In her dreams. Artist: Kurt Schaffenberger.


Original Medium: Comic books
Published by: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1938
Creators: Jerry Siegel (writer) and Joe Shuster (artist)
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Of the dozens of concepts that were tested in DC Comics' Showcase during its original 93-issue run, which ran from 1956-'70, 23 graduated to their own series. Some, such as The Atom and Green Lantern, were revamped versions of …

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… old characters. Some, like The Spectre and Binky, were the old characters themselves, revived without alteration — which was also attempted with King Faraday (under the title "I — Spy"), but that one fizzled. One, Aquaman, already had a series, but graduated to a better one. A few, like Space Ranger and Enemy Ace, got series in extant titles but not their own comics. Some, like Cave Carson and Dolphin, never did get series of their own, but went on to guest-star occasionally with other characters. Only one, Lois Lane, was a DC supporting character being tested for a title of her own.

Not that Lois hadn't had a series before. Superman #28 (June, 1944) launched a series in its back pages, titled "Lois Lane, Girl Reporter", which concerned her job at The Daily Planet (a name that was introduced in Action Comics #24, May, 1940, by the way). That series ended in Superman #42 (October, 1946). The new one started in Showcase #s 9 and 10, August and October, 1957; and the title itself began with a cover date of April, 1958.) She was the first of the Showcase try-outs to get a comic of her own.

But the thrust of the two differed. In the first, since people tended not to take "girl" heroes seriously back then, she was played for laughs. In the new one, she functioned more as the heroine of a romance story, suffering the heartache of betrayal and infidelity — which, incidentally, were staples of the Weisinger-edited Superman line at the time, where friendships and other relationships always seemed fluid, tho they inevitably reverted to the status quo by the end of the story. The first concentrated on her adventures without Superman; whereas, tho she was the central character in the second, Supes was always a prominent part of the stories.

Of all the Showcase try-outs, this one was probably most certain to succeed. In 1954, before Showcase started, the company had expanded the Superman franchise by emulating Archie Comics (which had started Archie's Pal, Jughead, in 1949) by launching Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen. Of the two "pals & gals", Lois probably had the better chance of success, and Jimmy had already succeeded.

And indeed she was successful — not the most so of Showcase's graduates (The Flash, with 246 uninterrupted issues before its cancellation in 1985, had that distinction), but far from the least. (That would probably be Windy & Willy, reprints from the '50s title Dobie Gillis, with their trademarked names changed, which lasted four post-Showcase issues in 1969.). Lois's title ran 137 issues, ending with a cover date of October, 1974. Also, she continued in Superman Family (the retitled version of Jimmy Olsen when both titles had run out of steam) and a two-issue mini--series in 1986, with "Superman's Girlfriend" lopped off the title.

And of course, she continues as a supporting character, a position she's held since the very first Superman story in 1938. But as of 1996, she's no longer Superman's girlfriend, but his wife.


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Text ©2008-09 Donald D. Markstein. Art © DC Comics.