Lois Lane is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, she first appeared in Action Comics #1 (June 1938). Lois is an award-winning journalist and the primary love interest of the superhero, Superman (For fifteen years in DC Comics continuity, she was also his wife). Like Superman's alter ego Clark Kent, she is a reporter for the Metropolis newspaper, the Daily Planet.
Lois Lane's character was created from many influences. Her physical appearance was originally based on Joanne Carter, a model hired by Superman co-creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (Joanne Carter would later marry Siegel). The character's personality was based on "Torchy Blane" (a gutsy, beautiful, headline-hunting reporter, portrayed by Glenda Farrell in a series of 1930s films). Jerry Siegel took the character's name from Lola Lane, who also played "Torchy Blane" on one occasion. Lois is also based on real life journalist Nellie Bly.
Depictions of Lois Lane have varied since her character was created in 1938, spanning the 75-year history of Superman comics and other media adaptations. During the Silver Age of Comics, she was the star of Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane, a comics series that had a light and frivolous tone. However, the original Golden Age version of Lois, as well as versions of her from the 1970s-onwards, portrays Lois as a tough-as-nails journalist and intellectual equal to Superman. Although one thing has remained constant throughout the character's 75-year history, she has always been the most prominent love interest in Superman's life and is seen by many fans as the archetypical 'comic book love interest'.
Lois was ranked 78th in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.
In the earliest Golden Age comics, Lois was featured as an aggressive, career minded reporter for the Daily Star (the paper's name was changed to the Daily Planet in Action Comics #23 in 1940). After Clark Kent joined the paper and Superman debuted around the same time, Lois found herself attracted to Superman, but displeased with her new journalistic competition in the form of Kent. Starting as early as the early 1940s, Lois began to suspect that Clark Kent was Superman, and started to make various attempts at uncovering his secret identity, all of which backfired usually thanks to Superman's efforts.
Lois gained her first solo series of stories (without Superman) starting with Superman #28 (May–June 1944).
In the Golden Age comics, Lois also had a niece named Susie Tompkins, whose main trait was getting into trouble by telling exaggerated tall tales and fibs to adults. Susie's last appearance was in Superman #95 (February 1955). Subsequent comics presented Lois' only sibling, Lucy, as single and childless.
DC instituted its multiverse system in the early 1960s for organizing its continuity, and introduced the Earth-Two Superman in Justice League of America #73 (August 1969). This retcon declared the Golden Age Superman and Lois Lane stories (i.e. comics published from 1938 through the early 1950s) as having taken place on the parallel world of "Earth-Two" versus the then mainstream (Silver Age) universe of "Earth-One." In Action Comics #484 (June 1978), a flashback story reveals Earth-Two's Lois became infatuated with Clark Kent after the latter lost his memory of his superheroic identity (thanks to a spell cast by the old Justice Society of America enemy, the Wizard), with the result of Clark acting more aggressive and extroverted. Clark and Lois began to date each other, and were soon married. However, during the honeymoon, Lois discovered that Clark was indeed Superman, and after recruiting the aid of the Wizard, restored Clark's memory.
The Earth-Two Lois Lane and Superman, from the cover of Action Comics #484 (June 1978). Art by José Luis García-López and Dick Giordano.
The now-married Lois and Clark starred in a series of stories in Superman Family #195 – #199 and #201 – #222 titled "Mr and Mrs Superman," which presented their further adventures early in their marriage. Susie Tompkins made a return as a recurring character. Years later, Lois and Clark acted as parental figures for Power Girl, Superman's cousin, after she arrived on Earth.
During the Crisis on Infinite Earths miniseries, the Earth-Two Lois Lane was seemingly seen for the final time, as Lois, the Earth-Two Superman, and the Superboy of Earth Prime are taken by Earth-Three's Alexander Luthor, Jr. into a paradise like dimension at the end of the story. Following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, this version of Lois was retroactively removed from DC's continuity.
In 2005's Infinite Crisis miniseries, it was revealed that the Earth-Two Lois Lane Kent, along with Superboy, Alexander Luthor, Jr., and Superman, have been watching the events of the post Crisis DC Universe from their pocket dimension. Out of the four observers, she is the only one who still believes that the new universe is just going through a rough patch; Superboy Prime and Alex Luthor are convinced that Earth is utterly corrupt, and Kal-L is slowly becoming swayed to their way of thinking. This version of Lois is frail, and died for reasons not explicitly revealed, though probably connected to her octogenarian status. This was the main reason for Kal-L's determination to restore Earth-Two, as he believed that Lois' health would recover once back on her proper Earth. Despite the restoration of Earth-Two, however, Lois Lane Kent died in the arms of Superman in Infinite Crisis #5, regardless of Kal-L's protests that he could not let her die. After Kal-L died at the hands of Superboy Prime at the end of Infinite Crisis #7, he commented that he finally understood Lois' final words "It's... not... going..." as meaning that it would never end for them, and one day it would be understood that even the heroes who had been lost in the original Crisis were still out there somewhere. After his demise, they are shown reunited in the stars, while their bodies are buried on Earth alongside Kon-El's, who gave his life to stop Superboy-Prime's attempts to restore his Earth.
Lois later returns as a sinister Black Lantern with her husband in the Blackest Night crossover. Her first task is to kidnap Martha Kent with her spouse, and stating that she and Kal-L wish for Kal-El, Connor Kent, and Martha, to be reunited with Jonathan Kent in death. However, she proved unable to deal with the resourcefulness of Martha Kent, and was set ablaze by the widow, but kept regenerating until Krypto intervened, ripping the black ring out of her hand and preventing regeneration for long enough to allow Superman and Conner Kent to destroy the Black Lantern powerhouses attacking Smallville, and reaching town to aid others unhindered.
Black Lantern Lois later appears to Power Girl, claiming that she has escaped the ring's corrupting influence, and needs her help. However, this is just a ploy to get close enough to her husband's body, which was being held in the JSA headquarters after his black ring had been removed. Black Lantern Lois "sacrifices" herself by removing her ring and giving it to Kal-L, restoring him to full undead status, and causing her own body to become inert.
Silver and Bronze Age
When the reading audience of superhero comic books became predominately young boys in the mid to late 1950s, the focus of Superman stories shifted toward science fiction inspired plots involving extraterrestrials, fantasy creatures, and bizarre plots. Lois' main interests in various late 1950s and 1960s stories became vying with her rival Lana Lang for Superman's affections, attempting to prove Clark Kent and Superman were one and the same, and tricking or otherwise forcing Superman into marriage. Superman's rationale for resisting her matrimonial desires was that marrying her would put her in increased danger from his enemies, and that she could not keep his secret identity hidden. Regardless, Lois married several times in the Superman stories of this era, including to Superman imposter from Kandor, the villainous Zak-Kul and a man from the future. All these marriages were either annulled or otherwise forgotten.
Lois became more and more popular during the 1950s, and after appearing as the lead character in two issues of DC's title Showcase in 1957, DC created an ongoing title for the character, titled Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane beginning in March 1958 and running for 137 issues until September 1974. Most of these stories placed an emphasis on Lois' romance with Superman, and were drawn by artist Kurt Schaffenberger; indeed, Schaffenberger's rendition of Lois became cited by many as the "definitive" version of Lois, and he was often asked by DC editor Mort Weisinger to redraw other artists' depictions of Lois Lane in other DC titles where she appeared.
While Lois had started to become suspicious of Superman's secret identity during the Golden Age (as early as Superman #7 in 1940), her suspicions reached their peak during the early Silver Age, with many stories in her solo series focusing on her attempts to prove Superman and Clark Kent were one and the same. To wit, various stories from this era show Superman using various means to protect his secret identity from Lois, including his Superman robots or Batman disguising himself as Clark/Superman.
Lana Lang, a character introduced in the Superboy series, was initially introduced in Superman's setting in Superman #78 in 1952, but became a permanent part of the Superman era stories with Showcase #9 in 1957. From that point on, Lana Lang became a frequently seen rival of Lois for Superman's affections.
By the end of the 1960s, as attitudes toward women's role in American society changed, Lois' character changed as well. In Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane issue #80 (Jan. 1968), the character's fashions were updated to a then more contemporary look. Stories in the 1970s depicted her as fully capable and less reliant on Superman. She engaged in more solo adventures without Superman being involved, and was much less interested in discovering Superman's secret identity. In her solo stories in Superman Family (an anthology title started in the mid-1970s after the cancellation of Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane and Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen), Lois regularly battled criminals and often defeated them using her quick wits and considerable skill in the Kryptonian martial art of Klurkor, taught to her by Kryptonian survivors in the bottle city of Kandor. There were also several cameos of the New Gods, including Desaad and Darkseid.
During the Silver and Bronze Age, Lois' backstory became more fully fleshed out, with various stories explaining her life before becoming employed at the "Daily Planet." This backstory was attributed to the Lois Lane of Earth-One.
As summarized in various stories, Lois was born to Sam and Ella Lane, and grew up on their farm in the small town of Pittsdale. While Lois was a toddler, she encountered a rattlesnake in the woods near the Lane family farm. The snake was scared away by one of Kal-El's baby toys which had landed nearby in one of Jor-El's experimental rockets. At the age of two, Lois suffered measles, and at the age of three, whooping cough. At an unspecified time during Lois' childhood, her younger sister Lucy Lane was born.
During Lois' adolescence, she won a youth contest run by the Daily Planet, with the prize being a trip to Metropolis to spend a week working as a cub reporter for the newspaper. There, she first met Clark Kent of Smallville, who was the other winner of the contest. Lois found Clark dull, and became more interested in asking him for information about Superboy after learning Clark came from Smallville. During the week in Metropolis, Lois made a bet with Clark to see who would get the most scoops, which turned out to be Lois, as Clark was forced to constantly go into action as Superboy. Lois also met Superboy for the first time while uncovering a criminal enterprise for one of her stories. At the end of the week, Clark paid off Lois' bet (an ice cream sundae), and the two returned to their respective hometowns.
Lois would meet Superboy (but not Clark Kent) again during her adolescence, while attending an all-girls summer camp near Smallville. There, Lois met Lana Lang, a fellow camper, for the first time. Lois would make further attempts at landing a job with the Daily Planet during her teenage years and spent time writing for her hometown's newspaper, the Pittsdale Star.
Upon finishing high school, Lois left Pittsdale, and attended Raleigh College to study journalism. While in college, Lois worked for the student newspaper, the Raleigh Review, as a reporter and eventually its co-editor.
After graduating from college, Lois became permanently employed at the Daily Planet, soon becoming its star reporter. Lois eventually saw her longtime coworkers, Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen, also join the Planet's staff.
Lois also held a backup solo series in the short-lived 1982–1983 series The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl.
After the 1985–1986 miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths, writer and artist John Byrne revised the Superman legend, and eliminated the Silver Age version of Lois from continuity. Before this happened, a final non-canonical "imaginary story," Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, was written by writer Alan Moore, meant as a send-off for the pre-Crisis versions of the characters, including Lois. Also published at the same time (but in Earth-One continuity) was a two-issue miniseries titled Lois Lane, in which she investigates the problem of missing children.
Lois underwent a character alteration beginning with John Byrne's The Man of Steel miniseries, which significantly rewrote Superman's origin and history. In this modern version of events, Lois was portrayed as a tough-as-nails reporter who rarely needed rescuing. She was depicted as strong, opinionated, yet sensitive.
Lois' first real relationship in this version was with Jose Delgado, a Metropolis vigilante whose legs are shattered in a battle with a Lexcorp cyborg/human hybrid gone amok. Delgado eventually recovered. He and Lois would have several on and off experiences together before the relationship completely disintegrated, due to Delgado accepting help from a Lexcorp subsidiary ARL and Lois' attraction to Superman with whom Delgado felt he had to compete. (Adventures of Superman #448/#450).
Another major change made was that Lois did not fall in love with just Superman, although she was attracted to him. One reason was the revised nature of the Superman/Clark Kent relationship. In the original Silver Age stories, Superman had been the man who disguised himself as Clark Kent. In this new revised concept, it was Clark Kent who lived a life in which his activity as Superman was decidedly secondary. Lois initially resented the rookie Clark Kent getting the story on Superman as his first piece when she had spent ages trying to get an interview. This sometimes ill-tempered rivalry remained the case until The Adventures of Superman #460–463 and Action #650.
Following Clark's brief rampage under the influence of The Eradicator, Lois was hesitant to forgive Clark for "selling out" to Collin Thornton and running Newstime Magazine, but forgave him in a span of mere minutes when he returned to "grovel for his job back." Clark elected to repay Lois by finally letting go of his self-imposed inhibitions and passionately kissed her. The two became a couple, and eventually Lois accepted a proposal of marriage. Clark shortly after revealed to her that he was Superman.
DC had planned on Lois and Clark being married in 1993's Superman (vol. 2) #75. However, with the then-upcoming television show Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, DC decided they did not want to have the two married in the comics and not married on TV. Partially as a result of this, Superman was killed in Superman #75 instead, dying in Lois' arms after a battle royal with the monster Doomsday. After a period of time, Superman returned to life, and both he and Lois resumed their relationship, though not without a few problems (such as a brief reappearance of Clark's former college girlfriend, the mermaid Lori Lemaris). Lois eventually decided to take an overseas assignment to assert her independence and not be dependent on Clark, who had begun to overprotect her. When Clark became convinced Lois was in danger, he and her father Sam allied to aid her secretly.
When Lois returned to Metropolis, she had been through several life-threatening exploits, and was slightly amused when Clark informed her his powers had been depleted, and that he was her editor (due to Perry White's cancer). Upon discovering Clark still had her wedding ring within a handkerchief, Lois warmly broke down, teasing Clark and finally agreeing to become his wife.
Lois and Clark were finally wed in the one-shot special Superman: The Wedding Album, which featured the work of nearly every then-living artist who had ever worked on Superman. The issue was published during the week of October 6, 1996, coinciding with an episode of Lois & Clark that also featured the wedding of the two characters. The Wedding Album itself spent part of its opening pages accommodating and reconciling the then-current comic storyline of Lois and Clark having broken off their engagement.
Since their marriage, Clark and Lois continue to remain one of the stronger relationships in most comic series. In 2007, the couple took the 'next step' in adopting a newly arrived Kryptonian boy, who they name Chris Kent. The boy is discovered to be the son of Jor-El's arch-foe, General Zod. Although initially uneasy about raising a super-powered boy, Lois has shown immense aptitude of being 'Mommy Lois'. Following a devastating battle with Zod, Chris sacrificed himself to seal the Phantom Zone rift, trapping himself inside with Zod's forces, leaving Lois without her son.
When the Titans Tomorrow arrive at the Kents' apartment to kidnap Superman, Lois is knocked out, bound and gagged, and hidden in the couple's bedroom. Before Clark can untie her, he is ambushed and beaten into submission by the Titans.
In the second issue of Final Crisis, Lois and Perry are caught in an explosion triggered by Clayface destroying the Daily Planet and apparently Lois is seriously injured or possibly even dead. In the third issue, it is revealed that only Clark's heat vision is keeping her heart beating. Clark is visited by a mysterious phantom who insists that he must depart Earth immediately if he is to save his wife's life. The story is continued in the 3D tie-in comic Superman Beyond, where the female Monitor Zillo Valla stops time around Lois, allowing Superman to leave her side for a while, recruiting him and several of his multiversal doppelgangers in a mission to save the entire Multiverse, promising immediate care for Lois. After facing off against the dark Monitor Mandrakk, Superman brought back a distilled drop of The Bleed, and administered it through a kiss, restoring her to full health. Lois was later seen in Final Crisis #6, one of the few still free humans.
After the events of Superman: New Krypton Superman must leave Earth for an undetermined amount of time swearing off his Earthly connections in the eyes of his fellow Kryptonians to keep an eye on General Zod the New Kryptonian military commander but secretly tells Lois he still considers her his wife and will come back to her. In issues of Action Comics Lois has reunited with Christopher Kent who has aged to adulthood in the past months and became the new Metropolis hero Nightwing and spoke to his partner Thara Ak-Var (the new Flamebird) on the two's (possible romantic) relationship. Lois hears that her sister Lucy Lane was killed during battle with Supergirl where Supergirl and Lana visit Lois' apartment to tell her the bad news. Lois does not believe that her sister is dead and refuses to accept the news until she has irrefutable proof. Supergirl is very apologetic, but Lois wants nothing to do with her right now. Before kicking her out, Lois asks Supergirl for a recovered piece of Superwoman's costume.
Lois hands her exposé in and the government are after her for treason. With agents on her tail, Lois makes a mad dash for it. When Lois is in custody and awakens, her father Sam Lane is there to greet her in an interview room in an unnamed facility. Although Lois is happy to see her father alive her love soon turns to anger when she realizes Lucy was fully aware of her actions and Kara was indeed telling the truth. Sam tells Lois the only reason he has being this lenient with her is that she is his daughter. He threatens to make her disappear forever; never to see the light of day again, where not even Superman could save her, if she continues. He tells Lois, he does love her but the planet will always come first over his family. Lois returns to the Daily Planet under cover of night and explains all to Perry. Lois points out that the whole paper is at risk and everyone connected to it if her exposé runs. Perry understands and though he must protect the paper he is first and foremost a good journalist and nudges Lois in the right direction; he refuses to run the story but notes the story must get out to the people somehow. Enlightened, she quits the Daily Planet, as Lois gets her edge back. It was later revealed that Lois never really quit the Daily Planet.
Lois finds out that his father's forces destroyed New Krypton. Lucy kidnaps her and takes her to her father's secret base. There, Lois argues with her father, saying that the Kryptonians think of him as a genocidal maniac. In the war between New Krypton and Earth, Supergirl finds them and threatens to kill Sam. Lois stops her, saying that her father will be judged for his war crimes. Sam takes a gun and commits suicide.
Later, Lois visits the imprisoned Lucy and talks with her. She expresses disbelief on what her sister has become. Lois says that while she will not miss her father, she will miss her sister.
In Superman: Grounded, Superman begins a journey through America to reconnect with the American people, and Lois, though confused at first, supports his choice. Lois later travels to Rushmark, where Superman is supposed to make an appearance. There, she finds Brian, an old college friend. Brian invites her to have dinner with him and his wife Huong. There, Lois admits she has been having doubts about her current life. Later, she catches Brian and Huong having an argument, so she leaves and is met by Superman. The two reaffirm their love to each other and go to Chicago. There, Lois helps Superman arrest a violent father who has been attacking his wife and son. Later, Lois and Superman investigate a factory in Des Moines. The workers are responsible for dumping waste in the river but if the factory is shut down, many people in Des Moines will lose their jobs. Lois wants to publish an article, which would reveal the workers' illegal activities, but Superman forces her not to. Feeling betrayed, Lois returns to Metropolis and does not speak to Superman for a while. Lois is kidnapped by Lisa Jennings, a woman who wants to destroy Superman. Superman rescues her and takes Jennings to a hospital so she can receive medical attention. With the danger over, Superman apologizes to Lois about what happened in Des Moines. Lois replies that she wrote the article anyway, saying that she was a reporter before she was his wife. Knowing that his wife did the right thing, Superman kissed her. The two then return home.
In September 2011, DC Comics main continuity was rebooted. In the new relaunch, Lois now works for Morgan Edge heading up the media division of the Daily Planet and is not married to Clark Kent. Instead, she is dating a man named Jonathan Carroll. She views Clark as a friend and respects him as a journalist, but regards him as a loner who has difficulty letting people get close to him. Moreover, Lois seems to be unaware that Clark is Superman, although she does have her suspicions.
Lois investigates the story of twenty people who developed metahuman powers after being kidnapped by Brainiac. Her search leads her to a U.S. senator, who revealed to be one of the Twenty. The senator dies, but not before transferring his powers to Lois, who falls into a coma. Lois later awakes from her coma at the hospital, with Jonathan at her side. Lois manifests psychic powers and helps Superman fight the Psychic Pirate. During the fight, Lois learns that Clark is Superman but falls back into a coma. After defeating the Psychic Pirate, Superman brings Lois back to the hospital. Later, the Parasite attacks the hospital and attempts to steal Lois' powers. Superman tricks the Parasite into absorbing Lois' psionic energy. The power overwhelms the Parasite, causing him to collapse. Lois awakens from her coma but she does not seem to remember Superman's identity.