Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Hiatus

Now that the lead story in Lois Lane 106 is complete (see below), Comic Books Revisited will be on hiatus during the holidays. But fear not, dear reader, it will be back with a brand new adventure in the new year. So until then, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Kwality Kwanzaa, and Happy New Year!

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #106 (Part 7, Finale): I AM CURIOUS BLACK

When last we read: Lois donated her handy-dandy color-blind O- blood to a wounded Dave. She sat tensely waiting, praying he would open his eyes. Will he? It's time to find out in the thrilling conclusion to I AM CURIOUS BLACK!

Miraculously, Dave opens his eyes. Who knew that a pint of blood was a cure for a gunshot wound to the chest? It's not like anyone operated on him. (Dave looks like he's never seen her before in his life. Either that or he sucked on a lemon.)

Now that Dave is okay, it's time for Lois to confront Superman, so that we can tie all this into the splash page. She asks him if he'd marry her even if she remained black.

Superman is so upset that one of the parts of his S emblem is not inked. Now that's upset! He reminds her that he is an alien -- the universal outsider -- and that his skin is tougher than steel (funny, him mentioning his skin. Almost sounds like a set-up for a retort. Nah, Lois wouldn't take that bait). Lois says, "But... your skin is the right color!" (So is yours, Lois, or have you forgotten that you've only been black for a few hours?) (I kept waiting for him to say, "It's pure coincidence that Krypton was populated only by white people that wear headbands! Don't you see the irony, Lois? I could be wearing a headband right now -- Would you marry a man in a headband? Well, would you???")

So Supes goes into his 'my enemies, blah blah, deadly danger, blah, blah..." until Lois accuses him of being a broken record (This was back in the days when they had records instead of CDs, so that the saying makes sense, unlike nowadays!).

But before she becomes a broken record about being black, she suddenly begins to change. She's black. She's Hispanic. She's whitey, once again. Apparently, it didn't last the usual 24 hours this time. (She says she feels like she's shedding her skin. So the color was like a lizard's scales or something? That's just weird.)

The nurse comes in to tell her ol' Dave has been asking for her, but gosh golly, the nurse sure gets a shock. Some white girl stole that sister's clothes! Nah, she somehow immediately grasps that Lois, whom she had only known as black, had suddenly turned into a white woman. I guess we have to chalk this one up to living in a world where people can fly and burn things with their eyes. It's tough to surprise the ordinary Joe and Jane for long.

Lois is torn. Does she really want to see him now? Now that she's white? "He called me whitey! His enemy! What will he say now?" Superman says, "You must see him, Lois, or you'll never find out! If he still hates you... with your blood in his veins... there may never be peace in this world!" (No pressure or anything. The fate of the world rests on this moment, but don't be nervous.)

The last page has no captions or dialogue. Here it is:

There is hope after all! Peace can prevail! Dave was also able to figure out that Lois is the black woman who gave him blood and now she's a white woman and hey, isn't that the same woman who passed by on the street, but what does it matter since we're all brothers and sisters under our skin. Or something like that.

And that, my friends, is the inimitable, incredible, completely relevant, now, today truth!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #106 (Part 6): I AM CURIOUS BLACK

When last we read: Dave had just been shot in his purple shirt by two racially harmonious bad guys. Lois is still black and now her cool new friend may be dying and the thugs are still armed and dangerous. Let's get back to the good stuff in part 6 of I AM CURIOUS BLACK!

Out of the sky come two beams of red-hot heat vision, melting the guns "to taffy" (Taffy? How gangsterlike). In the background, we see Lois carrying Dave's injured body. Lois, you Amazon! You've been working out! Not even a fireman's carry, she's holding him like Rhett held Scarlett when he raced up the stairs for some hot southern comfort. (I can only imagine what Lois is saying. "You want to see man's work? I could bench press you, ya pansy!")

Superman makes short work of the 'hoods', and then flies Lois and Dave to a nearby hospital. Lois is very worried about her new friend. The doctor tells the nurse to get Dave's blood type fast because he's fading. (So... anything think blood type is going to be a key to this story?) Things are very tense. Lois is very worried (and I think her babushka is tilting).

"Tense minutes tick by like spurting heartbeats..." (ewww) He's O negative! But oh no! The hospital doesn't "have enough funds for all [blood] types".

Now just hang on a golldurned second here. O- is the universal donor. If you don't have O-, you might as well not have anything. So if you're buying blood, you make sure you get that one first. Not A+, not B-, not even O+ -- you need O-. So why in the Wide, Wide World of Sports would this hospital decide not to order O-? It isn't like they're out of it. He distinctly says they can't afford all the blood types; i.e. they choose to buy some and skip others. So hey, I've got an idea, let's not buy ANY of the universal donor!

Sure, I realize that it's a set-up for the next panel (raise your hands if you've figured out that Lois is O- and rolling up her sleeve?) but COME ON PEOPLE!!! This is lazy writing! Find some logical way to make the donation necessary, not this golldurned, idiotic, "we need to prove we're poor again so we'll let common sense fly out the window" and "we need an excuse for Lois to donate" shinola!!!!! For crying out loud, it isn't like Lois's blood type is part of canon (or that DC cared about canon in those days). Make her a different blood type! Make her A- or B+ or even the rarest, AB-. I can see why a hospital wouldn't stock AB- because of its rarity and that would prove the "we're poor" point, but the universal donor? Give me a break.

Okay, I've calmed down now. And by pure coincidence, a week ago I was lying on a Red Cross table filling up a bag with my own O- blood. Yes, I'm the universal donor, and the Red Cross adores me. Every 54 days, I drop some reddies on the Crossers. If you ever need blood, I'm your gal.

Back to the story. Superman wishes he could volunteer to give blood, but needles break on his arm. (Lois looks bored. Most likely she recognizes the stupidity of a hospital that doesn't stock O-.)

Suddenly, out of the blue in a completely unexpected story twist, Lois announces, "I- I'm O Negative! Just like him!" Shocking! Pardon me while I retrieve my jaw. (Okay, I'm still upset about the lazy writing. It's one of my biggest pet peeves. I hate contrived events in storytelling).

And then we get some dramatic blood donation panels. (Blood donation as a thrilling climax! You don't see that every day.) It almost looks like Lois is being told by ground control how to land a pilot-less plane. "Open and close your fist slowly... slowly... till I tell you to stop!" (Doctor, her fist! It's opening and closing too fast! We're all going to die!) As the tense blood donation continues, Lois worries about Dave's survival.

I'm going to leave Lois donating all weekend just to tease the heck out of all of you. Bwa ha ha ha! You have NO idea if Dave will live or die. There's no way to possibly know – what's that? It's a 70s comic about bigotry and not one of the Lois is in love so we better kill him off comics? Oh. Well just pretend you don't have a clue so you'll come back Monday for the thrilling conclusion of I AM CURIOUS BLACK!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #106 (Part 5): I AM CURIOUS BLACK

When last we read: White Lois goes to Little Africa and is shunned, so she becomes Black Lois. BL meets SL (slum lady) and learns about tenements and poverty. Lois, still black, continues her exploration of Little Africa. Let's now return to I AM CURIOUS BLACK!

There appears to be a problem with schooling, as kindergarten is held in an empty lot with the kids sitting on crates, listening to a man tell them that black is beautiful. He says it several times. He makes them repeat it. He looks a tad... demonic as he says it. The kids don't appear to be afraid of him, but that wild look in his eyes chills me a bit (Black may be beautiful, but demonic possession never is). Am I discovering a heretofore unknown prejudice or am I remembering being in school with wacko Miss Herzog and her Hitleresque learning techniques? (a shiver goes down Joanna's spine). Definitely the Herzog effect.

(Social commentary: I've often heard the argument that if white people shouted the slogan "White is Beautiful" it would be deemed racist and bigoted, yet the whole "Black is Beautiful" thing was cheered in the late 60's/early 70's. This is a specious argument because society always allows the downtrodden to say what the ruling elite cannot when it comes to a struggle for equality. That's why there can be a women's lib, yet a 'man's lib' is laughable -- liberated from what: higher pay, higher social position, being the ruling class? "Black is beautiful" worked only because history had deemed them "unbeautiful" for centuries. To climb the ladder to equality, the non-ruling class has to fuel itself and the ruling class is not allowed to steal that fuel. The two panels that have the "Black is beautiful" kindergarten class is, therefore, a wonderful representation of the system at work. Tell small children who fear their futures that they are beautiful. That they can have pride and hope. That they can achieve. Tell them often enough and they will grow up believing it. That belief, more than anything else, will fuel the social change. Despite the crazy look in the teacher's eyes, I really like these two panels for what they represent in the mirror of 30+ years ago. I think they are far more powerful than the falling plaster, or the whitey is bad stuff.)

A hand touches Lois on the shoulder and she turns to see Angry Black Man from the day before. Only now he's Handsome Black Man (or because he actually has a name: Dave Stevens). He feels that he recognizes Lois and tries to pin down from where he knows her. Lois is speechless (we must assume she remembers him and his purple shirt and therefore knows that he saw her earlier as a white woman). He looks nice. I no longer hate him.

Before they can explore this further, Dave sees some teenagers heading for an alley. Not only are they skipping school, Dave knows they're up to no good. He immediately turns into a crusading hero, ready to take on the baddies who threaten the youth. He also turns into a male chauvinist pig (I'm using me some 70's lingo, baby!) by telling Lois to stay out of it because "...this is a man's business!" (He could have said, "Stay here, there might be trouble" or warned of danger or something like that, but instead he had to get all Archie Bunker on her and proclaim it a man thing). Let's see, he's racist and sexist. Oh yeah, real swoon material. He doesn't look nice anymore. I'm starting to hate him again.

Lois -- who has never run from danger in her life -- follows him. She's a reporter. Danger is her life (and no man is going to tell that feminist where she can and cannot go!).

As they run toward the end of the alley we see the teenagers talking to two guys (Isn't that nice? Black and white, working together in harmony) dressed as mobsters/crooks. (Hello, teenagers? I'd like you to meet Bad Influences. Bad Influences? Teenagers.) The teens have been stealing so that they can buy drugs. Dave is very upset about this, as he should be. Unfortunately, the crooks are also upset at Dave, thinking he's probably "the fuzz". They shoot. Lois escapes injury, but Dave is hit (ruining his favorite purple shirt)!

Oh no! Dave is going to die! Lois is black! The hoods are more racially harmonious than the good guys! What a world! What a world! Could I really leave you hanging like this? Sure can. Come back Friday for part 6 of I AM CURIOUS BLACK!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #106 (Part 4): I AM CURIOUS BLACK

When last we read: Lois turned herself into a foxy black woman so she could experience the slums for herself and win a Pulitzer. Immediately, she begins to feel the chilling effect of prejudice. Benny the Beret won't pick her up in his cab. People in the subway stare at her (well, they would've if the artist had drawn it that way). It's very disconcerting for Lois but she soldiers on, determined to get her story. And now here's Part 4 of I AM CURIOUS BLACK!

What will Lois do now that she's a black woman in the 'hood? What she did the first time -- she wanders into a tenement to find someone to interview. But oh no! She sees smoke behind the stairs. Quickly, she beats the flames down on a pile of trash stashed under the stairs.

A woman comes out and, seeing the heroic black Lois beating down the flames, decides to chat. I'm pretty sure it's the same woman white-Lois tried to talk to when she got a door slam as an answer. Looks like the same dress. (Lois can change her entire race, but this woman can't even change her clothes. An indication of poverty or a shortcut to clueing us in that she's the same person? Okay, they're not that deep – it's the shortcut thing.)

She tells Lois that the place is a firetrap and people leave trash there because the "slumlord" doesn't want to pay for a janitor. (Apartments have janitors? My apt. doesn't have a janitor. I have to haul my own trash outside, down some stairs, across a patio, down more stairs, through a hall, and into the garage where the bin is. My slumlord sucks! She also refuses to heat the swimming pool! Dirty, rotten slumlord.)

Slum Lady invites Lois into her apartment and offers her a cup of coffee. She makes a joke about hoping Lois isn't a bill collector (the fact that she lives in a tenement and has a slumlord wasn't proof enough. We needed more clues that it just might be possible that she's low on funds).

Okay, so Slum Lady has obviously told us everything we need to hear. Trash in the hallway, slumlord, bill collectors, no money, we got it. Who's next?

No one. We're still at Slum Lady's (I'm tired of typing Slum Lady. From now on she's SL) apartment. A piece of plaster from the ceiling falls into Lois's coffee. ("I said cream, no sugar, no plaster."). SL tells Lois that around there you get used to falling plaster. And the place hasn't been painted in eons. "But I don't have to tell you that!" Yes, apparently she did. By Lois's shocked expression, she had no idea that some people were poor.

Surely that's enough, right? Nah ah! SL hears her baby calling. She grabs a broom and chases a rat away from the crib.

As she comforts the child, she says to Lois, "I haven't asked who you are, or what you're here for. Can I help you, sister?" Lois, tears brimming, thinks, "She lives in misery, yet she asks if she can help me!"

Let's sum it up again folks. SL has trash in the hallway, a slumlord, bill collectors, no money, falling plaster, old paint, and rats. The evidence is really mounting toward the conclusion that SL is poor. But she's nice to black women (she slams the door in the faces of white women, but gives a sister a cup of coffee and an offer of help). Has Lois finally learned what she needed to?

Yes and no. She leaves SL, but she still has plenty of experiences ahead of her. Being black isn't defined by being poor. Lois needs to keep exploring Little Africa.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #106 (Part 3): I AM CURIOUS BLACK

When last we read, Lois had finally gotten her fill of being humiliated in the ghetto. Her whiteness was an unbreachable wall to getting the truth, the now, the today. She decides there's only way to get her scoop and enlists Superman's help in achieving this goal. What is it? Read on, my friends...

Superman flies Lois to the Fortress of Solitude (chastising himself for going along with her hair-brained scheme) so that Lois can use...

The Plastimold*!

(*The Plastimold was invented by Dahr-Nel, a Kryptonian doctor. I had the Dahr-Nel Plastimold issue when I was a kid, and I always thought it was cool because my favorite babysitter's name was Suzie Darnell. I figured maybe she was a relative, and therefore of Kryptonian birth. Okay, I didn't think that -- I wasn't an idiot. But I still thought it was cool.)

For the uninformed, The Plastimold machine can remake you like one giant plastic surgery machine. Only not like real plastic surgery, more like movie plastic surgery where bad guys get their faces so completely changed they have to be played by a new actor. Or like the master villains who change their faces to look exactly like someone else and they take over that guy's life. Only The Plastimold does this to your whole body. It can change everything -- height, weight, hair color, race...

Lois steps in and waits for Superman to hit the transformoflux pack. You heard me. I'm not typing that word again, so just go back and read it. With a mightly Whummmm and Hummmmm, Lois is changed before our very eyes from a white woman to a sistah! (She's got her fro and is ready to go!)

Hooboy, I suspect there's relevance ahead!!!

Just in case we were worried, Superman reminds Lois that she'll only be black for a day. (Is that enough time to feel the entire life experiences of a persecuted member of the population? Is it enough time to win a Pulitzer? Does she have anything to wear? One of these questions haunts her.)

Lois asks Superman to take her home quickly so that she can find something to wear. I guess her current outfit is too whitey.

In the next panel, we see black Lois dressed as Foxy Cleopatra with a giant babushka on her head. Did she always have these clothes in her closet? Or did she run out to "Whites Disguised as Blacks Boutique" and do some shopping?

Whatever the answer, we see her trying to hail a cab in the pouring rain. She's in luck! Benny the Beret (you didn't think he was going to get all that play in the beginning without returning for a crucial "point driven home" scene, did you?) is there in his cab. (I think I can hear her yelling, "Taxi! Hurry! My head is tipping me over because I forgot to take the towel off after I washed my hair!")

But holy Archie Bunker, Batman! Benny drives right by her as if she doesn't exist! And then, to make sure Lois understands that it wasn't because his cab was full or he was on a break, he stops a few feet away from her to pick up a white guy. (I never liked that Benny with his suspicious beret and his broken promises.)

Lois realizes that she just got her first lesson in being black. From this we can predict that there are going to be a lot more lessons to come.

The next panel is surprisingly subtle. Lois is on the subway and thinks everyone is staring at her because she's black. Only no one is staring! They don't care -- they don't realize that she used to be white, or care that she's black. They're reading their papers, or reading someone else's paper. (Check it out for yourself: There are 7 people on the subway besides Lois. The 3 on the bench aren't looking at her. The guy in the green shirt isn't looking at her. The gay guy in the blue shirt isn't looking at her. The guy in the hat isn't looking at her. Only the guy in the orange jacket is looking at her, and he might just think she's Erykah Badu.) Lois is officially in Paranoiaville.

I thought this was a nice touch. It displays the same paranoia she had when she bought coffee (thinking they were staring at her with hatred when they really didn't look like they cared very much). Lois isn't comfortable whether she's white or black. She's projecting onto everyone. She needs to get this under control if she wants to write a balanced article.

The next panel shows that Lois is still thinking about her experience in the subway. What's bizarre about this is that her thoughts are basically a realization of how difficult life is to be black due to the suspicions of whites. All well and good until you remember that she wasn't being stared at on the subway. I'm afraid, "How dare 1 out of 7 people stare at me!" sounds a little less righteous than planned.

So what is the writer trying to say? Is he trying to show that Lois is paranoid or not? Were the people on the subway supposed to be staring at Lois but no one told the artist? Is the silent speech about the black experience supposed to be taken at face value? I am so confused! "Mommy... what does this mean? Why is Lois saying that everyone is staring at her when no one is? And why is she asking if that's how blacks are treated, when she was treated just fine? Shouldn't blacks be treated as nicely as she was? Help me, Mommy!" "Joanna, it's past your bedtime. We'll talk about this after I've thrown away this comic. Er... I mean I've put it away, honey. Go to sleep."

Comics can be so deep.

Perhaps we'll get more clues about what the writer and artist are trying to say when we read our next installment. Come back on Monday when Lois returns to the ghetto as a sistah instead of an outsider in part 4 of I AM CURIOUS BLACK!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #106 (Part 2): I AM CURIOUS BLACK

When last we read, Whitey Lois was in the 'hood trying to write an article that will win her a Pulitzer. Although cabs are eager to pick her up, the people in the ghetto don't have the same enthusiasm. Shunned by children, Lois carries on in I AM CURIOUS BLACK!

Rebuffed but undaunted, our favorite journalist continues on her quest. She's Lois Lane, intrepid girl reporter, and nothing is going to keep her from her Pulitzer. So she knocks on a tenement door. (Really, Lois? You're just going to knock on some stranger's door and get the scoop on being black? Ooookay, let's try that). The woman who answers the door slams it in Lois's face.

"Ohh...!" More shock. Dang those Pulitzers are hard to earn. (Perhaps Lois shouldn't have worn her "I've found Jehovah!" button today.)

Her day doesn't improve. She goes to a coffee shop and two men look toward her. "How can I break through this wall of suspicion? " (Personally, I think they're staring because she's sitting there staring at them, and she's not drinking her coffee. It's gonna get cold, y'know! That's pretty suspicious. Bet she ordered it black, too!)

She passes three guys playing dice in an alley and thinks, "No one will speak to me!" (She's just standing there staring at them, clutching her purse tightly, and looking superior. Why would they break their game to talk to her? What if they've already heard on the street that she orders coffee but won't drink it because it's black? Huh? Did you ever think of that, Lois!!!)

Not having any luck with kids or adults, Lois goes after a baby. She chucks it under the chin only to have the wee one wheeled away by her mother, as if Lois were the plague. Lois thinks, "That mother wheeled her baby away from me as if... as if I were the plague!' (Sure, Lois -- reference the black death. Betcha whitey gave it that name.)

"Wandering like homeless ghost..." (ghosts being traditionally depicted as white apparitions, of course. Doncha get it, Lois? You're going to have to turn black! Not yet? Okay, let's continue this rejection for another page or so). Lois sits on a park bench next to an elderly woman. The woman politely mentions the weather and Lois feels vindicated. Finally, someone is talking to her! (What Lois doesn't know is that the old lady also wants a Pulitzer. She's really a 20 yr-old who transformed herself into an elderly woman to research ageism.)

But as soon as she tells the woman that she's a reporter, the woman leaves. "The freeze is still on! The only reason that nice old lady spoke to me is because she's blind! When she heard me speak, she knew I was white!"

(That should be enough. The reader would have to be blind and not reading this story not to have gotten the point by now, right? Right? Well... maybe we need it spelled out a little clearer.)

A young, handsome black man is speaking to a crowd and, while pointing to Lois, says, "Look at her brothers and sisters! She's young and sweet and pretty. But she never forgets she's whitey!" (Actually, Lois had nearly forgotten she was whitey, but thankfully, he was there to remind her.)

(Please note that at this point, the only people who have shown rampant, outrageous racism are the blacks. They ostracize her, won't speak to her, and call her racial epithets. What is this story trying to say? That all black people are bigots? Maybe Lois should turn black, so we can get down to the truth! The now! The today!)

Mr. Black Man continues saying, "She'll let us shine her shoes and sweep her floors! And let us baby-sit for her kids! But she doesn't want to let our kids into her lily-white schools! It's okay with her if we leave these rat-infested slums! If we don't move next door to her ! That's why she's our enemy !" (Is she sad because of what he said, or because she sees her Pulitzer slipping away?)

Wow! We've got some genuine urban anger going on here, right in the same comic that used to deal primarily with doing silly things to get scoops and making up plots to trap Superman into marriage! I think the silver age is over, boys and girls. Comics are suddenly as bronze as Lois with a super-tan.

A very sad Lois thinks, "He's wrong about me... but right about so many others!" Oh man, Lois is having an epiphany. She's seen the slums and the tenements; she's seen the distrust and fear; she's seen herself in a black man's mirror and she's awakened to the now, the today and all that relevant stuff.

After several more hours of this (Lois is a tad slow getting the point) she is sitting on a park bench when Superman flies down. (He was watching over her, remember?) So, has Lois changed deep inside? Has this experience truly awakened her to the problems in the slums?

Nah, she's still worried about her story. She tells Superman that there's only one way she can get her scoop. What could it possibly be? Would I really be so cruel as to end today's revisit here? Why, yes, actually, I would. Come back Friday to find out what that "one way" to change things could possibly be (Don't peak at the cover or, um, the title of the story) in I AM CURIOUS BLACK!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #106 (Part 1): I AM CURIOUS BLACK

This is an absolutely classic "relevant" DC comic from 1970, when social issues were the new fodder for stories in comics. In a nutshell, Lois Lane turns black, so that she can experience life in the hood. It doesn't get much better than that. Keep in mind as you read this it's a pop culture treasure, crystallizing many of the attitudes and outlooks of the U.S.A. close to 40 years ago. The civil rights movement of the 1960s was still in full swing in the year this comic was written. Segregation, prejudice, and bigotry were a deep wounds in the nation's psyche and it was more than time to expose that wound to the air so that it could have a chance at healing.

Comic books were a solid part of pop culture, still rooted in the dime store spinner rack and considered kiddy lit. One of the best ways to improve any social ill is to get the children thinking differently than the generation before them. In this way, comic books had an important role. This story made an honest effort to address the subject of prejudice. In hindsight these many decades later, it sounds dated and in places, downright funny (dare I say "comical"?). Enjoy the humor, but as the lighthearted Silver Age of comics ended and the darker Bronze Age began (1970 is usually considered the beginning of the Bronze Age), DC had some catching up to do.

Come along for the ride because son of a gun, gonna have big fun!

The splash page is a doozy. A black (not African-American, as that term is years away) Lois is confronting whitey Superman, daring him to say that he'd marry her even though she's black.

I haven't even gotten past the splash, and I must already pause. Lois has been wanting to marry Superman for a very long time. It's nearly all she thinks about, and a huge portion of her stories have this as a central theme. Why on earth does she think that he's suddenly going to marry her just because she changed her skin color? She's still vulnerable to his enemies (the excuse he always gives). She's black, not immortal. But the way she's laying into him you'd think he was on his way to the altar, saw her new skin color and flew away at superspeed.

This opening splash tells us very clearly that the point of this story is to bludgeon the reader about prejudice, not worry about little details like 40 years of continuity. It's about being oppressed by The Man! It's about reality and relevance and the streets and civil rights and getting a cab and not marrying Superwhitey! You dig? It's today! It's now! It's truth!

It's not really the beginning of the story.

The story actually begins with a very smug (you know she's smug because she's looking at herself in a mirror -- a dead giveaway) Lois telling Clark about the Pulitzer Prize she's going to win for writing a story about Metropolis's Little Africa section of town. She's gonna tell it like it is, baby! Get the real nitty gritty about life in the inner city.

Clark decides to keep an eye on her as Superman, because he knows she's going to get in trouble. Either that or he's a white establishment pig who thinks all blacks are criminals. It's not really clear which of these he's thinking. Aw heck, any LL reader knows that Lois can get in trouble tying her shoes -- that's why he's going to keep an eye on her.

Lois hails a cab and is greeted by Benny the Beret (This is Benny. He is a beret). He's a hale and hearty fellow (just wanted to use both 'hail' and 'hale' to prove I know the difference). It's obvious that when Lois wants a cab, Benny is always there to help her out. He takes her to Little Africa, and offers to wait, but she sends him on his way. Lois is positive the residents there will welcome her with open arms.

She gets her comeuppance fast. She approaches some school children and finally has that smug expression (which she has worn from panel 1!) wiped off her face when the kids turn their backs on her and won't answer her questions. She is shocked!

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That should be enough to let Lois know that things aren't going to be easy for a white woman to get a good story in the ghetto. Surely she'll head back to the Planet and either choose another subject or figure out a way to become black. That's what most reporters would do, right? Well, it's not quite that simple. In order to find out what happens next, you'll simply have to come back on Wednesday to read part 2 of I AM CURIOUS BLACK!