Thursday, August 23, 2018

Retro Review: Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #18 (1960) Review and **SPOILERS**

One Android’s as Good as Another

Cover Artists: Curt Swan, Stan Kaye 
Edited By: Mort Weisinger 
Cover Price: 10 cents 
Release Date: July 1960


“Lois Lane! Lois Lane! We want Lois Lane!” Gah! Ever since Bendis shoved her into a refrigerator or whatever, all I hear every day is how much people want Lois Lane. You want some Lois? Fine! Here’s a whole comic book full of Lois Lane, and she even gets to share the series title with Superman! How’s that for generous? My generosity continues in my review of Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #18 from 1960, which is right here!

Explain It!

Since this comic came out before everything was such a goddamned rip-off, this issue has three stories for a thin dime. I’ll be concentrating on the cover story, but let’s take a look at all of them while we’re here.

“The Star Reporter of Metropolis!"
Written By: Otto Binder, most likely 
Art By: Kurt Schaffenberger 
So some big movie studio has decided to make a movie about Metropolis’ newspaper, The Daily Planet, because apparently Hollywood was as bereft of good ideas in 1960 as it is today. The real staff assembles for publicity photographs, thinking of the stars that have been cast in their roles. There's Clark Gable playing Perry White, Rock Hudson playing Clark Kent, and Lois Lane by none other than Dolly Day! That’s right, Dolly Day! You don’t remember that huge celebrity, Dolly Day, who was on par with Rock Hudson and Clark Gable in her day? Hell, Jimmy gets to tell a flipping biography for Dwayne Hickman, but Lois doesn’t even get a real actor to play her role.
You know, star of such films as Pillow Chat and The Fella Who Knew a Whole Bunch.
This may, perhaps, be referencing Doris Day, who did have blonde hair and was a bit of an ingenue…in the 1940s! But no one could say that the Silver Age DC Comics writers were very “hip.” 
Well, you can dye your hair too, Lois.
The next day, some mousy-haired nerd girl named Mary applies to be a reporter at The Daily Planet, but she’s turned down. Lois takes pity on the girl and promises to give her a scoop that will have Perry White kissing her ass.
Perry White worked long and hard to be an asshole of his caliber.
And the scheme works! Unfortunately, this puts Mary on a roll that ultimately lands her the position of Superstar Reportrix…and of course, we have to bring it back to how much attention Superman is showing another woman. 
"Superman used to let orphanages burn for me!"
At one point, Lois tries talking a man off the ledge of a building, but somehow freaks him out. Mary takes over and uses sign language to calm him and get him back inside, because she noticed that he was standing outside a school for the “deaf and dumb.” The real hilarity is afterwards, when Perry White tells his staff that Mary picked up American Sign Language because “she once happened to be around deaf mutes.” This is enough to convince Lois to quit, because clearly there’s room for only one lady reporter at The Daily Planet.
"I learned how to be an alcoholic because I once happened to be around the Irish."
Just then, Lois gets a hot tip that wanted criminal “Bad Man” Brent is holed up somewhere, and this is just the lucky break Lois needs to, uh, commit suicide? 
In hindsight, maybe this tip should have been given to the police.
Turns out “Bad Man” Brent has a trap waiting for Lois, and he dumps her in some kind of watery dungeon. Wow! I thought it was one of those “reverse” nicknames, like when you call a really big person “Tiny.” Luckily, Superman rescues Lois in the nick of time, because of course he does.
Holmes Makes It Right
Then it turns out that the thing we suspected from the very beginning is true: Mary is really Dolly Day, doing some on-the-job research for her role as Lois Lane! And what she learned is that newspaper reporters are incredibly imperceptive. 
"Well, I'm off to make more money that you could ever dream of by pretending to be you!"

“The Sleeping Doom”
Written By: Mort Weisinger, probably 
Art By: Kurt Schaffenberger 
Right. If you thought the last story was silly, then hold on to your hats: One day, Superman gives Perry White some gem from outer space for him to use a paperweight, then Supes takes off out the window, announcing that he will not return for ten days. 
"Here's a bauble I totally didn't win gambling. By the way, don't bother me for ten days!"
Butterfingers Perry drops the super rare gem and it shatters, fracturing into three pieces. No need for concern, says Perry: now Lois and Jimmy Olsen can have a piece as well.
The problem with being Superman's friend is that rare space gems are mundane to you.
Perry has a friend set these gems into gender- and age-appropriate pieces of jewelry that each of them wear well into the evening—in the case of Perry and Jimmy, as they sleep! 
For crying out loud Superman would have to give us the "chatty" jewel.
Jimmy has a little trouble sleeping, so he counts Superman’s heroic feats…what a lame-ass.
If Superman can do all this, ever wonder why he hangs out with you, Archie?
Each fragment of this gem holds some kind of alien consciousness that can take over the body of a human when they fall asleep, and the more fragments there are, the more humans they can control! 
"It's a plan so overwrought and poorly-conceived, it just has to work!"
Only problem is that Lois Lane pulled an all-nighter to make a deadline, so she did not sleep…but no matter, alien-controlled Perry White suggests that Lois take off for the day and cozy up into bed. Lois agrees and starts to leave, then turns around to find Perry and Jimmy gloating about being possessed by evil shiny rocks.
"Oh, but we do have fun, don't we?"
Well, Lois can’t rightly wear her alien gem broach now! For one thing, she doesn’t have any shoes to go with it. Much of the story involves Lois staying awake for ten straight days, using various means. Alien-controlled Perry and Jimmy are sick of Lois’ very rude insomnia and conspire to get her to go night-night! 
"Then I'll list all the feats Superman can do. I've got eight-thousand of 'em."
Their plan having failed, Lois keeps an appointment with reformed pickpocket “Slinky” Sam, who she is interviewing in what is sure to be called “the most boring newspaper article of 1960!”
"They said I could be either a pickpocket or a rat-based sports mascot."
Later, alien-controlled Perry tries to get Lois to fall asleep by having her model for a mattress commercial—yes, really—and it looks like their plan to take over a large portion of the world is working! But then Superman shows up, and nope. 
"If the mattress commercial scheme didn't work, I was gonna make her watch The Walking Dead."
Superman zaps every alien gem in the world with his X-ray vision, and both Jimmy and Perry snap out of it. But why didn’t Lois fall under alien control in the five seconds that she fell asleep before Superman came blowing through the window? Because “Slinky” Sam stole her broach when Lois interviewed him, proving that there’s no such thing as criminal reform!
"Oh yeah, all that stuff about 'Slinky' Sam going straight? It was bullshit."

“Lois Lane Weds Astounding Man!”
Written By: Otto Binder 
Art By: Al Plastino 
Now we come to the title bout, the story depicted on the cover of the issue. Whaa--? Lois Lane marrying another man? Never mind the fact that Superman has made it clear that he has no intentions of marrying Lois plenty of times already, the very idea that Lois Lane would wed another is supposed to be a page-turning shocker. Our story begins when a UFO knocks out the engine of Lois’ car and descends nearby. 
"I wonder if I should lead with the part about my engine?"
Being a curious sort, she boards the spaceship, which immediately flies into outer space. Lois doesn’t freak out too badly, though, since the craft utilizes mood lighting and sweet tunes to calm her lady nerves.
A little Paul Anka puts every lady in the mood.
Then, Astounding Man appears before her! We can only assume that the “astounding” part applies primarily to his costume. 
Ricardo Montleban?!
Astounding Man turns out to be…a creepy stalker,
"I have also observed your colloquial customs. Is it time for you to 'show me your tits' yet?"
Though you have to admit, the guy has some moves. 
"I hope everyone isn't fucking flipping all the time."
But seriously, Astounding Man is a pretty creepy stalker.
Oh women! You love the attention!
I mean, a really creepy stalker! 
"I have 3-D film of you changing outfits on another reel."
Astounding Man takes Lois around his planet for a while, where he’s a real big cheese. Then, he gets jealous and whisks her away to the moon where he gives her a smelly piece of jewelry.
Astounding Man applies kissy-faced pressure to Lois, which she finds terribly romantic and swoon-worthy because a dude wrote this story. 
Al Plastino's best shot at Liz Taylor, 1960
He takes Lois to a robot circus-slash-gladiator arena, which is pretty awesome. Astounding Man even leaps into the fray to fight the robots! Okay, maybe he is a better catch than I gave him credit for.
Well he's certainly a master of seduction.
Not to mention Astounding Man kicks those robots’ chromed asses! Flush with horny adrenaline, Astounding Man can’t wait another minute to be married to Lois, so he pops the question. And blushing, she accepts! 
"You...will be fighting more robots, right?"
Turns out Astounding Man is also astoundingly insecure, because he starts waffling on his pervasive love for Lois.
Any old super would do. The Flash, Martian Manhunter, they're all fine.
After some “Are you sure? Are you really suuure?” from Astounding Man, he agrees to show Lois Lane his secret identity, which…shouldn’t make a difference, since she only met him yesterday and doesn’t know anyone else on this planet. 
Lois Lane: worst-ever judge of character
Lois is surprised to find that Astounding Man’s alter ego is another man entirely! A shriveled, bald guy named Oogamooga controls Astounding Man from some kind of high-tech radio.
And why is your name Oogamooga?
Oogamooga explains that Astounding Man is an android, a synthetic man that does his bidding like any robot. His voice is projected from pre-recorded tapes, which says a lot for Lois Lane’s conversational skills. 
"I know the kids today love vinyl records. But magnetic tape is the best of both worlds!"
Oogamooga really busts Lois’ balls over her promise! Take it easy, man, you have her hostage on a distant planet. What is she gonna do, run home to mother?
But seriously: why is your name Oogamooga?
Even more hilariously, Oogamooga doesn’t even want to marry Lois for her merits, but to rub it in the face of Superman. Superman who, again, categorically does not want to marry Lois Lane. Oogamooga sends a rocket ship to deliver a wedding invitation to Superman, because that’s totally in accordance with interstellar space law. 
Now if it was a birthday invitation, he would have to send it by light waves.
Superman heads to the wedding, and Lois fills him in on the specifics. But there’s more to the story, which is related to the reader as “PS-ST! PS-ST!” Is she trying to call a cat? A simple “(whisper whisper)” would have sufficed. In any event, these crazy kids tie the knot, and Superman looks on—just like on the cover!
"Please stop spitting into my ear, Lois."
But it was a switcheroo! Lois hocked her smelly ring to make an android of herself, and got some lonely old biddy to control it. 
Why you conniving b–
And that, folks, is the best marriage that there ever was, throughout the galaxy!
I can't wait until they make their androids sit wordlessly across from each other at the breakfast table.

All of these Lois Lane stories are ridiculous and more than mildly misogynistic. Yet I cannot deny that I enjoyed this issue more than many mainstream darling comics clogging store racks today. The art is clean and stiff, the situations moronic, and comic book continuity doesn’t even exist at this point. If you can’t enjoy this, then you must be some kind of crummy Lana Lang supporter! Nuts to you!

Bits and Pieces: 

Lois Lane gets herself into a pickle, then cole slaws her way out of it. Huh? This comic book contains no actual delicatessen content, but it should still put a smile on your face. If it doesn't, then contact your physician.


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