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Lois Lane

The persistent, curious, impulsive, intelligent, headstrong, audacious, hard-working, ambitious, lovely woman reporter for the Metropolis Daily Planet who is, second only to Superman himself, the single most important person in the chronicled adventures of Superman, fulfilling as she does the tripartite role of Clark Kent's journalistic colleague, Superman's romantic pursuer, and the person most tirelessly determined to verify her long-held suspicion that Clark Kent is secretly Superman.  Lois Lane appears in the chronicles more often than any other character except Superman, and is the only supporting character to have appeared in the chronicles since their inception in June 1938 (Action Comics #1).

Lois Lane, the daughter of Sam and Ella Lane, wa born on her parents' farm, near the U.S. town of Pittsdale.  The month when she was born is impossible to determine, for her birthday is celebrated in the chronicles in September-October (World's Finest #36, 1948), in November-December (Superman #37, 1945), and in December (Action Comics #139, 1949).

Lois appears to have had two sisters: a younger sister, Lucy Lany, and a econd sister, whose first name is never given, who married a man named Tompkins and gave birth to a daughter, Susie Tompkins, who is Lois Lane's niece.

Lois attended school in Pittsdale.  Her closest friend in high school was a girl named Helen, who later became the wife of Bill Minton. Lois' high-school beau was Finney Floor.

After high school, Lois attended Raleigh College, not far from Metropolis, where she exhibited a keen aptitude for science, honed her fledgling journalism skills on the Raleigh Review, and displayed sufficient artistic talent to acquire a reputation as the "class artist." Lois' school-mate Brett Rand had a crush on her during this period, but there is no indication that she ever reciprocated his affections.

After graduation, Lois set out for Metropolis, determined to fulfill her "lifelong ambition" to become "the best reporter in Metropolis." She may have taken a course in nursing during this period or served a stint as a waitress at Harry's Dog House. Eventually, however, she obtained employment on the Daily Star, followed by employment on its successor in the chronicles, the Daily Planet.

Lois Lane is "the Daily Planet's star woman reporter," ranking alongside Clark Kent in the Daily Planet's reportorial hierarchy.  Described as the newspaper's "sob sister& in many early texts, Lois Lane has risen through the journalisti ranks to become one of the Daily Planet's star reporters and, with Clark Kent, one of the newspaper's two brightest satellites.  Particularly adept at covering local news, she has performed the full range of journalistic duties, including stints as war correspondent; weatheritor, described as "one of the lowliest jobs on any newspaper"; question-and-answer editor and head of the lost-and-found department; editor of the Daily Planet's Paris edition; staff cartoonist; and acting editor in the absence of editor Perry White.

The texts describe Lois Lane as a "courageous girl reporter," "a competent reporter who's always on the job," "one of Metropolis' smartest reporters," the "star girl reporter for the Daily Planet," the "audacious girl reporter of the Daily Planet," "the prettiest girl reporter in Metropolis," a "well-known newspaperwoman," and a "famous reporter."

Lois Lane is also referred to as "Clark Kent's rival reporter at the Daily Planet." Indeed, the rivalry between these two famed reporters is a keen one.  Lois, in particular, is fiercly, sometimes unscrupulously, competetive, resorting to such tactics as intercepting Kent's telephone messages, sending him off on wild-goose chases, and even seducing him into letting her accompany him on an interview and then slipping knockout drops into his drink so that she can cover the story alone (Action Comics #6, 1938).  Although, particularly after 1940, Lois Lane and Clark Kent develop a friendly working relationship and frequently cover news assignments together, their reportorial rivalry has remained a heated one for four full decades and continues to constitute one of the major themes of the chronicles.  The texts repeatedly refer to them as the Daily Planet's "best reporters," its "star reporters," and as the "two best-known reporters" in Metropolis.  In the largest sense, however, the Kent-Lane reportorial rivarly is a sham, for the headline stories for which they compete so assiduously are invariably stories about Superman, and the outcome of the contest to see which of them can publish a particular story first is just as invariably determined by whether Superman decides to give Lois Lane an exclusive account or to write it up himself as reporter Clark Kent.

Nevertheless, newspaper reporting is Lois's first love, and she is capable of running any risk to get a scoop story.  She is renowned throughout the world for her courage and ingenuity in getting scoops, and her manis for scoops has led her to do almost anything in pursuit of a hot story.  In recognition of her unexcelled work as a reporter, Lois Lane has received awards too numerous to mention.

Perhaps the only major news story that has consistently eluded Lois Lane is the secret of Superman's dual identity, although the texts are inconsistent on the question of whether Lois Lane would actually publish the secret if she were to learn it or whether she would keep the secret to herself in order to avoid damaging the Man of Steel's super-heroic career.  Clark Kent expresses his own opinion on the question in March 1952: "If Lois exposes my secret identity," he muses, "it will give her the world's greatest scoop! She couldn't resist tha!"

Although Lois Lane first meets Superman in June 1938, it is not until June 1940 that she expresses even a mild interest in learning his secret identity, and not until November 1940 that she expresses a real desire to ferret it out.  In July 1941, for the first time in the chronicles, Lois Lane raises the possibility that Clark Kent might possibly by Superman, but not until July 1942 does she actively begin to suspect that Clark Kent and Superman are one and the same.

Since that time, the discovery of Superman's secret identity has remained one of Lois Lane's constant preoccupations, and her efforts to learn the secret constitute one of the major themes of the chronicles.  Despite her persistent efforts to verify her suspicion that Clark Kent is secretly Superman, however, the Man of Steel has always managed, often through the use of elaborate ruses, to persuade her that her suspicions were groundless, or at the very least not conclusively proven.

In the course of her lengthy career as a journalist, Lois Lane has, for a variety of purposes, often employed disguises and alternate identities.  Among the pen names and aliases employed by Lois Lane are Miss Henkel, Miss Andrews, Mrs. Moffatt, Priscilla Rhodes, and Miss Tracy.

In the texts, Lois Lane is described as courageous, headstrong, reckless and stubborn, audacious, impetuous and impulsive, and inquisitive.  She is outspoken, sometimes to the point of abrasiveness, in defense of her convictions, and she is adored by her co-workers for her heart of gold.  "That Lois dame has more spunk," remarks an anonymous helicopter pilot in November 1963, " than a squad of marines!"

Lois Lane has always harbored strong convictions concerning the equality - if not the outright superiority - of women, and has bridled at the suggestion that any reportorial assignment, no matter how hazardous, is "no job for a girl!"

Because Lois Lane is fearless to the point of foolhardiness, she is forever getting into serious trouble from which only Superman can extricate her, something the Man of Steel has done on easily thousands of occasions.

"If anything happened to Lois," observes Superman wryly in July 1942, "I'd have to join the ranks of the unemployed!"

When Lois Lane does find herself in jeopardy, it is usually for one of the following reasons:

  • In pursuit of a news story, Lois fearlessly - and recklessly - places herself in mortal danger;
  • Criminals attemps to harm her in retaliation for her articles exposing their rackets in the pages of the Daily Planet;
  • Evildoers kidnap her and attempt to hold her hostage as protection against Superman or to force the Man of Steel to do their bidding
  • Evildoers attempt to harm Lois as an indirect means of wreaking vengeance on Superman.

Early on, however, Lois Lane comes to realize that she is under Superman's personal protection and that, no matter how dire her predicament, the Man of Steel will always arrive in time to rescue her.

In the early years of her career, Lois Lane frequently carries a small pistol in her purse, both for self-defense and for extorting information from criminals.  She has apparently abandonded the practice, however, by the end of 1942.

Lois Lane's most heartfelt desire is to become Superman's bride. "For years," observes Action Comics #260 (January 1960), "the girl reporter has had her heart set upon becoming Mrs. Superman!"

The Answer

Text on this page taken from The Great Superman Book © 1978 by Michael L. Fleisher.
Lois Lane © DC Comics

entry origin: stta 1.0   

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