Dec 19, 2010

I am all for a LOIS LANE series

It's come to my attention (via Newsarama) that there's been a fan campaign, started on the LoisLaneVerse Twitter account, to start up a new LOIS LANE series. I am all for this idea.

From SUPERMAN: SECRET ORIGIN #3, art by Gary Frank

There's a gigantic dearth in mainstream comics and its treatment of women. There's no shortage of strong, independent women in comics, but girls are a tough, tough sell, mainly because the industry still carries with it the stigma of being for guys. And while girls will read stories that revolve around guys, it's a sad truism that guys will most likely not read anything that revolves around girls (unless said revolution occurs around T&A). And this leaves female readers, especially the younger ones, with very few characters to look up to or admire.

A LOIS LANE is a particularly good idea because, well, quite frankly, she's Lois Lane! There's a likely formula that would get sales in comics, which would incorporate character recognition in addition to the name power of the creator and marketing. This is particularly why BATWOMAN is successful:

She's got a "Bat-" in her name, she was written and drawn by fan favorites, and DC was very heavily behind it in terms of marketing. So even if she's a new character, she makes more sense to push than, say, the Huntress.

Let's also not forget Marvel's first SPIDER-GIRL, which, while defunct now, lasted for over a decade! Taking place in an alternate reality, Mayday Parker is the daughter of Peter (Spider-Man) and Mary Jane Parker.

Sales on the SPIDER-GIRL series weren't particularly strong, but always enough to keep it afloat, as it had a very, very loyal base of fans. But business is business, and they just rebooted Spider-Girl with a completely different character, Anya Corazon. This time, it takes place in the Marvel Universe, since, apparently, being "in canon," whatever the hell that's supposed to really mean, is also a factor in terms of sales.

I haven't read Anya's book, but it's heavily marketed, looks really good, and also supposedly (judging from the reviews) just a really solid piece of writing. And she has a "Spider-" in her name, so I think (and hope) she'll be a moderate sales success.

LOIS LANE has all the ingredients of a successful comic. First of all, she's LOIS LANE, Superman's wife. A random person on the street would probably be able to tell you who she is without much hinting. Next to Wonder Woman, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, Catwoman, and feminized versions of male characters, such as Supergirl and Batgirl, Lois Lane is, bar none, the most recognizable female character in comics — and undoubtedly the most recognizable female supporting character. She is so loved that when the fan campaign started, creators such as Gail Simone and Paul Tobin all of a sudden came out saying how much they would LOVE to write her.

Lois Lane started off as an incredibly independent female character — a true landmark for 1938.

From ACTION COMICS #1, by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Unfortunately, with the establishment of the Comics Code Authority, Lois Lane got changed to a possessive jealous woman who always schemed to get Superman to marry her. It is also, tellingly, at this time when she got her own series, which was so successful that it lasted for 20 years. I know middle-aged moms who have fond memories of this series.

Obviously, gender roles have changed, and such a series would no longer fly. As much as I'm not a fan of John Byrne's 1986 Superman reboot called MAN OF STEEL, one thing he did get right was Lois Lane.

Lois is an investigative reporter, and as such, she has a strong enough personality to carry her own series. It's also a great hook, because it means she can go anywhere and do anything. And in the DC Universe, there's a LOT of places to see: Atlantis, Gotham City, outer space... anywhere.

With the proper marketing and the proper execution, LOIS LANE could be an awfully successful comic. The only question would be who would do it. Well, there's no shortage of candidates, but tops on my list would be Gail Simone and Nicola Scott. I think a strong independent female needs strong independent females writing her, and Gail's as good as it gets when it comes to crafting a story, while Nicola has great storytelling skills and the ability to make any character — especially women — simultaneously attractive and classy.

Wonder Woman by Nicola Scott

I'd be all for a LOIS LANE series. And I can't actually think of any other female character currently without her own series, all things being equal, who could succeed more.


Jon Gorga said...

I saw the rumblings about this idea, too.

You are so right, Duy! With the right people and execution a Lois Lane solo series could be awesome: strong female main character + a logical reason to go to all sorts of places in the fictional DC Universe and kick some proverbial ass + semi-regular guest appearances = some really cool, fun comics!

Duy Tano said...

Plus, who's more recognizable than Lois Lane?

Lana Lang's the only one I can think of who even comes close.

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