Saturday, July 24, 2010

Episode #136: Happy Birthday, Lucy Lane!

According to the Superman Homepage,, Lucy Lane's accepted birthday is July 25. She is Lois Lane's younger sister. Lucy first appeared in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #36, April 1959. In the silver age of comics, Lois and Lucy's parents were Sam and Ella Lane of Pittsdale. In the post Crisis Superman continuity, the Lane sister's parents were known as Sam and Elinore Lane. Readers of the recent New Krypton storyline know that the post-Crisis Sam Lane was a general in the U. S. Army.

During the golden age, Lois had a neice whose name was Susie Thompkins, who vexed Superman almost as much as Mr. Mxyzptlk. During the silver age Susie's mother was ret-conned as Lois' married sister Lucy Lane Thompkins. living on Earth-2.

The silver age, or Earth-1 Lucy Lane was an airline stewardess. She dated Jimmy Olsen off and on during the silver age.

When John Byrne rebooted Superman continuity in the mini-series Man Of Steel, Lucy remained a stewardess. In issue five of the mini-series, which featured the origin of the first post-Crisis Bizarro, Lucy had been blinded during a hijacking attempt. Her vision was restored when this first Bizarro was disintegrated in a mid-air collision with Superman. This story reprised the original Bizarro story from the 1950's, in a Superboy story.

Lucy briefly dated Jimmy Olsen, but eventually began dating the young Daily Planet reporter, African-American Ron Troupe. They would marry and hava a child. Over time the family disappeared from Superman stories. General Lane supposedly died protecting the White House during the Our Worlds At War storyline. At the beginning of the recently concluded New Krypton storyline, it was revealed that Lucy had joined the Army in honor of her late father. Her relationship with older sister Lois was strained. What happened with Lucy's relationship with Ron, and their child, was unknown.

During the New Krypton plotline, it was revealed that Lucy had become the new Superwoman, in a costume similar to the one worn by the original, silver age Superwoman. Supergirl Annual #1 revealed the origin of Lucy's transformation into Superwoman, with the unique properties of her costume. In a battle against Supergirl, Lucy's suit was ripped, causing her powers to overload and explode. In Supergirl #50 it was revealed that Lucy was somehow resurrected, and apparently still operated as Superwoman. Her fate after the conclusion of the New Krypton story is unknown.

This has been a very brief summary of Lucy Lane's history. The rest of this episode will feature her earliest appearances, beginning with her first. Lucy Lane first appeared in the second story of  Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #36, April 1959, titled simply Lois Lane's Sister. The story was written by Otto Binder, pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by Stan Kaye. It has been reprinted in Showcase Presents: Superman Family vol. III. Unfortunately for me, I only have the first volume. For the plot summaries of the stories cited in this episode I used Mike's Amazing World Of DC Comics at

One day Jimmy Olsen meets Lois Lane's sister Lucy, who is a blonde. He is immediately smitten with her and asked Lucy for a date. She agreed, but wasn't impressed with Jimmy. As a stewardess, Lucy soon went back to work ar her airline. Probably with a touch of jealousy, Jimmy was afraid Lucy would fall in love with someone else. So he bought a ticket for the same flight. Jimmy kept Lucy from accepting dates with two passengers, with help from Superman. Lucy was impressed by the trouble Jimmy had gone for her, and agreed to continue to date him. but when Jimmy proposed to her, Lucy declined. She refused to get married until her older sister Lois did. And so Jimmy's long wait began.

In real life today, I don't know if the modern woman would be impressed or creeped out, but this was typical of the silver age stories under the editorial control of Mort Weisinger.

Jimmy and Lucy did eventually marry, if only in an imaginary story, Superman Red  And Superman Blue, which was published in Superman #162, July 1963. It was written by Leo Dorfman and pencilled by Curt Swan. After Superman was split into twins after a kryptonite experiment backfired, Lois and Lana marry their own Superman. At the ceremony, Jimmy and Lucy were members of the wedding party, and on the spur of the moment agreed to marry, and made it a triple ceremony. This story was reprinted in The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told, DC's Greatest Imaginary Stories and Showcase Presents: Superman vol. IV.

Subsequent stories chronicled the ups and downs of the relationship between Lucy and Jimmy.

The Most Hated Girl In Metropolis
Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #9, May 1959

Lucy brought sister Lois to Hollywood, after the Daily Planet reproter was shunned by her fellow staffers when an old story she had written but never filed was published, saying that Clark Kent was Superman. Lois was a surprise guest on the classic TV show This Is Your Life, which was an actual, long-running TV show. The article was a hoax to get Lois to go to Hollywood so she could appear on the show (with friends like these ...). The most bizarre part of the story was when Superman used an amnesiac man to stand in for Clark Kent so that both could appear on stage with Lois. Another typical Mort Weisinger edited story.

The Jimmy Olsen Signal Watch
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #38, July 1959

Jimmy gave Lucy a signal watch, so that she could alert him anytime she needed his help. Afterward Jimmy showed his fan club the different costumes he wore during his many adventures. Each time Lucy needed Jimmy he showed up in a different costume. Finally too embarrassed to tolerate it any more, Lucy returned the signal watch to Jimmy.

Jimmy Olsen's Wedding (same issue)

Jimmy broke a date with Lucy to go to the dentist. He fell asleep in the dentist chair and dreamed about marrying Lucy. In the dream Lucy was jealous of Jimmy's friendship with Superman, and made him choose between her and the Man of Steel. Jimmy chose Lucy and they got married. Their marriage was fairly happy. They had a son, Jimmy, Jr., who would become a friend with Superman like his father did. Lucy ended her jealousy of the Man of Steel when he saved the family. After the dental visit was over, Lucy asked Jimmy for a date, but he was hesitant. I wonder why?

Alias Chip O'Toole
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #49, December 1960

Lucy was starstruck by singer Chip OToole. Jimmy was a little jealous and disguised himself as O'Toole. He took Lucy out on a date, and she fawned over him. Later, Jimmy took Lucy out on a date as himself, and she acted cold toward him. Superman exposed Jimmy's disguise, and Lucy revealed that she saw through his disguise and wanted to teach him a lesson. Well played, Lucy, well played.

The Girl With The Green Hair
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #51, March 1961

Supergirl disguised herself as Ka Ra, a green haired woman from another world (years before Marvel's She-Hulk). She pretended to fall in love with Jimmy to make Lucy jealous, and her plan works. Jimmy is unaware of Ka Ra's real identity when he dates her, but eventually decides to stay with Lucy. (I have to wonder why Lucy would want Jimmy back.) Ka Ra "leaves" to return to her home planet. Lucy found a Ka-Ra robot a professor built as a gift (for Jimmy?) and believes Jimmy tricked her. So Jimmy lost both girls. Thanks, Supergirl, for nothing.

The Boy In The Bottle
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #53, June 1961

Jimmy exchanges places with Kandorian Van-Zee, who assisted Superman with an experiment. The machinery that allowed the two men to switch places malfunctioned, so Jimmy was stuck in the bottle city of Kandor. Using Kandor's monitors, I assume, Jimmy was able to observe Lucy with other guys, and becomes depressed. A Kandorian scientist removed Jimmy's memories of her to relieve his depression, before Superman was finally able to repair the machine and return Jimmy to full size. Jimmy still did not remember Lucy, however. She was intrigued by his new indifference; maybe she believed he was playing hard to get. Superman restored Jimmy's memories and his relationship with Lucy returned to normal, which bored her. Just another typical Mort Weisinger edited story.

Baby Jimmy Olsen
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #54 July 1961

Jimmy was disappointed that Lucy thought he was too young. So of course he drank Professor Potter's growth serum. But apparently it was past its expiration date, so Jimmy regresses to a toddler as a result. It seemed that he retained his adult intellect even though he could not talk. So he dressed as Superbaby and visited the Daily Planet offices in search of a cure. (I wonder why he didn't search the Professor's lab, but then if he did we wouldn't have had a story.) He failed, and made his way to Lois Lane's apartment. Lois assumed he was an orphan and took him in. Little Jimmy immediately showed affection for Lucy. Somehow he exposed her date as a gangster. The crook locked Jimmy in a room, from where Jimmy summoned Superman (perhaps with his signal watch). Superman helped Jimmy fake superpowers and made the girls and the gangster beleive he was the real Superbaby. After Jimmy defeated the gangster, Sueprman gave him the antidote.

The Battle Of The Sisters
Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #27, August 1961

Lois became jealous of her sister when Superman appeared to romance sister Lucy. Jimmy wasn't happy either, when it seemed that his best friend was putting the moves on his girlfriend. Superman proposed to Lucy, but she surprisingly declined. Lois learned that it wasn't the real Superman, but Kandorian Bor-Jak. He had switched places with the Man of Steel during another experiment and had fallen in love with Earth, and Lucy in particular. Lucy had turned him down because she did not want to move to Kandor. Bor-Jak returned to Kandor and Superman returned to full size on Earth.

Lois Lane - Gun Moll
Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #28, October 1961

A visitor brought a device to the Daily Planet offices, claiming that he could make people's evil tendencies become dominant. Lois was the only one who agreed to test the device on herself, showing her dominant impulsive tendencies. She soon became very rude. After Lucy discovered her role in a robbery, Lois kidnapped her sister. But Superman rescued Lucy, while Lois revealed that she was engaged to Lex Luthor. After a public wedding, they escaped to Luthor's hideout. Superman discovered the lair and melted Lois with his heat vision. It wasn't the real Lois, but a robot. The Man of Steel found the real Lois, kidnapped by Luthor, who Superman returned to prison.

Jimmy Olsen's Sweethearts
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #56, October 1961

Lucy stood up Jimmy on a date in Hollywood, so Jimmy decided to make her jealous (a favorite Mort Weisinger plot). Jimmy was seen dating Marilyn Monroe, Tuesday Weld, Gina Lollabrigida, Brigette Bardot and Jaynse Mansfield. The plan worked, as a jealous Lucy confronted Jimmy. He revealed that the girls were members of a look alike club, and he was doing a story about them. As expected, Lucy stormed out.

Don't worry, I won't end this podcast on such a down note.

Jimmy Olsen, Freak
Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #59, March 1962

A girl from another planet arrived on Earth and met Jimmy, who seemed to be a chic magnet for other-worldly girls.She gave him a belt which allowed him to have super powers. Jimmy found out that on her home world she has four other husbands, and so he wanted to back out. Superman helped his friend trick her to believe that Jimmy had two wives already, and she returned to her home planet alone. Lucy wanted to date Jimmy again after seeing him with another beautiful woman.

This was a bizarre story, even for the silver age. Playing tricks on people was a staple of editor Mort Weisinger. But at least we end this episode with Jimmy and Lucy back together.

Next episode: An Imaginary Summer 2010, Part II: Waverider And The Adventures Of Superman Annual #3, 1991!

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