Thursday, August 26, 2010

Episode #140: Showcasing Lois Lane in SHOWCASE #10!

Before Lois Lane received her own title, she first appeared in Showcase issues 9 and 10. For more information about her appearance in Showcase #9, go to episode #109:, and

Showcase #10, September / October 1957, was published around July 18, 1957. Mort Weisinger edited both Lois Lane issues, since he was the editor of the Superman line of titles. The staff of DC editors took turns editing several issues of Showcase before handing it off to the next editor. The cover and interior art was pencilled by Wayne Boring and inked by Stan Kaye. The cover featured the final story of the issue, The Forbidden Box From Krypton. All three stories in the issue were eight pages long.

The first story, The Jilting Of Superman, was written by Otto Binder. It began with Lois Lane as a contestant on a popular TV game show, when she was given the final question: What is Superman's Secret Identity? After a moment's hesitation she realized it was a trick question, and quickly answered, "The Man of Steel." That was the correct answer, and Lois won the grand prize, a new dream cottage in the suburbs. There was one catch. She had ten days to marry the man of her dreams, or she would receive the consolation prize.

Lois left the studio dejected, because she had no hope of marrying the man of her dreams, Superman. Her friend from the Daily Planet office, Millie, suggested making the Man of Steel jealous. Millie explained that it was how she got her husband to marry her. She pretended that she had eloped with another man, and when her husband-to-be found out she was still single, he was more than happy to marry her. (Just what any man wants, a wife who plays tricks on him. Also, another classic Mort Weisinger plot: trick the people closest to you.) Lois told Millie that she couldn't play a trick like that on Superman.

Millie and Lois toured other TV studios, when they met actor Tony Lester, who Lois had interviewed for a Planet article. Tony thanked Lois for the exposure he got from the article. It made him a big TV star. In appreciation, he told Lois to ask him anytime and he would be glad to return the favor.

That's all it took to give Lois an idea. She asked Tony to pretend they were married as a prank in a friend. Lois asked Tony to meet her outside the Daily Planet offices and pretend they eloped. Millie encouraged Lois as she fantasized about wearing a wedding dress as Superman flew her to their honeymoon.

The next day Superman flew to the Daily Planet building, after his morning patrol, to give Lois a scoop. Lois gave him a scoop of her own when she introduced him to her new husband, Tony Lester, with whom she had eloped. A shocked Superman congratulated both of them while his heart was breaking inside.

Later, Superman delivered Lois' furniture to her new cottage, but couldn't watch Tony carry Lois over the threshold. As a wedding gift, Superman built a small waterfall in their backyard. Lois pretended to ignore Superman, as she asked Tony to help her throw out her old junk. She began throwing her Superman memorabilia out the window.

After Superman left, Lois confided in Tony the real purpose in her prank, as a way to get Superman to marry her. Tony told Lois he regretted agreeing to the prank. (I wondered if he would have felt differently if it had been an ordinary person, and not Superman.) Tony left for work at his TV studio.

On the set of a Mad Scientist scene, the robot prop went out of control, threatening Tony's safety. Superman saved Tony in the nick of time. In appeciation, Tony revealed Lois' scheme to the Man of Steel. Superman was stunned, and Tony suggested that they both teach her a lesson.

Later, when Tony returned to Lois' home, Superman paid a visit. He and Tony began to fight over Lois, and she left the house, happy that her plan was working. But it appeared to work too good, as both men demolished her house. Superman and Tony emerged from the wrecked house arm in arm. Superman told Lois that the fight was merely a screen test for a boxing role Tony had auditioned for, and then took Tony to Hollywood.

Superman returned to repair the wrecked house and replace Lois' damaged furniture. Since Lois didn't marry the man of her dreams she received the consolation prize, a bride's hope chest.

The Sightless Lois Lane was written by Jerry Coleman. Lois Lane was covering a demonstration of nuclear power. Her protective goggles were getting in the way of her seeing the experiment clearly, so of course she moved them away from her eyes. At that moment a bright flash from the demonstration blinded Lois. Superman appeared to take Lois to the hospital. After examining her, a doctor had bad news. Lois' optic nerve was permanently damagaed, and she would soon lose her sight completely. Superman stayed with Lois as her physician gave her the bad news. The Man of Steel told Lois that he would take her anywhere in the world, to see anything she wanted while she still had sight. He admired her courage after receiving the shocking news and was determined to make her last days with sight memorable.

Superman took Lois on an around the world tour, where she saw monuments like the Taj Mahal and the Sphinx. When Lois mentioned that she had hoped to see a play that had one of the characters based on her. Superman talked to the play's producer, but he was unable to help the Man of Steel. The play was still in early production, and the actors had not begun to learn their lines.

Later, Lois sat alone in the audience of an auditorium, watching the play she had wanted to see. She didn't like the role of the girl reporter. Lois thought that the actress portrayed her as too vain and self assured. Her dim sight did not catch on that the actors were actually life sized puppets on strings, operated by Superman. He also did all of the voices, using his super ventriloquism, after memorizing the entire script.

As a final favor for Lois, Superman took Lois to walk on a distant planet, after giving her a spacesuit. They returned to Earth just as she lost the last of her vision. At the Daily Planet offices, the Metropolis Reporters Club donated a seeing eye dog to Lois, who she named Deadline. Superman let Lois go on assignment by herself, to build her self confidence, and she appreciated the thought. Lois went to a Metropolis hotel where the Governor was staying, in order to interview him. An aide declined Lois' request at the Governor's orders. Lois didn't let that stop her. After previously slipping a note under Deadline's collar, she let her dog get loose, and he ran into the Governor's jotel suite. Lois knew the Governor was a dog lover, and he answered Lois' questions on the note because he was such an animal lover. Lois then went to the Daily Planet so that Perry could read the note for her and she could type up the story,

A few days later, Clark saw an emergency he needed to take care of as Superman. Since Lois was the only one in that office, he changed into Superman in front of her. But at that moment, her vision returned, and she saw Clark take off his clothes and fly away as Superman. She decided to not betray his secret, after Superman had been so nice to her before she had lost her vision. So she pretended that her sight returned after Clark had returned to the office.

The next day Lois walked through the park on her way to cover another assignment when she saw a statue of a horse and rider move. It was actually built and remote controlled by Superman. He used his super breath to blow it into space at super speed, so that Lois then saw the real statue behind it, of a riderless horse. Lois concluded that she must have been seeing things.

At a previous doctor visit, the eye doctor had told Lois that part of her failing vision was her eyes focusing on separate objects. Superman used this to trick Lois into believing that she had seen Clark take off his coat as Superman flew by the window behind Kent.

How Superman realized that Lois' vision had returned was that, when he returned from his emergency, she had a mirror on her desk. It had not been there before, and he noticed that her hairstyle was different than when he left.

Lois still believed that Clark and Superman were two different men, but was glad to have them among her closest friends.

The final story of the issue, which was featured on the cover, was The Forbidden Box From Krypton, written by Otto Binder. Lois received a box from an archaeologist. He had also written a note, warning Lois to only open the box in Superman's presence. Since she had a habit of leaping before she looked, Lois opened the box alone anyway. The box only contained a cape, goggles and a pair of gloves, so she put them on. The goggles gave Lois telescopic vision, so she could see Superman save flood victims. Then the goggles helped her find a lost ring on the floor of her closet with x-ray vision. Lois found out that the gloves gave her super strength when the front door shattered when she opened it. She followed the pattern and correctly guessed that the cape gave her the ability to fly.

Lois was able to avoid the rush hour morning traffic by flying into her office window in the Daily Planet building. All was not well when she broke a typewriter while writing a news report. Her goggles allowed her to see a gang drive away in their getaway car after robbing a bank. She flew out the window and ripped the engine out of their car. Their car crashed into a light pole. Superman appeared in time to save Lois from being electrocuted by the electrified power pole, caused by loose wires. While Superman rounded up the gang, Lois flew back to her office to turn in the story, and became the headline to her own report.

Both Clark and Lois saw a ship endangered by an iceberg. Lois got a head start to the emergency because Clark had to duck into a storeroom to change into Superman. He got to the ship in time to see Lois break up the iceberg with her fist. The only problem was that the flying pieces of the iceberg threatened to sink the ship. Superman melted the iceberg with his x-ray vision, as his heat vision was called back then. Lois resented Superman following her like a nursemaid.

Later, Superman saw Lois pull a truck out of the mud. Unfortunately, a box of TNT from the truck's load fell off of the truck. Superman was able to shield Lois from the exploding dynamite. She again ignored his warning about using her powers more carefully.

Superman decided to get to the bottom of the situation, so he flew to Lois' apartment. He found the box and recognized it as coming from Krypton. Superman found a note, written by his father, Jor-El, detailing why he sent the box to Earth. Jor-El sent the three inventions in order to help his son Kal-El survive on Earth. He underestimated how powerful his son would become once he came to Earth.

The Man of Steel surmised that the three Kryptonian artifacts would be neutralized by kryptonite. He flew into space and spotted a meteor shower that had a piece of kryptonite. Superman fused the other meteors into a long, gaint bat, and swatted the kryptonite toward Earth.

Lois saw an unconscious Superman near a kryptonite meteorite. She flew to his rescue, but her gloves had lost their super strength. She was only able to pull Superman away from the kryptonite. The unconscious Superman was only a dummy, as the real Man of Steel watched from behind a rock. After switching places with the dummy (by super speed, I assume) he flew Lois back to Metropolis.

Even though she no longer had super powers, Lois did have one more super headline. Clark was glad she could headline one final Super-Lois story, as a way to get over the sting of losing her super powers. It was nice to read a Superman story where the cast wasn't trying to play tricks on each other.

Next Episode: An Imaginary Summer 2010, Part IV: The Death Of Lois Lane!

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