Monday, October 20, 2008

What Is The Deal With Lois Lane?

I just finished reading the first volume of Grant Morrison's "All-Star Superman," which is both strange and engrossing. Suffice to say that the writer uses his trademark trippy flourishes to freshen up a story you think you already know.

However, there is one enduring, deeply annoying part of the Superman story that even Morrison can't seem to part with: Lois Lane as love interest. Because Lois is an investigative reporter and tough gal, I've tried hard to love her in all her incarnations. But her presence either fills me with boredom or leaves me wondering, for the 500th time, what the heck the Man of Steel sees in her. She is pushy, shameless and, as far as her reporting tactics go, somewhat unethical. I'm all for strong women and expose journalism, but Lois is usually portrayed as an unbelievably self-absorbed careerist who would do anything - however dumb or dangerous - for a scoop. It doesn't help that the last Superman movie asked us to buy Kate Bosworth as a Pulitzer prize winner and single mom.

Not that Superman is the most thrilling character in the D.C. universe. He is the resident Boy Scout, and as such, he lacks the psychological complexity of Batman, the combative, smart-ass edge of Green Arrow and the good/bad boy hotness of Nightwing. But he's still Superman, so shouldn't he have an extraordinary (if mortal) love interest? Batman may have sketchy taste, but at least the women in his life - Catwoman, Talia, etc. - are intriguing.

Many superheroes have had snooze-inducing mates (see: Trevor, Steve), but few of them seem to get the ongoing play that Lois has enjoyed. I've worked with enough obnoxious, elbows-out reporters to know that they are not endearing in real life.

Then again, they aren't using their writing skills to rail against fictional characters.


The Irredeemable Shag said...

Maybe it's a case of opposites attracting? Clark Kent is the all-American rural boy. Given that opposites often do attract, it would make sense that he's interested in a pushy, rude city-girl.

While I can't speak towards her journalistic integrity (mainly because I'm not a journalist), I do think that since she's married Clark in the main Superman comics she's become a much more likable character. She used to really get on my nerves, but now I see her as Superman's anchor to the real world.

Then again, I drank the Lois and Clark Kool-Aid back in 1989. So I wouldn't really trust my opinion if I were you.

The Irredeemable Shag

EDP said...

Maybe I should start reading the current Superman run to see her as a more evolved character. I've only encountered Lois sporadically, so perhaps I'm being unfair. Your theory about opposites attracting makes sense, too.