SuperFact No. 2: Lois Must Be Awesome
I’ve been on a bit of a Superman walkabout. Mostly, I’ve been trying to find the essential components – precisely what makes a Superman story feel “right.”
And when done right, the reader is pretty much next in line.
Because Lois Lane is unlike anything he could ever imagine. Going to Mark Waid’s Birthright notes:
“What does Superman love about Lois? Her compassion. Her intense dedication to a job that, when done right, makes the world a better place. The way she constantly surprises him, a man who is almost impossible to surprise. And in no small part, that when he’s Clark, she’s hard to get.”
Superman writers, generally, get Lois. Particularly since she’s a writer’s fantasy – a reporter who’s stylish, stubborn, capable, quick-witted and above all else principled. She’s considered the best writer at the Planet, with her distant second competitor being…Clark Kent.
If you can’t write Lois Lane as an immediately engaging woman, then I don’t know what to do with you.
Take a look at how Lois is introduced in the most successful origin stories, and she’s a damned hurricane. Take Man of Steel. She’s quick-witted, constantly moving – she doesn’t break step while turning down an invitation for a date with Lex Luthor via his driver – and only cares about telling stories that will allow justice and rightness to prevail.
And she gets in her own way a lot, thanks to her principles. Upon realizing an expensive dress was actually a gift from Lex, she immediately yanks it off in a fury over the misrepresentation – without any backup clothing options. That Clark happens to be around, and happens to have a big coat she can cover up in, is just good timing.
Couple that with her entrance in Birthright, where she reads the Daily Planet publisher the riot act after he mistreats Jimmy Olsen, and…well – who wouldn’t fall in love with her?
Man of Steel, meanwhile, sets up the Great Romantic Obstacle in a modern context that mostly stuck over the last couple decades: it isn’t her infatuation with Superman, so much as her intense professional hatred of Clark Kent for scooping her on the Superman story.
Which is just a wonderfully simple way to update the Superman-Lois-Clark love triangle.
None of which was ruined once he finally revealed his identity and they got married. Because as we’ll discuss next time, Clark Kent really is a great disguise.