Posts Tagged ‘Lucy Lane’

Lucy Lane Perfectly Embodied Her Silver Age Self In Last Night’s Supergirl, In Just Seconds

November 10, 2015

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I am loving Supergirl. It’s funny and action packed and upbeat and just blatantly feminist, all in a very sincere, almost corny way that could be terrible if everyone wasn’t selling the heck out of it. But they do sell the heck out of it, especially Melissa Benoist as Supergirl, and as Kara Danvers too; she kills it in both identities. There’s an earnestness to her, and to the show in general, that makes everything work like gangbusters. Tonally, it’s a lot like The Flash, which I also love, but with even less angst. It’s just superhero fun! I am all over it.

Last night’s episode saw the first appearance of one of my favourite comic book characters, Lucy Lane, played by Jenna Dewan Tatum. Lucy is Lois Lane’s sister, and has appeared intermittently in Superman comics over the years. When they announced that Lucy was going to be on the show a while back, I wrote a post about how I hoped that the show would go with her early 1990s riot grrrl incarnation, but instead they went even further back. This Lucy Lane was her Silver Age self to a tee, right from the get-go.

Before Lucy showed up, there were some romantic sparks flying between Kara and Jimmy, er, I mean James Olsen. The show seemed to be building up to some kind of moment between the two of them. Then Lucy showed up, and that went completely off the rails. In just a few seconds, Lucy quickly established herself as James’ ex-girlfriend and had him roped into a dinner date to talk about their relationship, squashing what he had going with Kara.

This is CLASSIC Lucy Lane. Starting in the 1950s, Jimmy Olsen had his own comic book series called Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, in which he had all sorts of whacky adventures. Lois Lane had a series as well, Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane, but Lucy rarely appeared in her sister’s book. Instead, she was a regular guest star in Jimmy’s series as his fickle girlfriend. Jimmy was constantly trying to woo Lucy, but she always put him down and ended up spurning him repeatedly. In short, Lucy was always screwing with his love life.

And now, decades later, she’s doing it again in a whole different medium. Poor Jimmy/James can’t catch a break. I’m willing to bet a lot of money that this arc with Lucy ends with her ditching James yet again.

(I should point out that there was an arc in the Super-books in the early 1990s where Lucy and Jimmy were dating and Jimmy got fired and ultimately became homeless. Lucy stuck with him, and got him help, and was a generally great girlfriend. Jimmy, on the other hand, was a terrible boyfriend and took on the fickle role, even after he got back on his feet. He ignored her and only called her when he wanted something. After her riot grrrl phase, Lucy wised up and dumped his sorry butt.)

Lucy seems to be enjoying a bit of a renaissance right now, though not in the comics. She’s in Gwenda Bond’s Lois Lane: Fallout YA novel, as well as its upcoming sequel, Lois Lane: Double Down, and now she’s on Supergirl. I’m excited to tune in next week to see what she and James get up to, as well as what villain Supergirl is taking on next. It’s just a rad show all around, gang. Check it out if you haven’t yet!

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Lucy Lane Will Be On CBS’s Supergirl, And I Hope She’s A Riot Grrrl

August 4, 2015

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CBS’s new Supergirl show is set to debut this fall, and it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s already got several comic book stalwarts in the main cast, including Jimmy Olsen, Cat Grant, and Hank Henshaw, and now they’ve added another one with the addition of Jenna Dewan-Tatum as Lucy Lane, Lois’ younger sister.

Lucy is probably best known for her Silver Age exploits as Jimmy Olsen’s fickle girlfriend in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. She was kind of the worst, always jerking that poor boy around. It sounds like the show is going to pick up on that romantic angle and have Lucy be Jimmy’s ex-girlfriend, in Metropolis to right an old wrong.

But the Lucy Lane I’d really like to see is the one from the mid-1990s. Throughout the decade, Lucy had a running storyline through all of the Super-books. She dated Jimmy for a bit, then dated Daily Planet reporter Ron Troupe, got pregnant, and married him. Her best storyline came between these two relationships, when Lucy got involved in the riot grrrl movement. Riot grrrls came out of the underground punk scene, and they dealt with feminist issues through art, zines, and music, including notable bands like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile. They were brash and direct, speaking their minds on issues ranging from sexuality to rape to politics.

The riot grrrls of Metropolis were somewhat less hardcore, what with them appearing in a comic book for kids and all. Nonetheless, they tackled the issues of sexism in superhero narratives from their very first appearance. Here’s a scene from their debut in Adventures of Superman #515 from August 1994, where Lucy stumbled upon them salvaging some instruments from a music store that was razed by an attack from Lex Luthor:

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These gals didn’t give a hoot about Superman because they knew full well the limiting roles that getting wrapped up with a male superhero entailed. Instead, they preferred to do their own thing, in this case starting a band literally called the Riot Grrrls. Their confidence in their future success despite none of them knowing how to play any instruments was reminiscent of Bratmobile, who talked up their band in their zines before any of them ever picked up an instrument.

Lucy hung out with the Riot Grrrls for a year or so across sporadic appearances. They often critiqued the sexism of their superhero world, and Lucy’s time with them marked a real turning point for the character. She moved beyond Jimmy Olsen, who never treated her well, and became a voice for more grounded storylines. Lois was always busy with Superman and his superhero adventures, so Lucy became a sort of woman on the street, dealing with real issues like interracial dating, poverty, and unexpected pregnancy.

It didn’t last, of course. Lucy disappeared after the Super-books became a cycle of crossover events starting in the 2000s, and then came back as Superwoman a decade later only to be killed (sort of) in the “World of New Krypton” event before the whole universe got rebooted.

I’m hoping that we get more of the riot grrrl, relevant Lucy instead of another superhero or a fickle ex-girlfriend. Lucy’s been depicted in a variety of ways over the years, and her riot grrrl incarnation is probably the least well known, but I think it’s the most interesting by far. Greg Berlanti, the producer of Supergirl, has done a good job in general with his other superhero shows, including Arrow and The Flash, but when it comes to female characters their roles have often been what the Riot Grrrls critiqued in their first appearance: cheerleader, girlfriend, or victim. Here’s hoping that on a show with a female lead, the women in the supporting cast will have more to do, and that Lucy can be an interesting, relevant character.


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