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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

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

Ah, romance! By the time you read this, Valetine's Day will be only one short week away, and while the whole world gets in the mood for a celebration of how much they care--or for bitter, solitary drinking for those of us who work in comics retail--it's tradition around here to highlight the most romantic moments in comic book history.

And what better way to kick things off for Valentine's Day '07 with the most inspiring relationship that comics have to offer: The enduring love between Superman and Bat-Shit Crazy Silver-Age Lois Lane.

Part One: Can't Forget What I Did For Love

Read enough of her adventures, and you'll come to the conclusion that around 90% of all Lois Lane stories--which works out to virtually everything that didn't explicitly deal with exposing crooked Swamis or something--revolved around Lois's many, many attempts to get Superman to marry her. I've always wondered why she didn't set her sights a little lower by trying to trap him into hanging out over dinner or going to a movie, but that's Lois for you. And the lengths she'll go to are just phenomenal.

Case in point: Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #78:

Hot off the presses for October of 1967, we have a sixteen-page epic by Leo Dorfman and Kurt Schaffenberger called "Courtship--Kryptonian Style!" that wastes no time getting right to the root of Lois's problem.

Namely, that Superman is a player.

See, Lois and Lana have finally gotten tired of competing with each other for Superman's affections, and have decided to make a pretty radical change: They're going to shrink themselves down, move to the Bottle City of Kandor, and compete with each other for the affections of another Kryptonian: Vitar!

Incidentally, Vitar's sporting a turban, earrings, and vest because when he first showed up in Lois Lane #76, he pretended to be a genie trapped in a bottle in order to decide which girl he wanted to make a play for, thus keeping the Kryptonian tradition of building relationships on a foundation of complex lies and deception alive and well in the Bottle City.

Anyway, with Superman's help, Vitar and the girls shrink down and take the next available tiny rocketship to the City of Miniature Love, where they're impressed by video footage of Vitar's amazingly heterosexual performance as a fire-hoop trampoline gymnast in the Kryptonian Olympics, as well as the medals he's been awarded for outstanding service to the Superman Emergency Squad. So just to make sure we're on the same page here, I'll point it out again: Lois and Lana have decided to get over Superman by focusing their romantic attentions on another Kryptonian whose job it is to sit around in a Superman costume waiting for Superman to screw up to the point where he needs a bunch of tiny versions of himself to save him.

The example they use to illustrate this, by the way, is a scene where Superman is caught in a Kryptonite bear trap. There are not enough capital letters in the world to describe how awesome that is.

Once they've settled in to life in the Bottle City, Laverne and Shirley--sorry, Lois and Lana are instructed by a talking car to get jobs, and so head down to The Psychodrome, where they'll be analyzed and assigned to careers that best fit them. Lois's investigative reporting skills land her a position as a detective, while Lana's potential leads her to follow in her father's footsteps as an archaeologist, but not before nearly having their brains melted by psychic feedback in a hasty murder attempt by Vitar's jilted ex-girlfriend, Serena Vol. This is the kind of thing that might seem like it'll be important later, but trust me: Don't worry about it.

Either way, the girls take to their new careers pretty enthusiastically, which apparently means that Lana failed to catch the intrinsic uselessness of an archaeologist in a city located entirely within a foot-wide glass bottle. Could be she's just enthused by the offer Vitar makes after realizing that no matter how many space-dances he takes them to, they're still going to be in love with Superman:

That's right: Using the highly dubious science of Outer Spaaaaace, Vitar has invented a serum that can make you completely invulnerable, and after testing it on one (1) animal, has decided that the next logical step is to make two women that he loves compete for the one existing dose of said serum. Needless to say, the girls are all for it.

Fortunately, there's a situation that plays to both of their newfound strengths: the theft of a relic from a Kandorian art museum. Lois immediately suits up in her new detective uniform and sets out to follow the fuel trail from the thief's "atom-powered jet belt," but runs into a bit of trouble when a mysterious female figure tries to bring down her plane with a laser gun. Lana, on the other hand, makes her own way to Lois's destination and the two end up diving into an underground stream, where yet another mysterious female figure cuts the air supply of Lana's scuba gear. It all works out eventually, though: They track down the thief--who is apparently one of the Beagle Boys--and Lois beats the living hell out of him with Space Karate:

Thus, Lois scores the victory. Unfortunately, it turns out that Vitar's invulnerability serum, as these things are wont to do, wear soff after an hour and has the side effect of causing you to sprout feathers, so the whole thing's marked down as a moot point anyway.

But wait! What about the mysterious female figures who tried to kill Lois and Lana as they went about solving the case? Could it be the work of Serena Vol, the only character in this entire story to express any kind of hostility towards or motive for attacking them?

Of course not. That would make sense.

No, it's actually Sylvia and Ti-Arra (yeah, Ti-Arra), Lois and Lana's respective identical doppelgangers from the Kandorian Look-Alike Squad, a dedicated group of highly coincidental citizens who double for Superman's entire supporting cast whenever they're in danger:

So, Lois and Lana head back to Metropolis, Vitar and Serena get back together, and Superman goes back to being the coolest guy on the block:

And that's the kind of trouble Lois will go to just for the chance to maybe con Superman into marrying her. When she actually gets to the altar, though... That's when things get crazy.

Next, on the ISB!
Something Old!
Something New!
Something Borrowed!
Cloven Hooves?!

The Strange Saga of the Many Weddings of Lois Lane Continues!

ISB... For The Ladies: Last Year's Romance Specials

| Wonder Girl's Creepy Husband (Part One of I Hate Terry Long) |
| How To Get A Girl In Ten Days |
| My (Allegedly) Funny Valentines |
| Valentines From The Crypt |
| Could Be Worse! |


Blogger timmdrums said...

Given your recent fascination with Anita Blake, any chance of love...Vampire style?

2/07/2007 2:07 AM

Blogger Richelle Mead said...

The Beagle Boys. No, Chris, you are a delight.

Anyone know where I can score some acid? I think that issue might read better if I dropped some first.

2/07/2007 2:24 AM

Blogger Bill S. said...

What is up with Vitar's spit-curl sideburns? And his strange facial hair, neither mustache nor beard?

2/07/2007 2:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think i'm going to take that last captions' advice this valentine's day and "keep punching girls." Cuase it's true you never do know.

2/07/2007 2:54 AM

Blogger Jeff Rients said...

Man-crazy silver age Lois Lane using space karate on Kandorian jackanapes is totally hot.

2/07/2007 10:09 AM

Blogger FoldedSoup said...

I once dated a crazy girl who reminded me of Silver-Age Lois. When I mentioned it to her, we actually had this conversation:

Her: I'm not like her in the least! I mean, I've never worked undercover to foil a gangster's plot or anything!
Me: Yeah, but you did once rent a monkey to upset your sister's wedding...

*sigh* I kinda miss the crazy ol' broad...

2/07/2007 12:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is a really important comma...

2/07/2007 2:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohmigod, the Kandorian Look-Alike Squad? All the important people in Superman's life have little super-powered homonculi that monitor their every move??

If this was any other comic book--hell, if you were any other blogger--I'd think you were making this up.

2/07/2007 4:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cop to enjoying Silver Age Superman only on a kitschy level. That said, one of the things I do like about it is the fact that, when you have an invulnerable, infallible, omnipotent do-right square as your main character, in order to even get stories to work, you have to stockpile weird Dei ex Machinis like the Superman duplicate squad or red kryptonite, or double robots and after a while they just take on this bizarre literary life of their own. It's really no wonder the entire Silver Age consisted of various cruel Superpranks, there's just nothing else to do with the character.

2/07/2007 4:48 PM

Blogger Matthew E said...

I knew 'klurkor' sounded familiar! I just checked my copy of LSH v5 #2, and klurkor is one of the martial arts forms used by the Naltorian Precommandos when fighting Karate Kid, Shadow Lass and Dream Girl.

You'll sleep better now that you know that.

2/07/2007 7:15 PM

Blogger Brandon Bragg said...


Sorry. The vision of Lois and Lana as Laverne and Shirley ha sjust eaten up a good-sized portion of my imagination.

2/07/2007 7:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cloven Hooves? Holy/Unholy Crap! I remember that story! (It is Official;I have no Life...)

2/07/2007 10:50 PM

Blogger Cody Musser said...

The first three or four times I missed that comma as well. I'll be damned if I didn't momentarily reflect on whether or not I should be punching girls to see the potential outcome.

2/08/2007 12:06 AM

Blogger Jon Hex said...

I love how Kandor monitors Earth-based martial arts and improves on them. You'd think they would have their own.

2/08/2007 10:35 PM

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Anonymous Expressjodi said...

Fertility Rituals

Marriage is one of the biggest fertility rituals Known in Indian culture. When two people get married. they are said to enter grihasta ashram where they are expected to bear children. satify their sexual urge, earn money and follow religious practices. Hindu marriages profess the idea of coming together of the energies and paving way to a new creation.

Offering of Grains

Throughout India, one thing that remains common to all communities is offring of grains in wedding ceremony. Mostly rice, puffed rice or whole grains, these grains are fed to the sacred fire in different ceremonies.

Importance of Shiva's Bael leaves

Holy Bael leaves are proffered in several ceremonies before the wedding and after it. In many communities in india, before the wedding day arrives, Bael leaves are placed in earthen pots which are topped with different kinds of cereals. After the wedding, the sprouted seedlings are then released in a flowing river or a pool. This ritual is performed to invoke blessings of Lord Shiva upon the married couple and pray for their progeny.

Vishnu's pious Lotus

As per mythology, at the time of creation of the universe, while lord Vishnu was pondering over the creation of mankind, a pious lotus rose out of his navel. On that lotus was seated Lord Brahma who paved way to the creation and illumination of the universe. Thus, lotus remains symbolic of procreation, birth and fertility. It is Therefore, offered during wedding puja to the gods to confer potency upon the couple. Also, At the time of a Hindu wedding, the bride and the groom are given the stature of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu because they represent the eternal companionship and exemplify how a relationship between husband and wife should be.

Nose ring

Usually seen as a piece of accessory, almost all brides sport nose ring on their wedding day. In some communities, girls are told to get their nose pierced before they tie the knot.

Sacred coconut rituals

Across India, since time immemorial coconut has enjoyed its association with human fertility in a sacrosanct manner. In Gujarat, there is a ritual of bride presenting a coconut in a customary way to the groom at the time of the marriage. Here coconut is symbolic of the progency of the couple that the bridegifts the groom. Of all the fruits, coconut is most closely related to human skull because of the three marking on its base that resemble human facial features.

The mantras of virility

During saat pheras in a Hindu marriage, there are several mantras that are chanted for progency of the couple. While the first phera is for a long lasting companionship, in the second Phera, "Kutumburn rakshayishyammi sa aravindharam", the bride promises the groom that she will fill his with love and will bear children of him.

The History

There was a time when potency was considered as the be all and all of all activities. The earliest ritual of fertility among Hindus can be dated back to the Harappan civilization where it has been discovered that people worshipped clay figurines of a mother goddess who represented fertility. Several phallic symbols representing gods in sitting position wearing bull's horns (Bull being a universal symbol of male potency) have also been found at the sites of indus Valley Civilization. As the world evolved and ancient civilizations paved way to the modern societies, marriage started being considered as a mandatory ceremony before women could conceive. Also, the idea of marriage was propelled by the thought of having the family legacy move ahead; so that families could get heirs.

11/05/2013 1:21 AM

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