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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Romance Special: The Matrimonial Mishaps of Lois Lane, Part Three

Valentine's Day continues to approach unabated, and believe it or not, I'm still not done chronicling Lois Lane's various catastrophic weddings. Seriously, that lady's never a bridesmaid, and always--always--a bride.

So let's see: I've already covered the incredible effort she'll go through to rope Superman into marrying her, and we've all seen the slightly Satanic and potentially lethal relationships she gets into whenever she sets her sights on someone else. Tonight, though, things are going to get a little weird.

That, incidentally, is one of my all-time favorite Superman covers, just for the way he's laid back in the pews with his feet propped up, having a laugh at the expense of Lois Lane's life being thoroughly ruined. It's so vindictive and hateful, but really, who can argue with that handsome grin?

Anyway, back to the story itself. It'll probably become readily apparent about four paragraphs from now, but I'll go ahead and let you know: Pretty much everything that happens in Richard Hughes and Kurt Schaffenberger's "The Bride of Titanman" is going to turn out to be a crazy dream that Lois has. Normally I wouldn't spoil that right up front, since those kinds of stories tend to only operate on what I like to call the Richard Belding Factor (wherein you spend the majority of the story going "Hey hey hey what is going on here?!"), but I think this one's a lot more revealing once you realize that it's an uncompromising look at Lois Lane's subconscious mind.

Especially once the midgets show up.

The whole thing gets started on a typical day down at the Daily Planet, where Lois is interviewing Superman on his thoughts regarding modern women, while Jimmy Olsen--true to form--is making time with rail-thin '60s fashion icon, Twiggy. Unfortunately, since this is happening in Metropolis in 1969, the window washer turns out to be an agent of the Anti-Superman Crime Syndicate, and takes the opportunity to blast Superman with their new Annihilation Ray, which was designed to blast him into another dimension.

As it turns out, however, the Annihilation Ray is a pretty shoddy piece of equipment:

And that's where the dream sequence starts. Of course, why exactly an Annihilation Ray designed to blast the most powerful person on the planet into another dimension and sap his powers has no effect on a normal girl reporter other than to make her hallucinate for the next nine pages, the world may never know.

Regardless, Lois winds up standing outside the Daily Dimension building, and notices that something's up when she looks across the street and sees Perry White kicking it like Mario Batali:

I'm not sure what that says about Lois, but I'll be damned if that's not the happiest Perry White I have ever seen.

It's about this time that Lois figures out taht she's not in Metropolis anymore, theorizing that the blast of the ray knocked her into a parallel universe with "mixed-up variations," which, considering that the other story in this issue involves her being launched out of a catapult on an aircraft carrier painted to look like a giant chessboard, is a pretty reasonable assumption.

Before she has a chance to ruminate on how she's going to get back home, though, she's accosted by a crowd of walking manifestations of her own body issues:

Being that Lois actually has a set of curves--and Kurt Schaffenberger curves, at that--she ends up drawing a crowd of men who gawk at her on the street corner. That's when the cops show up, and that is when this suddenly becomes the greatest Lois Lane story ever:

And the Pièce de résistance...

"All the policemen on this planet are midgets, because the records show that we wee folk never turn to crime!"

Even discounting the fact that Lois knows full well that's not true, that may actually be the most fantastic sentence of the 20th century.

Anyway, Lois is eventually overcome by the Wee Police and dragged off to jail, where the cells are decorated with posters depicting what you did wrong with the words "REPENT YOUR CRIME" emblazoned across them, and where steak dinners accompanied by champagne are served for breakfast. So really, between a delicious filet mignon at ten in the morning and a huge picture of Lois shoving a midget cop so hard that he falls out of the panel, I really fail to see where the punishment is.

While she's in jail, she catches the eye of another inmate, who--as you should expect by now--turns out to be a strange visitor from another planet with powers far beyond those of mortal men: Titanman!

T-man, of course, is smitten with Lois and breaks her out of prison, returning her to his own home planet and proposing marriage. And since he's essentially Superman with blonde hair and a black leather costume with the shoulders cut out, Lois readily accepts, only to be confronted with Titanman's terrible secret!

The secret, which according to the cover was concealed by his mask? Polygamy!

Ah yes. The planet Utah.

Needless to say, Lois is not cool with that, so Titanman zaps her with a tranquilizer ray from his eyes and shoves her down the aisle anyway. Of course, Superman shows up, but in a surprise twist, the scene from the cover actually happens. Things are looking pretty grim, but, well, it's the last page of the story, so Lois wakes up back at the office just in time to see Superman chin-checking his would-be assassin, after which she totally makes out with a thoroughly confused Man of Steel:

So like I said, it all turns out to be a dream. Which is a shame, really: What with that giant red eight on her chest, she made a lovely bride.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Valentine's Day! and I forgot to get a girlfriend. Thank God for the ISB and Lois Lane. More please.

2/12/2007 5:36 AM

Blogger Jeff said...

You had me at Richard Belding.

2/12/2007 6:08 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

That's a weird pizza that Perry's tossing there. It almost looks like a Mobius strip (not to be confused with Morbius strip, which is something I don't want to see in a Marvel comic).

2/12/2007 8:02 AM

Blogger SallyP said...

I have ALWAYS loved the smirk on Superman's face as he laughs at Lois and her predicament.

And wee people never turn to crime? Not according to CSI!

But wouldn't it have been fun if Lois actually married Titanman or whatever his name is, and then spent the rest of the series plotting to kill off the rest of his wives?

That's romance.

2/12/2007 9:19 AM

Blogger Dwayne "the canoe guy" said...

Are you gonna cover Loi's marriage to Jack the Ripper? Ya gotta do that one.

And about the Mobius strip? One time I accidentally walked into a Mobius Stripclub. The girls never got their clothes completely off.

2/12/2007 9:20 AM

Blogger Brett said...

Previously at the Anti-Superman Crime Syndicate offices:

[Thug 3124] Hey boss! I got an email from a Nigerian Prince that says he's got an Annihilation Ray that will wipe out Superman if we just send him five million bucks.

[The Boss] Thats our ticket to the big time! Send him the cash, this is our big break. Get it and send Thug 6784 over to the Daily Planet to zap Superman!

2/12/2007 9:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Valentine's Day! and I forgot to get a girlfriend."

Well, there's still time.

Good Lord, Chris...I'd seen that cover for years, but never guessed what kind of surreal madness lurked inside....and that's from someone well acquainted with Silver Age Superman Family non-sensicality.

Well done.

2/12/2007 12:12 PM

Blogger Eric said...

The scene on the cover was actually funnier and much more cruel on the inside. Thanks for sharing.

2/12/2007 12:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who's gone from a career in journalism to one in the food service industry (with no plans to go back), I can totally dig Perry White's carefree, pizza-tossing grin. He must have the worst ulcers in all of creation. Jolly Jonah's authoritarian hypocrite, but Perry White always struck me as a guy who just wanted to do the news properly, fulfill his journalistic obligation. Instead...yeah, tossing pizzas for eight hours doesn't sound too bad at all, does it, Perry?

2/12/2007 3:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right! No time to waste. I'm getting me webshooters and heading out to pick me a floozie.

2/12/2007 4:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's not Titanman... it's actually the Terror from the Tick!

2/12/2007 5:30 PM

Blogger Richelle Mead said...

Graig! That's exactly what I thought too. Apparently Titanman, the Terror, and Cobra Commander all shop at the same hat store.

Chris, this might be blasphemous coming from me...but I think this was even better than the cloven hooves one.

2/12/2007 5:45 PM

Blogger Richard said...

Comics like this are why I never needed drugs.

(I said I never needed them, not that I never tried them.)

2/12/2007 10:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

chris, you say nothing of how fast and eager the other midget was to whip out his camera and take a photo of lois breaking the 4th wall over his partners head. its like he has been waiting for it for years.

2/13/2007 4:49 PM

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