Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #29 (Part 1): THE IRRESISTABLE LOIS LANE

Despite the fact that I sold off the bulk of my books, there's one Silver Age book I just couldn't part with. On the surface, it might seem a puzzling choice: Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #29. Not Action 29, which is the first cover appearance of Lois Lane. Way out of my league. Nope, just her regular silver age series, LL29. Why that book? Well, for starters, I looked for it a long time. It was always priced higher than I was willing to pay (my budget was $5 or less -- I'm a big spender), yet I wanted a copy desperately. Finally, while browsing books at the San Diego Comic Con, there it was – and for only $2.00!

I couldn't wait to read this baby, but had to hold off because there were more books to buy, more discussions of the appeal of Go-Go checks to have, and more really bad convention food to choke down. I carted my books back to the room I was sharing with 3 other women, and then went out for dinner and con-related hijinks. After a night of partying, my roommates wanted to go to the bar. I don’t drink, and was tired, so I bowed out. But instead of falling asleep, I knew I had to read that LL29. It was calling to me. The ladies returned as I was about to start, so I decided to read it out loud. We were nearly ejected from our room due to too much laughter, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Get comfy cuz I promise this is a good one. Zany, goofy, bizarre silver age fun at its finest. THIS is why I adore comics! You can keep the realistic storylines. I like'em silly.

The cover story is placed third in the book, and I didn't even glance at the other two stories on my first reading. I knew where the heart of 29 was. I wanted to read "The Irresistible Lois Lane!"

Oh man, right there on the splash panel Lois is kissing Batman in front of a gulping Lana Lang. Lana's thought bubble shows Lois kissing Green Arrow and Aquaman (Lana is very visual. She thinks in pictures). And if you look closely, there's even a guy filming all this kissing -- though his shot might be blocked by Lana's thoughts (I'll fill in his thought bubble for you: "Dangit, Lana, all I can see is the back of your thoughts! You naughty wench.").

How did all this kissing happen? And where is Superman? Lois never dreams about kissing other superheroes, just the Big S. Oooh, this is so intriguing, I simply must read on.

It begins at the Daily Planet, with Lois getting a bouquet of flowers from a secret admirer. For some reason, she is quite upset by this. She says things like "er", stutters, and speaks in ellipses. Always a sign that something is not quite right. Yet they look like ordinary flowers (Although I think someone buried an upside-down elf in those flowers. All you can see are his little pointy shoes). Er... hmmm... w-what's wrong, I'm wondering.

Suddenly, an office worker calls out to Lois. A crowd is gathering at the window and the woman explains that "Krypto, Superman's dog, is writing something in the sky with a smoke flare!" Obviously, this has great meaning for Lois because she's instantly on the case.

Time out for a minute, as we contemplate this. First, a little lesson in skywriting. Skywriting is done between 8,800 and 10,000 feet. Making sure that all the letters are at the same altitude, the pilot pumps the "smoke" (clear, liquid paraffin wax) into his plane's exhaust system. Smoke pours out the exhaust pipes in the front and rear of the plane. The letters are usually a quarter-mile tall, and the lines of smoke are 75 feet wide.

Let's pretend our skywriting pilot is drawing an "L". First, he has to draw his letters backward, so that people on the ground can read them. He would begin by drawing the upright of the L, counting aloud to around 16. That's how he knows when to turn off the smoke. The line he's made expands while he banks, turns, and circles around to lay down the lower leg of the L.

So how does Krypto manage this with a burning torch? There's no on/off switch on a torch, so Krypto would have to hover around 10,000 feet above Metropolis, light his torch (this is a talented dog!) then fly his 75 feet to make the upright of the 'L'. Since Krypto is a dog and not an airplane, we'll assume he can turn on a dime and get a perfectly perpendicular lower leg of the L without having to extinguish his torch. (Either Krypto has gotten huge, or that 'L' isn't a quarter mile tall and 75' wide.)

But wait -- now he's done! He can't just keep flying with a lit torch! Quickly, he has to blow it out -- which is tougher than it sounds since he's holding it in his mouth. Maybe he wags his tail real fast and that works.

Fantastic! Krypto has done his job. And everyone on the ground says, "Look! It's a boomerang!" "No, no, it's a right angle." "I think it's a V." Right? Nope, they all know instantly that it's a single, giant 'L' in the sky.

"Can you understand it, Lois? Why did Krypto write just one letter 'L' -- then fly away?" Cagey Lois notes that it's strange, but doesn't elaborate on any L-theories. (Personally, I'm too busy wondering how they knew it was Krypto up there at 10,000 feet to worry about the big L, so I also remain silent and keep reading.)

Perry White calls Lois over and notes that Superman has been away, Clark Kent is on vacation (what are the odds?), and it's been really slow news because of it. He wants something good from Lois.

Our intrepid girl reporter immediately comes up with a socko plan. "Well, I've been flirting with an idea for a feature! 'Heroes I've Kissed' -- By Lois Lane! You know... the different heroes I've kissed, not counting Superman." (Uh huh. That'll end that news slump. The world loves a good kissing story on page 1. And despite the hardship of having to go out and kiss a bunch of heroes, Lois is bucking up with a smile. You slut, Lois!)

So how does one go about getting a scoop of this magnitude? And what on earth was that Krypto skywriting thing? And is she just going to ignore that worrisome secret admirer? And for crying out loud -- WHAT IS SHE GOING TO WEAR??

These and many more questions will have to be answered in Part 2 of THE IRRESISTABLE LOIS LANE!


JKCarrier said...

This is one of my favorite Lois stories... it's completely insane, even by Mort Weisinger standards. On the other hand, it's kind of nice that for once, Lois is totally in charge of the situation and saves the day, rather than being the one who needs rescuing (or actually causes the trouble in the first place).

Deathlok said...

Great stuff, Joanna. Your commentary is just as funny as the story itself.


Jim Perreault said...

Great story, so far! I'm very curious as to what Krypto is up to, how Lois is going to get everyone to kiss her (although, that should not be too difficult), how Lana fits into everything ( she shouldn't have any problem either), and why Lois thinks what she does is news.

Of course, if things are so slow when Superman isn't around maybe it is a good thing he is on vacation.


Joanna Sandsmark said...

Woo Hoo! I'm glad you guys like this one because it's one of my favorites, as I said. It's incredibly goofy but not in an aggravating way, rather in a silly, fun way. And yes, Lois is definitely the star and she saves the day (or does she? I kinda forgot to be mysterious there)

There's more fun on Friday so be sure to come back. And tell your friends about the blog. I could use some more readers.