Posts Tagged ‘Lois Lane’

Happy International Women’s Day AND A Day Without a Woman!

March 8, 2017

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Today is International Women’s Day, a day to recognize the achievements of women everywhere while also acknowledging the systemic oppression they continue to face across the world. As always, I’m celebrating International Women’s Day with the women that I’ve written books about: Wonder Woman, Lois Lane, and now Catwoman!

All three women could definitely get behind this year’s official theme on the International Women’s Day website, which is #BeBoldForChange. They explain:

Each one of us – with women, men and non-binary people joining forces – can be a leader within our own spheres of influence by taking bold pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity. Through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.

The United Nations celebrates International Women’s Day as well, and their theme for the year is “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.” The UN has a variety of goals for their 2030 Agenda, including:

  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes.
  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education.
  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

It’s a bold list, to be sure, and one very much worth pursuing.

This year, the folks behind the fantastic Women’s March last January are getting in on the International Women’s Day fun as well by holding “A Day Without A Woman” to recognize the value of women. It’s a three pronged event which you can support in these ways:

  • Women take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor
  • Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses).
  • Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman

Some people can’t take the day off, of course, which is why it’s great to see that they’ve got a solidarity option. Wearing red is a clear and simple way to express your support for women across the world, and our three comic book heroines are definitely on board.

Wonder Woman’s been wearing red since her very first appearance in 1941. It’s her go-to color choice for bustiers and boots, as we can see here at the end of her debut in All-Star Comics #8:

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Lois Lane’s commitment to wearing red goes back even further, to her own first appearance back in 1938. She was wearing red at the office when Clark Kent asked her on a date:

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And she was wearing red later that evening when a goon tried to dance with her. She wasn’t in any mood for it; she didn’t even want to be out with Clark, much less have some other dope get all up in her space:

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While Wonder Woman and Lois Lane have been showing solidarity for ages with their red outfits, Catwoman’s never been much for red. She’s worn a lot of black and purple, and even green and orange at times, but red has never been her primary color. She has used it for accessories, though. In Batman #210 in 1969, Catwoman debuted a new pair of red goggles:

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The outfit didn’t last for long, but the red has recently returned to the lenses of her goggles, as we can see on this cover from last year’s Catwoman #48:

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She’s subtle about it, but Catwoman’s on board for “A Day Without a Woman” too!

Happy International Women’s Day everyone, and cheers to all of the women participating in today’s general strike as well as all of those who can’t but who are nonetheless showing their solidarity!

Superwoman #2 Review: Where’s Lois Lane?

September 14, 2016

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Superwoman  was advertised as a Lois Lane comic book. The New 52 Lois got superpowers when the New 52 Superman died, and now she was ready to take to the skies to defend and protect Metropolis as Superwoman. I was intrigued. It wasn’t the Lois Lane comic I was hoping for; I’d rather see her tracking down scoops and taking down bad guys at the Daily Planet. But I was on board, especially with Phil Jimenez writing and drawing it and Emanuela Lupacchino subbing in on art occasionally. It was a stellar team with a new, different take on Lois, and I was excited for it. Turns out, that’s not was Superwoman was about at all. We’ll discuss, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am going to disclose a number of shocking reveals!

So the first issue was fine for a while. It had a lot of Lana Lang, but I didn’t mind too much. I knew that she’d be working with Lois, and I was excited to see them grow from rivals and often adversaries into partners and friends. Then we learned that Lana has superpowers too, and again I didn’t mind too much. All the better for rad team ups! I liked the idea of dual Superwomen fighting evil. Then Lois was killed at the end of the issue, or at least it looked that way. It’s a comic book, so I was wary. I’m used to fake out cliffhanger endings, so while I was concerned, I was hoping it would all be a trick and the gals would be back together in the next issue.

But no. Lois is dead.

Real dead too. She straight up disintegrated in the opening pages of the second issue, leaving a grieving Lana to carry on as a superhero on her own. Luckily she’s got a good support system with John Henry Irons and his niece Natasha, two characters I quite like. But Lois is gone, and that means so am I.

Now, Superwoman isn’t a bad comic. Jimenez’s artwork is great, as always, and the series has got a lot of good characters in the mix. The first two issues have been a bit overstuffed, which has affected the pacing of the issues and the readability of the art at times but it is, on its own merits, a decent book. If it was advertised as the Lana Lang comic it is, I probably would have checked it out. I’m not a huge Lana fan, but she’s a character with potential and elevating her to a superhero role after decades trapped being a romantic rival is kind of cool. That’s a good hook on its own.

But instead we got this bait and switch, and with every page my main thought was, “Where’s Lois?” My frustration at the death of the lead character I was promised trumped whatever level of enjoyment I got from the comic itself. A Lois Lane comic book is LONG overdue. She hasn’t had a solo series since Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane ended in 1974, but she’s been a mainstay in the DC universe in every medium for over 75 years now. She should have her own series, preferably with a better title than her old one. To promise this book and then not deliver it is both insulting and disappointing.

Even worse is killing her off in the process. Lois gets killed a lot, especially over the last decade or so. Offing her, for real or not, to create anguish for Superman has become a common trope used again and again by bad writers, and now she’s been offed to create anguish for Lana. Moreover, the New 52 Lois had a terrible run. Since the 2011 relaunch, she’s been sidelined and forgotten, and this new series felt like redemption after years of poor treatment. Instead, Superwoman fell into the same old patterns straight away.

Lois could yet come back, of course. It’s comics, after all; nobody stays dead and Jimenez seems to be teasing something. Plus, why introduce her just to kill her off so quick? There may be a longer plan at work here. But I’ve got no time for it. I really don’t understand DC’s thinking here. Why involve Lois at all, and especially why advertise it as a Lois book in the first place? If the plan is to kill her off for good, you’re only upsetting Lois fans. If the plan is to “kill her off” and then bring her back later, all of the Lois fans will have already jumped ship by the time you do so. No matter how you slice it, the way DC set up this series is just ridiculous.

Lois Lane is the First Lady of the DC universe. She is as brave and heroic and compelling as any of those folks with the masks and the capes, and she deserves some time in the spotlight. Whether she’s dead or “dead,” Lois’s depiction in Superwoman has been yet another in a long list of comics that have treated her poorly. We don’t need more of those. I’m done with the series, and this will be my last review of it. I like Jimenez and Lupacchino, and I like Lana, John, and Natasha, but I love Lois Lane, and any book that kills her off to further someone else’s plot is a book that I’m just not interested in.

A Celebration Of Noel Neill, The First Live Action Lois Lane, To Be Held Nov. 5 In Metropolis, Ill.

September 6, 2016

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The superhero world lost an icon when Noel Neill passed away in July. She was the first live action Lois Lane, portraying the character alongside Kirk Alyn’s Man of Steel in the big screen Superman serial in 1948 and reprising the role in Atom Man vs. Superman two years later. Superman moved to television in the 1950s with George Reeves in the lead role, and Neill returned to play Lois Lane when Phyllis Coates left after the first season, staying with the show for the remainder of its run. For a generation of fans who grew up watching the Adventures of Superman TV show in its first run and then in syndication, Noel Neill WAS Lois Lane.

Neill led a long and fascinating life, and on November 5, 2016, many of her friends and admirers are gathering at the First United Methodist Church in Metropolis, Illinois, to remember and celebrate her life. It’s a fitting locale; Metropolis is the home of the annual Superman Celebration, and there’s a Lois Lane statue modeled after her likeness in the town. The three hour event will feature rare footage of Neill, along with presentations from several speakers, including:

  • Dr. Pam Munter, author of Almost Famous and When Teens Were Keen
  • Jim Nolt, editor of The Adventures Continue
  • Jim Bowers, editor of CapedWonder.com
  • Steve Younis, editor of supermanhomepage.com
  • Larry Blankley
  • John Field
  • Lisa Gower & Karla Ogle of the Metropolis Chamber of Commerce
  • Terry Ryan
  • Stephanie Perrin
  • Angie Sivori
  • Larry Thomas Ward, author of Truth, Justice, & The American Way: The Life & Times of Noel Neill and Beyond Lois Lane

There will also by music from The Melungeons.

The event is open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend, so if you’re in the area you should definitely mark it on your calendar. Noel Neill was both a wonderful Lois Lane and a fantastic ambassador for the character for decades, and hearing about her life from those who knew her well should make for a fascinating afternoon. Such events always have a note of sadness, of course, but I’m sure it will also be infused with the joy that characterized Noel Neill throughout her 95 years.

The poster above appears in the October 2016 edition of Classics Images magazine.

You Can Buy A Page From The Comic In Which Lois Lane Fell In Love With Comet The Super-Horse!

August 30, 2016

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I don’t mean to tell you what to do with your money, gang, but here are some very important facts concerning an excellent investment opportunity:

1) In Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #92, Lois fell in love with Comet the Super-Horse.

2) You can buy a page from that comic book RIGHT NOW at Heritage Auctions.

Lois falling in love with a horse needs some explanation; in particular, it should be pointed out that Lois was a horse at the time as well. Or rather, they were both human, then both horses, and their love grew over the course of their encounters in both forms.

The full story is this: It turns out that Comet the Super-Horse, the caped flying horse who was a pal of Supergirl throughout the Silver Age, was also a human named Bill Biron. Now, back in the days of ancient Greece, Biron was a centaur who fell in love with the sorceress Circe and won her affection by saving her from the evil Maldor, a rival wizard.  Circe gave him a potion to turn him into a man, but she accidentally gave him the wrong potion and turned him into a full horse. She then gave him another potion that gave him the powers of the Olympian gods and immortality. Centuries later, he met Supergirl and became Comet the Super-Horse

You with me so far? Now, for some reason, whenever a comet passes by Earth, Comet the Super-Horse, a.k.a. Biron the former centaur, turns into a powerless human man. And when he does, he performs as the magician Bill Biron to make a few bucks. While he was in this form, he met Lois Lane and, much like with Circe, he won her affection by saving her from an assassination plot. He told her that he was really Comet, but she fell for him anyway and they ended up kissing. As Lois explained, “This is wild! Maybe he’s superhorse, but this handsome, human identity of his really turns me on.”

Lois falling in love with random dudes was pretty common in the Silver Age. She wanted Superman above all else, but he was never into settling down. So when handsome guys came along, Lois was often ready to ditch Superman to marry them. This got her into a lot of tricky situations. She almost married a weird looking alien in one issue, and nearly ended up wed to Satan himself in another. So as far as her romances went, a guy who’s also a horse wasn’t too bad.

Trouble did follow, though, as it always did with these romances. The evil wizard Maldor was still after Biron/Comet, and he ended up turning Lois into a horse! Luckily, the comet flew off into space around the same time and Comet returned to his horse form. The duo evaded horse hunters, then frolicked  together through snow and waterfalls in a romantic horse date.

In the mean time, Circe reached out to Superman through the “stream of time” to tell him that Lois was a horse, and that he could turn her back into a human by exposing her to the radiance of a rainbow. He did so, but part of the spell meant that she forgot her time as a horse, and remembered Biron only as a fun one-night date; she assumed he’d turned back into Comet the Super-horse and just moved on.

Obviously, this is a fantastic issue of Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane. And now, you can own a piece of this story! Heritage Auctions has a listing for a page from the issue, pencilled by the legendary Curt Swan with inks by Mike Esposito:

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The page is from the horse hunters sequence, when Lois and Comet fight to escape them. Lois is on the page, but in horse form. And right now, it’s only $12! The price will go up as the auction goes on, and by the time it closes in five days it should be a lot higher, but you never know how these things will go. So get on it, fellow Lois Lane fans! Think of what a conversation piece this page will be when it’s framed and hung prominently in your home. You’d be a fool not to look into it. I’m certainly going to watch the auction through to the end.

 

Superwoman #1 Review: Either One Of The Best Or Worst Comics Of DC’s “Rebirth” Line

August 10, 2016

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Superwoman is a great comic book until the last page, and depending on how that last page plays out it’s either going to be a book I’ll be very much looking forward to each month or a book I’ll drop like a hot potato. We’ll see how it goes. I’m certainly hoping for the former, because I really enjoyed the bulk of this issue. We’ll dig into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I mean, it’s kind of spoiled all over the internet right now, but still!

Read the book first!

This honestly isn’t the kind of Lois Lane comic book I wanted. I’ve been arguing that Lois should have her own series for years now, one that focuses on her journalistic adventures tracking down big scoops and taking down evildoers of the non-costumed variety. I basically want Gotham Central set in the Daily Planet newsroom with Lois as the main character. This book is not that. It’s Lois Lane with superpowers, which she gained when the New 52 Superman died a few months back. But while Superwoman is not what I’ve been wanting, it’s a lot of fun.

First, of course Lois Lane would make an awesome superhero. She’s done it a bunch of times over the years, as she actually mentions in the issue, and it’s always a good time. In Investigating Lois Lane, I call Lois a superhero without superpowers; she’s got all of the same values, bravery, and desire to do what’s right that Superman and Wonder Woman do, she’s just a hero in a slightly more down to earth way. So with powers, she’s got the temperament and heart to use them well and be a stellar superhero.

Second, this is one of the first comic books where Lois Lane and Lana Lang are on friendly terms. They’ve been rivals for decades, often to cringeworthy degrees, Superman’s old flame versus his new one. Writers in the Silver Age really leaned into their rivalry and often had them at each other’s throats, literally so on several occasions. This continued when Lana returned in the Bronze Age; in one issue, they got into a fight at work and Lana dunked Lois’s head in a punch bowl. Throughout the Modern Age, Lana became kind of a sad character who was obsessed with Clark and grated on Lois, and in the New 52 era the women haven’t exactly been pals.

But Lois knows that Lana helped Clark with his powers, and that she needs help to learn how to control hers. She also knows that Lana is smart and a good person, and that her advice and input would be invaluable. So she proposes that they work together and after some reluctance, Lana gets on board. They’re not friends, exactly, but they’re friend adjacent, which is a lovely change of pace. Plus the banter is so much fun.

Third, this relationship comes with the exciting twist of Lana having superpowers too! Her energy powers resemble the 1990s Red Superman era, and she and Lois team up to stop Lex Luthor’s mega-warship from taking out a bridge. So Lana’s not just an advisor and trainer; they have a super-team up! I was so on board for that. Two formal rivals that have been so often mistreated in comics teaming up to be super friends? Yes, please!

Then they killed Lois. Or so the last page suggests. It’s a busy page, so it’s hard to tell exactly what happens. Maybe whatever mystery villain the duo is battling turns Lois into stone or some such, or perhaps Lois just burns out in a manner that may have been exacerbated by Lana using her powers. Whatever the case, Lois appears to be dead and the tease for the next issue is “Who Killed Superwoman?”

If Lois is really dead, then I’m out and this book can go right to hell. I’m so sick of dead Loises. The entire 21st century history  of Superman comics is dead Loises, in various forms. Lois is why I showed up for this book. I love Lana, but I’m not going to read a Lana book that comes at the expense of Lois. It doesn’t help that I was reluctant to get this book in the first place because serial sexual harasser Eddie Berganza is editing it. Between that and killing off Lois, I’ll drop this book and never look back if the final page reveal holds.

However, this is superhero comics. Fake out death cliffhangers are the genre’s stock in trade. If this is a momentary thing that’s reversed and the book continues to be Lois and Lana: Super Friends, then I’m all about it. This was a very enjoyable opening issue, and I’m excited to read more if Lois stays in the picture.

I’m not sure how to read the tea leaves on this one. This book is called Superwoman, singular, so that hints that Lana might replace Lois since there can only be one. And there’s already another Lois Lane in the universe, a transplant from the pre-New 52 days, so the Superman offices might have considered their leftover New 52 Lois to be redundant. On the other hand, I know that Phil Jimenez loves Lois, and I’m hoping he’s going to stick with the character. Lois is on upcoming covers, too, though I’ve been fooled by that trick before. I’m also hoping that DC is smart enough not to tease us with a Lois book just to kill her off. They can’t be that dumb, right?

So, Superwoman may be the start of an exciting new series, or it may be a straight up pile of garbage! Time will tell. I’m really hoping that Lois is alive, because this was such a fun first issue and I am so down for more Lois and Lana fun. Phil Jimenez did a great job with the writing and the art, particularly with the excellent new costumes, and I’d love to see this new partnership explored for many issues to come. But if Lois is gone, I’m gone. We’ll see how things shake out.

Remembering Noel Neill, The First Live Action Lois Lane

July 5, 2016

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Noel Neill passed away last Sunday at the age of 95, having lived a long and fascinating life. She wore a number of hats during her time in show business; she was a model, a singer, and an actress in both film and television, but she was best known as Lois Lane. Neill was the first live action Lois, playing the character alongside Kirk Alyn’s Man of Steel in the 1948 serial film Superman and reprising the role in its 1950 sequel, Atom Man vs. Superman. After Phyllis Coates left the Adventures of Superman television series after one season in 1952, the producers immediately reached out to the original Lois, and Neill played Lois next to George Reeves’ Superman for the next five seasons of the program until it ended in 1958.

Neill was Lois Lane during the bulk of the run of the Adventures of Superman, making her the person that an entire generation of fans associated with the character. The show was a hit in its initial run, and remained popular in syndication for a long time as well. Until Margot Kidder took over the role in Superman: The Movie in 1978, Noel Neill WAS Lois Lane.

Neill’s Lois was pleasant and kind-hearted, a stark contrast to the no nonsense brashness that Coates and later Kidder imbued in the character. Neill brought a warmth and friendliness to the role, which fit the part; the program was aimed primarily at children from its second season on, and Neill’s Lois was a good match for its fun, sometimes silly tone. She often found herself in goofy adventures alongside Jimmy Olsen, caught up in a zany plan that required Superman to come save them.

But Neill’s Lois wasn’t all damsel in distress hijinks; in one notable episode, she wrote an editorial that encouraged women to come out and vote in order to get rid of a corrupt politician, leveraging her position at the Daily Planet to try to make a difference. Moreover, she was a constant presence at the newspaper, always chasing down leads and trying to land front page scoops. She was a respected career woman at a time when most of the women on television were homemakers, serving as a role model for young girls in the 1950s and offering them an alternative future to aspire to.

After the Adventures of Superman ended, Neill remained closely associated with Lois Lane and the Superman franchise. She cameoed as Lois’ mother in an early scene in Superman: The Movie, appeared in the Superboy TV show in 1991, and had a small role in Superman Returns in 2006. Neill was also a regular presence at comic book conventions over the decades, representing the show alongside Jack Larson long after most of the original cast had passed. By all accounts, she was delightful, kind, and encouraging to everyone she encountered at conventions, and was a wonderful ambassador for Lois Lane.

I was so sad to hear about her passing yesterday, but wow, what a life. She got to be Lois Lane, TWICE, and seemed to love every minute of it. As a young girl growing up in Minnesota, her father ran a newspaper and she dreamed of being a reporter; she even wrote some articles for Women’s Wear Daily before turning to show business. Then as Lois, she got to live her dream on the big screen and the small screen, and wholeheartedly embraced her association with the character from then on. She will be remembered and missed by legions of fans, young and old.

Finally, here’s a bio of Noel Neill that first appeared in Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #7 in February 1959. When Lois’ new series began, many of the letters from young fans asked about Neill and wanted to know more about her, so DC put together this piece for them. Fans continued to ask about her even after the article ran, so DC reprinted it a few more times throughout the 1960s:

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Lois Lane: Double Down by Gwenda Bond is Officially Out This Weekend; GO BUY IT!

April 29, 2016

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If you’re a Lois Lane fan, you’re about to have an excellent week: The sequel to last year’s fantastic YA novel Lois Lane: Fallout will be officially released this weekend, and it’s so good. Author Gwenda Bond is back with Lois Lane: Double Down, an adventure that’s even bigger and better than its predecessor. Like, literally bigger; it’s longer, so you get even more teenaged Lois fun.

And this time, Lois is up against the mob and evil scientists, trying to crack another big mystery and help her friends, as well as get a good story for the Daily Scoop. There’s a lot of action and suspense, but also a lot of heart. What I love most about Bond’s Lois is how much she cares, how she can’t let a wrong go without a response; despite her cool exterior, Lois is all compassion underneath.

The book expands Lois’s world considerably, taking us into new parts of Metropolis and introducing several additional characters. For those with a background in the Superman mythos, there are some fun nods to classic villains and other elements of the comics, but Bond is sly with them. You don’t have to know anything about Lois, Superman, or their decades of comics to enjoy the book. Heck, you don’t even have to read Fallout to enjoy Double Down, though I’d recommend doing so. While you’ll get caught up on things pretty quickly, I find it’s always more enjoyable to read a series in order.

I’m being generally vague here because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone. The book is fantastic, with lots of fun twists and turns, so I’m leery of saying more than “It’s Lois and her pals against some bad guys again and it’s super rad.” But it really is super rad. I was luckily enough to get an early copy a few months ago, and I read it in a day because I couldn’t put it down.

For me, Gwenda Bond writes the best Lois Lane out there right now. The best Lois of the 21st century, really, at least. When I wrote Investigating Lois Lane, I read/saw/listened to pretty much everything Lois has been in, and Bond’s Lois is one of my very favourites. She encompasses everything I love about past incarnations of the character while also being fresh, modern, and unique in her own way. Here’s a spoiler for my own book: Fallout and Double Down are the last things I talk about in Investigating Lois Lane, and there’s a reason for that. In an era where Lois has been criminally underused, Bond has crafted a Lois that shows why she’s a relevant, fantastic character who deserves the spotlight.

Lois Lane: Double Down is officially out on May 1, though copies have been shipping out early so if you head to your local bookstore now you might luck out and nab one. It’s a great read, and just a wonderful take on Lois all around. Plus, every copy sold is a step towards a third Lois Lane book from Gwenda Bond, and we definitely need to make that happen. Happy reading, fellow Lois fans! You’re going to love this one.


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