Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics
Superman #215Cover date: April 1969
Writer: Otto Binder
Penciller: Curt Swan
Inker: Jack Abel
"Lois Lane... Dead... Yet Alive"
Reviewed by: Jeffrey Taylor
Before "Elseworlds" there were imaginary tales that took place out of whatever qualified for continuity in the Silver Age. This story set up that Superman (not Clark Kent) married Lois Lane and had a daughter together, named Lanie. Yes, Lanie Lane. While sitting at home reading a newspaper next to Lois, The Dimension Master broke into their home through the front window and shot Superman with Blast-Ray which reflected off his invulnerable chest and hit Lois, scattering her atoms into the air.
Although only a young girl, Lanie had Superman's powers, including strength and flight, which is why Superman brought her to the Fortress of Solitude where Krypto and his Superman robots could keep an eye on her. All he asked was that she avoid the secret locked door in the Fortress.
Meanwhile Clark Kent had to hide his sense of loss from his coworkers because it was Superman, not Clark, who was married to and had lost Lois.
Superman did his best to make up for Lanie's lack of a mother by playing with her at the Fortress and even creating a robotic Lois who looked and acted just like her. Superman soon found himself falling in love with the robot version of his late wife, but came to his senses.
While judging a beauty contest, Superman saw Lois and approached her, but she turned out to be The Dimension Master's wife, who was a shape-changer. They were playing a trick on Superman to hurt him emotionally. Lex Luthor and Brainiac plowed through the roof of the building in a spaceship and killed The Dimension Master and his wife claiming that murdering Lois was bad enough, but that they didn't like her killers rubbing salt in Superman's wounds. Plus there was a reward for both the villains that Luthor and Brainiac could cash in on. Superman thanked his two nemeses and let them take the bodies.
Chapter II: The Sorrows of Superman!
Once Superman left Lanie alone, she tricked the Superman robot who was guarding her into flying away long enough for her to get into the locked room in the Fortress. The room contained green and red Kryptonite for Superman's experiments toward finding a cure for his Kryptonite weakness. The red K of the silver age had variable adverse effects on Kryptonians and in this case, caused Lanie to become transparent and disappear. Superman discovered that she had traveled to another dimension and exposed himself to the same red K in order to follow her.
The new dimension's Earth was remarkably similar to the original, except that Lois lived and the other Superman of that world had no interest in marrying her. The first Superman immediately proposed to this Lois and they adopted Lanie. The second Superman agreed to travel back to the original Earth and even expressed interest in Lana Lang there. The living Lois never knew that the Superman she married wasn't the same one she'd fallen in love with other the years. And they all lived happily ever after.
Story - 4: The first thing modern readers must realize is that Superman comics from the Golden or Silver Age need to be viewed very differently than the modern issues. This story is a great example of how quaint and timeless comics used to be. In this case, we're dealing with an "imaginary story" that breaks the rules of continuity. Lois was married to Superman and they had a child together. Lois didn't marry Superman in continuity until the 1990s.
My only problem with the story is that Superman married the Lois from another dimension under false pretenses. He claimed to be the same Superman of that dimension that she'd spent her life falling in love with and never corrected her assumption. I like to think of Superman as a symbol of honesty among other things, but this was a downright lie. There's also a moment where Lex Luthor and Brainiac show up and kill the Dimension Master and his wife for playing a trick on Superman. First, I don't see why they would have a problem with anyone causing Superman emotional harm, and second, I prefer the Superman who has a real problem with killing even when it appears that someone has killed Lois or another loved one.
Art - 5: It's really difficult to create great art that will be printed on newsprint. This one comes off as well if not better than the ones from the 80s that were also released on newsprint. I wish I could give credit to the artist, but no one is listed to give credit to, including the writer (Editor's note: I discovered that the artist was none other than Curt Swan).
Back-Up Story - "Superman's First Exploit"
Dr. Reese Kearns had been discredited years ago because an asteroid he had discovered hurtling toward Earth never impacted. He was believed to be a hoaxer trying to gain fame for something he made up. He asked Superman about his first feat, but Superman believed the Doctor was attempting to find information about his early years in Smallville and thus his secret identity.
Dr. Kearns set up a contest to see who could remember Superman's earliest feat, which flashes the reader back to young Superman's days saving people. Eventually Superman remembers that once his Kryptonian rocket was nearing Earth, he saw a bright rock outside the window of his ship, jumped out to see it up close, but then had to jump back to his rocket, causing the rock to change course. The rock was of course the asteroid Dr. Kearns had discovered and baby Kal-El's jump from its surface caused it to change course, missing Earth. Dr. Kearns was vindicated and the public learned that Superman had been saving the planet since he was still in diapers.
Story - 5: It's cute. It's short. It gets to the point without some of the unnecessary garble from the first story in this issue. This kind of tale is exactly what I expect from older Superman comics.
Art - 3: This was clearly drawn by a different artist and while it still holds up, it's not as good as the material from the main story. Faces are harder to discern. Backgrounds are single color backdrops more often than not. It's about average overall.
Cover Art - 5: You can tell by the cover that this is an "Imaginary Tale," but it still looks great and it made me want to buy and read it. The graveyard scenery with young Lanie asking Daddy Superman if they'll ever see Mommy again is priceless and heartbreaking before even opening the issue. Highest marks there.
Pre-Crisis Superman Comic Book Reviews
- Action Comics #1 (June 1938)
- Action Comics #2 (July 1938)
- Action Comics #3 (August 1938)
- Action Comics #4 (September 1938)
- Action Comics #5 (October 1938)
- Action Comics #6 (November 1938)
- Action Comics #7 (December 1938)
- Superman Archives: Volume 1 (1939)
- Superman #1 (Summer 1939)
- Action Comics #8 (January 1939)
- Action Comics #9 (February 1939)
- Action Comics #10 (March 1939)
- Superman #13 (November/December 1941) - The Archer
- Superman #19 (November/December 1942) - Case of the Funny Paper Crimes
- Action Comics #60 (May 1943) - Lois Lane - Superwoman
- Superman #30 (September/October 1944) - The Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk
- Action Comics #80 (January 1945) - Mr. Mxyztplk Returns
- Superman #38 (January/February 1946) - The Battle of the Atoms
- Superman #42 (September/October 1946) - The Death of Clark Kent
- Superman #45 (March/April 1947) - Lois Lane, Superwoman
- Superman #53 (July 1948) - The Origin of Superman
- Action Comics #124 (September 1948) - A Superman of Doom
- Superman #60 (December 1949/January 1950) - The Two Identities of Superman & Superman Fights the Super-Brain
- Superman #76 (May/June 1952) - The Mightiest Team in the World
- Superman #80 (January/February 1953) - Superman's Lost Brother
- Superman 3D (1953) - The Man Who Stole the Sun, Origin of Superman and The Man Who Bossed Superman
- Superman #87 (February 1954) - The Prankster's Greatest Role
- Superman #88 (March 1954) - The Terrible Trio
- Superman #89 (May 1954) - Captain Kent the Terrible, Superman of Skid Row, and One Hour to Doom!
- Superman #91 (August 1954) - The Superman Stamp and Great Caesar's Ghost
- World's Finest #88 (May/June 1957) - Superman and Batman's Greatest Foes
- Superman #115 (August 1957) - The Midget Superman!
- Superboy #65 (May/June 1958) - The Amazing Adventures of Krypto Mouse
- Action Comics #242 (July 1958) - The Super-Duel in Space
- Superman #123 (August 1958) - The Girl of Steel
- Superman #127 (February 1959) - Titano the Super Ape
- Action Comics #252 (May 1959) - The Menace of Metallo and The Supergirl From Krypton
- Superman #129 (May 1959) - The Girl in Superman's Past
- Superman #130 (July 1959) - The Curse of Kryptonite!, The Super-Servant of Crime!, and The Town that Hated Superman!
- Jimmy Olsen #40 (October 1959) - Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl's Pal
- Superman #134 (January 1960) - The Super-Menace of Metropolis
- Jimmy Olsen #42 (January 1960) - The Big Superman Movie!, Perry White, Cub Reporter!, and Jimmy the Genie!
- Jimmy Olsen #44 (April 1960) - The Wolf-Man of Metropolis
- Adventure Comics #271 (April 1960) - How Luthor Met Superboy
- Jimmy Olsen #46 (July 1960) - Jimmy Olsen, Orphan
- Superman #141 (November 1960) - Superman's Return To Krypton
- Superboy #85 (December 1960) - The Impossible Mission
- Jimmy Olsen #51 (March 1961) - The Girl with Green Hair
- Jimmy Olsen #52 (April 1961) - Jimmy Olsen, Wolf-Man
- Superboy #89 (June 1961) - Superboy's Big Brother!
- Action Comics #279 (August 1961) - The Super-Rivals
- Superman #147 (August 1961) - The Legion of Super Villains
- Superman #149 (November 1961) - The Death of Superman!
- Jimmy Olsen #57 (December 1961) - Jimmy Olsen Marries Supergirl
- Superman #155 (August 1962) - Superman Under the Green Sun and The Downfall of Superman
- Justice League of America #13 (August 1962) - Riddle of the Robot Justice League
- World's Finest #129 (November 1962) - Joker-Luthor, Incorporated
- Superman #158 (January 1963) - Superman in Kandor
- Superman #160 (April 1963) - The Mortal Superman
- Superman #161 (May 1963) - The Last Days of Ma and Pa Kent
- Superman #162 (July 1963) - The Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue
- Superman #163 (August 1963) - Wonder-Man, the New Hero of Metropolis and The Goofy Superman
- Justice League of America #21 & #22 (August/September 1963) - Crisis on Earth-One! and Crisis on Earth-Two!
- Superman #164 (October 1963) - The Showdown Between Luthor and Superman
- Superman #165 (November 1963) - The Sweetheart Superman Forgot
- Superman #166 (January 1964) - The Fantastic Story of Superman's Sons
- Superman #167 (February 1964) - The Team of Luthor and Brainiac
- Superman #168 (April 1964) - Luthor - Super Hero and Lex Luthor, Daily Planet Editor
- Superman #169 (May 1964) - The Man Who Stole Superman's Secret Life
- Action Comics #314 (July 1964) - The Day Superman Became The Flash
- Justice League of America #29 & #30 (August/September 1964) - Crisis on Earth-Three! and The Most Dangerous Earth of All!
- Superman #173 (November 1964) - The Triumph of Luthor and Brainiac
- Action Comics #318 (November 1964) - The Death of Luthor
- Action Comics #319 (December 1964) - The Condemned Superman
- Superman #175 (February 1965) - Clark Kent's Brother
- Superman #181 (November 1965) - The Superman of 2965
- The Legion of Super-Heroes - Archives Volume 4 (1965)
- Superman #184 (February 1966) - The Demon Under the Red Sun
- Action Comics #338 (June 1966) - Muto - Monarch of Menace
- Action Comics #339 (July 1966) - Muto versus The Man of Tomorrow
- Superman #189 (August 1966) - Krypton Lives Again
- Action Comics #346 (February 1967) - The Man Who Sold Insurance to Superman and The Case of the Superman Imposter
- Superman #194 (February 1967) - The Death of Lois Lane
- Superman #196 (May 1967) - The Star of Steel
- Superman #199 (January 1967) - Superman's Race With The Flash
- Superman #200 (October 1967) - Super-Brother Against Super-Brother
- The Flash #175 (December 1967) - Race to the End of the Universe
- Justice League of America #63 (June 1968) - Time Signs a Death Warrant for the Justice League
- Superman #211 (November 1968) - The Name of the Game is Superman!
- Superman #215 (April 1969) - Lois LaneŠ DeadŠ Yet Alive
- Superman #224 (February 1970) - Beware the Super-Genius Baby
- Action Comics #393 (October 1970) - Superman Meets Super-Houdini! and The Day Superboy Became Superman!
- Jimmy Olsen #133 (October 1970) - The Newsboy Legion
- Action Comics #394 (November 1970) - Midas of Metropolis and Requiem for a Hot Rod!
- World's Finest #198 (November 1970) - Race to Save the Universe!
- Action Comics #395 (December 1970) - The Secrets of Superman's Fortress and The Credit Card of Catastrophe
- Jimmy Olsen #134 (December 1970) - The Mountain of Judgement!
- World's Finest #199 (December 1970) - A Race to Save Time!
- Superman #233 (January 1971) - Superman Breaks Loose!
- Jimmy Olsen #135 (January 1971) - The Evil Factory!
- Superman #234 (February 1971) - How to Tame a Wild Volcano
- Jimmy Olsen #136 (February 1971) - The Saga of the D.N.Aliens
- Superman #235 (March 1971) - The Sinister Scream of the Devil's Harp
- Superman #236 (April 1971) - Planet of the Angels and The Doomsayer
- Jimmy Olsen #137 (April 1971) - The Four-Armed Terror!
- Superman #237 (May 1971) - The Enemy of Earth
- Superman #238 (June 1971) - Menace at 1000 Degrees
- Jimmy Olsen #138 (June 1971) - The Big Boom!!
- Superman #240 (July 1971) - To Save a Superman
- Jimmy Olsen #139 (July 1971) - The Guardian Fights Again!!!
- Superman #241 (August 1971) - The Shape of Fear
- Superman #242 (September 1971) - The Ultimate Battle
- Jimmy Olsen #141 (September 1971) - Will the Real Don Rickles Panic?!?
- Jimmy Olsen #142 (October 1971) - The Man from Transilvane!
- Jimmy Olsen #143 (November 1971) - Genocide Spray
- Jimmy Olsen #144 (December 1971) - A Big Thing in a Deep Scottish Lake!
- Superman #247 (January 1972) - Must There Be A Superman
- Jimmy Olsen #145 (January 1972) - Brigadoom!
- Jimmy Olsen #146 (February 1972) - Homo-Disastrous!
- Jimmy Olsen #147 (March 1972) - A Superman in Super-Town!
- Jimmy Olsen #148 (April 1972) - Monarch of All He Subdues!
- Superman #292 (October 1975) - The Luthor Nobody Knows!
- Action Comics #458 (April 1976) - Make Me a Super-Hero! and Masquerade of the Nutty Kid!
- Action Comics #484 (June 1978) - Superman Takes a Wife!
- Superman #328 (October 1978) - Attack of the Kryptonoid
- Action Comics #489 (November 1978) - Krypton Dies Again and Where There's a Will... There's a Fray
- Superman #329 (November 1978) - I Have Met The Enemy... And He Is Me! and The Secret of the Talking Car
- Superman #330 (December 1978) - The Master Mesmerizer of Metropolis!
- Action Comics #490 (December 1978) - No Tomorrow For Superman
- Action Comics #491 (January 1979) - A Matter of Light and Death
- Superman #331 (January 1979) - Lockup at 20,000 Feet
- Action Comics #492 (February 1979) - Superman's Secret Afterlife
- Superman #332 (February 1979) - The Eternity Cage
- Action Comics #493 (March 1979) - The Metropolis UFO Connection
- Action Comics #494 (April 1979) - The Secret of the Super S
- Action Comics #495 (May 1979) - Attack of the Ultimate Warrior
- DC Comics Presents #14 (October 1979) - Judge, Jury... and No Justice!
- The Superman Story (1979) - The Life Story of Superman
- DC Comics Presents #57 (May 1983) - Days of Future Past
- DC Comics Presents #67 (March 1984) - 'Twas the Fright Before Christmas
- DC Comics Presents Annual #3 (1984) - With One Magic Word
- Superman: The Secret Years #1 (February 1985) - Dreams and Schemes and Feeling Proud!
- Superman: The Secret Years #2 (March 1985) - Reach Out and Touch
- Superman: The Secret Years #3 (April 1985) - Terminus
- DC Comics Presents #80 (April 1985) - A World Full of Supermen!
- Superman: The Secret Years #4 (May 1985) - Beyond Terminus
- DC Comics Presents #85 (September 1985) - The Jungle Line
- Superman Annual #11 (1985) - For The Man Who Has Everything
- World's Finest #323 (January 1986) - Afraid of the Dark
- DC Comics Presents #97 (September 1986) - Phantom Zone: The Final Chapter
- Superman #423 & Action Comics #583 (September 1986) - Whatever Happened To The Man of Tomorrow?
- Showcase Presents: Superman Family - Volume 1 (October 2005)
- Superman/Batman: Saga of the Super Sons (December 2007)
- Not Brand ECHH #7 (April 1967) - The Origin of Stuporman
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