Romance Special: The Time-Travel Heartbreak of Lois Lane

Over the past few days, I’ve been doing my best to offer up tips on how you can find true ahhhhromance in today’s crazy world, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes, the Don’ts are just as important as the Dos. So tonight, I offer you the biggest Don’t of all:





Now, don’t get me wrong: There’s a lot to like about Lois, but in matters of the heart, she tends to cross the line from “charmingly persistent” to “stalker in a pillbox hat.” And there’s no better example of the lengths she’ll go to to try and fail to win Superman’s heart than in the pages of Ed Hamilton and Kurt Schaffenberger’s “Lois Lane’s Romance With Jor-El”:



I’ve mentioned this one briefly before in an article for Cracked, but now that it’s available in the recent Superman: Past and Future trade paperback–along with the story where Jimmy Olsen meets Hitler–I thought it might be a good idea to dust it off again. Why?

Because it is completely insane.

The whole thing starts off with Superman checking in on the Phantom Zone and noticing that Lois is hanging out out in there with a bunch of Kryptonian convicts. Even for Lois, that’s a little unusual, and when Superman asks how it happened, we find out that it all starts… with SCIENCE!



The Anti-Nuclear Ray is pure Macguffin–all you really need to know about it is that it gives Lois the shadow of an excuse that she needs to dick around with the Space-Time Continuum–but this panel’s worth noticing for the way Professor Gordon presents his findings. His device is going to stop the world from exploding, and we know that because he has drawn a picture of the Earth–labeled “Earth”–exploding, and then marked it out with an X.

Clearly, the research here is sound.

Anyway, Lois makes the connection that a device designed to stop planets from exploding might be useful in keeping the planet Krypton from exploding, so she gets a copy of the plans and grabs a time machine, a process that takes exactly one panel because, you know, the Silver Age. Thus, armed with a Kryptonian minidress borrowed from Jimmy Olsen–who collects Kryptonian minidresses, apparently, which is perfectly normal–she heads back in time to pre-explosion Krypton, finds Jor-El, and gives him the plans.

If this seems uncharacteristically altruistic of Lois, that’s because it is. Because as we soon find out, she’s not just attempting to save the lives of millions of Kryptonians, she’s really doing it because she wants to impress Superman:



That’s right: She’s going to go tell Superman that Krypton didn’t blow up. Superman, who was sent to Earth… when Krypton blew up. This is never addressed.

Before she can get back to tell the good news to a world that had been destroyed eighty thousand times because Superman wasn’t around to stop the meteor/giant laser-eyed gorilla/fifth-dimensional imp/giant fifth-dimensional meteorilla, Lois discovers that her time machine’s broken, which leaves her stranded on Krypton. Thus, she decides to make the best of a bad situation by totally trying to hook up with Superman’s dad.



What can I say? She has a type.

The obstacle in this little plan is, of course, Superman’s mom, who doesn’t take kindly some hussy in a borrowed minidress showing up to steal her man, and so takes the expected course of action of opening her home to Lois and giving her full access to her day planner, which has all of her dates with Jor-El carefully plotted out:



Krypton: Where they have the flying car, but have yet to move past the spiral notebook.

So, Lois is able to finally wrangle a date with her boyfriend’s dad, and once her clever ruse is found out, we learn two very important things about Superman’s parents:



1. Jor-El really needs to be on Tool Academy, and…

2. Forget the Jewel Mountains and the Fire Falls, Lara Lor-Van will take your ass to Fist City.

But alas, no amount of foxy boxing can save a relationship from the romantic a-bomb that is Lois Lane, and so Jor-El and Lois go on to complete building their Anti-Nuclear Ray. Unfortunately, they build it in Kandor, and it’s completed just in time for Brainiac to show up and steal the entire city with his shrink ray, leaving Lois stranded on a planet that she knows is going to explode some day.

So what does she do now? Does she tell her new boyfriend the truth, and work to save the lives of the millions of Kryptonians that she ostensibly came back to protect?

Of course not! Lois decides that it’s time to get the hell out of there, and returns to her broken time machine, which–in a scene that is quite possibly the Silver Agiest thing to happen in this entire story–is suddenly repaired by a magic snowflake:



Thus, she’s back off to the present, having completely failed in her mission. Or rather, she would be, if she didn’t stop on her way through time so that SHE CAN MAKE OUT WITH SUPERMAN WHEN HE WAS A BABY.



And that’s how she ended up in the Phantom Zone.

So seriously, folks: Don’t be like Lois. Girl is straight up nuts.

43 thoughts on “Romance Special: The Time-Travel Heartbreak of Lois Lane

  1. You know, those Silver Age Superman comics had tons and tons of imagination and ideas and memorable characters, but psychologically, there was some pretty fucked-up shit.

    WHY do people want a return to the Superman-Clark-Lois triangle again?

  2. Wow.

    There is so much wrongness in this one story that the Silver Age can barely contain it.

    Folks, you now know the REAL reason the Crisis on Infinite Earths happened.

  3. Well, that’s what she gets for parking it next to the Kryptonian Electric Snow Ninja City.

    That’s why Vathlo has such low premiums.

  4. I fear for the children who took the comics as an accurate portrayal of common relationship dynamics.

  5. So in the Silver Age, Lois was a statutory rapist. With a baby? And all Jor-El did was throw her ass in the Phantom Zone?!?

    I wanna see this story retold in the modern age…

  6. Sometimes you read a post and there are so many comments whirling around in your head it seems impossible to make only one, but I will restrain myself and just say this:

    If you’re ever in a little town south of the border called Tijada, you really have to try the fifth-dimensional meteorilla. They marinade the chicken overnight and it’s just mind-blowing. You get that and an orange soda, grande, you know, a big one, and brother, you have yourself a meal!

    Also, Superman’s uneven Rogues Gallery becomes much more impressive if you count Silver Age Lois as a villain.

  7. So, normal, healthy human relationships didn’t exist in the Silver Age, eh? Good to know.

  8. Sweet bajeezus! That chick makes Alex Forrest look like June f***in’ Cleaver! What a freakin’ nutbar!

  9. The hell with all those shenanigans! What was Superman and Batman’s JOKE on Lois Lane? I’m surprised they didn’t tip her over into swivel-eyed lunacy with all the wacky funsterism… or DID they?

  10. Wait a minute, I’m confused. Does this mean that Lois was hanging out with Superman and Lyla Lerrol as Jor-El built his original escape rocket at Kandor along with the anti-planet exploder ray? That makes no sense at all!

  11. My feelings about this issue are perfectly expressed by the look on Supertoddler’s face in that last panel. The Silver Age just gave my brain the bad touch.

  12. Do you think the writers and artists just did all this to entertain each other, knowing full well a Superman (ok, Lois Lane) comic would sell a certain volume no matter what was in it, giving them free reign to just totally lose their shit?

    Seriously, this is some kind of indie-underground humour vibe going on here. I’d love to think of the creative forces behind this excitedly plotting things out, doing their best to freak out their fellow story-tellers.

  13. So many questions…

    How exactly did Lois end up in the Phantom Zone? There’s no mention of her being sent to the ‘Zone.

    Also, doesn’t baby Supes look more like toddler Supes?

    And if she goes back and kisses toddler Supes then does she know he was adopted by the Kents? So she knows Supes is Clark Kent.

    And how does a time-machine also travel in space (I assume Krypton is many light years away from Earth)?

    And did Prof Gordon ever build his anti-nuclear ray? Because, if not, then the Earth will soon explode – as proven by that deceptively simple research.

  14. Wow. Silver Age Superman was truly the pinnacle of comic book insanity.

    I would also like to know what the joke on Lois Lane was.

  15. I read somewhere that the Superman books’ editor in them thar days, Mort Weisinger, was in psychoanalysis, and that he used discoveries and ideas from his therapy to create Superman stories. The issues had issues, so to speak.

    I find the idea not difficult to believe.

  16. hee hee, that’s a funny story Unca Chris. Tell us the one about when that crazy Lois lady went back in time and dryhumped Pa Kent’s leg after she taught Ma Kent what a stripper pole is REALLY used for!!

  17. Wow, that’s some exceptionally Silver Agey lunacy there. A few points:

    1) I don’t think I’m alone in demanding that some company produce a comic featuring a giant fifth-dimensional meteorilla, and toot sweet, too.

    2) Jimmy’s Kryptonian minidress collection would less disturbing if I didn’t know full well the he keeps them to wear himself.

    3) It’s good to know that Kandor is equipped with an anti-nuclear ray, which should eliminate any danger of the Earth exploding in the near future.

    4) I love the fact that her stolen time machine has a steering wheel. Explains how she wound up in the Phantom Zone, too. Should’ve turned left a the Millenium, not right, Lois.

    Silver Age Lois might actually be slightly more crazy than Jean Loring, and that’s saying a lot. I’m surprised Kal let her out of the Zone when he found her there.

  18. How exactly did Lois end up in the Phantom Zone? There’s no mention of her being sent to the ‘Zone.

    While she’s making out with Superbaby, Jor-El’s inside building a Phantom Zone Ray Gun, and decides to test it out by blindly aiming it out the window and into the yard where his son is playing.

    Because, you know, the Silver Age.

  19. It would serve her right if in this new timeline, Jor-El included a note in his son’s rocket that said “By the way, when you grow up, stay away from that nutjob Lois Lane.”

  20. So Lois spent thirty or so years in the Phantom Zone where, as a bodiless wraith she could have gone anywhere and seen anything, and she still didn’t figure out Superman’s secret identity? Maybe her insanity sprang from some sort of head injury.

  21. Whoa. Lois is now the poster child for psycho-stalking girlfriends everywhere. And I though Serephina from “Girl’s Town” was bad.. (see MST 3k)


  22. My super-knowledge is lacking, but didn’t Krypton have a ton more gravity than Earth, which is why Kal-El can fly and lift heavy objects. What I’m asking is, shouldn’t Lois be flatter than a pancake?
    Yes, that’s my problem with this story.

  23. …and THAT’S why Silver Age Superman would never marry Lois, because he remembered her as the creepy lady from his toddler years.

  24. What I’m asking is, shouldn’t Lois be flatter than a pancake?

    She’s wearing antigravity boots. Women’s antigravity boots. Also from Jimmy Olsen’s collection.

    Yes, really.

  25. Lara: You brazen hussy! It’s only in the pitch-dark that Jor-El would think you are prettier than I am!

    Jor-El: Hmm… don’t be too sure, Lara!

    Wow, Jor-El is a dick. Now we know where Superman gets it from.

    Why did Lara get back with him, again?

  26. Hembeck’s idea may be tested. Degrading women is becoming the rage, although in a different form than before, mostly in the form of “fridging”.

    You know, I’ve read about this story numerous times before (including the Cracked article, I think), and it never fails to make no sense, from the potential time paradox to Lois at her creepiest. These are the parts of the Silver Age to avoid in this era of the sliding timeline being replaced (mostly by Johns and Didio) by the back-sliding timeline.

  27. I too am curious what Batman and Superman’s joke on Lois Lane was. Any joke that didn’t end with her locked in an insane asylum is clearly a misfire in my book.

  28. Thanks for writing about this. I just picked up Superman Past and Future while walking through The Strand bookstore. Insanity doesn’t begin to describe this story. My jaw dropped and stayed that way throughout. Just calling it sexist didn’t seem to quite capture what was going on — especially with the creepy perving on baby Kal-El at the end.

    By the way, you forgot one little other insane aspect of this story: In “real time,” she was actually stuck in the Phantom Zone for, oh, about 30 years — from the time Jor-El accidentally blasts her in, until Superman notices her wandering around with the Kryptonian criminals!

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