Monday, July 31, 2017

Kryptonuptials - Part 2

by Mark Alfred

Part the Second

Seductio ad Absurdum

            What would marriage be like for Superman and Lois? 

A series of Imaginary Tales (aren’t they all?) appeared in 1960-1961, in Lois Lane issues 19, 20, 23, and 25, each with a differing take on the question.
            In Lois Lane #19, it seems Superman’s figured out how to crack the walnut:  “I feared that if I married you, my enemies would seek to strike at me by harming you!  but I’ve thought of a solution ... as far as the world will know, you’ll be marrying meek, mild Clark Kent!  You alone will share the secret of my real identity!  That way your life will remain safe!”  Too bad, but after that reasonable launch, the rest of the stories in this chain deteriorate into typical 1960s sitcom, soap-opera situations:
*   Lana Lang gets hired at the Daily Planet and throws herself at Superman
*   Lois can’t stand it when neighborhood housewives brag on their hubbies while she keeps her lips zipped
*   After Clark and Lois adopt the still-secret Supergirl, a snooping social worker spies Lois asleep on the couch and reports Mrs Kent for child abuse

            The ultimate indignity comes in Lois Lane #25, as the secret is revealed, and Lois must tool around town in a “bullet-proof, explosion-proof, and acid-proof” bubblemobile, causing her to “feel like a goldfish in a bowl!”

Oft-Married, Super-Shy

            Some readers may not recollect that Lois is really no stranger to matrimony.  In Superman #136, of April, 1960, Lois marries X-Plam, a superpowered mutant from the year 2360.  When they reach his era, Lois too becomes affected by disfiguring radiation.  Her new mate sacrifices his own life to get her home to 1960.

            In the April, 1962 tale “The Silver Coin of Fate,” in Lois Lane #32, Lois marries Superman for real, despite Lana’s warnings.  After the hitch, we learn the truth that Lana had deducted:  Lois is now married to a sort of defective Bizarro, described by the real thing as “a perfect Superman instead of an imperfect imitation!  He had all of my memories and feelings! ... In short, a freak Bizarro!”  The cruel twist of fate arrives when, immediately after the ceremony, Mr Lois Lane suddenly reverts to Bizarro form and deserts her, to seek a new life on Htrae. 

            As you may imagine, readers quickly pointed out that, abandoned or not, Lois was still technically married.  But the letter column of August, 1962,  issue #35, informed us archly, “The marriage was declared illegal, on the grounds that the groom had used false pretenses to win his bride. ... In our courts, a sham of this sort is considered grounds for an annulment.”
            Eight years later, in October, 1970,  Lois Lane #105 featured another Lois marriage, this time to a con on death row who once saved her life, prompting the “Death House Honeymoon.”  But after breaking out, the fickle fella lets his cronies catch Lois; he changes his mind again when her life is threatened, dying to save her – she’s a widow again.

Propositional Phrases

            There have indeed been times when, for one reason or another, Superman proposed to Lois.  In January, 1959’s Superman #126, he pops the question and, after Lois agrees, he peels off a mask to reveal his “true” face, which looks a lot like Alfred E Neuman!  Of course, this face, to, is false – it’s payback for the way Lois had just ducked a blind date in favor of Superman!  Before the story wraps up, though, Lois has gone along with the pretense and accepted the Goof of Steel’s proposal, catching him in his own trick.  Superman avoids a fate worse than bachelorhood by setting a specific time-and-place for the wedding, then welding Lois into her car with heat vision until the time has passed.  What a super-jerk!

       A couple of years later, in January 1961, Supes proposes for real.  Of course, this seems too easy for the suspicious Lois, who wonders, “Why is he suddenly proposing out of the blue?  There must be a catch!”  Well ... it turns out that Super-Romeo is under the influence of Red Kryptonite.  The spell wears off just before the Man of Tomorrow proves his honesty by telling Lois his Secret Identity.  When reality sets in, he flies away without even thanking Lois for being so slow to take him up on his offer (Lois Lane #22).

            Lois is similarly unwilling to accept the unbelievable, in Lois Lane #41’s “The Devil and Lois Lane” (May, 1963).  Old Scratch offers to magically hand Superman’s affections over to Lois, in exchange for her soul.  But she stops the ceremony to reveal that she’s known all along that Lucifer’s real name is Kal-El, who felt that “Lois needs a lesson to teach her never to make reckless statements which could get her into trouble!”
            Five years later, in April, 1968, Lois stumbles into a time machine that wafts her to 2068.  There, she learns that though she’s destined to marry Superman, they will both die on their honeymoon (Lois Lane #82).  When she returns home, she’s horrified as things seem to line up to make the future history become real, including the wedding of her dreams.  The after-ceremony attack happens, but the newlyweds avoid becoming the newlydeads.  After a head-spinning series of “explanations” for the story’s set-up, we learn that Superman had been forced to propose, and that she’d been given fake news of her future life.  After the marriage is annulled, Superman (unwittingly?) twists the knife by averring, “Darling! The next marriage will be for keeps!”
            In a series of issues from 1968, Lois Lane #85-87, we read the saga of Cor-Lar, an evil Kandorian who gives Lois superpowers as part of a scheme to get Superman for herself.  The Metropolis Marvel gleefully makes wedding plans with his now-invulnerable Lois, but she immediately starts acting crazy, causing her to be banished to Kandor.  However, her bottle prison is the perfect place to uncover Cor-Lar’s plan.  The superbitch is returned to face Kryptonian justice, and Lois returns to Earth, just as her artificial superpowers fade away.
            Talk about a quick proposal!  In Lois Lane #90, February, 1969, Superman suddenly shows up and orders Lois to drop everything.  “Get dressed up as a bride, grab a cab, and meet me at the License Bureau in City Hall!”  Her heart leaping with joy, she does just that, only to learn that the whole get-up is a set-up.  She’s merely the bait to trap “Killer” Kraven, who has just escaped from prison.  After all, explains Superman, Kraven “once swore to kill the woman I marry ... on the day of our wedding! ... I knew you’d go along with the gag, Lois!”  What a gag, folks!  Don’t worry, our hero makes it all better by repeating the same sad line from Lois Lane #82:  “Someday you’ll really be Mrs Superman!”

            No matter how manipulative and trifling Superman’s behavior, at other times he really does demonstrate passion for Lois.  In December, 1972’s Lois Lane #128, he sends her to a parallel dimension to watch what happens when he “marries” a robot standing in for the girl reporter.  The substitute “Lois” is immediately murdered by criminals.  When he brings her back to Earth, Superman tells Lois, “I had to prove to you that marriage to me could be hazardous to your health!”  Her response: “I don’t care, Superman!  I still want to marry you!  Do you think I’d want an ordinary guy ... like Clark Kent?”  “If only she would,” thinks Supes.  If only ...

Tune  in the Same Time Next Week,
for the Exciting Conclusion!

All original content
© by Mark Alfred