Cruel to Be Kind

We’re going to take another trip back to the Silver Age of Comics this week, since last week’s was so much fun. This time, we’ll be enjoying that special brand of emotional cruelty and callous humor at the expense of your loved ones that could only be found in the pages of SUPERMAN’S GIRLFRIEND, LOIS LANE. In specific, LOIS LANE #60 (October 1965), in the charmingly mean-spirited “Get Lost, Superman!”, illustrated by the great Kurt Schaffenberger, who could draw gorgeous fifties-style babes like no one else.


The story opens at the Daily Planet’s annual Celebrity Party, where two of the paper’s top reporters are made to work as fishnet-stocking-wearing waitresses. That’s not at all inappropriate:


However, the party grinds to a halt when Superman shows up to do his part, manning the kissing booth offering “Super-Kisses for Charity.” And well, you can probably imagine what happens next…


Man, look at that grip of cash Lois is ready to spend. And of course, Lana isn’t far behind:


Of course, Superman has to put a stop to this. After all, who wants to be kissed by two beautiful women all night? So naturally, he starts to scold them:


And continues the scolding, all through the next day, when he takes them on a previously scheduled press tour of his Fortress of Solitude:


At the Fortress, Superman shows off one of his newest inventions, a new cryogenic deep-freeze chamber designed to preserve terminally ill patients. It’s then time for his patrol duty, and wisely, Supes leaves Lana and Lois unattended in the Fortress. Always a good idea. When he returns, to his horror, they’ve put themselves in the deep freeze for 5000 years. That’ll show him. At least they were thoughtful enough to leave a note:


Wow. Not too needy, eh?

Superman, thinking on his feet, immediately leaps into super-speed and flies through the time-barrier, planning to retrieve his two would-be girlfriends from the freezer as soon as they awaken and whisk them back to the present.


Arriving at the Fortress in the year 6965 — where, charmingly, the Fortress of Solitude is now a tourist attraction, like Graceland — Superman waits to lecture Lois and Lana on how foolish they were to try such a thing the moment their freezer doors open. Unfortunately, he’s met with a hideous sight, as Lois and Lana crumble to dust as soon as they sit up.


What the what? Wow, did this take an ugly left turn out of nowhere, with a shocked and mournful Superman left gripping Lois and Lana’s hair, all that’s left of them. (And by the way: eeugh.)


Superman desperately tries to undo it, diving back through the time-barrier to try to go back an hour before they get in the freezers, but a bit of centuries-away calendar-keeping gets in the way.


Supes gives up, at least for a while, and succumbs to a deep depression over the loss of his two best girls:


Deciding to try again, he tries going back a full day before they get frozen to prevent them from getting in, but the interference of a comet in the time stream warps his travel through the time-barrier (Silver-Age time-travel science is sketchy, to say the least. Best not to think about it too hard), and Superman winds up in the pre-historic past, nearly running into a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Because what Silver-Age comic worth its salt doesn’t have an appearance by a Tyrannosaurus Rex?


Now resigned to the fact that Lana and Lois are dead and gone, Superman returns to the Fortress and wallows in his guilt, thinking back on the good times, like when there was a giant boulder of Green Kryptonite on his head:


Now at his creepiest, Superman decides to look in on the shrunken Kryptonian city of Kandor and spy on the Kandorian Lookalikes of Lois and Lana (why exactly there are official Lois and Lana lookalikes in Kandor is never quite explained). Only it turns out there are two Loises and two Lanas to be found.


Enlarging the ones wearing Earth clothes, Superman learns that Lois and Lana were alive and well, and the whole thing had been a ruse to “make [Superman] sorry for saying those harsh things.”

Excuse me?

So they faked their deaths and emotionally tortured Superman because he was mean to them? Pardon my French, but this is a serious asshole move.

So apparently when Superman took off for his patrol, Lois and Lana shrunk down and visited their Kandorian duplicates, and had identical android replicates of themselves made to stick in the deep freeze in order to “teach Superman a lesson.” And then once he thought they were dead, rather than let him know right away, decided to let him stew in his guilt and mourning for a couple of days.


Wow. That’s just, well, awful. They’re horrible, horrible people.

And yet, once their cruel ruse is revealed, Superman just grins and bears it while these two jackals grin over how they managed to cow the Man of Steel.


Of course, it only takes a single panel before they both revert back to form:


And they wonder why Superman wouldn’t marry either one of them…


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Welcoming the Future, Treasuring the Past.