"It's my business, looking beyond the external."
Lois Lane is the main Romantic Interest
. She first appeared in Action Comics
#1 (June, 1938), the first published Superman story. As such, she's the Trope Codifier
for a type of superhero love interest- the one who doesn't realize that the hero she loves is also someone close to her
. The characters inspired by her
Over the decades, Lois has been a symbol both for and against
feminism; while she is a career woman (an Intrepid Reporter
) who speaks her mind and goes for the big scoop
regardless of danger, she has also been the object of mockery for not noticing that her fellow reporter Clark Kent
is Superman. On this front she is normally joined by Clark Kent's other close friends, but she is closer to either of them than anyone else who does not know they are the same, and even in Lois and Clark
where she does figure out the fact that Clark Kent is Superman before he tells her, she has made out with him on at least one occasion under both identities before that. She also gets marked down by some since she is constantly getting in trouble that she needs to be rescued from
. However at least in some incarnations this often involves her as a bold, fearless attacker who will grab whatever large object is around and go after the local evil force, at times when such a force is in the process of defeating Superman without the use of Kryptonite.
During The Silver Age of Comic Books
, Lois had her own series, titled Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane
. Which lasted for 137 issues, from March-April, 1958 to September-October, 1974. In this series, which had a more humorous tone, Lois became a shrew who constantly tried to prove that Clark was Superman on the assumption that he would *have* to marry her then. Instead of, you know, simply courting him the regular way. (Note that Superman himself was openly courting her, but Lois apparently felt that she still needed to prove herself smarter than him. No wonder she became a target of his Super Dickery
so often. It should also be noted that this was how most superhero love interests
flew anyway). To be fair, they DID truly love each other, both just had a lot of quirks to overcome.
Eventually, an adult version of the character of Lana Lang
(originally created to serve the same role as Lois but in the Superboy series) also joined the cast, in order to force Superman into a Love Triangle
(though Lana had pretty much the same personality as Lois, making you feel even sorrier for him.)
Other stories had Lois fall in relationships with other superheroes, including (in one Time Travel
story) Superman's own father, Jor-El
. Mostly she was just trying to make him jealous, or just happened to attract the attention of other Superman-like characters. Those stories always ended with Lois and Superman back in their original situation
by the end, often because the Romantic False Lead
turned out to be evil/a shape-shifting ameoba/from a planet with a toxic atmosphere/all of the above. Sometimes she became a superhero herself, also only briefly.
In some "imaginary" stories (meaning, not intended as part of the official canon
) Lois did
get to marry Superman, though almost always with bad consequences
for her (having to hide from criminals, raising bratty superpowered kids, etc.) In one such story she married a (reformed) Lex Luthor
By the 1970s, her series attempted to modernize: Lois no longer tried to rope Superman into a wedding, dressed less conservatively and the stories tackled more serious subjects. Unfortunately, one of them was racial injustice, which it tried to explore by... having Lois be transformed into a Black woman for one day. While the intention was good, the story felt very awkward, especially towards the end when she asked Superman if he would still love her if she never changed back. Eventually, the title, along with Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen
, was folded into Superman Family
, where Lois got to strut her stuff in her own stories as a Badass Action Girl Intrepid Reporter
who managed to get the big scoops
while taking down bad guys without Superman's help being necessary.
Lois was eventually allowed to finally marry Superman; the first time, it was the original
Lois Lane (the one from the 1940s comics) since that version was declared to exist in a Parallel Universe
and was not the "current" version. Ironically, in this story Superman (due to a magic spell) forgets he's a superhero and marries Lois as Clark Kent. But then she discovers he's really Superman and helps him regain his memory. She expects him to declare the marriage null, but instead, he marries her again, this time as Superman (in a private ceremony.)
The modern Lois also got to marry Superman in the 1990s, first in the TV show Lois and Clark
and then in the comics. This was the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths
version, who was the 1970s version only more so. Most notably, her relationship (before she learnt his identity) was clearly with Clark, not Superman, in keeping with the Post-Crisis
Superman's belief that "Superman is what I do, Clark Kent is who I am
". There had been elements of this in the Bronze Age
, but it was still mostly presented as "Lois is dating Clark because she suspects he's Superman". As of the New 52
reboot, Lois is no longer married to Clark, and is dating someone else.
The first Lois died during the events of Infinite Crisis
(as did the first Superman) only for both to be brought back during the Blackest Night
crisis as Black Lanterns
Neither marriage had children, so far (except for their son in Superman Returns
). You also could count the adoption of Christopher Kent, a young Kryptonian boy who turned out to be the son of General Zod
Lois continues to be an inextricable part of the Superman mythos and appears in virtually every version of the character, be it comics, movies or animation.
Lois Lane gives us:
- Action Girl: The modern version. She got smarter, too. This is chiefly due to the character of Sam Lane, her father, being written as a military man who wanted a son, and trained her like a boy.
- Alliterative Name: It let to the trend of every important woman in Superman's life having the initials "LL".
- And Now You Must Marry Me: The Silver Age of Comic Books had her in these a rather severe amount of times, and not just on the receiving end. Check out the second panel of this comic to give you a legitimate idea of her character back then.
- Badass: Very much so. She's a crusading idealist who works as a reporter to bring down corrupt elements, and she's got the martial arts skills to back up her idealism. Lois is frequently shown to be courageous and often refuses to be intimidated by supervillains, resulting in several CMOA's for her over the years, one notable one being in Superman Unbound when Brainiac is monologueing about how insignificant Earth and it's people seem to him, and Lois responds simply by giving Brainiac the finger, much to his confusion.
- Berserk Button: Don't insult, use Kryptonite on, or otherwise hurt Superman in front of Lois. You're talking about an unpowered human who has Seen It All and is not intimidated even by the likes of Lex Luthor and The Joker. You do not want to be on the wrong end of her Undying Loyalty to the Man of Steel.
- Betty and Veronica: To Superman, except she and Lana were both The Veronica. More recently, Lana's Betty and Lois is Veronica, when there's a question of it at all (for example, Smallville).
- Big Bra to Fill: Lois is traditionally played by actors who are petite and lean, with the exception of Smallville. (See: Noel Neill, Margot Kidder, Teri Hatcher, Dana Delaney.) This despite the fact that Lois, uh.... developed◊ a bit in the modern era.
- Brainy Brunette/Fiery Redhead: She has both the brains and the attitude and has been depicted as both over the years, though jet black hair is her most common look.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: To a mild degree; a running gag throughout several of the media she's appeared in has her, despite her fame and success as a newspaper journalist, be absolutely terrible at spelling.
- The Bus Came Back: Superboy's Love Interest Lana Lang.
- Captain Ersatz: While Lois has been endlessly homaged and parodied, most people don't know that she herself was based off a 1930s movie character called Torchy.
- Characterization Marches On: Golden Age Lois was a lot more level-headed in early stories, occasionally getting herself out of trouble before Superman could do it. Chickification set in in the Silver Age, and then Xenafication set in later. Lois as she is now is actually quite accurate to the day-one character. Day one was just a very long time ago.
- Chickification: The Silver Age incarnation. After the more intrepid Golden Age incarnation, conservative values influenced by The Comics Code set in, so she went from being a somewhat bitter rival to Clark to being more focused on getting Superman to marry her.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: In the Golden Age comics, Lois had a young niece named Susie Thompkins, whose shtick was getting into trouble by telling fibs. Susie's last appearance was in the mid-50s; a few years later, Lois' (unmarried) sole sibling Lucy Lane was introduced, and Susie was never seen again, save a few appearances in the "Mr. and Mrs. Superman" stories of The Seventies. There, she's shown as the daughter of Earth-Two's married Lucy Lane Thompkins.
- Susie has reappeared in the comics, as of 2012 - but Lucy still exists in this continuity, implying there might be a third Lane sister.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Silver-Age Lois and Lana, though not Lori.
- Cosmic Plaything: As with Jimmy, some of the things Lois experienced happened because she was connected to Superman... and others just happened out of nowhere.
- Damsel in Distress: To the point of some meta jokes about it, and some Genre Savvy comments.
- Damsel out of Distress: She provides the page image. This is a woman who gets caught by villains all the frickin' time, but only because she's Genre Savvy enough to know that if she does so, she'll not only get the scoop on the front page story, but also somehow survive to write it. And not just by getting rescued — if Superman doesn't know/is depowered/is busy, she'll pretend to fall in love with the drug lord who captured her, then blast herself out of their wedding, veil, gown, and all, with a Mook's stolen machine gun.
- Even in the early days, Lois had quite the nerve. In some of the earliest Fleischer cartoons (now public domain) she pulls such stunts as trying to sabotage a getaway vehicle, climbing onto the back of a mechanical monster to see where it was going, blasting away with a submachine gun at would-be train robbers, and disguised herself as a Nazi to warn the American fleet of a U-boat threat (well, it WAS the early forties).
- Deadpan Snarker: From day one.
Why is it you always avoid me at the office? Lois:
Please Clark! I've been scribbling "sob stories" all day long. Don't ask me to dish out another.
—Action Comics #1 (June 1938)
- Derailing Love Interests: If it is an Elseworld story, you can bet this is what happens to Lois, that is if she isn't just killed off.
- Distress Ball: Oh so very often. She's followed her journalistic instincts into danger so frequently it's a miracle she ever survived before having the personal attentions of a Physical God (aka Superman).
- Friendly Enemy: Pre-Crisis, Lois and Lana were usually very good-natured about their love rivalry with each other.
- Genre Savvy: Lois knows Superman well enough that she can throw herself out of a window and be sure that he'll catch her. He even did it during Hush, while he was mind-controlled.
- Going for the Big Scoop: Frequently. She is a reporter after all.
- Happily Married: To Clark Post-Crisis, Pre-New 52.
- Henpecked Husband: What Superman becomes in some of the Imaginary Stories. And whilst the writing is misdirected, there is a tendency towards this in the recent canonical stories.
- Hot Scoop: Especially in the Silver age (one story had her merely need a bottle of hair dye to pose as a famously beautiful actress.)
- Informed Attribute: Lois's skills and reputation as an unstoppable and awesome reporter are strangely absent in some incarnations.
- Interspecies Romance: With Clark/Superman. Clark is a Kryptonian and Lois is a human.
- Intrepid Reporter: Much more intrepid in the Modern Age, but to an extent in the old stories as well.
- Loves My Alter Ego: A Running Gag during the Golden Age and - mainly - the Silver Age. In fact, her Silver Age's iteration currently provides the page image of this trope.
- Loving a Shadow: Her infatuation with Superman often looked like this in the Golden Age and Silver Age and even a little bit into the Bronze Age.
- Military Brat: In ever since the mid-1980's reboot this has been a key part of her characterization, as it provides a backstory, a source for her Action Girl badassery, and plenty of dramatic tension between her, her strict father General Lane, and her sister Lucy (who often sides with the General over Lois). In many stories, Lois's military friends and the knowledge she gained about military protocols often come in handy for stories she's chasing as well.
- Ms. Fanservice: She's certainly easy on the eyes.
- Never Be a Hero: If she gets superpowers in a story, she'll be back to normal by the end.
- Official Couple: With Superman Post-Crisis and before the New 52.
- Pretty in Mink: Has worn a few fur coats over the years, including in some Christmas issues.
- Real Award, Fictional Character: She's almost always introduced as a Pulitzer Prize recipient.
- The Reveal Prompts Romance: With Superman.
- The Rival: She considers Clark to be her rival as the Daily Planet's star reporter, which is especially apparent in the early Golden Age stories.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Lois let these out quite often, in spite of repeatedly being told not to, even after all the other times she'd done it.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Lois in the Modern Age and for a good portion of the 1990's and the 2000's is in love with Clark not because he is Superman, but because he is a sweet, kind-hearted farmboy from Kansas.
- Stalker with a Crush: During the Silver Age, intentionally or not.
- Superdickery: Sometimes she was the victim, and sometimes she was the instigator, but Lois is a Trope Codifier.
- Too Dumb to Live: If it wasn't for Superman, she would be dead since 1940 thanks to her fondness for snooping around way too much. Sometimes its shown that she takes those risks because she knows she has backup; she can handle herself just fine, but just lets herself get into these situations because a hostage can get the best details of what the criminals and supervillains are up to, and will always have Superman to back her up if/when she needs it.
- Transformation Comic: Often rivaled the Jimmy Olsen comics for this.
- Tsundere: The Trope Codifier.
- They Do: With Superman... until the 2011 reboot Retcon.
- Undying Loyalty: Towards Superman.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Superman and/or Clark in several incarnations. Averted during most of the 1990's and the 2000's, however, when they were together.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: In those continuities were she doesn't know Clark Kent and Superman are the same (for instance the Christopher Reeve films or Superman: The Animated Series) she is usually this to Clark, enjoying a very friendly workplace rivalry with him and chastising him for his timidity. In the very early Golden Age her dislike for Clark was genuine but their relationship quickly evolved into this trope.
- Weak-Willed: During the Golden Age she was very frequently (and easily) hypnotised. Oddly this was much more a trait of the Golden Age Lois who was assertive and had a very strong personality than the less feisty Silver Age version.
- Weirdness Magnet: As much as Jimmy Olsen. Heck, look at the Trope image, then know she's been aged prematurely, forced to marry a gorilla, and much, much more.
- "Well Done, Daughter" Gal: Lois had this relationship with her father Sam Post-Crisis. He wanted a son, badly.
- Xenafication: Starting at least since the late 1970s in Superman Family, when Lois starting kicking bad guy ass quite well in her solo stories without Superman around.
- Younger Than They Look: Traditionally in live action adaptations Lois is played by actresses slightly older than the actor playing Clark despite the two characters being roughly the same age, or, as was the case in Donnerverse films Lois being the younger onenote . This is probably to reflect her hardbitten, Street Smart reporter persona against Clark's farmboy naivetie.