“No, the broomstick I get. I want to
know why you’re dressed like a hobo.”
So begins the first proper issue of Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane. After two issues in Showcase, Lois has graduated to her very own comic. Inside the book, we start the story with a more graphically witchy Lois.
By the way, this splash page doubles as a pretty accurate rendition of how I write this blog. Except without the magic.
The story opens with Lois visiting a museum, where she learns about Mad Molly Todd, who by night transformed into an evil witch. For some reason, Lois is applying make-up in front of Mad Molly’s painting, and when she drops her compact, the mirror breaks. So already, we know where this story is going: the splash page image is what Lois looks like without her face powder.
Next up on Lois’ schedule is a trip to the famous biologist, Professor Jason. Prof-J, as he's known in the academic community, is working on an experimental youth serum.
Yeah, here’s a bio lab safety tip for you: if you smell "odd fumes" coming out of a test tube, make sure to lean over and get a real good whiff. Otherwise, how will you know if it’s dangerous or not?
With those plot points taken care of with minimal fuss, Lois heads home to type up the day’s stories and start Act 2. But while she’s writing, an eerie transformation occurs!
“My hands look old and wrinkled! And I’m wearing a prominent, gaudy
ring I’ve never worn before, which I’m sure won’t be important later."
ring I’ve never worn before, which I’m sure won’t be important later."
I had this exact same experience when I turned thirty.
But Lois finally reads the pamphlet she got at the museum, which warns that any maiden breaking a mirror in front of Mad Molly’s painting will share her curse, turning into a witch every night for seven years.
Which is a strangely specific curse. I mean, seriously, just how many maidens have broken mirrors in front of that damn painting? Oh and, “maiden?” Yeah, I don’t think so. Even in the 50’s, there’s just no way Lois is saving that shit for Superman.
Anyway, Lois goes out for some fresh air, and finds herself in the same neighborhood as some escaped convicts. Because, you know, even as a withered old witch, she’s still Lois Lane. Superman pops by and asks her to keep an eye out, but he doesn’t seem to realize it’s Lois. As soon as he leaves, she runs into the thugs because, you know, she’s still Lois Lane.
Now, can I just stop here, hit pause on the snark track, and spend a minute admiring the artwork? That is one lovingly drawn Lois-witch. And look at how emotive the expressions are. You don’t even need dialog to understand what’s going on. It’s written on the characters’ faces.
This is the work of the legendary Kurt Schaffenberger. He drew this and many other issues of Lois Lane, and his rendition of Lois became the definitive model of her appearance, across the entire Superman franchise.
Hur hur. Look at that robber’s ass.
Stupid robber ass.
So Lois, having saved herself with a magic spell, goes home to sleep it off. She wakes in the morning, back to her old young self again. But when the day is over and she returns home, she finds herself transformed again into a decrepit old witch.
Witch is inconvenient (HEEEEYOOOO!) because her neighbor barges in at that very moment. Wisely choosing to avoid any zany, Mrs. Doubtfire style antics, Lois decides she has to get out of the house fast. And what do witches do when they need to go fast? That’s right…
Lean in, Lois.
At this point, Lois is pretty much like, “Fuck it, I guess I’m a witch now.” She flies over to Metropolis Movie Studios, where they’re making a secret movie that every newspaper in town has been trying to find out about. Lois breaks in and gets the scoop with her witch powers.
Yeah, uhh, I’m sure the middle part of that wall wasn’t structurally important. What’s important is that you get your story, Lois.
And get it she does. The next morning, Perry is very impressed with her scoop, but Lois is maudlin. She’s worried that she’s “turning evil, like all witches in history.”
Wow. Huge burn on witches, out of nowhere.
Shortly after worrying that she’s turning evil, Lois contemplates stealing one of Clark’s stories right out from under him. As night approaches, she’s still unsure. She stands contemplating a broomstick, torn between two worlds.
Then, in the very next panel, she’s flying through the night, laughing about how hard she’s about to screw Clark over. In her defense, that was a very persuasive broomstick.
She intercepts the ship Clark is supposed to meet at the dock, goes aboard, and steals the documents he was going to pick up. To add radiation poisoning to injury, she even hatches a plan to finally figure out Superman’s secret identity. She uses her witch magic to conjure a chunk of kryptonite, which she plans to chuck at Clark Kent. If he dies, it'll prove that he was Superman. Before he died. From the kryptonite she threw at him.
Basically, Lois has become his arch-nemesis, which means she’s been following my sound advice.
But she chickens out at the last moment, deciding not to put her plan into action. She even confesses her crime to Superman, who counters her confession with an even stupider confession of his own.
You see, Lois was never a witch at all. When Superman first met hag-Lois in that neighborhood, he immediately recognized her by the blue sapphire ring that Lois “always wore” (except for every other time we’ve seen her outside of this story.)
It was Superman who… Actually, I’ll let him try to explain this bullshit:
And the kryptonite Lois conjured was nothing but fool’s kryptonite, which Superman dropped into her hands from above. Because, silly Lois, of course witches aren’t real. You should have known this absurd “witchcraft” thing was just a godlike alien playing tricks on you.
Actually, you know what? I’m not even going to bother. This shit mocks itself.
Although the comic doesn’t address it, I’m tickled by the fact that “Evil Witch Lois”—who’s plotting to expose Superman to deadly kryptonite so she can expose his identity—is in fact just regular, everyday Lois. I guess no one in the comic bothers to bring it up, because it’s not really that surprising.
But one question remains! Why does Lois look like a Halloween mask every night after dark?
Well, the answer to that one is simple. You remember when she visited Prof-J, who was working on the youth serum? Well, he must have added the ingredients in the exact opposite order or something, because he accidentally made an “old age serum,” which is what Lois was sniffing at way back in Act I. It was the serum fumes which turned Lois into an old lady anytime she was exposed to moonlight.
I’m just surprised a professor of his renown made that mistake. It’s one of the first things they teach you.
That only leaves you to wonder how Lois was transformed by a serum that works in moonlight, when she wasn’t actually exposed to moonlight on any of the occasions when she transformed. Also, moonlight is present during the day at exactly the same intensity as at night—it’s just unnoticeable amid the brightness of the daytime sky.
Also, WHAT THE HOLY MOTHER OF FUCK JUST HAPPENED?
Deep breaths. Deep breaths.
We've basically run out of comic book, so there's no work involved in turning Lois back to normal. The serum just wears off on its own. Because of course it does.
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