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I Love Ya But You’re Strange – Lois Lane Meets a Man Who Somehow Has More Issues That Silver Age Lois Lane

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!

Silver Age Lois Lane is well known for her strange, often borderline psychotic, behavior. I’ve featured plenty of Lois Lane comics in this feature and I’m sure I will feature plenty more as the years go by. Today, though, we take a look at the time when Lois Lane fell in love with a dude who is actually more messed up than Lois herself.

From Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #3, in a story by Jerry Coleman and Kurt Schaffenberger, while Lois Lane is on the track of a mysterious archer who is pulling Robin Hood tricks (stealing from the rich and giving to the poor) she meets Mark Benton, who is Clark Kent’s double, except that he is dashing where Clark is mild-mannered. Lois, naturally, falls for the guy.

However, Mark acts like he has a secret. Lois, being, you know, an award-winning reporter, is curious…

Don’t you love the low opinion Superman has of Lois’s psyche that he actually feels the need to “fix” the results of the “He loves, He Loves Me Not” routine?

Superman, naturally, stops the arrow. But now Lois is pretty darn convinced that Mark is the mysterious Robin Hood guy.

So when he takes her on a picnic…

What the hell? This dude is a psychopath, Lois!! You’re supposed to feel BAD that your boyfriend is a total nutjob? Dude’s running around in two different disguises because of weird self-esteem issues and YOU’RE the jerk in the relationship? What a complete and utter tool! “You can never tell if people are being nice to you when you’re rich, so I use a disguise” – and then she was nice to you when she didn’t know you were rich, you jerk! Trust is not “never question anything I do, no matter how suspicious.” That’s bullshit. That’s not trust, that’s just overbearing control issues by some nutjob. It makes me mad just reading this, with the implication that if Lois weren’t so damned nosy, she would get the guy of her dreams. She’d be marrying some complete whacko, Jerry Coleman! She is better off that she found out the guy’s issues now and not when they’re married! This is not a sad story, it is a happy one that Lois didn’t end up with this loon!

NOTE: I showed you folks this issue back in 2011, but I never featured it as a I Love Ya But You’re Strange, and it fits too well to not make it into the Strange archives.

33 Comments

It’s “in the other pocket you would have found… this monocle and beard!” that gets me every time. *And he puts them on as well*.

well, good that Lois evaded hooking up with Moon Knight….

I remember this from your previous posting. The silver age Superman guys had some real issues with secrets and trust. Madness!

@ Graeme Burk:

The monocle and beard line is a classic. What always amazes me about these loony Silver Age stories is that just work.

I mean, the story shouldn’t play at all. The value system at the core of it is generations out of date for good reason. Lois is portrayed as an emotionally fragile, marriage obsessed child. We are plainly supposed to feel badly that she has lost out on the chance to marry a rich psychopath. It is all utterly appalling.

And yet … it works better as a narrative than 90% of comics on the stands. It is readable and entertaining for what it is.

My feeling is that there are a few factors at work here. First, the structure of each page is totally consistent. There are three rows of two panels. That enables you to read left-to-right and then down. It is easier to “lose yourself” in in the story when you don’t have to decode every page separately. Second, the character design by Schaffenberger is doing a lot of the heavy lifting. We know that Lois is open, optimistic and curious because that is how she looks. Third, the story is clearly told from a single POV. Lois is the protagonist and the world we see is a reflection of her view of it. The whole narrative is a game based on the differing personalities of Mark Benton and Ronald Van Horton based upon how they look to Lois.

He may have had a far worse secret: He may be a sceret agent or assasin of Bearded Gentlemen’s Club of Metropolis

@Neil Kapit

Lmao, never even thought of that

I get the feeling that this was the writer’s “Take That” to Lois, and the “moral” of the story was “You could have had it all if you weren’t such a nosy bitch!”.

Of course, Silver Age Lois being Silver Age Lois, she goes right back to trying to unmask Superman the very next day….

What gets me about this story is I can see absolutely no reason for the Mark identity to be a double for Clark Kent. It really makes no difference.

@Mike: I see this story as a way of saying that Lois is attracted to Clark, but is also turned off by his milquetoast demeanor. This Robin Hood guy had Clark’s looks with Superman’s confidence, so it makes sense that Lois would want to jump his bones.

Seems crazy that Supes was going to all the trouble of making exact Robot duplicates of himself, when there was so many people in the world that were doppelgänger’s of himself.

“What you think I’m Superman??, Nah look at the Mark Benton dude he is much more Superman than me!”

Taken out of context, that 4th last panel looks like Benton is in the process of exposing himself to a crying Lois. I expected him to shout out, “It puts the lotion on it’s body.”

Better than 90% of comics out there today? You need to read some better comics. This is utter crap.

Did “x-ray vision” mean something different in the fifties? Why would it burn the petal to a crisp?

Crap? Its goofy, yes, but why is it ‘crap’? The story makes logical (crazy comic logic) sense and the art is superb. It appears dated, mainly because it was published in 1958. I get you’re meaning to defend current comics but crying ‘crap’ isn’t helping your case.

Drancron, heat vision was originally just a concentrated use of Superman’s x-ray vision, before it became a power in its own right. There are multiple stories showing him using “x-ray vision” to melt things (I presume this is why heat vision couldn’t melt lead in the Silver Age).
As to the story’s quality, I’ll just say that Kurt Schaffenburger is awesome and adds a veneer of charm to stories such as this.

A quick check of Michael Fleisher’s Superman Encyclopedia says “heat vision” was first used in 1961, which was about three years after this story.

An almost OT consideration: were Smallville’s authors inspired by this comic when they showed Lois and Oliver going to a party dressed as Robin and Marian in front of a no-no-I’m-not-jealous-just-happy-for-you-guys Clark?

I know, Green Arrow is a Robin Hood inspired character, but is also a double-life leading confused billionaire.

Awesome. I still think that having Lois as Superman’s stalker is far more entertaining than having them married or even worse having Clark pining over Lois. It is far more fantastical to have Superman’s true love to be a mermaid that he can never have than the chick at the next desk. As a fan of silver-age Supes, I’ve always been turned-off by Clark’s “love” for Lois. Even in the classic “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” and the outstanding All-Star Supes, the stories came to halt for me when Clark’s “love” for Lois was exalted. Kurt Busiek had a great take on the silver-age relationship between the two in an Astro City issue.

P.S. Kurt Schaffenberger draws the best Clark. If you want to see an awesome Supes pic check out this http://azjohnson5.deviantart.com/gallery/

om never thought given how crazy lois was in the silver age. and so in love with superman that lois not only would run into someone who looked like clark and suspect he is acting like robin hood but turns out to be a pycho after being found out good thing lois had her heart broken for once saved her a life time of misery with a pycho who knows how to do his own verison of green arrow with a bow

“and then she was nice to you when she didn’t know you were rich, you jerk! ”

To be fair, would he know that she really liked him? Lois had already been chasing after Superman’s secret identity. She meets Mark and Robin Hood becomes her focus. He knows that she’s writing an article on Robin Hood. He’s ready to ask her to marry him, and he finds her going through his coat pockets, finding his mask.

And for the final nail, since this is the Silver Age, he can apparently read her thought balloon because his next line picks up from where her thoughts end. And those thoughts were how she’d suspected he was Robin Hood.

Van Norton is sportin’ a van dyke.

Awesome…

I’ve spent the last few years devouring everything Lois and Jimmy from the Silver Age and they provide some of the most ridiculous entertainment around.

Those books were pure insanity…I love it…

Please God….let DC someday complete the run of SHOWCASE SUPERMAN FAMILY. If you own no other comics but those…the world would be a better, albeit zanier, place…

@Dean Hacker: Are you spysmasher from the DCMB? I only ask because he was always advocating that kind of grid thing, and (in my opinion) he was also right about it. Seriously, though, Silver Age comics are where it’s AT. My only complaint is that they are not in infinite supply.

“Why… er… sure, put it in… my quiver!”

I’m gonna have to steal that line. Y’know, for the ladies. Lady. Woman. Female. Female who takes my change. The tollbooth operator. She’s the most contact I have with any woman.

And may I add the ‘monocle and beard’ panel made me laugh out loud (aka LOL). This was fantastic, thanks! The analysis of Lois’ fragile psyche was great too.

“…overbearing control issues by some nutjob.”

That’s a Mort Weisinger comic, yeah.

I’m always amazed looking back at the old Lois Lane comics that she has become a figure for independent and strong women, when she was shown in such a way as to discredit those strengths or punish her for them. It’s almost always a point to ‘take that uppity B down’. ‘oh if only she weren’t so nosy and acted like a good little woman. Oh well that’s what you get for trying not to be a doormat’. She did break the mold for women of that time, but then the moral seemed to come out that that was a bad thing and look what will happen if you do.

A lot of media critics have pointed out, though, that people don’t always take the message the writers are sending. I Love Lucy had some of the same qualities (Lucy disobeys her lord and master, everything goes wrong) but surveys of fans from back when it was new found a lot of them saw it as “Wow, defying my husband and having fun! Awesome!!!”
Lois was, after all, a professional working woman who was often having amazing adventures and occasionally showing herself really smart. So maybe that rubbed off.

NO ONE gonna point out that the millionaire who has a secret identity is clearly BAT-shit insane? Do you think even the writers realized that they were deconstructing Bruce Wayne in this story?

The real howler is Clark’s attempt at self-consolation. You really shouldn’t be flattered that she wants to marry a guy who looks exactly like you, dude. Because that means the only thing she doesn’t like about you is your personality. And you can claim that Clark is the “fake” personality, but he’s the one who the Kents raised.

Dang, actually…Superman may be as much of a psychological basket case as Batman is. Who IS Superman? Is he a role that Clark plays? Is he like a fursona or a drag queen’s “face”? Or is he the dominant personality? How bizarre is it if your “real self” is a guy in a cape who wears underwear as outerwear?

How would you feel if the genders were reversed and Lois found her boyfriend rifling through her purse?

I’ve never met the woman yet who would find her boyfriend digging through her purse and respond with, “Oh, that’s perfectly okay for you to snoop since I acted suspiciously once and it made you curious!”

I’ve known many couples who broke up because one of them decided to snoop through the other’s cell phone log or decided to read the other’s private mail.

I’ve never met the college student male or female yet who would find a lover going through his or her backpack or reading going through his or her wallet only to respond in all seriousness, “Oh, wow, I’m glad you went through my stuff because people who make other people suspicious have no right to privacy! By the way, would you like the PIN number to my banking account so you can check up on my financial history? I can also give you the receipts to what I ate for lunch today if that’s okay.”

Then there was the one couple who decided not to marry after she demanded he set his cell phone so that she could track his movements at all hours of the day, he was stupid enough to agree, and then she found out he had left his cell phone at home one time instead of taking it with him on a grocery shopping trip and flew into a rage over his accidental moment of privacy in his life.

I remember as a kid being told to put marbles in my bathroom medicine cabinet before a party so that the marbles would make a ferocious clatter to let everyone at the party know if a guest decided to snoop into what medicines we keep in the cabinet. I still remember one party in college when a guest went all Lois Lane on us and went through our refrigerator so she could make snide comments about our diet choices and fiber count.

But every one of these victims of snoops would have been in the wrong to expect some modicum of respect for their privacy according to Brian Cronin, apparently, if he actually stands by the comments he made about this story.

It is good that the right parts rubbed off or stuck out, and that as times changed Lois became a figure to admire for the time, since even at that point just being a major reporter would be a big deal for a woman.
“Lois was, after all, a professional working woman”
Though interesting to note that the ace reporter is completely ignoring her interview while she moons over her latest crush. That was pretty typical of the comics at that time. Yes Lois was a hard working professional woman…… But seemed to want to toss that all aside just to be Supermans doting wife. I had an old Lois Lane comic that had a “possible future” where she had married Superman, they adopted Supergirl and since Supergirl could clean the house and wash the dishes super fast and with no effort Lois was crying because she wasn’t needed to fulfill her wifely duties of cleaning and washing dishes.

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