The Bad News:  For those of you that do not know what refrigerated/refriged/refrig’d means, here’s some comic book history.   The term generally refers to female characters in superhero comic books who been injured, tortured, raped, killed, or depowered as a plot device.  Women in Refrigerators is a term coined by comic book writer Gail Simone in 1999.  It refers to an incident in Green Lantern #54 (1994), written by Ron Marz, in which Kyle Rayner, the title hero, comes home to his apartment to find that his girlfriend, Alex DeWitt, had been killed by the villain Major Force and stuffed in a refrigerator.

In the past seven months, Lois Lane has been killed off four times by DC Comics.  Within the story arc Flashpoint: Project Superman and DCU Online Legends and before the story arc in Superman Beyond.  These are all books that appeared just weeks before the New 52 launch.  The fourth title to kill off Lois is James Robinson’s soon to be released in May, Earth 2.  Fans will remember his World of New Krypton arc a year previous to the DC reboot where Superman wasn’t Superman or Clark Kent but Kal-El, living amongst 100,000 other Kryptonians.  Kal-El never thought about his wife, Lois Lane Kent, on Earth.   Superman wasn’t even in his own books, Action and Superman, during this time.   Sales plummeted.  The dual identity and the marriage were basically absent from the narrative, same with Grounded the following year.

In October, 2010, DC Comics had a writers’ retreat.  The main premise to get their juices flowing was how to put Superman in a love triangle.  Yea, married Superman.   In order not to destroy the character, they couldn’t allow divorce or even infidelity.  That just wouldn’t be in character for the true blue boy scout (which Didio/Lee/Harras consider boring).  So what were their options?  In the new 52, Superman’s timeline has been reset and he and Lois are no longer married.  In fact, they aren’t even dating.  Didio and Lee wanted to “ free Superman from his human tether” so they killed off Jonathan and Martha Kent and recreated a world without marriage for the reboot.  (Just ask the New 52 Barry Allen, the Flash)

But what other ideas flew around that room for Superman stories without marriage.  If Lois was dead, then there would be no marriage and thus Superman could have another love interest.  By the looks of things, this idea caught on and by the summer of 2011, three books developed Lois’ demise.  Now DC is introducing a fourth book killing off Lois, Earth 2, a world where Clark and Lois had been married previously albeit not in continuity.  Also Bruce Wayne (Batman) married Selina Kyle (Catwoman) in the previous Earth 2 and they had a daughter, Helena Wayne (Huntress).  Helena Wayne as Huntress does exist in the New 52 and she is from Earth 2 but ‘visiting’ New 52 Earth at the moment.  Soon she will be in Worlds’ Finest with Power Girl (on New 52 Earth) who used to be Earth 2’s Supergirl.   I swear I’m not making this shit up.

The demise of Lois Lane multiple times from the narrative is part of an even larger problem with DC’s new 52.  Wonder Woman will be the sole Amazon on Earth 2.  That’s right.  DC Comics has now killed off an entire tribe of women so Wonder Woman will have an edge, be darker, and be willing to kill out of vengeance.   Why do I say that?  Look at what DC has released for Superman and Batman concerning Earth 2.

“What would you have to do to teach Superman to kill?” asks EARTH 2 editor Pat McCallum. “He’s endured the loss of his home world, and now the Last Son of Krypton must weather the death of his soul mate Lois Lane. Just how far can you bend the Man of Steel before he breaks?”

“Who will Batman kill to save his own daughter?”– Earth 2 editor Pat McCallum. 

Batman hasn’t changed much in the New 52.  He still has all his Robins except his female one.  And apparently, his previous Earth 2 history hasn’t changed much either.  He has a daughter; we know that to be Helena Wayne.

This New 52 Earth 2 is very reminiscent of the Dark Age (late 80s-90s) that preceded it.  BUT this new 52 era seems to be horribly misogynist.  Killing off Lois Lane, all of the Amazons (save one) and possibly Catwoman to make the Trinity kill is beyond dark.  It’s an abomination.  Especially since the previous Earth 2 gave us so much character development using the Golden Age character origins.

DC Comics’ present administration not only has a public relations, but a mindset problem with female characters, females in general and its female readership.  In a recent survey, more than 20% of the New 52 readership were identified as female.  DC never stated that fact.  The boys club at DC can’t get their heads out of  . . . the sand.  They want a male 14 to 34 target audience even if they have to spin doctor the numbers to meet that goal.  The New 52 was initiated for new readers.  Only 2% on the survey were identified as new readers.  That means 98% were returning or loyal readers.  At least 20% of those are female.  What happens if DC persists in this anti-female influence attitude?  What if one-fifth or more of their readers say, “Enough is enough?”  Who do they replace them with?  Not new readers, that’s for sure.

Killing off Lois Lane to make Superman dark, edgy, willing to kill is not the way to go with a character who is known as an inspiration of hope to us all which encourages us to aspire.  Do I think Robinson can pull it off?  Have you read WONK?  Year long, emotionless slug fest killing off 100,000 Kryptonians? ( I haven’t read his Starman which people say is good, but that’s not Superman and it was written in 1994.)

And now for the Good News:  Shortly after the Smallville series finale, Bryan Q. Miller, Executive Story Editor & writer, also author for Stephanie Brown as Batgirl in the comics, approached TPTB at DC Comics on doing a Smallville Season 11 comic.  Since they were trying to get the New 52 launched later that summer, it was shelved.  Later Geoff Johns was approached with the idea and he gave the green light.  Geoff is the Chief Creative Officer at DC Entertainment and had written four episodes of Smallville from seasons 7 to 10.  (Read his new 52 Aquaman.  He has Orin married to Mera and it reads like Clark and Lois.)   Smallville Season 11 will be a digital first comic, being released April 13th; a Friday, the same day Smallville last aired.  For more information on how to purchase, download, or get the print compilation version, click on our sister site, OSCK.

Let’s show our Lois Lane (and the rest of the DC sisterhood) some love by supporting Smallville Season 11.  If only 10% of Smallville’s viewership purchase the comic, it will out sell the top 3 new 52 comics.  So let’s get busy.  Support Lois Lane, Clark Kent, and Superman.  Let’s prove Bryan Q. Miller and Geoff Johns right.  Let’s break the boys club mentality at DC Comics.   Let’s show them the true future of comic books and its superhero characters.


One Response

  1. What really gets me is that the graphic novels and comics that sell well and have captured the public imagination like The Walking Dead all have family at the heart of them. Rick Grimes is nothing without his wife and son. Superman is a hero we can relate to because Clark Kent needs Lois Lane in the same way. The nod heads at DC are being beat out right and left by up and coming storytellers with the independent presses who understand that it is those ties that make a hero stronger- not weaker and make them ones the readers can relate to and cheer. This whole – things are better when there is tension thing is shipper based baloney that shows a level of immaturity on the part of management. Kids today have their own lives filled with fear, pressure, worry – showing happy adults who can find strength together is part of why Superman and Lois Lane as a couple has resounded with people young and old for so long. We are all looking for our own piece of paradise on earth and someone to share it with- even if it is just a few stolen moments between job assignments.

    Superman is just an alien without his human ties- and that is not nearly as interesting as showing how SUPER he is by having it all- alter ego, successful career as a human and loving husband.

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