Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Retro Review: Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #30 (1962) Review and **SPOILERS**

We’re a Happy Facsimile

Cover Artists: Curt Swan, Stan Kaye 
Editor: Mort Weisinger 
Cover Price: 12 cents 
Cover Date: January 1962 
Publisher: DC Comics


Boy, you Lois Lane fanatics are hard to please! No matter what issue of Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane that I review, you say it isn’t the correct Lois. Even though it’s her own comic book! “Lois isn’t defined by her relation to Superman!” you cry. Well, I never said it was! In fact, Superman is defined by his relationship to Lois Lane! Don’t believe me? Check out my review of Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #30, and eat some humble pie!

Explain It!

“When Superman Abandoned Lois Lane!” 
Written By: I really don’t know! Maybe Weisinger? 
Art By: Kurt Schaffenberger 
One day at the Daily Planet, super nosy copy boy Jimmy Olsen notices that Lois is painting her nails at the office, and that she gets an unusual personal delivery. On company time! 
"Hey Jimmy, how about you mind your own fucking business?"
Lois’ excuse for gussying up at work is that the Whites’ have invited her for dinner that evening, and she won’t have time to freshen her glow this afternoon because she’ll be staking out a gangland meeting while disguised as a window washer. Clark is furious that Lois is going to put herself in danger at some other building, when the windows at the Daily Planet could use a little touch-up of their own. 
"If she leaves any streaks on those windows, she'll get an earful!"
Lois does exactly as she intended, but the gangsters inside can tell that this isn’t their regular window washer because their fingernails are manicured. And no window washer would bother doing their nails, especially not on a workday! 
"Our window washer would never wear red nail polish. She's no hussy."
The hoodlum opens the window to discover reporter Lois Lane hanging outside, so he undoes her belt to send her falling to the pavement below. And she still had four floors of windows to scrub! 
"For legal purposes, it is the fall that will kill you."
Superman swoops in to save Lois, as she expected. The Man of Steel isn’t thrilled about how blithe Lois is, and gives her an earful about not purposefully putting herself in peril. Just look at her hang-dog expression! The next day, Lois and Clark are sent to cover a dog show—I guess Lois got bumped to the Arts section after failing to expose that gangster. Lois is in luck, however, because she recognizes one of the judges is a big-time drug dealer! 
To be fair, all dog show judges are part-time criminals.
Lois tails the judge a little too closely and he gets wise to her, so Lois turns discreetly and buys some ice cream from a vendor that happens to be nearby. Is that a thing? Is ice cream sold at dog pageants? That point is moot, however, because before Lois can take a bite, a black dog charges in and takes the ice cream bar right out of her hand! 
Well I know one dog that isn't getting "Best in Show!"
The canine gets his comeuppance when it immediately gets sick and dies. Therefore, the ice cream vendor was a paid assassin and his wares were poisoned! It couldn’t be that the treat was made of chocolate, which is poison to dogs. Nope! It must be a conspiracy. 
"...I can't even get a refund!"
And it is indeed a conspiracy, perpetrated by Superman! He painted Krypto to look like a different dog in order to trick Lois. So, the ice cream wasn’t poisoned? Was the guy selling ice cream in on this gag? It’s pretty incredible that Clark put together this scheme in such short order. 
No Kryptonian animals were harmed in the making of this comic book.
Later, Lois goes scuba diving in order to retrieve a murder weapon, despite the boatman’s warnings. When she dives underwater, Lois is attacked by a very handsy octopus! Once again, Superman is a no-show, but the octopus lets Lois go when it spies a sexier swimmer above.
"Wait! Come back! I...er, I was starting to enjoy that."
The whole thing was another scam by Superman! He employed Aquaman and his pet octopus Topo to help out. From this picture, you can see the nature of the relationship between Aquaman and Topo. 
"So long, Superman. I've got to walk on some other aquatic animals."
The next scene is what makes me think Mort Weisinger may have written this, because he had a real penchant for fur storage lockers. Lois is accidentally locked inside one of these fur coolers, and it’s Clark, not Superman that saves her. Well that settles it! Lois tells her boss, Perry, that she isn’t going to take any more dangerous assignments. Nope, strictly dog shows with poisoned ice cream for her. 
"Alright, you'll get what we call the 'Clark Kent detail' around here."
She’s still a target of the underworld, as Lois learns when she gets home and there are a couple of gangsters waiting for her with guns drawn. Before they can fire, Superman swoops in and attracts their bullets with his magnetic chest!
"I know he normally shrugs off bullets. But I gotta try."
Lois is thrilled by this and gives Superman a big hug…then takes off and goes downstairs for some reason. While she’s gone, the real Superman flies in the window to confront the impostor, who is Jimmy in a rubber Superman mask! 
"I hope you have a good lawyer, Jimmy."
He rounded out the impression with a bullet-proof vest and some stilts, but Jimmy faints dead away when Superman points out that a head shot would have undone his cover handily. The next day, Lois is back at Perry’s desk, demanding more daring and life-threatening assignments, which I’m pretty sure is insubordination.
"I wonder if anyone can rescue me from how goddamned annoying she is."

“Superman’s Secret Family! / The Robot Paradise!” 
Written By: Jerry Siegel 
Art By: Kurt Schaffenberger 
This one is written by Jerry Siegel, the co-creator of Superman and Lois Lane. So, it should be well-rooted in the foundations, the very essences of these characters, right? Our yarn begins when Lois visits Professor Burke to peek through his new high-range telescope. She watches a Godzilla movie and then what looks like an alien version of the television sitcom Taxi. Pretty impressive! 
"Wow, life on that planet looks just as mundane as life on this one."
Then Professor Burke turns his telescope to a far-off planet, and they see Superman alighting before a his secret family, a mermaid wife and son. Uh, and a fish with a lion's head, for some reason.
Frankly, Superman having a secret family is the most believable part of this scenario.
Lois is distraught by scenes of domestic bliss between Superman and his wife, Mooki, because she doesn’t think that Kryptonians should lie with mermaids. She’s not a bigot, mind you, she was just brought up with certain beliefs, and one of those is that Kryptonians should be with Kryptonians, and mermaids should be with mermaids or other applicable fish. Meanwhile, on “Superman at Home,” he’s agreed to bake his wife a pie. 
"If that's your answer, then you should know that my personal massager broke down, too."
At home, Lois stews over this predicament, and eventually gets super pissed-off at Superman. How dare he play her for a fool, hiding a secret family on another planet, when she should be playing him for a fool, by acquiring temporary mind-reading abilities or marrying Lex Luthor or some other such nonsense. 
"I liked it better when he was leading me on, without his own romantic happiness."
The next day, Superman glides into the window of the Daily Planet to jaw with Lois, but she gives him the cold shoulder. He even has the audacity to bring up that pie he baked for his wife! Which, incidentally, was a “super pie,” meaning it was baked with heat vision and measured big enough to feed a football team. 
"I'm writing a breaking article: 'Superman a Jerkwad: Kryptonian Superdick Can Suck Eggs.'"
Even though she’s steamed at Superman, Lois can’t resist her voyeuristic tendencies. She heads over to Professor Burke’s and flips on the telescope to watch Mooki’s planet being threatened by spaceship! We learn that Superman’s rigged it to somehow turn the planet invisible, but that doesn’t come up again, so it isn’t important. What is important is that Superman Junior is licking a giant lollipop! Don’t they make regular-sized food in normal portions on this planet? All of it could qualify for a Guinness record. 
"I've got a satellite dish of ice cream melting away in the kitchen!"
Supes doesn’t want his kid to spoil his dinner, so he does what any dad would do: use a supersonic yell to shatter the candy before his progeny’s very eyes. 
"For legal purposes, it was a shard of broken candy that blinded you."
The next day, Superman visits Lois at the Daily Planet again, and taunts her by referencing the candy he’d destroyed on his private planet. She thinks he’s laughing at her, but frankly I think he’s chuckling at having crushed the dreams of a budding child. 
"God you should have seen that kid wail! Ha ha! Lois, let's steal some candy right now!"
Now Lois has had it! She takes Superman to task for lying to her about his mermaid family, even though he’s kept the secret of his identity away from everyone for years. I mean, couldn’t he be some married shlub once he removes the red and blue long johns? Or maybe he’s a celibate monk. Point is, there’s a lot about Superman that Lois doesn’t know on the surface. Where does he do his laundry, for instance? 
"Hold on, slow down a second. Which secret family are you talking about?"
Superman is shocked by these allegations, so he zips over to Professor Burke to check on this planet of Superman-loving mermaids. Finding out what he needs to know, he flies back to Lois and snatches her up! 
"Record the rest of that mermaid family show for me, will you?"
Superman stuffs her in a Convenient Device and flies Lois through space to meet his mermaid wife. Perhaps he’s hoping for a threesome? 
It's probably smart to avoid breaking Superman's balls while he holds your life in his hands.
Landing on that planet, Superman asks Mooki and her son if they know him—and they respond in the negative! Just then, a duplicate of Superman comes running out of the house to clear everything up: they’re all robots! Well, that explains everything. The end. 
"All of us can tell your future for a nickel."
Hold on a second, that doesn’t explain anything! And so, in the final chapter, we get the stupidest part of the stupidest story you’ll read about today. Fans of Superman’s Silver Age adventures know all about his team of robot look-alikes, which he employs to perform his duties when he’s off-world or just doesn’t feel like superheroing that day, is that okay with you ingrates?!! 
"X-4, you've been specifically created to field phone calls from Jimmy Olsen. He does go on."
Well this tale is about the first four robots that the Man of Tomorrow created and trained. Wait a minute, trained? Did he create life or something? One would expect a robot to be programmed, but these automatons can take suggestions and have emotions and everything. This is starting to look less like employing machines and more like mechanical slavery. 
"Now I want to show you what kind of face you should make if you eat a black jellybean."
He even trains the robots to…impersonate police officers?? What the hell is going on here? Are these robots meant to replicate heroic acts or…ulp…replicate human beings? 
"Lois can never know of my Lawrence Welk record collection."
Superman teaches the robots to change clothes in private, lest someone observe his alter ego as Clark Kent. Great. So he’s got robots pretending to be Kent, too. He teaches them how Jimmy Olsen’s signal watch operates, so that’s another thing Superman doesn’t have to worry about. 
"And here's the remote control to turn off Jimmy signal if you're in the middle of watching football."
Superman’s also devised a system to preclude two Superman robots appearing in the same place as each other, or the actual Superman (if he’s bothered to drag himself out of bed that day.) He tells Krypto to observe these robots as his masters, and to stop that goddamned barking. I’m starting to wonder if anyone has ever interacted with Superman or if they’ve only been handled by his well-rehearsed robots! 
"I made sure they all smell like my crotch."
Which would be the best way to end this story, with a true sci-fi twist: have the Superman that came with Lois remove his skull cap and reveal that he’s been a robot all along. But of course, this is a Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane comic book, not an episode of “The Twilight Zone,” so it’s got to get dumber than that. It all comes to a head one day when Superman takes some alien artifact into the Fortress of Solitude for examination, only to find that it’s made of Red Kryptonite! 
"What I mean is that sometimes this stuff makes me super horny. I'll give you all a moment to draw straws."
Red Kryptonite, you’ll remember, has the power to make something unpredictable happen to Superman for forty-eight hours. He might get really fat for a while, or turn into a human porcupine or something. This time, he turns into an intangible, invisible phantom just in time for an outer space emergency: an orbiting landing capsule is screwed up and plummeting earthward! 
"Wait...is that a Russian space capsule? False alarm."
The robot X-3 heads out to do what the phantomized Superman can’t, and he deploys the capsule's parachute. While in space, however, X-3 gets clobbered by a meteor and goes kaput! And Superman leaves him out there because his robot maid doesn’t do outer space. 
Yeah, that's pretty much the question we all have, Lois.
X-3 explains from here, because why wouldn’t he? The robot floated in space for a while, eventually touching down on a barren planet, battered and broken. His atomic core rendered useless, X-3 had no power…yet somehow had sentience. Superman, what hath you wrought?! Don’t you know there are penalties for playing God?? 
"Master...why did you...create me to...feel back pain??"
On another planet, a mermaid scientist named Mooki prepares to take off for other worlds since hers is devoid of water. Turns out this stuff is important to mermaids. She cruises through space, dying of dehydration––surprise, genius, outer space doesn’t have water, either—and eventually lands on the planet where X-3 is lying, smashed against some rocks. 
"I should have left sooner, but I was having the nicest dream."
She’s a scientist, so Mooki repairs X-3 until he’s right as rain—except for his atomic power system, which would allow him to fly back to Earth. They have some time together, but Mooki eventually expires, as all creatures must, and X-3 buries her. 
"And Mooki never did give me any nookie."
Then, he figures, I’m a robot—I’ll just make a robot of Mooki! And to round out his psychotic break, he makes a child robot to simulate their offspring—making it both half-fish and super-powered to embody the genetic material that they would have supplied to their son, IF THEY WEREN’T FUCKING ROBOTS, THAT IS. 
"Er, be careful who you say your name around, son."
So that’s the explanation: one of Superman’s robots went rogue and built a fake family of mermaids on another planet. I must admit, I did not see that one coming. 
Gosh, don't you feel silly now, Lois?
X-3 thinks that, now that Superman’s discovered him, he’ll be repairing his atomic core and bringing him back to Earth. But Superman is like nah, you can have your sick fetish play, weirdo. 
"Just don't fuck up my brand too badly."
And so, everything is as it should be: Lois mooning after Superman, and him treating her like a sack of day-old dirt. Oh, but would that she could be a robotic mermaid with an errant robot son!
Why doesn't she just marry one of Superman's robots? He's got like three dozen of them.

Which brings up a few more questions: why did the robot family eat a pie? Why did X-3’s son lick a lollipop? This implies that they need food for sustenance. Clearly, X-3 experiences happiness, sadness, anger…this is no robot, folks, but artificial life. I think the real villain of this story is Superman, who would build slaves to do his dirty work so he can play with his Tonka trucks in the Fortress of Solitude. The first story is pretty boilerplate for this series, so misguided and hackneyed that it’s barely worth mocking. But I did like some of the expressions on Lois’ and Superman’s faces, I feel like Schaffenberger was employing some Jerry Lewis-style exaggeration at times.
And that's how Clark Kent got twenty years for sexual assault.

Bits and Pieces:

Lois Lane becomes jealous of Superman's secret family, but it turns out to be entirely unfounded for the most ridiculous reasons that you could possibly imagine. A hallucination caused by eating moldy rye bread? No, more ridiculous. Lois saw swamp gas? More ridiculous. It's so unbelievable, it might be worth reading the thing just to see the ending for yourselves.


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