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CSBG Archive

Week of Cool Superman Comic Book Moments – The Woman Who Would Be Superman’s Wife

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All week long we will feature brand-new Cool Superman Comic Book Moments (all from the 75 Greatest Superman Stories of All-Time). Here is an archive of all the past cool comic moments that I’ve featured so far over the years.

We continue the list with the bittersweet introduction of Lori Lemaris…

1959’s Superman #129’s “The Girl in Superman’s Past” was written by Bill Finger with art by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye. It opens with Clark taking Lois to a football game at his alma mater, Metropolis University. While there, he reminiscences to his time in college where he met the first woman he was willing to marry…

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I love how intense Clark is about the romance. At this point in Superman’s history, we had been so trained to expect him to be so staid, so formal, it was great to see the 1959-1961 really bring out a new side of Superman, a side that really emoted.

So he actually PROPOSES to her, but things don’t go as planned…

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He arrives at her place just in time to A. realize she is a mermaid and B. see the state dam burst, leading to massive flooding…

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Then that beautifully executed farewell kiss by Wayne Boring…

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Damn, that was a great, heartfelt story. I remember reading it as a kid and really being taken aback at how Superman behaved in this issue. It was so unusual to see him being so passionate.

19 Comments

Two things:

1. This story was awesome. It’s great to see Superman be human sometimes.

2. How does Lori jibe with Aquaman and Atlantis and such? I ask only because I don’t know.

Are you serious? They’re publishing fiction, not documented history. Different stories present different conditions on different worlds. If not, all stories would be monotonously alike. The Atlantis Aquaman’s mother came from had a different set-up than the Atlantis presented in the Superman story.

(That, by the way, was a paraphrased version of exactly how Weisinger responded to a fan who asked the very question you asked).

Eventually, they DID explain it away the following year by noting that Lori was a mermaid because her parents were both from Atlantis while Aquaman had a parent who was not a merman. This, of course, was before we actually saw Aquaman’s Atlantis. Once that happened, the previous explanation no longer worked. So eventually they explained that they were just different parts of Atlantis that had split off some time in the past (with one group being merpeople and the other being Aquaman’s people, who were not merpeople).

This is a really beautiful story. There’s a hint of Bluebeard, sorta, in how Superman spies on her to see why she has to be home early.

And damn, that is a beautiful kiss.

From what I remember, I think Lori’s people were a separate colony of Atlantis, or something. So they’re related to Aquaman, sorta, but fairly distantly. I think.

Ya know, I sorta prefer Weisinger’s response. More children should be chastised for obsession with details.

Holy Mackerel!

(tee hee!)

The Crazed Spruce

June 12, 2013 at 4:01 am

I think the first version of this story that I read was from the “Superman: The Secret Years” mini they published just before “Crisis”. I read the original in the “Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told” trade a few years later. I like this one better. For a Silver Age story, it had a lot of depth, and really holds up well.

Y’know, I still say that they missed a bet when they didn’t make an episode of “Smallville” based on this story. (Mon-El, too, for that matter, but that’s not exactly pertinent at the moment….)

“Ya know, I sorta prefer Weisinger’s response. More children should be chastised for obsession with details.”

Adults too. Imagine how different the comic message boards would be if that were so. Anyway, early in the Silver Age, DC kept a very loose informal continuity. They could show very different versions of Mars or Atlantis in a Superman book, but it wouldn’t stop Superman from being able to team-up with either Martian Manhunter or Aquaman in later issues if need be.

Heh. When I saw the headline, my thoughts immediately went to that woman in Joe Kelly’s Action run–Obsession?–who started posing as “Ms. Superman.” Then they went to a woman who “came out” as the secret “Mrs. Superman” after Superman was killed by Doomsday. I never thought of Lori.

How many potential-sorta-almost Mrs. Supermans have there been in DC History?

This is why premarital sex is so important! Or at least heavy petting …

I’ve always loved this story, too.

“Git Along little Doggie”

I think it was in a Julie Schwartz letter column way back when they explained that Plato’s Dialogues discussing Atlantis said there were ten great cities on the continent, and Lori and Aquaman were from different ones.

But I don’t know if Plato actually said that. Just quickly looked and did find that he wrote Poseidon had five children each of whom were given a kingdom on Atlantis.

I liked the fact that Superman once would use his powers to try and hit on a girl. It would be hard to imagine him trying that now.
“Oh, there is a cute young lady in a wheelchair. I’ll screw up her chair with my heat vision and cause a potential accident…just to impress her.”

From Plato:

“He also begat and brought up five pairs of male children, dividing the island of Atlantis into ten portions: he gave to the first-born of the eldest pair his mother’s dwelling and the surrounding allotment, which was the largest and best, and made him king over the rest; the others he made princes, and gave them rule over many men and a large territory.”

John Byrne hommaged this story almost remaking it panel by panel (the title was “Lost Love”) and changing the ending with Lori dying off-panel. I hadn’t read the original when I read Byrne’s and when I did I was amazed at how time enduring it was.

Nicole: in the context of the story, he’s not screwing up her wheelchair; he’s stopping it from careening down a hill by bringing it to a stop.

I always found this story notable in that it also shows that Superman falling for a person perceived as disabled and generally treating her as an equal (the sexism of the era notwithstanding). The popular perception at the time in many parts of the country was such that a woman in a wheelchair might well be considered unmarriageable.

It wasn’t so many years prior that films like The Best Years of Our Lives took on the rather unpleasant social perception that people with missing, paralyzed, or injured limbs were useless or grotesque. That film was able to tap into the reverence for World War II veterans to make its case, but in many places the story wasn’t so pleasant. Prior to 1973, for example, it was perfectly legal under federal law to refuse to hire someone due to a physical disability, even if the disability had no relation to the job requirements.

There’s a reason that, even six years later, Gardner Fox felt the need to essentially rewrite an old JSA story from All-Star Comics #27 about acceptance for disabled veterans as a JLA story (in issue #36 of that title) about acceptance for disabled civilians. The issue hadn’t gone away in the interim of a decade and some change. (The JSA story is the one mentioned in the old World Book encyclopedia entry about comics.)

At the extreme end of the spectrum, the Ugly laws persisted in many locales until the 1970s, under which people with visible disabilities or disfigurements could be fined at will. (Take a look at that Chicago law and realize that it lasted until 1974!!)

Commander Benson

June 13, 2013 at 8:03 am

” How does Lori jibe with Aquaman and Atlantis and such? I ask only because I don’t know.”

I don’t know the date of Wesinger’s letter-column explanation that Mr. Cronin cited. But I do know the first time it was explained in the pages of a comic.

It occurred in “Superboy and the Mermaid from Atlantis”, from Adventure Comics # 280 (Jan., 1961).

Since this format doesn’t permit me to post art, here’s a link to a page in which I answered this question previously. The pertinent panels are about a third of the way down the page, in a comment I posted there.

http://captaincomics.ning.com/forum/topics/aquaman-questions-aka-i-was-wondering-10?commentId=3370054%3AComment%3A272569

Hope this helps.

Commander Benson

It was later established that Lemaris came from a different Atlantean city than that of Aquaman. Not a tough sell since the Ocean is RATHER large so why only one underwater city.

One of the reasons the Classic superheros–both DC and Marvel–became such icons that have survived so long is the attention to detail and continuity that turned what might have been mere ephemerata into a fascinating and complex world.

Remember we were dealing with a literate generation who grew up reading Dumas, Conam Doyle, Fleming etc etc etc who all took great pains to give their characters the illusion of reality and thus import.

What has been killing modern comics and will kill them finally is the reduction of the characters and stories to utter disposable ephemera. A story that happened last year is wiped out this week because the new writer or editor wants to do something else and can’t be bothered or is too lazy to work with what has happened before. There really is no point in reading modern comics because what happens today will be wiped out next week. Characters behave any old way with no consistency. The writers and editors just spit any old thing out looking for sales spikes and make the material more acceptable to Hollywood and more important Hollywood stars who don’t want to wear the costumes or the masks.

So asking about the two Atlantis’ in the DC universe is perfectly valid and shows an intelligent inquiring minds at work. Something the comic industry is almost completely lacking today.

I have recently been picking up the old Cary Bates run on the Flash. Absolutely brilliant, intelligent creation of a fictional universe and the way comics should be done.

It was later established that Lemaris came from a different Atlantean city than that of Aquaman. Not a tough sell since the Ocean is RATHER large so why only one underwater city.

One of the first comics I ever bought when I was a little kid was the early issue of DC Comics Presents that went into detail about Aquaman and Lori’s different underwater cities.

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