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Off My Mind: Why Breaking Superman and Lois Lane Up Doesn't Matter

They've been married for fifteen years but will the 'separation' make a difference to who the characters are?

There are many changes coming to the DC Universe in September. Information on the "New 52" is being released and some previous suspicions are being confirmed. One in particular involves Superman and Lois Lane. Lois has been the love interest for Superman/Clark Kent since they all first appeared in 1938's Action Comics #1. Their courtship lasted decades and finally they were married in 1996's Superman: The Wedding Album. Now after fifteen years, the marriage will be over.

This is something that will clearly anger many. Readers generally don't like retcons. If they've been reading for a while, they feel they've invested their time in the characters and to have certain elements simply wiped away feels like an insult.

Will doing away with the relationship Lois and Clark have developed really make a huge difference? Superman will still be the Man of Steel and Lois Lane will still be a tough-as-nails reporter. The marriage may soon be over but does it really matter?

== TEASER ==

Before fans of the marriage start gathering their pitchforks against me, let's see a show of hands, how many have actually been reading Superman before their marriage in 1996? A lot of today's readers never really read stories while Clark was pining over Lois. This went on for 58 years. People don't like change but I don't recall an uproar in '96 when DC decided to have the two get married after 58 years. Sometimes change is good.

I do want to clarify that I'm not a fan of history being erased, no matter how clever the execution. Just as I did not like Spider-Man and Mary Jane's marriage being dissolved in Brand New Day, I'm not crazy about Lois and Clark's marriage going away. But that doesn't mean I will stop reading comics based on characters I dig. There have been several excellent story arcs with Spider-Man since.

Thinking back over the last fifteen years, were there any stories that really focused on or centered on their marriage? Getting married did show a sign of evolution in their relationship but nothing really resulted afterwards. The only story that comes to mind is when they wanted to adopt Christopher, Zod's son but in today's age, it's not like they really needed to be married to adopt an 'orphan.' Recently Superman spent a year on New Krypton away from Lois. When he returned to Earth, they shared a few pages in a comic and then he immediately left to go on his walk across America in the Grounded storyline. What difference does it make if they're married or not through all of this?

In TV shows, we know how it goes. Two characters teeter on the edge of hooking up for a while. Once they do, the show and relationship loses its charm (the show Moonlighting is often used as the prime example). Just as the marriage didn't the characters before they tied the knot, it didn't necessarily define them afterwards either. We had some moments where Superman could fully share his life and adventures with Lois but if anything, it almost put her in the backseat. Once they were married, the courtship wasn't there. Superman might fly home some times and they could share a moment but that was about it.

How many adventures and appearances has Superman had with no mention of Lois? Superman spends a lot of time saving people around the world or hanging out with the Justice League in the Watchtower, which isn't even on Earth. Superman has an obligation to saving innocent lives but because of the vows he made, he also has obligations to his wife.

Erasing the marriage may not be the solution to his problem. It is important to try to look at the bright side. For one thing, we still don't know what is the cause for this change (and those in other books although we can assume it deals with Flashpoint). Lois will have a new boyfriend and this re-opens the door to the thrills and excitement over whether or not Superman and Lois or Clark and Lois will get together. Many of today's readers never got to experience that aspect of the characters. Again, this game went on for 58 years. There's always reprints and trades of the old stories but as fun as it is to read those, there's something about reading the current stories as they happen.

Superman and Lois should be together. Come September, they won't be. We all have to deal with it. Lois will have a new boyfriend and this is something we haven't really seen. Whether or not Superman and/or Clark gets one is just another aspect that could mix things up. Make the stories a little more unpredictable. Will they eventually get back together? It's possible and extremely likely. For now, we need to focus on what makes Superman who he is. Unless you've been reading the stories just for the marriage, it doesn't seem like we'll be seeing a huge difference.

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Posted by ssejllenrad

Good article G-Man!
 
Here's a similar entry on Supes' forums. Just centered more on why Clark's reboot won't matter rather than the Lois-Clark relationship.

Posted by Dernman

I don't see it as a big deal. A lot of their stories have been done before hooking up. This is just an earlier point in their relationship. As long as they don't eliminate the possibility of them being together then I'm OK with it.

Posted by AlwaysBeClothing

I had to laugh when I went to Jonathan Carrol's comicvine page and you had Superman listed as his enemy.

In agreement though that people are reacting more to the retcons than the storytelling.

Posted by GraveSp

I don't really read superman and when i do read it his relationship to lois never really was the focus of my interest.  There relationship always seemed to perfect.  Of course I wouldn't want to fight with the guy with heat vision either 

Posted by MrSeaman70

She prefers Doomsday because she likes it rough :P
Posted by Chane

I think the bigger deal is Lois not knowing that Clark == Superman anymore, rather than the marriage personally.

Posted by Eyz

..or just a divorce. Like any good mature adults (both writers and in-story characters) should handle if need for a separation be.
 
...oh wait, it didn't end well for Ray Palmer &Jean Loring's divorce... °__°

Edited by FoxxFireArt

The break up does matter, because now readers have to spend another few decades watching the same, tired song and dance of courtship that they will be doing. Everyone and their mother knows that it will be many years from now but they will get back together again. So, what's the bloody point of breaking them up if you are going to wind up right where you started? They are quite literally running in circles like a dog chasing it's tail.
 
The marriage of Lois and Clark was easily the most iconic marriage in all of comic history. Now because of  a business decision it's being treated as if it never happened. Now, in the 70-80+ years of comics books, what is the biggest marriage.......? Reed and Sue Richards? That's a pretty sad state of affairs.
 
If the writers really think that Superman lacked a challenge in life because he already had Lois is a reason that readers can't relate to him. Then they seriously don't understand what makes Superman hard to relate to. Now, they are trying to change him into some corny, overplayed brooding loner. Basically, they are trying to make Superman into Batman. Batman at least has a reason why he's brooding. It works for him. They tried this same crap back in the 90's, after SPAWN; and how many of those series lasted? The only tired cliche missing is someone saying, "This isn't your father's Superman.", then this farce would be complete.
 
In the very first preview that DC put out for Superman. It wasn't of him being a hero and doing something "super". It was painting him as some sort of emo-loner and Lois dating some douche bag. They even have Clark interrupting them just before they were about to have sex. This was their bright idea for a first look??!
 
The best thing I could really tell people who don't like this change. Don't protest. It's pretty pointless. Just don't buy it. As a consumer, that's your strongest voice.

Posted by azza04

Superman and Wonder Woman :P or Superman just by himself, or Superman and a completely new love interest! Just no more Superman and Lois Lane for a few years!!

Posted by Scodiac

I don't think it's that big a deal. I'm not going to stop reading Superman, a character I really enjoy, because he's no longer with Lois. I actually find it more compelling that she'll have a thing for both Clark and Superman not knowing they are actually one man. That's if she's into either of them at all. I haven't read the new stories yet but I think it's very likely that that is how things will play out. 
 
I realize this has happened before. It's even happened across multiple mediums. Yet, as kind of a new reader of Superman I haven't read those comics. They were together when I started reading. This new direction is more compelling to me and I'm looking forward to it. 
 
In the end, I think if you really like Superman than this change isn't a big enough reason to stop reading. His relationship with Lois makes him more human. It makes him easier to relate to but it's the things he does as Superman, the things no human could ever do, that make his stories amazing. Lois usually has little or nothing to do with those part of his adventures.  
 
G-man's right. It doesn't matter that much. Also, the chase is always the most exciting part. He's got to chase her again. I'll read that.

Posted by Golden Cod
@FoxxFireArt said:
The break up does matter, because now readers have to spend another few decades watching the same, tired song and dance of courtship that they will be doing. Everyone and their mother knows that it will be many years from now but they will get back together again. So, what's the bloody point of breaking them up if you are going to wind up right where you started? They are quite literally running in circles like a dog chasing it's tail.
 
The marriage of Lois and Clark was easily the most iconic marriage in all of comic history. Now because of  a business decision it's being treated as if it never happened. Now, in the 70-80+ years of comics books, what is the biggest marriage.......? Reed and Sue Richards? That's a pretty sad state of affairs.
 
If the writers really think that Superman lacked a challenge in life because he already had Lois is a reason that readers can't relate to him. Then they seriously don't understand what makes Superman hard to relate to. Now, they are trying to change him into some corny, overplayed brooding loner. Basically, they are trying to make Superman into Batman. Batman at least has a reason why he's brooding. It works for him. They tried this same crap back in the 90's, after SPAWN; and how many of those series lasted? The only tired cliche missing is someone saying, "This isn't your father's Superman.", then this farce would be complete.
 
In the very first preview that DC put out for Superman. It wasn't of him being a hero and doing something "super". It was painting him as some sort of emo-loner and Lois dating some douche bag. They even have Clark interrupting them just before they were about to have sex. This was their bright idea for a first look??!  The best thing I could really tell people who don't like this change. Don't protest. It's pretty pointless. Just don't buy it. As a consumer, that's your strongest voice.
 
Have you ever watched ItsJustSomeRandomGuy's videos?   He makes comedic videos where comic characters are aware of their fictional status and he created a storyline with this exact premise...
Posted by Kairan1979

Lois and Clark are the iconic couple. To break them up is like to tell the writers that the true love doesn't exist and the marriages never last.

Posted by ltbrd

I like that you mentioned the events of New Krypton and Grounded as a show of how poorly the writers have used Lois' character following the marriage in '96. Aside from a few arcs in the early 2000's (manchester black kidnapping/killing her, being shot by a sniper in the Middle East, and Parasite assuming her form) she hasn't had the same presence in comics as she once did. She just became a good way for Clark to duck out of work with a good excuse. 
 
<side note: really wish the reboot would drop Clark as a full time reporter. think it would be far more practical for him to be a columnist for the paper while focusing on him being an author as well. it's not the glamorous job of reporting but it stops the history of corny excuses and allows him more freedom to be Superman and not be confined to a full time job. plus I've always enjoyed the author aspect of his character and writers always find a way to drop that little piece of lore in stories from time to time, like in the Grounded arc>
 
This, I hope, is the main driving factor behind the marriage dissolvement.....try to make Lois Lane's character matter again rather than just the wife with a job. 
 
Should it eventually come about that the two are re-married I'd like to see Lois become more involved in the hero community than she was before in a way to keep her in both aspects of Clark's life.....sort of the way Sue Dibney and Joan Garrick are.

Posted by SirSparkington

@FoxxFireArt said:

The break up does matter, because now readers have to spend another few decades watching the same, tired song and dance of courtship that they will be doing. Everyone and their mother knows that it will be many years from now but they will get back together again. So, what's the bloody point of breaking them up if you are going to wind up right where you started? They are quite literally running in circles like a dog chasing it's tail.

The marriage of Lois and Clark was easily the most iconic marriage in all of comic history. Now because of a business decision it's being treated as if it never happened. Now, in the 70-80+ years of comics books, what is the biggest marriage.......? Reed and Sue Richards? That's a pretty sad state of affairs.

If the writers really think that Superman lacked a challenge in life because he already had Lois is a reason that readers can't relate to him. Then they seriously don't understand what makes Superman hard to relate to. Now, they are trying to change him into some corny, overplayed brooding loner. Basically, they are trying to make Superman into Batman. Batman at least has a reason why he's brooding. It works for him. They tried this same crap back in the 90's, after SPAWN; and how many of those series lasted? The only tired cliche missing is someone saying, "This isn't your father's Superman.", then this farce would be complete.

In the very first preview that DC put out for Superman. It wasn't of him being a hero and doing something "super". It was painting him as some sort of emo-loner and Lois dating some douche bag. They even have Clark interrupting them just before they were about to have sex. This was their bright idea for a first look??! The best thing I could really tell people who don't like this change. Don't protest. It's pretty pointless. Just don't buy it. As a consumer, that's your strongest voice.

^^^ This. Times a million.

Posted by Labeeb

Atleast, now he and Lana can go 'happily everafter.' I never liked Clark with Lios and I hate Lois. She's so annoying. I never read superman comics although he's been my fav since I was a kid but that was from movies, cartoons and other media but watching smallville has made me a fan of 'Clana' rather than 'Clois' probably because of the chemistry between Tom Welling & Kristen Kreuk.'

Posted by AndyPhifer

I honestly forget they're married half the time. They're pretty distant from each other...

Posted by MutenRoshi

Yawn!! another superman article 
  
 
 
easily one of the most uninteresting, out dated characters ever created
 
 
 
ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz 

Posted by GundamHeavyarms

Clark and Lois have been married for 15 years.  They haven't done a lot with the marriage. They spend a lot of time apart in fact.  Im glad that Lois is still part of his life, but if she's not his wife anymore, I don't really care.

Posted by labarith

Spiderman made a deal with the devil to save his aunt that involved screwing his loving, devoted wife... who he really didn't love as much as Gwen. 
 
That, in many respects, ruined the character. 
 
Superman's marriage going boom?  It's symptomatic of X years of SUPERMAN going boom. 
 
Fact:  Your Superman never existed here.  He didn't team up with Batman that one time, or that other bajillion times.  He didn't save his cousin.  He didn't fight brainiac.  Luthor isn't the world's greatest super villain... he's an "up and comer". 
 
 Sorry, but this is "What if DC randomly erased 2/3rds of it's continuity, and replaced it with the Ultimate Universe?" 
 
And what if comics don't sell like they used to.

Posted by mightybob3000

Supermans relationship with Lois Lane throughout the entire plot of Adventure Comics up to now has been nothing but but a barrier to overcome. It gives him a human side, but thats all, and after they got together shes been a stale cracker that occasionally got shown being frustrated that hes never home. She isn't Sue Dibney, which helped the Justice League and her husband in every adventure they had, hell, she isn't Mary Jane, which is in every issue of Spider-Man either showing her assistance in any way she can to the Justice League, or being as supportive as she can to Peter Parkers home life while hes away. She was literally a wet blanket, that was in one spot in the middle of the story getting him ready for war, or telling him why not to go, or she was at the end of the issue being a calm in the storm. Superman is a king, or a knight of sorts. He doesn't need a mundane plain jane wife or girlfriend, he needs a Queen, Princess, or Lady of sorts. Someone that will take charge of his place while hes away, and make sure everything is good while hes away, or someone that has his back in the torrent of the storm. You can fight all you want that his friends in the Justice League, and other groups do that for him, but the person that he's married to, or just with shouldn't just be back home waiting, she should be an interesting character that won't die millenia before he even reaches old age.

The idea behind him having a human life is really nice, and before they destroyed the character of every single mortal character it was actually pretty fun, but after he decided to move from protecting just metropolis to protecting america, and then the world, and then the universe, the characters in the stories have been pretty much replaced by people that are doing the same, and all his mortal buddies are left back in metropolis, along with their characters, stories, and pertinence.

Heres the issue, Supermans a universal demi god that has barley existed in metropolis since he started fighting in the universal plain, yet he still hasn't evolved his life out of Metropolis. He lives like Batman, where he fights for his city, and he even claims Metropolis is his city, but hes never there. His friends, his wife, even technically his boss and his job never see him. To think that this even makes sense, ask yourself what would all these people and entities do if you mysteriously disappeared, or disappeared with barely even a goodbye, and you were gone for months, or even years.

I don't agree that they should rewrite the story because this is just a major cop out of all the giant issues they've built over the years. I completely agree with the direction they were taking previous to Flashpoint, where they were righting all the issues, such as Dick finally taking the cowl, like we've been waiting for since he turned into Nightwing, or Superman creating New Krypton, or Wonder Woman getting pants (lol.) Point is semi-realistic character and plot evolution is what keeps readers. Its what keeps the story fresh, and gets new readers hooked. Superman should get separated from Lois, it would be the natural progression of the story, and it would give the character even more flavor. Lois is an easily removed character that I sure as hell stays the hell out of my comics, because she's one of the biggest wet blanket in my favorite comic stories of all time.

Posted by cobra88king8

what is it with comic book writers not wanting their characters to be happy? It doesn't seem like a marriage can last more than five minutes before being retconned somehow. Its just really sad to see characters like Spider-man and Superman, who have earned their happy ending, instead just get it yanked away

Posted by Primmaster64

Never cared about Lois in the first place.

Posted by SilverZeo

Nothing really ends in comics...

Posted by RareCheshire

I like a fresh start in the relationship department, I'm more excited about Bruce and Selina's relationship change more so than this one however. Soap Opera!!!

Posted by Multiverse

The most striking thing to me about the article and the comments is how little Lois Lane has really been used after her marriage to Clark/Superman. In my opinion, Lois, or whoever Superman is with, should contribute something to his role as Superman that no one else could. One could ask: Would this person still be part of the stories if her presence wasn't required because of being Superman's lover or because of years of continuity?

Posted by Omertalvendetta

There's not a thing DC can do about Superman that will make me care for the character... I used to think that if they at least changed the stupid look that I would be interested, but nope... he's still pretty pointless to me.  There's something about perfection that just irks me.

Posted by They Killed Cap!

I guess that if they are going to do a serious reboot, now would be the time to get rid of the Lois dynamic. It would open up the potential for new and interesting stories, but I still am not a fan.
Posted by BlackPookie

oi 
i dont care bout these two... 
i only care bout selina and bruce... i hope they can be together no matter what :P
Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

You're absolutely right. It doesn't matter much in dissolving the marriage when it comes down to Clark and Lois's character development.  I guess for my part I'm just not that much a fan of them splitting up is all.  But if it leads to new things, who knows? Maybe a split up for now is good.  And there is always the possibility on down the line that they will be together too, so I have faith :).

Posted by FoxxFireArt
@Golden Cod
I saw their Disney/Marvel thing, but never knew they did series. I never saw that before.
@SirSparkington
Glad to see my postings are getting some support.
Posted by theicon

superman and zatanna would be cool

Posted by Feliciano2040

I don't want to be a dick, but  I can't take seriously an article that starts with the title "Why Breaking Superman and Lois Lane Up Doesn't Matter".
 
We all love you Tony, but try to make more brain-challenging articles every once in a while.

Posted by gambitpryde1993

Yeah, maybe he'll end up w/ good ol' Lana or Wonder Woman like in Kingdom Come.

Posted by EGoD

Who really cares about relationships in comics anymore anyway? After all none of them last or stand the test of time and with reboots or whatever you want to call it, they always change things.  They wait decades to put people together or marry them only to break them up later on.  It's a cause of norm nowadays in comics.  It's like living in Hollywood.
Posted by Chris2KLee

I actually really enjoyed them together, especially after the excellent portrayal of their relationship in All-Star Superman. That said if this reboot is supposed to bring in new readers it makes sense to take that back to zero. The chase is often the best part of a relationship story, and I trust Morrison to do it right.

Posted by MTHarman

I always felt that Superman's obsession with his Kryptonian heritage would be a marriage killer.  
  
Edited by Jekylhyde14
@ssejllenrad said:

Good article G-Man!
 
Here's a similar entry on Supes' forums. Just centered more on why Clark's reboot won't matter rather than the Lois-Clark relationship.


Thanks for linking my article, ssejllenrad! 
 
I'm glad the marriage is finished. It's contributed next to nothing for years and has gotten very stale. The last time that it was interesting was when it was on the rocks and they were considering parting ways back when Loeb/Kelly were in charge of the books. Since the marriage, Lois' character hasn't been able to grow without invoking the marriage. G. Willow Wilson even had Lois meditate on how she's defined herself through Superman since marrying him in Superman #704. When Wilson wrote that, I thought she was right on the money. Setting their relationship back to basics will allow Lois to grow into the modern woman she needs to be in this day in age rather than just having her be Superman's generic cheering section.  
 
It will also allow Superman to pursue other romantic interests. Back in the day, Superman could date mermaids, Wonder Woman, alien actresses, heiresses, witches, and an assortment of other interesting women and it gave his stories a bit more verve. It'll also add more fire to his realtionship with Lois. Some may say it's like seeing a "tired, old" dance of courtship, but I think if you asked any married couple they'd tell you the courtship was more exciting than the marriage is. Let's allow the new readers to get taken through that roller coaster of emotions that come with "will they or won't they." It's not necessarily true they'll end up back together for good. There were writers in the Bronze Age who preferred he end up with Lana Lang, for instance. I can only see the stories getting better with the marriage ending.  
 
Just remember that continuity has changed before. Practically three decades of history were wiped clean to make way for the Man of Steel that lead to the marriage. If it's happened before then it can happen again, and now's the time. The Superman books have never felt more stale, and I'm sensing that there's a new kind of Superman reader out there who's ready to see these changes just like I am. Some may scoff and compare this to Marvel's Ultimate universe, but keep in mind that it was Ultimate Spider-Man that sparked renewed interest in that character after the man from Marvel continuity got stale. This reboot could do the same thing for Supes. Change is good.
Posted by TheMess1428

I was okay with Clark and Lois' marriage getting erased. But I do not like the fact that Barry and Iris aren't going to be married anymore.

Posted by Billy Batson

*waits them to reunite 

BB

Posted by yellowstar128
@TheMess1428: I hadn't heard that. Crap. I totally agree though.
Posted by davidgrantlloyd

I still think Superman and Wonder Woman would make a better couple but that's me :)

Posted by lorex

Like others I don't like retconing away such a large part of  "Superman History". My opinion of this is it is being done partly to introduce some more fluid relationships into Superman's story as opposed the the static and safe marriage to Lois. I am sure the thinking behind is it will allow both characters to grow and develop more emotionally. My more cynical side thinks this is being done primarily to make writing for Superman easier for lazy writers who cannot think of anything good to write about Lois in addition to their Superman stories. Its one less thing thats needs to be coordinated between titles.

Posted by mbembet

it doesn't matter because superman is GAY

Posted by DeawonCDelaney

I love how everyone sits here and says its not a big big deal when we all no it is, okay who cares if Lois will go unmentioned in 3 to 5 books it doesn't mean she is important, in that case make Superman born and raised in Metropolis (silence and Crickets). What they are trying to do is make everything tie into the movies thats why Chris Kent was created, but what the business side of comics must learn is that you are not going to get the movie watchers to pick up comics so stay loyal to your dedicate fans. 

Posted by ssejllenrad
@mbembet said:
it doesn't matter because superman is GAY
Sorry but Supes is not of the same gender as you.
Posted by TheMess1428
@yellowstar128: I read it on Francis Manapul's Twitter account on July 27, 2011.

"FrancisManapul: Barry single. Flash a secret. RT @go_pegasus: Barry and Iris relationship stays the same? Or she doesn't know he's the Flash now? #postsdcc"

Posted by cbishop

G-Man, nice objectivity in this article.  I'm not a fan of them breaking up, as I *am* old enough to have read a decade or two of the cat-and-mouse courtship.  Them getting married was an "about time" moment for me as a fan (even if it did screw up the writing on "The Supergirl Saga" and "Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite," at the time). 
 
However, having read your points, I have to agree: it added nothing major to the storyline, other than a few loving moments, and the convenience of Lois covering for Clark, because she knew he was about to go do his thing as Superman. 
 
I haven't been reading Superman (or any other comics) for awhile, due to finances, but I think that really, the biggest disappointment here is that it does seem to be copying "Brand New Day."  It's like DC looked at Marvel and said, "Oh, they're giving up on trying to write Peter and Mary Jane? Good! Because we weren't really getting the Clark and Lois thing either."  Personally, if they couldn't hack the Clark/Lois relationship anymore (or Peter/MJ, btw), I'd have much rather read a divorce subplot, and see their breakup happen naturally, rather than for it to just disappear in a reboot.  I mean, DANG, if it's one thing every fanboy could identify with, it's a breakup.

Posted by gotham244

kinda sucks though cuzlois and sup have been one of comicsd's power couples.. i like mj and pete better though...
Posted by VanTesla

It would have been better if they went in a direction to humanize Superman more and have the relationship more intertwined in my opinion. When I was younger I loved the Lois and Clark show because of that. Since the big problem with Superman is trying to relate to him, give him more time out of costume and maybe have him evolve as a person.
Posted by VanTesla
@FoxxFireArt
Did you like the Lois and Clark show? I am just curious.
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