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Lois Lane Gets A One-Shot, But Why Stop There?

Put Superman: Lois Lane #1 on your pull list NOW

Put Superman: Lois Lane #1 on your pull list NOW

Lois Lane fans can rejoice (albeit temporarily), she’s getting her own book!  On February 26, 2014, Lois Lane will have a double sized issue of a one-shot story.  Written by Scott Snyder protege, Marguerite Bennett, with art by Emanuela Lupacchino.  In an exclusive interview with Comic Vine, Ms. Bennett states that the release date for Superman: Lois Lane #1 was moved up to be earlier than originally anticipated.  (More thoughts about that later)  She also refers to our beloved intrepid reporter as the First Lady (Queen, Khaleesi) of DC Comics.  Sounds like Lois couldn’t be in better hands, heart or mind.  Go read the article now!  Have a little squee time.

Superman and Clark Kent may not make an appearance in the story which is fine.   Me personally, I’m offended his name is even on the title.   Despite what those people who can’t get their heads out of the Silver Age (or  their asses) think, Lois Lane as a character can stand on her own.  She is a pillar of the Superman mythology, and has been from day one, Action #1, 1938.   Good creators know this even if decision-making executives don’t.

Lois will be dealing with family problems as well as an alien menace who still has a hold on her.  All that while relentlessly searching for the truth, no matter how ugly or vile or damaging.  Lois Lane eats the truth raw for breakfast and that’s why we love her!  And it should be why Superman loves her too, but  . . .

There’s always one of those, isn’t there?  New 52 Superman (not including Superman Unchained) is not truly Clark Kent.  He’s battling alien.  Clark Kent is not even a blogger let alone a journalist.  Scott Lobdell (writer of continuity Superman) had Clark Kent leave the Daily Planet because he thought they were doing infotainment instead of hardhitting news (and because Lois was reluctantly moving in with her boyfriend).   Cat Grant partnered up with Clark to start a blog.  Clark’s only contribution to it has been to fry competitor’s digital tablets so Ms. Grant could get an exclusive infotainment fluff piece to keep the blog solvent.  Journo Clark will never substantially exist while Superman is dating Wonder Woman.  Thus no Lois.

The Powers That Be or Diane Nelson (along with Jim Lee and Bob Harras) are bound and determined to keep shoving this fauxmance down our throats until we like it.  Smallville fans will recall the dreaded train wreck of a season 7 – “We’re giving them another shot.”  Speaking of Lana . . .

Greg Pak has taken over Action Comics.  He ‘loves’ Lois, but won’t be writing her.  He’s writing Lana Lang as Lois Lane.  Let me clarify that.  Lana Lang is as strong as Lois Lane, as determined to have her own career and thinks exactly like Clark.  Pak hearts his Lana.  He obviously has forgotten the first rule — Lois Lane cannot be replaced.

What Lois Lane fans may experience in the coming months in Action and Superman is Lois Lane not in the picture with Lana Lang being a Lois imitator and Wonder Woman in the Superman book.  The fauxmance has never been in Action so Lobdell will probably do Harras’ bidding in Superman.   Most Lois Lane fans aren’t purchasing Action or Superman and that will probably not change.  These ‘superbooks’ have had ever decreasing orders each month and if executive-interferring creative decisions continue to rule over what fans want, they will continue to fail.  Action and Superman are dangerously close to the 40,000 mark of iconic books going bad sales-wise.  With the decision to double down on the fauxmance and bring Lana in as a substitute Lois, book orders are just going to continue their plummet.

But fear not, there is some light . . . surprisingly from a unexpected source.   Tom Taylor, writer of Injustice: Gods Amongst Us, is now writing Earth 2 – and to his credit and perhaps his redemption in Lois Lane fans’ eyes, he is bringing Lois back from the dead.  No, not as a zombie — that’s Johns’ thing.  In Earth 2, Clark and Lois were married (as were Bruce and Selina, who had a child), Darkseid came and killed Lois (we’re not sure what happened to Selina).  Superman ‘died’ thinking his Lois was dead.  (a moment of bereavement for one and all)   BUT . . . (yep, there’s another one) . . . as we know death is a plot device in comics.

Superman has been Darkseided and has returned to Earth (2).  Some fans may recall 1989’s Action Annual which had a similar premise.  Earth 2’s story will be better.  We recommend it.  Here’s a quote from Taylor’s interview with USAToday on November 5th:

A new female Red Tornado is in town, too, and is going to be integral to the whole world and the coming war, Taylor says. “People will probably understand exactly how important Red Tornado is by the end of page 5. As far as I was concerned, Superman couldn’t come back without this.”

And here she is.  A gynoid (female android) who can transform to human, not your Ma Hunkle, but we’ll take it.

RedTornadoLois

So Lois fans do have some books to consider even if they are not the ‘superbooks.’   Superman Unchained (which will probably end in March, 2014 unless Lee pushes it back farther), Earth 2 (Lois possibly as the resurrected hope), Smallville Season 11, and sometimes the Adventures of Superman (digital first).   And then there’s the one-shot in February, 2014.  Yes, yes, I know you want MORE!

Fight the powers!  Fight the powers that be!  (Everybody dance)  DC Entertainment seems to be determined to yet again leave money on the table.  Why?  Who the hell knows?!  So what can we do about it?

We know from Dan Didio, because of the success of the #LoisLane75yrs tweet-a-thon, DCE ‘caved’ and gave us the Lois Lane: A Celebration of 75 Years book, due out November 26th.  Have you pre-ordered yours yet?  Some of the story selections for the book are a bit ‘strange’ but amazingly, the stories in the Superman 75 years book are often Lois related.   So think about getting both, but definitely the Lois one.

Also Didio told us that after ‘a couple of bad stories’ they would start building up Lois Lane and that he thought ‘they’ had pushed Lois down too far.  So maybe the one shot and it’s earlier release date is because he, at least, has heard the fans.  But why stop there?

If DCE caved once, they’ll do it again.  Let’s make our DEMANDS loud and clear.  They can keep their damn superbooks with the non-Lois (and thus, non-Superman mythos) stories.  Let them fail.  But . . .

WE WANT A LOIS LANE ONGOING SERIES!!!

Make DCE cave by making Lois Lane #1 a smash hit!  Show them they continue to leave money on the table.  DCE is a business and how do businesses profit and stay afloat?  By giving the consumers (that’s us) what they want.

GIMME GIMME

LOIS STORY IN SUPERMAN ANNUAL #2

CloissplashpageSAnn2

Despite the fact, Brainiac is on the cover, Superman Annual #2 is a Lois Lane, investigative reporter story. Spanning five years including when Metropolis was invaded by The Collector (Grant Morrison’s Action Comics), we see some of the residual effects of that event in the present time.

Preview pages of this Scott Lobdell story with art by Dan Jurgens (Death of Superman, creator of Doomsday and Booster Gold) showed a Lois Lane dying from a fall.   Fans were upset as this would be the sixth time a dying or dead Lois has been used in the past two years.   Soap opera much?   Lois has been used as death fodder to help the fauxmance along.

One unusual thing about this annual is that it is not a stand alone.  It is part of a story arc concerning a Psi War.  Lobdell is currently writing both Superman and Action Comics (after Andy Diggle left).   Lobdell probably needed the panel space before Greg Pak takes over Action in #25.

Despite Lobdell’s previous use of narration boxes from some omniscient non-vested entity, we see and ‘hear’ this story from Lois’ perspective.  It appears to be a solid story and hopefully Lobdell can continue this quality throughout this arc.  We just wish Lobdell would quit TELLING us stuff that happened with Clark/Superman and Lois in the five year gap — we’d like to SEE it!

This is the best and truly first time we see Superman come to Lois’ rescue in the new 52.  In fact, it may be the most interaction they have had since the reboot.  Jurgens continues to make us feel what happens between these two ICONIC characters.  (Caps for Didio’s benefit.)

Scott Lobdell has made Lois Lane the mother of her and Clark’s son, Jonathon Kent (from the future) and Connor Kent (Superboy).  In fact, she is Kon’s double mother, in that Connor not only has Jon’s DNA but also another set of DNA from Lois and Clark.  Clark’s was taken when he was tortured by the military in early issues of new 52 Action and Lois . . . we never were told when Harvest (the villain) took her DNA.   Since Superboy has psionic powers, is it possible that Lois’ blood was obtained sometime after the events in this issue?

The Superman books under Lobdell have been a chaotic mess, not only writing wise but also editorially.  DCE definitely has its problems with hodge-podging stories while ‘getting them out on time.’  And with their fierce ‘scrutiny’ of Superman’s story and lack of planning, this makes reading these books . . . painful.

Currently, there are only three Superman related books that give us enjoyment every time.  Superman Unchained by Scott Snyder, Smallville Season 11 by Bryan Q Miller and Adventures of Superman by various creators.  Check them out!

Greg Pak is currently writing Batman/Superman and has included Earth 2 Lois Lane (married to Superman) in the story.  Unfortunately, with the fauxmance bias, readers got panels of Wonder Woman stabbing a Lois.  Pak says he enjoys writing Lois.  Let’s hope he is able to enjoy writing her when he takes over Action in the late fall.

One book we hope that Lois Lane does not appear in is the Superman/Woman Wonder book.  Or better known by fans as, “the book that shall not be named.”  With DCE’s consistent killing of Lois Lane, we can foresee them totally throwing Lois under the bus in this book just to make Diana be the ‘prize winner’ of Superman.  It’s what little boys do when they get together and talk trash about girls.

Will we see more Lois in the future?  Perhaps, but more likely, perhaps not.  In September, there is Villains Month.  The evil ones win the Trinity War (oops, did I say that outloud?) but that’s not all folks.  From October to March we get to see Forever Evil.  (Forever in comic book stories is only 6 months long).  That’s right, if you read superhero comics to see good triumph over evil, save yourself some money and buy Christmas and Valentine presents.  Evil is going to rule the DCU from now on (or at least until tax time).

Is it a coincidence the book that shall not be named kicks off the Forever Evil arc?

Superman needs to get his act together and pursue Lois Lane or the entire world will end . . . period.

WHY A BLACK LOIS MATTERS

by Natasha Townsel

 I am a huge Superman fan. No, let’s get something clear: I am a HUGE Superman fan. I collect comics, memorabilia, DVDs of now-defunct Superman TV series, and any and all Superman movies, both live action and animated. I love Clark Kent because of who he is, not because of what he can do. The fact that Clark possesses all those powers, yet remains an incredibly humble man from the Midwest who just wants to do the best he can to help moves me deeply. I love that his entire purpose is for us as humans to use the abilities that we were born with to benefit humanity. The ultimate theme of this character is hope, not revenge, fear, or hubris. Clark believes the best in humans because he was raised by two of humanity’s best representatives.He believes in second chances (and third and fourth) and that there is good in everyone. He believes that all life is precious and will do everything he can to preserve it. Superman is the ideal representation of humanity and inspires us to be our best possible selves.

It’s not invulnerability or flight or heat vision or super speed that makes him the World’s Greatest Hero. It’s that Superman refuses to despair. He is a testament to the opposite, in fact. Superman is hope.” (Adventures of Superman #640)

When a man like this falls in love with a loud, abrasive, ambitious, and yet fearless, intelligent, feisty, and caring human woman like Lois Lane, it sends a powerful message to not only the women reading this book, but also the men. It combats the message that women have to stand down, shut up, and hide their ambition to be worthy of passionate love with a strong man. Lois is all of those adjectives and even more, and she is the way she is not only because she was raised as an Army brat and had to be tough as nails growing up in that world, but also because she is a woman in a field dominated by men and she had to prove that she was, not just as good as her colleagues, but better. Lois will throw herself into a potentially dangerous story (and did so long before Superman showed up in Metropolis), and the kicker is that she wasn’t just doing it for the story. She does it because she believes, wholeheartedly, in the right for the public to know the truth, she believes in justice, she believes in leaving no wo/man behind, and she is willing to die to make sure of that.

Recently, Grant Morrison reintroduced the public to Earth 23 in Action Comics v2 #9. I was excited about this book. This is an Earth inhabited by Black superheroes. Superman is a Black man who is also the President of the United States and his name is Calvin Ellis. There is a Black Wonder Woman (named Nubia) and a Black Batman; however, a Black Lois equivalent is nowhere to be found. In fact, when Lois does show up, she’s a white Lois from another Earth entirely.

Why is there no Black Lois equivalent on Earth 23? And what would have been so hard about making the alt-Earth Lois that does show up a woman of color? The truth is I don’t think Grant Morrison did this on purpose. I think he unconsciously assumed that every other Earth had a white!Lois and that he did not intentionally mean to erase the possibility of the human perspective in the Superman mythos as coming from a Black woman. But his unconscious default button is a problem in and of itself because it’s the definition of white privilege. This was an opportunity to show a powerful bond between a Black man and a Black woman in an iconic setting—and he missed it.

The reason I’m making a big deal of this is not JUST because I am a woman of color (particularly a Black woman and one who has not made it a secret just how much the Superman narrative means to me), but because of everything that I said above about Lois Lane and what she represents in the Superman mythos. Because Lois is the human perspective in his story, and more importantly is what she represents to Superman. (And no matter how hard they try, this is something the new 52 cannot kill. The love story of Lois Lane and Superman is immortal and inevitable.)

Within the Superman narrative, Lois Lane represents the best of humanity and everything Superman loves about humans. Where Lex Luthor is the worst of what humanity has to offer with his arrogance, his avarice, his corruptness, and insistence on believing the worst in people…Lois is the spirit of humanity. She is incredibly flawed, just as we all are flawed, with her brashness and lack of verbal filter. But she’s also incredibly loyal and has a vulnerability that she hides behind a ten-foot wall that only a Superman could break down. She is a fighter to the point of getting in over her head, but she does it to fight for truth and justice the same as Superman does…only she does it without powers. She is his equal because she shares his ideology and is willing to die for it. Dean Trippe, the creator of Lois Lane: Girl Reporter (the best comic book that was shamefully never published) said it best: “the love story of Superman and Lois Lane is that of an incorruptible power meeting a fearless mortal.” Lois will risk her own life and not just for the story, but for everything that makes the Fourth Estate worth anything: freedom of speech, the press, and the right to information. Nothing is more important to her than the truth and the public’s right to it. She is the strength and integrity of humanity, and she is everything Superman believes human beings can be. And this is stated IN CANON over and over again and throughout media. Just as Superman is the symbol of Hope for the world, Lois Lane is Superman’s Hope. She is his anchor to this world and to humanity.

Now imagine if all of that was represented in a Black woman. It would mean that for (possibly) the first time, a Black woman was the center of a mainstream narrative as more than just the bitch/mammy/best friend/sexpot/token Negro. It means a Black woman would be the center of a mainstream comic book narrative where she is characterized as having integrity, strength, and sexiness without it being at the expense of her femininity or desirability. It would mean a Black woman would be the symbol of Hope for one of the most powerful characters ever created. She would for once be an example of everything good about humanity, a character who is worth fighting for, and who is worthy of the erotic love of a godlike figure that has married/will marry her again and again. She would be a Black woman who can save herself, but is nevertheless worth saving.

And then that mainstream narrative will be read by a mainstream audience that would see this Black woman represented in this way, and who knows, it might actually be a stepping stone to the creation of more Black female characters that also dominate a narrative, have agency and three dimensional characterizations. It hurt me deeply that Grant Morrison and DC Comics missed this opportunity to showcase a Black Lois Lane on an Earth inhabited by Black superheroes and where Superman was a Black man. It seemed clear that the issue understood the power of making Superman a Black man on Earth 23. But they lost the feminist perspective from the point of view of a Black woman and blew a huge opportunity. It’s possible they weren’t aware of what it would have meant to see a Black Lois Lane share that special iconic connection with a Black Superman. I’m not even sure they understand what Lois means to Superman’s narrative or to people PERIOD. So I’m telling them now; I’m raising my voice. And if you don’t think Lois’ skin color is a big deal in this book, then you might need to examine your privilege.

Natasha is also an artist/creator and some of her work can be found at http://natashatownselart.tumblr.com Specifically, Natasha is the author of an all ages Superman book, personally designed as a gift for the children in her family, to demonstrate that Clark Kent/Superman’s story of love and compassion is an inspiration to people everywhere. She recently presented her children’s book to comic book legend George Perez at the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, Illinois.