The Era of Her Ways
As established, Lois Lane took crazy chances and a daredevil’s approach to investigating, but there was a method to her madness.
Lois began life in the comics as a lonely hearts columnist giving advice to the lovelorn, but she wanted to be a real reporter.
Unfortunately, considering the temper of the times, news assignments generally weren’t given to female employees of great metropolitan newspapers. This gender bias, though typical for its era, was the biggest contributing factor for sowing the seeds of iconic Lois Lane.
Adding to this sense of second class citizenship was Clark Kent’s amazing ability to bring in hard to land stories. What Lois didn’t know, of course, was that Clark’s success was due in no small part to his super powered advantage.
That naturally led to Lois taking ever greater risks to compete with Clark.
The Error of Her Ways
They say the difference between a firefighter and a sane person is that a firefighter runs into a burning building. In the same vein Lois took chances that sometimes called her sanity into question, but most of her perilous decisions were based on the false assumption that Clark Kent was just a normal guy.
Whether sneaking into or out of danger, it became obvious after a while that getting the story was not Lois Lane’s only motive. Even righting wrongs with her stories was never as driving a force as her constant desire to win, or more precisely her desire to prove herself.
When the woman’s movement changed society’s view of women in the workplace, the comics gave Lois a more personal reason for behaving as she did. In the modern age of the myth Lois was given an exacting judgmental father who had wanted a son instead of a daughter. This small renovation replaced the outdated “making it in a man’s world” motive, but still maintained the need for Lois to prove herself. It also made her somewhat distrusting of men and rebellious against authority figures.
Most people mistakenly believe that Lois Lane was always the star reporter at the Daily Planet, but as this comic illustrates, Clark Kent held that top spot for years.
Lois made it a personal campaign to unseat the mild-mannered champ with her wild and hairy pursuits of stories and her gamble finally paid off.
However, even after eventually becoming victorious over Clark and winning the star reporter spot, she didn’t sit on her laurels, or at her desk taking it easy. Nor did she take it easy on Clark.
What’s in it for Clark?
On the occasions Lois had to work with Clark, she found his timidity daunting. He was like an organic roadblock to a good story. Yet despite Lois’s low opinion of Clark, not to mention the name-calling, he was still attracted to her.
Was he a masochist? Not really. As mentioned earlier Clark was a disguise for Superman and in that heroic persona Clark was free to openly admire and respect all the traits he pretended to find frightening as Clark Kent.
Accorded the ability to use his powers openly while dressed as Superman, Clark found Lois’s penchant for danger fascinating and even a bit amusing. However, when trapped behind his glasses as Clark Kent, he protected his secret identity to a fault and sometimes to the woe of others.
While Jimmy Olsen was being publicly humiliated at the hands of the Planet’s owner, Clark, not wanting to compromise his dorky disguise, just stood by and let Jimmy suffer. Internally it bothered Clark, but not enough to stand up for Jimmy.
It was up to Lois to step in and read the riot act to the bully and protect Jimmy while Clark watched from a safe distance and commented, “I think I’m in love.” Of course it’s easy to see why Lois’s feelings weren’t mutual.
Two Different Worlds
The famous two-sided triangle of Clark pursuing Lois and Lois pursuing Superman wasn’t just a matter of Lois picking the flashy guy in tights over the non-flashy guy in glasses. Clark was something of a pest who couldn’t take no for an answer. That can be a laudable quality, but not when a woman has made it clear she’s not interested.
Lois found it particularly annoying when Clark, turned down for a date once again, went over her head to the editor and requested he be partnered with Lois just so Clark could have an ersatz date with her anyway. This also reinforced Lois’s lack of clout in the early going when Clark was the top reporter. However, it’s not like Lois didn’t give Clark a chance. In the very first Superman comic Lois agreed to go out on a date with Clark, but that was a big mistake.
It was a mistake because a gangster cut in on their dance and demanded that Lois dance with him. Lois refused, but Clark, who kept up the disguise of a timid weakling, told Lois to be a good sport and dance with the gangster.
Left to defend her own honor, Lois slapped the gangster, left the nightclub and hailed a cab. When Clark ran after her, Lois told him why she had previously turned down his offers for a date. “You’re a spineless, unbearable coward!”
The humiliated gangster kidnapped Lois to teach the ‘skirt’ a lesson. Her fate was left up to a mysterious man in tights and a cape who was watching over her. Superman rescued Lois Lane and would continue to do so throughout their seventy year relationship.
It’s hard to say whether the destiny of Superman and Lois Lane is karma, or one of Newton’s lesser known laws. That is assuming Newton ever contemplated the chemical reaction between an indomitable woman and an invulnerable man. However, what is undeniable is that nothing will reform and astonish a confirmed cynic faster than true magic. And Superman was true magic.