters until around the time of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

A Horde of Evil Hipsters

January 19, 2013 at 3:03 am

Didio and the writers should have just split the difference and created a composite character… “Lord Jupiter” sounds like a classic supervillain name to me.

(But seriously, in what way is “Max Lord” any less silly a name?)


As the Shadow’s Margo(t) Lane debuted in 1937, could that serve as another influence?

DC could’ve spun “Countdown’s” villain as a mystery man “J”…hinted broadly that he was the Joker…and then revealed him to be Mr. Jupiter. That might’ve addressed the concerns about Jupiter’s being too obscure to carry the story.

They could’ve add hints about J’s ties to Robin and the Joker’s daughter to further muddy the waters. It might’ve turned into a fun reveal.

IIRC, there was an article in Wizard where it was mentioned that the original choice for Ted’s killer was going to be King Faraday, not Mr. Jupiter.

BTW -DIdio was wrong about Jupiter – he was prominent in the 96-98 version of Teen Titans. Not exactly recent, but much more so than the 60’s.

I would have preferred Mr. Jupiter. What exactly is wrong with the name? I went to school with a kid with that last name. I would have preferred that to Maxwell Lord which just seems like a stupid idea but it came from Dumbidio so there ya go.

I think Joanne Kovaks looks exactly like Lois in Action comics number 1. I think there re variations dependent upon lighting and makeup and angle but more or less this looks like the same woman to me.

Milligan’s Shade: The Changing Man was a favorite of mine in its original run and I am very pleased that DC has been collecting and reprinting it in recent years.

If Marvel can keep rocking Mr. Sinister, the DC should have pulled off Mr. Jupiter. The whole Max Is Evil thing fell apart after J’onn read his mind around the 12th issue of JLI.

Countdown ended up sucking anyway. It was no 52, that’s for sure.

And yeah, that Nick Cardy art on Teen Titans is beautiful. I always loved Lilith.

@Clutch: Ironically enough, it was later revealed in the 96-98 Teen Titans series that Mr. Jupiter was Lilith’s father.

This is post-Crisis, of course. Her pre-Crisis origin (which was negated weeks later when Crisis happened) has Lilith as the daughter of the Titans of myth, which later became Wonder Girl’s origin after Crisis erased Donna’s connection to Wonder Woman. Maybe this can be the topic in an upcoming Abandoned & Forsaked?

Why is this page being bombarded with Chinese spam?

I don’t know much about Countdown to Infinite Crisis, but maybe, if you have an idea for a story, but you can’t find any characters who plausibly fit into the story, maybe you don’t actually have a story.

Mr. Jupiter: Who will challenge the unknown in man himself?

Um, how about the Challengers of the Unknown? :p

Why is this page being bombarded with Chinese spam?

I dunno. Weird, right?

Are you people saying this Heritage Minute is wrong? Heritage Minutes are NEVER wrong. ;)


Didio was right, who would make a barely used background character the big bad of a major company storyline? Next thing you know Nekron is going to be behind everything….

(And I completely believe that there was a Lois before that model was influencing anything, but boy, in that shot does she have the prototypical hair for the era you’d imagine Lois in?)

I loved both Ditko and Mulligan/Bachalo’s Shade series. (Though I was disappointed by Mulligan’s JLDark.)

Ahhhhhh, Nick Cardy…

Didio sure called that one. It would have been super ridiculous to have a villain named Mr. Jupiter. Thank goodness he was replaced with the far more sensible Mr. Lord.

Yeah, that was sarcasm.

(But seriously, in what way is “Max Lord” any less silly a name?)

Are you two kidding? “Maxwell Lord” sounds nowhere near as ridiculous as “Mr. Jupiter”.

John "Ratty" Arbuckle

January 1, 2014 at 6:48 am

If you haven’t read the Vertigo Shade series, you’ve missed out on one of the best early Vertigo series. Read them. If you don’t like the Vertigo Shade series, you’re an idiot. Plain and simple.

Rob Schmidt:– nah, that’s too clever and considered.
Clutch:– great point RE: Sinister. For Bob’s sake, it’s a superhero comic.

John "Ratty" Arbuckle

July 13, 2016 at 2:33 pm

IDIOT, I say!

Leave a Comment



Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives