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Monday, March 20, 2006


Superman remains my favourite fictional character, but like any imaginary person he is vulnerable to editorial corruption. Witness this panel from a 1968 issue of Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane:

"It's a miracle you got out of that missle range with your 36-24-36 still intact!"

Gee, Superman - it's a good thing that Lois, as the hip 60s broad she is, doesn't mind being completely objectified. I've been as guilty of objectifying women as the next guy, but come on - you're Superman. You should hold yourself to a higher standard.

And in the very next instant, after delivering a line like that, you propose? In the most offensive manner possible? Lois doesn't seem fazed, though.

"He's proposing, just as the time-scope said he would!" Apparently, the time-scope said Superman would propose as a thuggish lout.

Those of you familiar with the comics may wonder if this was one of the infamous "imaginary stories," or if Superman is under the influence of a magic spell, alien mind ray, or the like. Nope. This story happened in the prime continuity of the Earth-1 years, and Superman was in his right mind. In other words, there's no excuse for his behaviour.

Well, except maybe one. Stories in Lois Lane, as one might expect, bore a lot more resemblance to the romance comics of the day than other superhero books, and extremes of male and female behaviour were often portrayed in all their histrionic glory. Lois and her female supporting characters were obsessed with marriage and romance; male characters were just as stereotyped. Plus, as the viewpoint character, one might wonder if Lois is a reliable narrator or not.

Ah, I'm just making excuses.

1 comment:

Sean Woods said...

DC Comics Role Playing Manual

Page 87 (under powers)

"Super - Sexism*"

This power allows the user to reach levels of sexism beyond that of mortal man

*Note: Superman has this power.

I think MAYBE one other person will get this joke.