Thursday, December 2, 2010

Episode #147: How Clark Kent Met Lois Lane!

As DC Comics continues to celebrate 75 years of publishing, this episode features two stories, separated by a number of decades, that reveal how Clark and Lois first met.

The first story was first published in Adventure Comics #128, May 1948, published around March 26, 1948. After his earliest stories in More Fun Comics, Superboy moved over to Adventure Comics. He would not get his own title for another year. Jack Schiff was the editor, and the cover was drawn by Win Mortimer.The ten page story, How Clark Kent Met Lois Lane, was written by Bill Finger and drawn by George Roussos.

Clark Kent, reporter for the Smallville high scool newspaper, was one of two winners of the Daily Planet's contest for high school newspaper reporters.The grand prize was a week at the newspaper's offices writing for the Daily Planet. At the newspaper's building he met the other winner, Lois Lane. From the very beginning Clark thought she was pretty, and Lois thought he was boring. Nothing will change in the future. Clark found out where he stood in her eyes when Lois asked about Superboy. He realized Lois was all about the Boy of Steel, and not about him.

The Editor gave the two young reporters their challenge: the best story will get a front page byline. Lois let Clark know in no uncertain terms that girls were better and she would win, and that he was no Superboy. Clark thought, if only she knew. They made a bet: the loser would buy the winner an ice cream sundae.

As they walked the streets of Metropolis, a street cleaning truck drove by. but instead of spraying water it sprayed sleeping gas. Bandits jumped out of the truck and robbed a jewelry store. Quick thinking Lois covered her face with a wet handkerchief, while Clark pretended to faint from the gas. He changed into Superboy as soon as Lois left. Superboy stopped out of control cars from crashing into each other, after their drivers were knocked out by the gas. He then took a billboard and used it as a fan to disperse the fumes, then returned the billboard to its place.

Lois got the story because Clark couldn't risk revealing his identity, but he felt a little frustrated anyway. Lois toured the Daily Planet offices in the "Morgue", the file storeroom of old stories. She read a week old clipping about the owner of a road construction company who left his business to his nephew Paul, who was a convicted burglar. Lois smelled a story and left to investigate.

At the company's property, Lois saw the same water truck from the robbery. She eavesdropped on the conversation inside the building, and overheard Paul talking about using the construction equipment to commit robberies. Of course Lois got captured, as she would do as an adult many times. The gang planned to use the wrecking ball crane to rob a bank, and the steam shovel to rob a warehouse.

Clark searched for Lois at the Daily Planet offices, and saw the same article in the Morgue. As Superboy he appeared at the bank in time to save Lois from being crushed by the wrecking ball, saving her life for the first of many times. After capturing the criminal, Superboy captured the rest of the gang who were operating the steam shovel.

For his efforts, Clark got scooped again by Lois. Being the man, or boy, of honor he was, Clark paid his debt at the ice cream shop, where Lois "scooped" him two more times.

The second story about Clark and Lois's first meeting was published in Superman & Batman: Generations #4, published on February 10, 1999. It contained 48 pages and sold for $4.95. It was the final issue of an Elseworlds mini-series. This series looked at Superman and Batman in a series of stories, beginning in 1939, following them in decade long jumps, as they aged naturally. The series incorporated the changing superhero styles of the subsequent decades.

In the final story, titled 1929, Batman, flying in a Bat Spaceship, found Superman's Fortress of Solitude on a distant planet with a hostile environment. They reminisced about their first frist meeting, as teenagers in Gotham City in 1929.

The flashback began as Superboy flew to Gotham City. He considered moving there after he graduated journalism school. Superboy changed into Clark Kent and entered the offices of the Gotham Gazette newspaper. The Gazette's managing editor introduced the other winners of the newspaper's essay contest, which included the group's only girl, Lois Lane, frm Metropolis. Clark was immediately smitten. The contest was created by the newspaper's owner, a young Bruce Wayne. He used the contest to find the best journalists for the Gazette. Lois ws familiar with Clark's stories about Superboy.

As the winners split up to search for stories, Clark and Lois teamed up. They didn't have far to walk before they saw a giant robot smash its way out of a warehouse. Clark used his x-ray vision to discover that the robot was controlled by a young Lex Luthor, who had escaped the Smallville Juvenile Detention Home. Lois was cpture for the firt time, and Superboy got blasted by fire from the robot as he tried to free Lois, also for the first time.

The scene was witmessed by Bruce Wayne who watched from the window of his office. He had Alfred bring "it", which turned out to be a caped costume. He rushed to assist Superboy as none other than -- Robin. Lex escaped from the robot with an air cycle before Robin could detonate a shaped charge to break into the Robot. Superboy had to let Lex escape in order to stop the now out of control robot. He ripped off the robot's arm to free Lois. Robin couldn't turn off the robot because the controls had been fused, so Superboy solved the problem by dropping the robot on the Moon.

After Superboy returned to Gotham, introductions were made and the trio investigated the warehouse where the robot came from. Lois found an address on a shipping label, and so the Dynamic Trio met at the lab of a Dr. Erwin. The doctor informed them that Lex Luthor, using the name Rex Thorul, had worked as his lab assistant and stole his robot to rob a bank. Tipped off by the smell of spirit gum, Superboy ripped the beard and toupee off of Lex Luthor.

Lex grabbed Lois and escaped with a helicopter backpack. Luthor stopped Superboy with a small piece of kryptonite, but Robin bent a metal strip into a crude boomerang and threw it at Luthor. The kryptonite was knocked from his hand, and Robin put it in a lead pipe to shield it from Superboy. The Boy of Steel was then able to free Lois and capture Luthor. After they turned Lex in to the police, Lois showed her appreciation by kissing Superboy on the cheek. I wonder if Robin felt left out?

After returning to Smallville, Clark informed his parents that he had decided to apply at the Daily Planet newspaper in Metropolis.

The rest of this series will have to wait for another episode.

Next Episode: A Superman Fan Review: Superman: Secret Origin & Supermana: Last Family Of Krypton!

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