Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, Lois Lane!

According to Sue at DC Women Kicking Ass, today is Lois Lane's birthday!

Lois Lane holds a special place in my comics heart. Some of my earliest Silver and Bronze Age comics memories were of her Silver and Bronze Age solo adventures as well as her appearances in the Superman books. I particularly liked the Bronze Age period, where she relied less on Superman to rescue her and really got to shine. She was kind of a pioneer female character, not unlike a comics version of Kate Hepburn, treading into waters where few women tread.

I have to say, though, that my favorite era for Lois was during the late 80's and much of the 90's. That was when Byrne rebooted and chronicled the Supes franchise, and also later when he handed it off to the likes of Roger Stern, Jerry Ordway, Dan Jurgens, and later Louise Simonson. And here is when Lois really got to shine. She wasn't afraid to stand up to anybody, even Luthor. As good a reporter as Clark was, Lois was clearly better.

We got the Super-Engagement. I remember the issue where Clark revealed to her that he was Superman, and how she reacted in a completely realistic and believable way. Then came the Super-Marriage. Lois learned to accept the ups and downs that come with being married to the most powerful superhero on Earth. Yet throughout that time she didn't lose her uniqueness and become just another stock love interest. Lois was a strong presence in her own right, and often proved to be a didactic character in Supes' life.

Unfortunately, Lois has gotten the short end of the stick the last few years. She was separated (geographically) from Supes for most of the New Krypton storyline, and then got shunted to the side once again in "Grounded". She made more appearances in SUPERGIRL over that period than in any of her hubby's books. Paul Cornell's Robot Lois got more actual panel time than the genuine article.

Even the current Flashpoint mini with her name in the title short-changes her on panel time. "Lois Lane And The Resistance"? Ha! Issue#2 read more like "Grifter And The Resistance", with Lois relegated to a mere guest star in her own mini.

Also, it often seemed like some at DC didn't get what marriage entailed. I'm a relative rookie at marriage (just passed the 2-year mark this week), and even I can see where DC has messed up over recent years. For example, in Winick's "Decisions" mini, we were supposed to believe that Lois wouldn't know her husband's political beliefs. REALLY??  And as much I enjoyed the Chris Roberson chapters of "Grounded", let's be honest: the "Grounded" arc wouldn't have EXISTED had Supes had confided in Lois like an ACTUAL husband would do with his wife. It seemed that many modern writers and editors wanted to avoid dealing with the Super-Marriage like it was Virus X. And now, thanks to the DCnU Reboot, it's gone.

I agree with Sue: Of all the female characters who deserve a solo book in the DCnU and didn't get one, I'd put Lois at tthe top of the list. In that spirit, I'd like to pose a question to you folks:

What creative team would you want on a Lois Lane solo book? And why?

The rules? Merely that the suggested creators be currently alive.

I have a few of my own:

1. Gail Simone (W) and Nicola Scott/Doug Hazlewood(A). This one's a no-brainer. Gail's not only a wonderful writer, but she's the go-to person for strong female characters. She even handled Lois and Superman masterfully during her too-short Action Comics run. Nicola has been one of DC's top artists over the last decade with her work on Secret Six, Wonder Woman, and especially Birds Of Prey. And Doug? He's one of the best inkers in comics, as readers of Animal Man, Superboy, Adventures Of Superman, Flash, and the aforementioned Nicola Scott books will attest. No matter how good the penciller he's teamed with, their art always looks substantially better with him than without him.

2. Greg Rucka (W) and Jamal Igle/Jon Sibal (A). Greg's Lois on Adventures of Superman was one of her best portrayals in this century. It got frustrating how his caring and compassionate but still fiercely independent Lois was appearing in Adventures at the same time that Chuck Austen's cold and neglectful Lois was appearing in Action. It was like watching two different people. Needless to say, Greg's version was the better one. Like Nicola Scott, Igle has been one of DC's best artists over this last decade. Unfortunately, like her, I see no sign of him in DC's New 52.

3. Ed Brubaker (W) and Sean Phillips (A). This one's my wild card pick. Granted, Brubaker would have to tone down the language and the violence more than in "Criminal". But crime noir seems like a natural setting for our favorite woman reporter. Their latest "Criminal: Last Of The Innocent" is  essentially ARCHIE as a crime noir. If Archie can work in that format, so can Lois.

Any other writer/artist combos you can think of?