Faster Than a Speeding Bullet? Not Always…

24 Stories That Shed Some Insight on Why It Took Superman and Lois Lane 58 Years to Finally Get Hitched

1. Superman newspaper comic strip (1949)
The 1996 marriage of Clark Kent and Lois Lane (both in the comics and on the Lois & Clark television show on ABC) did little to impede the ability of writers to come up with interesting storylines for the Man of Steel. But it wasn’t that long ago that many fans saw their marriage as an inconceivable — nay, sacrilegious — event, given how much of the Superman mythos relied on the unrequited Clark/Lois/Superman love triangle.

This reluctance to pair them off is understandable; during most of his first half-century of existence, Superman was designed to appeal to younger readers, many of whom were boys and disinterested in stories about romance and marriage. Older newspaper audiences were a different matter, though, which may help explain why Lois and Clark were married in the Superman newspaper strip in 1949. (Unlike her modern-day counterpart, this Lois didn’t know Clark and Superman were the same man, a ruse he kept up long after their wedding day.) Their union lasted for several years before the strip writers changed their mind and (shades of Dallas!) Clark woke up one day to discover it was all just a dream. Of course.
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? Real at first, then a dream. Them’s the breaks in the newspaper business.

2. “The Bride of Superman,” Action Comics #143 (04/50)
Not too long after his newspaper strip marriage to Lois, Superman was seen out and about with his new fiancée… and (gasp!) it wasn’t Lois Lane! Action Comics #143 is the first Superman comic to feature Superman and a bride on the cover, but — zut alors! — it’s not Lois, who’s instead left fuming in the couple’s wake. The veiled lady is “European glamor girl Nikki Larue,” and she arrives in Metropolis to reveal to the world that Superman is her “mysterious fiancé.” Sure enough, the big guy squeezes a lump of coal into a diamond to prove his love and reminds a distraught Lois he’s now an “engaged man.” (To add insult to injury, Perry White forces her to write a front-page story about how she got jilted by Superman!) But all’s well in the end, as Nikki is revealed to be Madame Nicolai, a world-famous atomic scientist; Superman was just pretending to be her beau to protect her from foreign spies. All in the line of duty, of course, but breaking poor Lois’s heart? That was entirely his pleasure.
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? Hoax.

3. “Superman Marries Lois Lane,” Action Comics #206 (07/55)
In this issue, Lois Lane has a dream of what her life might be like if she married Superman. Let’s break it down: he’s so excited she accepts his proposal that he accidentally throws her off her apartment balcony, he re-arranges the clouds over Metropolis to say “SUPERMAN LOVES LOIS LANE” (and thus giving every criminal and super-villain in Metropolis with a window a new item to add to their to-do list), a crowd of gawkers and well-wishers grows so large that their combined weight actually causes a footbridge to collapse, and then — then! — someone plants a bomb in their wedding cake. The story ends with Lois sighing about how it was just a dream and she plans to buy a trousseau anyway, just in case, but… seriously? Her romantic fantasy with Superman involves three near-death experiences before they even get to the honeymoon?
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? Dream.

4. “Clark Kent’s Hillbilly Bride,” Superman #94 (12/55)
Now, the thing you have to understand about this story is that back then the word “hillbilly” didn’t have quite the classist connotation that it has today. Poking fun at the strange accents and superstitions of the economically and geographically disadvantaged folk living in rural America — why, it was as American as apple pie! (Ask your grandparents about L’il Abner and The Beverly Hillbillies sometime.) In this story, it’s not Superman who’s in over his head with matrimonial matters; it’s meek and mild-mannered Clark Kent. While on assignment in a rural part of America, Clark inadvertently carries a young woman over “Marrying Rock” — not the brightest of moves on his part, since the local custom is that any man who carries a woman over that particular stone is automatically betrothed to her. Can he save himself and find a way out of this implied contractual agreement? (Spoiler: yes.)
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? None of the above.

5. “The Wedding of Jimmy Olsen,”
Jimmy Olsen #21 (06/57)
Boy, that’s some “pal” you’ve got there, Superman. Not only does Jimmy steal Superman’s girl, he gives the Man of Steel the job usually reserved for five-year-old nieces just to rub his nose in it. Actually, what happened in this story, a typically daffy example of early Jimmy Olsen tales, is that Perry White assigns Lois Lane to write a story about how great Jimmy Olsen is (wait, what?), but of course Jimmy misunderstands and thinks Lois is falling in love with him. Not wanting to steal his best pal’s girl, Jimmy acts like a jerk to Lois, but his plan backfires and Lois continues to believe that Jimmy is a noble person. Eventually, Jimmy gives up and proposes to Lois, and when Lois tells Jimmy that she is in love with the “sweetest man in the world,” Jimmy still believes she’s talking about him instead of Superman. After telling Superman of the mix-up, Lois and Superman come up with a way to cancel their engagement that involves Lois pretending to be upset with Jimmy when Superman comes to him for a story and not her. Then Janet and Crissy show up and almost ruin Mr. Furley’s surprise party. I may have made up that last part.
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? Hoax.

6. “The Day That Superman Married,” Superman #120 (03/58)
Once again, poor Lois is left on the sidelines as Superman pledges his love to another woman… or does he? The fetching blonde in white is Joyce White, niece of Daily Planet editor Perry White. Not long after this wedding, a criminal named Coup Colby abducts Joyce (because the best way to keep the heat off you is to… kidnap the wife of the world’s most powerful superhero?). Superman tries to rescue her, but Coup’s men shoot Joyce, killing her. But wait! We then learn the woman Superman married was actually a robot designed to look like the real Joyce White (who was presumably laying low while this whole charade played out), and Superman’s marriage to “Joyce” was just a ruse to bring Colby out of hiding. That doesn’t sound needlessly complicated at all for a guy could just FLY AT SUPER-SPEED AND USE HIS X-RAY VISION TO FIND COLBY IN AN INSTANT IF HE DAMN WELL FELT LIKE IT. Maybe he just likes playing with robots.
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? Hoax.

7. “The Bride of Futureman,”
Superman #121 (05/58)
The thing that’s truly baffling about how long it took for Superman and Lois Lane to hook up is that even people from the future were conspiring to bring them together — as in, people who know how their romance is going to play out because they’ve already seen the ending. Prime example: XL-49, employee of the Library of Superman in the 30th century, who uses his era’s advanced science to travel back in time and determine when exactly they got married (my guess: an office betting pool is involved). When he learns the happy day hasn’t happened yet, he becomes “Futureman” and tries to woo Lois, hoping it will make Superman jealous enough to get him to propose to her. It doesn’t quite work out that way, but at least Lois becomes convinced that Superman secretly loves her. Then Futureman steps on a butterfly and everyone back in the 30th century turns into geraniums. Or maybe not.
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? None of the above, just a fantastically complicated scheme that can’t possibly fail because evidently episodes of Saved by the Bell are considered classic theatre in the 30th century.

8. “Lois Lane Weds Astounding Man,” Lois Lane #18 (07/60)
A flying saucer lands near Lois when she has some car trouble, and she walks inside when the door opens. And that’s not the crazy part. A handsome alien superhero comes out of nowhere and says to Lois, “I love you! Please marry me!” And that’s not the crazy part. Flabbergasted but agreeable to visiting his home planet, Lois learns “Astounding Man” has admired her from afar and decorated his palace with dozens of statues of her. And that’s not the crazy part. After less than a day of interstellar travel and smooth patter (and, presumably, figuring she’s not getting any younger), Lois accepts his proposal. And that’s not the crazy part. Here’s the crazy part: After she says yes, she finds out that “Astounding Man” is just a remote-controlled android created by a shrivelled, gnomelike alien named (I kid you not) Oogamooga — and yet she still feels honorbound to go through with the wedding, even though her groom has just been revealed to be a glorified sex toy. Showing the kind of quick thinking that might have kept her out of this mess in the first place, Lois invites Superman to the wedding, and the two of them concoct a scheme to get out of this apparently inviolable verbal contract with an alien who just gleefully admitted to bamboozling her with his hot-to-trot action figure.
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? More like evidence of the writer’s discovery of LSD.

9. “Lois Lane’s Wedding Day,”
Lois Lane #37 (11/62)
Oh, cruel irony — Lois Lane settles for “Mr. Right Here” instead of Mr. Right, unaware that Clark and Superman are the same man. No surprise, the cover image doesn’t quite tell the whole story, which is that Lois is assigned to investigate a crooked sweethearts’ club. She arranges to pretend-marry Clark as part of her exposé, knowing it won’t count because they’ll be wed by a phony minister. But — zoinks! — the club’s owner is hip to her scheme and arranges for a real minister to perform the ceremony. Convinced they are truly married, Clark tries to show Lois he really is Superman, but fate conspires against him while he attempts to reveal his super-powers. Eventually, Lois realizes the marriage is not valid because they used fake names for the licence (duh) and they return to the Planet, where Perry White tells them one of the club owner’s partners ratted him out and they went through all that hassle for nothing. Hilarious!
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? Hoax.

10. “The Bride of Jungle Jimmy,” Jimmy Olsen #98 (12/66)
This issue  is often cited as the epitome of Silver Age Superman goofiness, and… yeah, hard to argue with that. The story: Jimmy and Clark are in Africa when they stumble upon a film crew making a jungle movie. Being the sad attention-seeker he is, Jimmy decides to get a role in the film by method acting as a Tarzan type. But — whoops! — a branch breaks while he’s swinging through the trees and he falls into quicksand. While he waits for Superman to save his sorry butt, a female gorilla rescues him and then takes him back to her cave in the cliffs. Olsen escapes, but for reasons too cockamamie to get into here Superman dons a witch doctor’s raiments and marries Jimmy and the gorilla while the movie crew shows up to film the ceremony. The story ends with Jimmy’s brilliant plan for getting away from his new wife, a plan in which he goads her into throwing him off a cliff whilst Superman swoops by to save him from splatting. So a good time was had by all, not counting the possible violation of Jimmy’s person during that night in the cave.
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? Jimmy wishes.

11. “Jimmy Olsen’s Weirdo Wedding,” Jimmy Olsen #100 (03/67)
When you’re a Superman fan, you have to possess a willingness to suspend your disbelief in order to properly enjoy the stories, never more so than stories in which Jimmy is presented as some kind of ladies’ man because, seriously: him? In this story, Jimmy and Lucy Lane (Lois’s kid sister) finally tie the knot, thanks to the Super-Physique Formula he ingests to impress Lucy enough to finally marry him (nice to see you’re starting off with a healthy attitude about honesty in relationships, Jimmy). But starting out their lives together on a foundation of lies is just the beginning; pretty soon, all kinds of chaos ensues thanks to the jealous machinations of Miss Gzptlsnz (a female version of the fifth-dimensional Mr. Mxyzptlk), who arranges for all of Jimmy’s old girlfriends (including several super-heroines) to show up during their first moments of marriage and then uses “red kryptonite lipstick” (yeah, I know) to turn Superman into a mole-man every time Jimmy and Lucy kiss. Nuck this foise, says Lucy, deciding she’s had enough of this lunacy and annuls the marriage. Eh, she would’ve gotten around to it sooner or later.
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? None of the above, if we’re not counting the obvious acid trips required to come up with this stuff.

12. “The Bride of Titanman,” Lois Lane #79 (11/67)
Honey, if you were dumb enough to agree to marry a guy who dresses like the bouncer at an S&M club, then I’m with Superman on this one. Incredibly, this scene actually appears inside this issue. It seems Lois is struck by the reflection of a crook’s ray-weapon bouncing off Superman, and she has a dream (or does she…?) in which she is thrown into another dimension where all the women are as skinny as Twiggy, all the cops are midgets, and breakfast and dinner are completely reversed. While rotting in prison for pushing a cop, she’s rescued by Titanman, who takes her off to another planet to be his bride. More specifically, she’s about to become his eighth concurrent bride, and she’s not too thrilled about becoming the latest cast member of this extra-dimensional episode of Big Love. Just as Superman shows up and tells her to “say her ‘I dos’ pretty” for Titanman, Lois wakes up relieved to find out it was all just a dream.
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? Dream (or is it…?)

13. “The Tragic Fate of the Superman Sweethearts,” Lois Lane #82 (04/68)
More time travel tomfoolery! This time, it’s Lois who time-travels to 4068 and becomes convinced that Superman will soon die back in their home era. So she marries him in a secret ceremony when she returns, but his “death” turns out to have been a historical mistake (go figure), and they both agree to annul the marriage. At which point you have to ask: why? Okay, so the historians of the future era were wrong about events that took place more than 2,000 years before any of them were born. It happens. And yes, basing major life decisions on such sketchy evidence is probably not the wisest course of action that Lois could have chosen. But lots of people have gotten married for much less and she’s spent close to 30 years at this point pursuing the big galoot, so… what’s the problem here? Can’t these crazy kids at least give it a try?
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? Surprisingly, none of the above.

14. “The Bride of Batman,” Lois Lane #89 (01/69)
Apparently tired of waiting around for Superman to get off his invulnerable keister, Lois finds solace in the arms of billionaire Bruce Wayne in this imaginary tale. She doesn’t find out he’s Batman until after the wedding, of course, but her initial reaction of sheer delight suggests our lady likes her men with a dash of danger. Their happy coupling is bad news for Robin, who’s suddenly demoted to third wheel (and even more so when Batman Junior comes along), and for Superman, who starts bemoaning the loss of his one and only true love. Trust me, the “World’s Finest” episode of Superman: TAS had a lot more fun with the idea of a Lois/Bruce pairing, with 100% less super-whining to boot.
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? Imaginary story. Thank God.

15. “Lois Lane’s Future Husband,” Lois Lane #90 (03/69)
OK, so the future husband in the purple-and-green togs is a time-traveling Kryptonian who takes a shining to Lois, but that’s not the unbelievable part of this story. Right after a smitten “Darh-Nel” asks her to come away to the future with him, Superman shows up at Lois’s office and tells her to drop everything and come on down to City Hall with a wedding dress he’s already picked out. Thrilled to finally become Mrs. Superman, Lois meets her man at the appointed hour, only to learn they’re there because “Killer” Kraven, who once swore to kill Superman’s bride on her wedding day, has just broken out of jail. So knowing what a swell sport she is, Superman volunteers Lois to play the role of live bait and force Kraven out of hiding. And then he can’t understand why she might be upset about this plan that she didn’t know about until the last minute. After the crook is caught, Lois stomps off and agrees to join Dahr-Nel in the future, but things don’t turn out as happily as they could for the star-crossed couple. “I’ll try to make it up to you, Lois!” Superman says at the end of the story. “Someday, you’ll really be Mrs. Superman!” And someday, Superman, you’ll really be a jackhole. Oh wait — that’s today.
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? We should be so lucky.

16. “Superman’s Tragic Marriage,” Superman #215 (04/69)
Ah, imaginary stories — where would the Silver Age be without them? (Though, as Alan Moore once famously noted, “This is an imaginary story… Aren’t they all?”) Superman’s editors were legendary for using the concept, which allowed them to present stories that, by necessity or editorial fiat, had to fall outside the “official” DC canon. In this imaginary story, a villain called Dimension Master uses a ray-gun to whisk Lois away to an unknown dimension and so Superman steps up to become a caring single dad to his super-powered daughter when SWEET JESUS IN THE GARDEN WHAT THE HELL IS SUPERMAN DOING BUILDING A LIFE-SIZED LOIS-SHAPED ROBOT TO READ BEDTIME STORIES TO A CHILD WHO JUST LOST HER MOTHER? And then — then! — he’s so distraught about Lois’s death he starts macking on her android doppleganger?!? Where’s the Comics Code Authority when you really need them?
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story?
More like a nightmare.

17. “The Devil’s Bride,” Lois Lane #103 (08/70)
Oy. OK, so Lois falls for this guy called Rajah Satdev. But she starts to suspect he might be the actual, no-foolin’ devil after she drinks an elixir that gives her the same horns that she discovers on him. Still with me? Superman investigates, but a blast from one of Satdev’s weapons ricochets off him and apparently kills Lois. (You’d think by now she’d learn not to stand right next to him, but no.)  Tragedy! Except not quite — Satdev is not an infernal demon but actually an alien in love with Lois, who turns out to be alive after all. She returns to Satdev’s world of Nferino to marry him, but then she realizes that Superman loves her (thanks to her seeing an inscription he made on a ring when he thought she was dead) and so she cancels the wedding. Saddened, Satdev removes her horns, hooves, and tail, and sends her back to Earth. Which just proves he’s a better sport than I am, because I would’ve sent her back with a little “reminder” of our brief engagement — the kind of reminder that would make wearing hats problematic, if you get my drift, and I think that you do.
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? Hoax.

18. “Death House Honeymoon,” Lois Lane #105 (10/70)
So, there’s this criminal gang called The 100 that’s invading Metropolis, and a mysterious crimefighter called the Thorn appears on the scene to hunt them down. Meanwhile, Johnny Adonis is a murderer who’s sentenced to the electric chair for his crimes, and he asks Lois (whose life he once saved) for one last request: to marry him just before he’s executed. She looks at her calendar, figures what the hell, and the two are married. But — zounds! — a jailbreak happens before Johnny heads on down that green mile, and Lois ends up as a hostage before being dumped in a river by the escaping convicts. Both she and the Thorn are then saved by Superman, but poor Johnny is killed by one of his fellow inmates while trying to protect Lois. Worst. Wedding night. Ever.
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? None of the above.

19. “The Spectre Suitor,” Lois Lane #108 (02/71) 
While interviewing an English emigrant who counts Jack the Ripper among his ancestors, Lois Lane runs afoul of a group of thieving nogoodniks, but she’s saved by a mysterious ghost. The jealous spirit takes a liking to our gal reporter, using his otherworldly ways to protect her from harm, but he goes a little over the top when he uses hallucinations of Superman’s dead mother to drive Superman away from Lois. Later, Lois dreams of her wedding to Superman, but Superman’s face turns into that of the faceless suitor seen here. It’s all a little too much for our intrepid gal reporter, but “John” (as the spirit calls himself) isn’t done yet; she’s “spirited” away to London in 1888, where she’s about to become Jack the Ripper’s next victim… or is she? (She isn’t.)
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? Dream.

20. “Death Waits to Kiss the Bride,” Lois Lane #128 (12/72)
From the DC wiki article on this issue: “To teach Lois a lesson about how dangerous marriage to him would be, Superman concocts an elaborate ruse in which he weds a robot Lois Lane, in full view of Lois’s roommates and some of his Justice League friends, while Lois is a helpless observer in another dimension. The robot is destroyed by crooks, but it fails to dampen Lois’s ardor.” I can see how sites like stay in business with stories like this in Superman’s portfolio. Let’s hope Superman saved the design specs for his Lois-shaped robot, because there ain’t no way a self-respecting woman would ever put up with this kind of paternalistic bulls… wait, we’re talking about Lois Lane here. Never mind.
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? Hoax.

21. “The Second Superman,” Lois Lane #132 (07/73)
As our story begins with Superman paddling a canoe through the sky with Lois (um, okay), a surface-to-air missile nearly ruins their bucolic afternoon of gravity-defying fun. Superman decides enough is enough; allowing Lois to be with him is just too dangerous, so he zips to his Fortress of Solitude and feeds his super-computer “punch-card profiles of every eligible man in Metropolis” to find her perfect mate. Now, before you start asking silly questions like “why the hell would Superman keep that kind of info lying around his lair?”, let’s meet the lucky man: Philip Karnes, a biochemist who is Lois’s perfect match in every way.  Oh, except for the fact he’s just developed a lethal serum that gives a person super-strength for 24 hours before death sets in. But he drinks it anyway, thinking he needs it to compete with the likes of Superman for Lois’s affections. So, assuming they’re truly compatible in every way, it only stands to reason that Lois also possesses the intelligence of a brain-damaged ferret.
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story?
None of the above.

22. “Superman Takes a Wife,”
Action Comics #484 (06/78)
Big plans were afoot for Superman’s 40th anniversary, and DC wanted a major event in its anniversary issue to mark the occasion. They don’t come bigger than a wedding, but DC brass didn’t want to upstage the upcoming Superman movie, so they went and got the other Superman married instead. The Superman featured here is the Earth-2 hero who started his superhero career back in 1938, as opposed to the Superman living on Earth-1 who started his career closer to the year in which this book was published. The Earth-2 Superman lost all memory of his superhero identity in the 1950s thanks to a super-villain’s magical machinations, so he continued his life as Clark Kent and eventually married Lois Lane. But an attempt on Clark’s life convinces Lois that he is Superman, and so she seeks out the villain who took his memory. When Clark becomes Superman again, he re-affirms his marriage vows with Lois in a Kryptonian ceremony at his secret mountain citadel. All in all, it was a sweet tale of love conquering all — and it’s a shame that certain modern-day writers have a problem with leaving well enough alone. (Yes, I’m still bitter about Infinite Crisis, thanks for asking.)
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? As real as it gets, baby.

23. “Luthor’s Day of Reckoning,” Action Comics #512 (10/80)
Superman, you cad! Don’t you know it’s always bros before hos? And before anyone starts wondering how Superman and Luthor could ever be considered “bros,” you may be shocked to learn that Luthor was actually fighting on the side of good when this issue hit the stands. In the previous issue alone, he deactivated all of Earth’s nuclear weapons, repaired the ozone layer and helped Superman fight off alien menaces… all because of the love of a woman named Angela Blake, who apparently met Luthor through their mutual hairdresser (no, not really; she’s the victim of a rare disease that caused her to lose her hair). But — and here’s a shocker — the whole wedding was actually an elaborate trap by Luthor designed to destroy Superman. Surprisingly, the ending — however far-fetched — was one of the most tragic involving Superman’s arch-nemesis, because in the process of exacting his ultimate revenge he ended up falling in love despite himself.
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? Hoax.

24. “Mismatch,” Superman: The Man of Steel #6 (12/91)
It’s fair to say post-Crisis Superman stories haven’t focused as much on bizarre storylines involving gorilla weddings or robot brides, but they can still hit a doozy out of the park when they feel like it. This story, which appeared shortly after Clark revealed his secret and proposed to Lois, sees Superman and Mr. Z (appropriate, since he’s a Grade-Z villain who never, ever mattered again after this storyline) both afflicted with amnesia and ending up on a strange island that time forgot. There, a primitive tribe is led by a chief whose daughter, Lola-La (“L.L.” — get it?), has clearly taken pains to stay, um, firm despite a lack of Thighmasters at her disposal. Naturally, Superman catches her eye and she decides they should be married (this apparently being a culture where the woman decides these things). It’s up to Lois to track him down and stop the wedding because nothing — nothing! — comes between her and her man. Well, except that whole “Death of Superman” thing a few years later.
Dream? Hoax? Imaginary Story? Nope.

One response to “Faster Than a Speeding Bullet? Not Always…

  1. Don’t worry, I’m bitter about IC too.

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