Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Retro Review: Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #27 (1961) Review and **SPOILERS**

Sister, Sister

Cover Artists: Curt Swan, Sheldon Moldoff 
Editor: Mort Weisinger 
Cover Price: 10 cents 
Cover Date: August, 1961 
Publisher: DC Comics


You know, it’s not just Lois Lane that’s horny all the time in the DC Universe. No, Jimmy Olsen is also canonically horny for Lois’ sister, Lucy, as well! This is normally something we hear about in Jimmy Olsen’s title, but we actually get a visit from the blonde-haired waif in Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #27, and I’ve reviewed that issue right here!

Explain It!

“Lois Lane’s Super-Brain!” 
Art By: Kurt Schaffenberger 
One afternoon, newspaper reporter Lois Lane heads over to Professor Holt’s laboratory in order to gather information for a report. He’s created some kind of artificial brain that can soak up others’ intelligence, then hold it in a virtual “bank” for totally not-nefarious purposes. Lois’ sister Lucy is hanging out, too, for no particular reason. 
"He bored the crap out of me then, too."
Lois and Lucy stay during the thrilling sequence of old dudes sitting in a fake electric chair and having their grey matters absorbed. It’s like all the fun of hanging around a barber, without getting a haircut. 
Greatest scientific find of the century, and now that brain is nothing but a repository for pornography.
When Professor Holt steps out of the room to drain the main vein, Lois decides to pose under the brain-sucking machine as a gag, and have Lucy take a picture. But of course she flips the switch or something, and Lois becomes a regular Einstein! Or an actual Einstein, in this case. 
Don't write any brain checks you can't cover! No overdraft protection for brain withdrawals!
The next morning, Lois wakes up, her mind swimming with random scientific tidbits. And there’s plenty of room for them do so, because she’s turned into a Conehead overnight! Her head is the shape of a lightbulb, and all of her hair has fallen out into a neat clump, because frankly it was more Aqua-Net than follicles anyway. 
"I regret calling you 'fivehead' all those times, sis."
Lois is despondent that she can no longer wear her favorite baseball caps, but Lucy points out that, if she doesn’t repeat the treatment regularly, the effect will eventually wear off. And by that, she means the intelligence; no one is making any promises about the hair. 
If you're smart, you're ugly. Them's the rules.
Just then, Lois’ boss Perry White calls to tell the Lane sisters that he’s coming upstairs! Lois has to think quickly to hide her oblong melon, so she decides to shove it under an industrial, professional-grade hair dryer that happens to be in the apartment. Perry has some good news: he’s got her a spot on a fake “What’s My Line?” type television program called “I’ve Got a Secret,” where she can talk about her recent trip to an Egyptian archaeological dig! Since being the smartest person on Earth doesn’t make her the most self-confident, Lois agrees to do it. 
"Would you like a manicure or facial scrub while you're here, Perry?"
Lois studies some Ancient Egyptian action figures as she puzzles over the best way to appear on television without revealing her megalencephaly. And then she seizes on the perfect idea: show up wearing a Klan hood! 
"She also insisted that everyone in the audience be white, for some reason."
Well, not really a Klan hood, but a suspiciously pointy hood nonetheless. When she does reveal her identity, Lois is wearing an Egyptian headdress that hides her enlarged dome. So why did she wear the hood in the first place? Just how does this weird TV show work, anyway? 
At that very moment, young Grace Jones gets an idea.
Lois decides that she’s got to get away from Metropolis, so she and Lucy go to a remote beach—nothing around except for the ostrich pen of the local zoo. Essentially, the city was planned by a three year-old with a limited set of Legos. Jimmy Olsen, who’s sweet on Lucy, comes stumbling along the dunes looking for her, so Lois sticks her head in the sand like an ostrich to hide her cranial shame. And better yet, she explains that actual ostriches don’t bother to do the same! So why are you doing it, Lois? And why do you still keep your head buried in sand, even as your sister tries to hustle Jimmy away from the location? Lois? Can you hear me? Or do you have sand in your ears? 
Thank goodness they weren't hanging out by the spitting Llama pen.
Lois Lane figures that she needs to put some real distance between herself and Metropolis, if she doesn’t want to be spotted by Superman, so she takes off for Las Vegas. There, she overhears that an old friend’s husband is about to spend the family’s last money on gambling, and this story just turned into a Mickey Spillane novel. 
"I think I'd like a nice piece of fruit!"
Lois figures she can help her friend and this loveless marriage, but she needs to get onto the gambling floor to do so. Using her expanded mind, Lois is able to count that there is one less low-budget Showgirl on stage than advertised, so she steals a costume and modifies it since it’s just a write-off for the casino, they’ll never miss it! 
"Stealing and vandalizing private property is nothing when a man's compulsion is at stake!"
Since Las Vegas dancers regularly hang out in casino lobbies in full costume, no one notices when Lois sidles up to her friend’s gamblaholic husband and feeds him the numbers he can use to cheat at roulette. There’s no part of that sentence that doesn’t feel immoral. Once Lois has shifted some of this casino’s wealth to a veritable stranger, she advises the guy to cash out and then leaves him to his crippling addiction to gaming. 
"I'm off to count cards at the Blackjack table."
On her way off the floor, Lois is accosted by two costumed attendees of a science-fiction convention, who immediately pull her into the event space and award her for Best Costume. Lois exits the Motel, weeping, but she’d better look skyward because here comes Superman!
She should be honored by that award, there was a guy dressed like Zardoz in here.
Terrified of Superman seeing her humongous head, Lois tries to hide, but is too late! Luckily, it’s Bizarro, willing to destroy his marriage in order to shtup Lois. This makes her even more upset, but I’m like sister, don’t you look a gift horse in the mouth, this man might be a little slow and ugly, but he’s got the same brawn and powers! 
"If you not marry me, perhaps you interested in threesome with Bizarro Lois?"
The next day, Lois’ head returns to its normal shape and all of her hair is back, so that’s that.

“The Battle of the Sisters!” 
Penciled By: Curt Swan 
Inked By: Stan Kaye 
In case you didn’t get enough Lane-on-Lane action in the last story, this one features Lois and Lucy as well. There’s a dinner honoring Perry White one evening, and Superman comes calling for a date—but not with Lois! 
You're gonna wish you left those rock n' roll records on, Lois.
Instead, Superman takes off with her little sister, Lucy. Lois looks positively stoic about it in this last panel. 
Jimmy shows up in a tuxedo to take Lucy to the dinner, and Lois informs him that she’s already left with the Man of Steel. Did you bother to arrange this beforehand, Jimmy, or did you just assume she’d be sitting around, waiting for you? No matter, Lois and Jimmy decide turnabout is fair play, and agree to sleep with each other to make their crushes jealous. 
It's a very exclusive event: black tie or Superman costume only.
Er, I mean, they agree to go to the dinner together. They’re not there more than two minutes before Superman takes Lucy outside to make time with her. Lois and Jimmy follow, but then one of the drapes goes up in flames due to a carelessly-tossed cigarette. Jimmy says he doesn’t need any help from the guy that’s cuckolding him, and he puts out the fire himself with an extinguisher. In that time, however, Superman and Lucy have stopped making out, and they’re headed off to second base! Lana Lang, another rival for Superman’s affection, hears about his new steady girl over the radio, and you can imagine she’s not thrilled about it. 
"Leave your exposé of mercury in our drinking water for another day."
Lana follows Superman and Lucy to “Romance Rock,” a landmark rock formation that looks a little like two people smooching. Or a violent zombie attack. Depends on your vantage point, really. 
The formerly-named Kidney Stones
The brakes fail on Lana’s news van, and it hurtles into the supports holding up Romance Rock. Superman quickly fixes the problem, then flies off with Lucy again so they can be together where there aren’t so many dangerous vehicles and prying eyes! 
Superman preserves a location where teenagers will hump for generations.
That night, Lois goes to sleep, gazing longingly at the picture of Superman she uses for masturbation purposes. She’s then horrified to see Lucy turn the picture towards her, for her own masturbation purposes! Hey, get your own wank material, sis! 
"I'll have to make do with this Superman-shaped dildo."
Lois watches her sister sleep and cries, which is probably a more common occurrence than we think. Later, Jimmy gets an early phone call from Perry White, ordering him to cover a trans-continental flight to California that will have a lot of mobsters on board. So what is Jimmy supposed to do here? Get on the plane with these criminals and interview them? 
"Ask them some routine questions, like 'What crimes did you do?' and 'Are you going to kill me?'"
Even worse, Lucy is a stewardess on said aircraft, so Jimmy feels the need to disguise himself so she won’t think he’s stalking her. Mind you, while Jimmy is sweet on Lucy, the two of them are friends, so it shouldn’t be too outrageous to simply tell her the truth about why you’re on her flight. But no, instead Jimmy decides to play dress-up as a gangster because that’s so much easier. 
"Hold on, this might not be enough of a disguise--to the animal costumes wardrobe!"
The get-up seems to work, or Lucy is just humoring him. At that moment, Superman decides to be helpful and push the plane a few thousand feet into the upper atmosphere, because he’s apparently unaware that human beings need oxygen to breathe. 
"After this, I'll bring some underwater submarines rapidly to the surface. I love helping people!"
I'm not saying Superman isn't at fault, but the FAA must share some of the blame here.
Superman catches Jimmy after he blows clean out of the plane, then replaces him and the emergency door before taking off. Jimmy is annoyed that his disguise fell off when he was plummeting to his instant death, but I’d think he’d be more discomfited by the fact that the inside of his pants are probably caked with shit. 
"Lucy won't give me the time of day since I shrieked for my mommy like a seven year-old girl."
That night, Lois confronts Lucy about stealing the man she loves from afar, and Lucy says she doesn’t have any relationship with Superman. Just then, Superman floats in through the window and proposes marriage to Lucy, which must have been awkward. But of course, Lois needn’t worry at all, because this isn’t Superman! 
What, every flying, super-powered man in a Superman costume has to be Superman??
No, it’s Kandorian Bor-Jak, another Superman fanatic who swapped places with him accidentally, sending the real Supes to the miniaturized city in a jar. 
Kandor must be the most boring city if all they do is spy on Superman's friends.
While on the outside of his glass prison, Bor-Jak has powers just like Superman. The Man of Tomorrow, meanwhile, is happy as a clam in Kandor with his buddies Van-Zee and Sylvia, who we actually met in the previous review. Indeed, haven’t we seen this story already? 
They're so content, they don't even notice the giant eyeball peering at them from above.
And the same error is committed again: Bor-Jak decides to wear one of Superman’s costumes while hanging out on Earth, so people mistake him for Superman. Because of course they do! He looks like Superman, has Superman’s powers, wears his clothing, what do you expect? We’re supposed to have known it wasn’t really Superman, because Bor-Jak ripped the cape when putting on the outfit, but due to the poor print registration of this issue, I didn’t even notice. And besides, maybe Superman was feeling bummy that day and decided to wear one of his old capes. Everyone has days like that. 
Let's make it a rule that escaped Kandorians are not allowed to wear Superman's costume anymore, okay?
Bor-Jak fell in love with Lucy and asked her to marry him several times, but she’s refused—including at this moment when he’s produced a big, fat ring. He seems to take it stride, however, and flies off with no obvious hard feelings. Inside, he is probably plotting revenge on all women, everywhere. 
"I'm off to propose to Zsa Zsa Gabor two or three times."
Lucy explains that she didn’t want to marry Bor-Jak for the same reasons Superman won’t marry Lois, and plus she likes black guys. And they all live happily every after, in unfulfilling, unrequited romantic relationships!
"Though I wouldn't have minded one bit if he stole my girlfriend."

“The Last Days of Lois Lane!” 
Written By: Otto Binder
Art By: Kurt Schaffenberger 
Lois and Clark have been sent to some laboratory to investigate experiments with radiation. On the way to getting checked out of the place, Lois stops to harass some guinea pigs that are awaiting the gamma ray blasts that will turn them into cute little Incredible Hulks. A few days later, Clark asks Lois to attend some event where Superman will be, but she brushes him off for some mountain climbing expedition. Silly Lois! Here was a chance to be played a fool by Superman again! 
"Besides, everyone knows the Veterans' Fund is used for the government's Black Ops."
This climbing expedition is treacherous, and while inching around a narrow ledge, it gives way—sending at least two climbers to their deaths! A rescue helicopter shows up that can carry only two people, and Lois insists that the other two fellows take the ride. 
Damn son. Lois got ups.
While in her precarious position, Lois writes down her thoughts on the side of the cliff. At that moment, Clark gets wind of Lois’ peril and…well, you can guess what will happen next. 
"My mother-in-law is also on that rocket. Don't tell my wife."
Superman rescues Lois in the nick of time, and she appears genuinely apologetic. A few days later, Superman is hanging out at a rocket launch that’s sending a bunch of animals on a one-way trip to the moon, when he notices that Lois, who is reporting on the event, isn’t around. 
"I would like to state that Zebbo the monkey is the kindest soul I have ever known."
That’s because Lois is on the rocket! Seated comfortably next to a monkey and in front of a dog, she radios back to Mission Control that she’ll update folks about what it’s like to fly to your imminent death while animal fecal matter floats around you.
"Great. Now I have to give Zebbo the brush-off."

Superman flies up and snatches the cockpit of the rocket away, just before it explodes. Mind you, if Lois hadn’t been on board, Superman wouldn’t have bothered and the animals would be confetti. Lois can’t tell Superman why she’s been nigh suicidal lately, it’s just something she has to work out herself…by dying horribly? 
This is also how Superman passed AP Chemistry, incidentally.

It’s snooping time for Superman, who uses his telescopic and X-ray visions to read a note Lois is writing, intended for him to read after her death. In this note, Lois explains that she has but a week to live, and has been trying to get that landmark news story that would cement her place in the Journalism Hall of Fame. We can assume that the nude pics are inserted off-panel. 
Some flashback panels explain why Lois is so fatalistic: seems that when Lois returned to the radiation laboratory for a check-up, she happened upon a random card that said she had a week to live. 
"This is still better than the time my brain expanded and my hair fell out."
Lois asked Dr. Jerrold about it, but he didn’t know what she was talking about and said she was as healthy as a horse. Or was it that she looked like a horse? In any case, Lois thinks the doctor is humoring her, because doctors are well-known for their practical jokes. Particularly where a patient’s life is concerned. 
"Dr. Jerrold also told me I was wearing a nice dress, so I tore it off and immediately burned it!"
Having heard…er, read only Lois’ side of this story, Superman heads off to Dr. Jerrold to see what he makes of this somber scene. 
"Dr. Jerrold will understand when I tell him I've been stalking Lois for days."
Unfortunately, Dr. Jerrold is on vacation, so Superman has to wait to speak to him. Then two days later he catches Lois taking photographs at the base of an erupting volcano. Superman heads in to save her, but first he holds back the lava flow with his super-breath, so she can snap a few choice flicks. Good thing, too, because if Lois had let the molten rock wash over her, both photographer and camera would have been incinerated. 
"No, it's okay! The photographs will be fine! I'm using a Polaroid!"
Lois goes back home to see her parents one last time, and they give her a Dictaphone. This was a voice recorder people used back in the day, and that recording would then be transcribed by some typing service. Lois determines that she can use the Dictaphone to record her experiences with Superman for a book about the same, and the royalties from those sales would go to her parents. Uh, how about some of that money goes to your old buddy in the red-and-blue tights? Seems like he will have contributed as much, if not more, than you, Lois! 
"Thinking only of her family and her posthumous fame!"
When Lois sets to recording, she finds she can’t remember any of the swell times she’s had skirting death and destruction thanks to Superman’s intervention. Since he doesn’t want to wait around forever, Superman hypnotizes her with super-hypnosis, thereby contacting her subconscious mind. I don’t think Superman understands the concepts of privacy and personal space. 
"Normally, I don't use this trick for ethical purposes."
Once he’s invaded her brain, Superman feeds her with all sorts of yarns about the times they’ve shared, which include saving Lois from a Killer Whale and flying in front of a hail of bullets aimed straight for her. Later, at the typing service, some butter-fingered typist drops Lois’ recorded cylinders, shattering them into uselessness! 
"Oh yeah, now I remember: Superman saves my ass like three times a day."
As luck would have it, Superman happens by at that moment and, using his super-memory and super-typing skills, writes the entire book at super-speed. Then he rescues Lois from a sinking tanker, which she boarded so she would write about the experience. Once he drops off her ungrateful ass, Superman heads over to see Dr. Jerrold, who is back from vacation. Busy day for the big guy! 
"Looks like I'll be picking up my dry cleaning tomorrow."
On his way in, Superman overhears that he’s going to die of radiation poisoning as well, which should be impossible! But it’s all undone when he learns that Superman and Lois Lane are merely the names of two of the lab’s guinea pigs, presumably being used for Voodoo purposes. 
"I knew something was funny when I heard them say that Elvis Presley has fleas."
Dr. Jerrold points out that if Lois wasn’t such a dope and had checked the other vital statistics on the card she looked at illegally, she’d have known that it wasn’t about her. But that’s Lois for ya! Everything has always got to be about her!
"Except for maybe 'Big Tina' from Smallville. But she was a special case."

It’s interesting that the first chapter, and not the last, is the cover story, since it’s clearly the stupidest one. Lois gets all these smarts, and then uses them solely to hide her ugly head. How about putting that knowledge to use, hah? Maybe cure some diseases or come up with some new scientific theories or something? The middle story is about as lazy as can be, a veritable re-write of the story I covered about Van-Zee in the previous issue. The final story, by Captain Marvel scribe Otto Binder, is potentially the most interesting, but it still makes no sense. Wouldn’t Lois’ suicidal bent be enough reason for Superman to disturb Dr. Jerrold on vacation, even for a moment? And it doesn’t really follow that Lois would take this diagnosis to her grave. Still, in terms of the dumb-ass that things that routinely happen in this series, it was pretty clever.
Of course, having big tits trumps 'em all.

Bits and Pieces:

The cover story is the goofiest of the bunch, which is probably as it should be. Sort of cool to see two stories with Lucy Lane, even though she barely figures into the first one and then barely speaks in the second. I do like seeing the expanded Superman Family characters in play, though.


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