I cannot have been the only person who caught that horrible character assassination for Lois Lane in the back-up issue for Action Comics this week?
Did people really not catch that? Come on, people. That is some Class A character assassination.
And the worst part? The writer probably thought he was writing Lois really well. But oh man… NO NO NO.
He was. As ever Action remains one of the best books in the New 52.
In what way was Lois misrepresented - Especially at this stage in her hero’s journey?
Lois Lane has always been about the story - over seven decades she has ignored her personal safety in pursuit of that front page.
Your personal opinion is that it remains one of the best books in the new 52. My opinion is that it’s a retread of the same things covered in Birthright and Secret Origins told in a much less emotionally deep way.
And I’m not the only person that thinks so. Even people who are enjoying the book will tell you openly that they think Grant has been missing the mark and stepping over the line with character beats that are going to have to be soft-retconned out. The book has lost more readers than any other book in the top 10 since October. So clearly not everyone has been thrilled despite the great publicity and press.
For 7 decades, Lois has ignored HER personal safety. She does not ignore the personal safety of OTHERS in pursuit of a story.
That is a complete misrepresentation of the character. Lois doesn’t care if SHE dies in pursuit of a story—-but if there are people in danger she will help them first.
There are examples all the way back in the Fleischer cartoons where she is the person picking up the gun to try and help the innocent people BEFORE Superman arrives.
In the 1950’s Superman series, see Lois Lane as played by Phyllis Coates holding a man who is badly injured until Superman arrives so that Superman can help get him to safety.
In the Superman: Doomsday animated feature, we see her specifically telling Jimmy that people are dying around them and that they need to FORGET about getting the story in order to help people.
In “Lois and Clark”, we see Lois reach out in compassion over and over again to people who are injured and hurting around her before going back to write the story. Now, is she impressed by Clark’s compassion? Yes. But the point is that this is something within HER as well.
On Smallville, even before she becomes a journalist, Lois is portrayed as being a true army brat in her dedication to the concept of “no man left behind.” She will dig through rubble to look for survivors after an explosion—-something that Clark notices about her and thanks her for.
Now, interestingly enough, on Smallville in the episode, “Conspiracy” we see Lois stay behind and risk her life to save Zod (of all people) from a gunshot wound. Zod asks Lois why she is risking her life and Lois says, “It’s what Clark would do.” And that worked in this context. Why did it work? Because, by that point, the audience had already SEEN that Lois herself operated under the same moral framework that Clark did. So while Lois was already acting like Clark’s wife giving him the credit for making her a better woman—we had already SEEN Clark giving her the same credit for making him a better man. So there was equality there and it was fine.
In the comics, there are literally hundreds of panels—-it would literally take me all day to post them and I am going out—-that show Lois rushing to the aid of someone in need.
That’s why the famous line about the Fleischer era cartoons is that:
"I’ve always preferred my Lois as a reckless badass. … Yes, Superman is the one that punches out the electrothanasia ray and carries an entire train over a demolished bridge, but Lois is the one who picks up a machine gun and starts shooting before Superman even arrives. Lois is first response, and Superman is the cavalry."—A.V. Club on the Fleischer cartoons
Her journey is part of the Daily Planet narrative which is a vehicle that demonstrates how Superman inspires people to be humane, in costume or pretending to be Clark Kent mild mannered reporter.
Lois is grounded by Superman, she is inspired to become more humane because of his example.
You don’t understand her either. You never have. It’s much more subtle than that.
Yes, Lois Lane is inspired by Clark’s kindness. She is impressed by it. His kindness is ultimately why she falls in love with him.
But you’ve missed the other piece of it and this comic has missed it too.
Superman is also inspired by HER.
Even in Earth One—-a comic that I loathed for how dark it was—-understood that Clark was inspired by the humans around him and impressed with their courage and bravery. Even in Earth One—-we see Lois and Jimmy rushing to save the innocent and how impressed Clark was with that—-how it gave him hope.
Superman: Birthright touches on the same themes. Superman is connected to Lois because, in many ways, she is just like him. She hides it underneath but she is actually deeply compassionate.
Her Journey is from one of selfishness in pursuit of the story to a morecompassionate person who recognises the finer qualities in Clark Kent ( who she first dismisses as a coward and often mistreats and bullies ) qualities that she at first ignores.
Again….you are only getting half the story here and part of that is because you are operating from a perception that is over 70 years old where women had no real perspective in the narrative.
You are viewing a female character through a sexist lens. You have an incredible ability to not understand these things and it’s why you become a broken record over and over and over again beating a dead horse about Lois Lane. You do not understand her nor do you understand why your refusal to understand why she has grown is not only wrong….but sexist.
Lois Lane is not actually a selfish person. That’s a wall she puts up. You are demonizing her—-something that people do quite often with strong women in narratives.
In the last 30 years, as we were encouraged to look deeper and deeper at what drives women as opposed to viewing them through a one dimensional lens…we were able to hear Lois’s side of this.
Lois Lane is a compassionate person at heart. She cares about getting a story because she cares about justice. This has been hammered home over and over and over again. She shares the same moral framework as Superman.
Lois is impressed with Clark’s compassion because ultimately it’s what SHE would do.
WE are introduced to her in Birthright literally telling off a bully.
In the Golden Age, she believes Clark is a coward because he ACTS LIKE A COWARD. He abandons her on a dance floor and leaves her to defend herself (which she does just fine) to gangsters. And you know….back in 1938? That was strong for women. That was power.
In modern stories, it’s just not that simple because now women get a better deal in narratives and we see Lois’s side of the story. In modern stories, we know that Lois has been trained to believe that all men will betray her—-all men will be corrupt—that all men cannot be trusted. That she’s stunned when she finds a man who is truly good because she had lost hope that that even existed.
Dropping her into the narrative in Action as a fully formed champion of the oppressed would make as much sense as introducing Superman in his early 20’s as a fully forged champion of Truth and Justice - with his full complement of powers at full adult strength, with total self knowledge of his origins.
Lois Lane being a champion of the oppressed is innate to her character. It does not matter how old she is nor whether she is the famous reporter yet that we know and love.
Even Smallville got that right.
Even when Lois entered the show back in the episode “Crusades”—-light years away from the iconic reporter we would come to know—-one of the first things we see is her compassion. She finds Clark nude and alone—-she wraps him in a blanket—-she takes him to the hospital. She takes care of him. Then, at the end of the episode, we see her weeping at Chloe’s grave (something she is embarassed about and doesn’t want Clark to see) and we see that this is a woman that just wants to find justice for a loved one.
Lois was not the fully formed iconic reporter when she entered Smallville. But she WAS Lois Lane in every way that mattered. She was tough and brash and had a lot of walls up. But the writers understood her enough to show that she also had a compassionate side underneath and it was that side that drew her to Clark even in the early seasons.
There is being too early in your narrative to reveal all your cards and there is straight up character assassinaton. This is the later.
Yes, Lois Lane is inspired by Clark’s kindness. She is impressed by it. It takes her by surprise. But it’s also something she responds to because this sense of compassion is WITHIN HER TOO. SHE CARES ABOUT PEOPLE.
And—-the big thing—that he is inspired by her too. By her commitment to justice and her bravery. It’s an equal relationship of inspiration.
You are viewing Lois under very shallow, sexist terms—-terms that were abandoned in recent years because subsequent writers understood that maybe it was unfair to not get HER side of the story.
You simply cannot view a narrative written in 2012 with the same lens in which you would in 1938 for women. This is a mistake that a lot of men make and it’s not an acceptable mistake. This was something Greg Rucka, in particular, understood very well as he spoke about this mistake often when it came to both Lois Lane AND to Wonder Woman. Rucka had a clear understanding that there was sexism that had influenced the treatment of both women and he made it a point to try to help others understand that and to fix it. You are doing the opposite. You are viewing the narrative from the most sexist viewpoint possible—-ignoring all attempts to show the other side in the last 30 years—-and then thinking that’s acceptable. It’s not.
The problem is that Action Comics is a narrative that is designed right now to pay tribute to an era of history that treated women very poorly. Which means there are a lot of landmines to dodge when you are writing the narrative because you have to be thoughtful about why some of these things had changed over the years.
Ultimately, that is why the current run on Action Comics is a step backwards from Birthright and Secret Origins in many ways but particularly from the feminist perspective. Because in their attempt to glamorize the Golden Age….they have forgotten just how different our culture is today (and that includes the approach to justice they have given Clark—-we had no Miranda Laws in the US in 1938) in the United States vs. what it was then.
This is why I sincerely hope, at some point, that a woman (or a rare man like Greg Rucka who does actually understand sexism in ways most men do not) comes in and fixes this narrative. Because writers who understand the nuances of discrimination and sexism would have a much better understanding of what the problems are.
In the meantime, Action Comics #10 was the first book I had actually bought in a while (though I have been reading it for free elsewhere) and I only bought it because I knew Lois was featured extensively in the book. It didn’t meet my expectations in any way. I found Clark’s characterization to be even worse. So I won’t be purchasing it next month.
Oh and btw…..Joseph Campbell is a notorious racist and Anti-Semite. You have a bad habit of aligning yourself with men who have horrible reputations in terms of misogyny, sexism and racism when you are trying to make a point.