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Lois Lane: Still dynamic at 75

by Matthew Price Modified: April 22, 2013 at 4:56 pm •  Published: April 19, 2013

Right along with Superman, the reporter Lois Lane debuted in “Action Comics” No. 1 on April 18, 1938.  The character has appeared in multiple movies, television shows, comic-book series and more.

For more about Superman’s 75th anniversary, check out my column and blog post.

Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Lois Lane is a hard-charging reporter at the Daily Planet.  She’s been Superman and/or Clark Kent’s love interest for most of the years of the Superman saga, but she’s a strong and compelling character in her own right.

As far as the comics go, her appearances at times are kind of uneven.   But there are definite high points.  A few quick recommendations: Any Lois Lane stories by Greg Rucka; the John Byrne “Man of Steel” miniseries; Grant Morrison’s “All-Star Superman;” and the 1980s two-issue miniseries “Lois Lane” by Mindy Newell and Gray Morrow.  And though they are dated, I enjoy some of Lois Lane’s early appearances in the Golden Age, when her main concern is getting the story, first and best.

Noel Neill played Lois in the “Superman” movie serials, and later reprised the role on the George Reeves TV series “The Adventures of Superman.”   She played Lois Lane’s mother in a cameo in “Superman: The Movie,” and also appeared in the TV show “Superboy” and the film “Superman Returns.”  In 2003, her biography, “Truth, Justice, & The American Way: The Life And Times Of Noel Neill, The Original Lois Lane” was released.   In 2010, a statue with her likeness as Lois Lane was unveiled in Metropolis, Ill.

Phyllis Coates played Lois in the first season of “The Adventures of Superman” and in the 1951 film “Superman and the Mole Men.”   The break between seasons one and two of “Adventures” caused her to become unavailable to reprise the role in the series’ later seasons.  She also played Lois Lane’s mother in an episode of “Lois and Clark” in the 1990s.

Margot Kidder updated Lois for the 1970s and 1980s in four films starring Christopher Reeve.   She later appeared in two episodes of “Smallville.”

Margot Kidder as Lois Lane.
Margot Kidder as Lois Lane.

Superman came back to TV in the 1990s, in a show that gave Lois Lane first billing. “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” ran for four seasons beginning in 1993, and focused on the journalistic adventures of reporters Lois Lane and Clark Kent, who was also Superman.   Teri Hatcher starred as Lois, Dean Cain was Clark and Superman.  Hatcher was a great mix of determined and funny in the role, and is my favorite Lois Lane.

This promo picture of Lois wrapped in Superman’s cape became a huge hit in the early days of the internet, as well.

Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane.
Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane.

“Smallville,” a television series beginning with Clark Kent’s teen years, took its time introducing Lois Lane, but when it did, it did it right.   Erica Durance was a tough, no-nonsense Lois who was attractive, strong and ambitious.

Erica Durance.
Erica Durance.

Kate Bosworth stepped in as Lois in Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns,” where she’d had a child in Superman’s absence.

Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane in "Superman Returns."
Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane in "Superman Returns."

In the new film “Man of Steel,” set for release in June, Amy Adams takes over the role of the intrepid reporter in a series that’s a reboot of the Superman film universe.

Henry Cavill as Superman and Amy Adams as Lois Lane from Total Film magazine.
Henry Cavill as Superman and Amy Adams as Lois Lane from Total Film magazine.

There have also been multiple animated versions of Lois Lane – notably one voiced by Dana Delaney in the 1990s cartoon series – and she’s appeared in video games, radio and Broadway as well.

Though she and Superman aren’t married in the current comics, Lois remains an important character both in the new stories and in the Superman mythos.

In the future, however the news may be gathered and published, I imagine we’ll see Lois Lane right there at the forefront, digging for scoops and striving for the story.

- Matt Price

by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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