Lois Lane-Kent is the primary love interest in the DC Comics’ Superman stories. Created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, she first appeared in Action Comics #1 (1938). Lois' physical appearance was originally based on a model hired by Siegel and Shuster named Joanne Carter, who would later marry Siegel. Lois's personality was based on Torchy Blane, a female reporter featured in a series of films from the 1930s. Siegel took her name from actress Lola Lane, who portrayed Torchy in one of the middle entries.
Depictions of Lois Lane have varied since her character was created in 1938, spanning the 70-year history of Superman comic books and other media adaptations. During the Silver Age, she was the star of Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane, a comic title that had a light and frivolous tone. However, the original Golden Age version of Lois, as well as versions of her from the 1970s onwards, portray Lois as a tough-as-nails journalist and intellectual equal to Superman. One thing has remained throughout the character's 70-year history, however: she has always been the most prominent love-interest in Superman's life and is seen by many fans as the archetypical comic book love interest.
Lois Lane was modeled on Lola Lane, an actress in the 1930s who appeared in films like Public Stenographer. Lois is regarded as attractive, but not in the exaggerated "supermodel" sense often seen in superhero comics' depictions of women. Her appearance has varied over the years, depending either on current fashion or (especially more recently) the way she's depicted in contemporary media adaptations; for instance, in the mid-1990s, when the series Lois and Clark began airing, Lois received a hair cut that made her look more like Teri Hatcher, and her eyes were typically violet to match the Lois of the television cartoon Superman: The Animated Series after that show began airing. Traditionally, Lois has black hair, though for a period from the late 1980s through the late 1990s, Lois was depicted with brown hair in the comics. She started with red hair in the original Sunday papers.
Lois is the daughter of Ellen and Sam Lane. In the earlier comics, her parents were farmers in a town called Pittsdale; the modern comics, however, depict Sam as a retired soldier, and Lois as a former "army brat," born at Ramstein Air Base with Lois having been trained by her father in areas such as hand-to-hand combat and the use of firearms. Lois also has one younger sibling, her sister Lucy Lane.
In most versions of Superman, Lois is shown to be a crack investigative reporter, one of the best in the city and certainly the best at the newspaper she works at. However, despite such brilliance, she has long been unable to see through Clark's rather primitive disguise of glasses and figure out that he is Superman--despite being the character who is most up close and personal with both Superman and Clark. This contradiction is seldom mentioned but played for humor when it is.
In the current comics, Lois is married to Clark Kent (and aware of his secret identity), but has kept her maiden name for professional purposes. She was revealed to be a political conservative in DCU: Decisions #1.
In the earliest Golden Age comics, Lois was featured as an aggressive, career-minded reporter for the Daily Star (the paper's name was changed to The Daily Planet in the early 1940s), who, after Clark Kent joined the paper and Superman debuted around the same time, found herself attracted to Superman, but displeased with her new journalistic competition in the form of Kent. Starting in the late 1940s or early 1950s comics, Lois began to suspect that Clark Kent was Superman, and started to make various attempts at uncovering his secret identity, all of which backfired (usually thanks to Superman's efforts).
In the Golden Age comics, Lois also had a niece named Susie Tompkins, whose main trait was getting into trouble by telling exaggerated tall tales and fibs to adults. Susie's last appearance was in 1955; subsequent comics presented Lois' only sibling, Lucy, as single and childless.
After DC instituted its multiverse system in the early 1960s for organizing its continuity, it was deemed that the Lois of the Golden Age comics (i.e., comics published from 1938 through the early 1950s) lived on the parallel world of "Earth-Two" versus the then-mainstream (Silver Age) universe of "Earth-One." In 1978's Action Comics #484, it was revealed that sometime in the 1950s, the Earth-Two Lois became infatuated with Clark Kent after the latter lost his memory of his superheroic identity (thanks to a spell cast by the old Justice Society of America enemy, the Wizard), with the result of Clark acting more aggressive and extroverted. Clark and Lois began to date each other, and were soon married; however, during the honeymoon, Lois discovered that Clark was indeed Superman, and after recruiting the aid of the Wizard, restored Clark's memory. A series of stories in the 1970s and 1980s titled "Mr. and Mrs. Superman" presented the further adventures of the now-married Lois and Clark (in several of which Susie Tompkins made a return as a recurring character).
During the Crisis on Infinite Earths miniseries, the Earth-Two Lois Lane was seen for one of the final times, as she, the Earth-Two Superman, and the Earth-Prime Superboy are taken by Earth-Three's Alexander Luthor, Jr. (who himself was the son of Earth-Three's Lois Lane, who had perished, along with her husband Alexander Luthor, Sr., in the first issue of the series) into a paradise-like dimension at the end of the story (after all the parallel Earths, including Earth-Two, had been eliminated in favor of just one Earth), after which this version of Lois was (seemingly) permanently discarded from DC's continuity.
In 2005's Infinite Crisis miniseries, it was revealed that the Earth-Two Lois Lane, along with Superboy, Alexander Luthor, Jr. and Superman, have been watching the events of the post-Crisis DC Universe from their pocket dimension. Out of the four observers, she is the only one who still believes that the new universe is just going through a rough patch; Superboy-Prime and Alexander Luthor are convinced that Earth is utterly corrupt, and Kal-L is slowly becoming swayed to their way of thinking. This version of Lois is frail, and died for reasons not explicitly revealed, though probably connected to her octogenarian status. This was the main reason for Kal-L's determination to restore Earth-2, as he believed that Lois' health would recover once back on her proper Earth. Despite the restoration of Earth-2, however, Lois Lane died in the arms of Superman in Infinite Crisis #5, regardless of Kal-L's protests that he couldn't let her die. After Kal-L died at the hands of Superboy-Prime at the end of Infinite Crisis #7, he commented that he finally understood Lois's final words- "It's... not... going..."- as meaning that it would never end for them, and one day it would be understood that even the heroes who had been lost in the original Crisis were still out there somewhere. After his demise, they are shown reunited in the stars, while their bodies are buried on Earth alongside Kon-El's, who gave his life to stop Superboy-Prime's attempts to restore his Earth.
Lois became more and more popular during this decade, and after appearing as the lead character in two issues of DC's title Showcase in 1957, DC created an on-going title for the character, titled Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane beginning in March 1958 and running for 137 issues until September 1974. Most of these placed an emphasis on Lois' romance with Superman, and were drawn by artist Kurt Schaffenberger; indeed, Schaffenberger's rendition of Lois became cited by many as the "definitive" version of Lois, and he was often asked by DC editor Mort Weisinger to redraw other artists' depictions of Lois Lane in other DC titles where she appeared.
By the end of the 1960s, as attitudes toward women's role in American society changed, Lois' character changed as well. Stories in the 1970s depicted her as fully capable and less reliant on Superman. She engaged in more solo adventures without Superman being involved, and was much less interested in discovering Superman's secret identity. For example, in her solo stories in Superman Family (an anthology title started in the mid-1970s after the cancellation of Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane and Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen), Lois regularly battled criminals and often defeated them using her quick wits and considerable skill in the Kryptonian martial art of Klurkor, taught to her by Kryptonian survivors in the bottle-city of Kandor.
After the 1985-1986 miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths, writer and artist John Byrne revised the Superman legend, and eliminated the Silver Age version of Lois from continuity; before this happened, a final non-canonical "imaginary story" Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? was written by writer Alan Moore, meant as a send-off for the "pre-Crisis" versions of the characters, including Lois.
Lois underwent a character alteration beginning with John Byrne's The Man of Steel miniseries, which completely rewrote Superman's origin and history. In this modern version of events, Lois was portrayed as a tough-as-nails reporter who rarely needed rescuing. She was depicted as strong, opinionated, yet sensitive.
Another major change made was that Lois did not fall in love with Superman (though she may have harbored a slight crush at first). One reason was the revised nature of the Superman/Clark Kent relationship. In the original Silver Age stories, Superman had been the man who disguised himself as Clark Kent.
In this new revised concept, it was Clark Kent who lived a life in which his activity as Superman was decidedly secondary. Lois initially resented the rookie Clark Kent getting the story on Superman as his first piece when she had spent ages trying to get an interview, but she eventually became his best friend. Lois' first real relationship in this version was with Jose Delgado, a Metropolis vigilante whose legs are shattered in a battle with a Lexcorp cyborg/human hybrid gone amok. Delgado eventually recovered. He and Lois would have several on and off experiences together before the relationship completely disintegrated, mainly due to Clark and Lois becoming much closer as friends.
Following Clark's brief rampage under the influence of The Eradicator, Lois was hesitant to forgive Clark for "selling out" to Collin Thornton and running Newstime Magazine, but forgave him in a span of mere minutes when he returned to "grovel for his job back." Clark elected to repay Lois by finally letting go of his self-imposed inhibitions and passionately kissed her. The two became a couple, and eventually Lois accepted a proposal of marriage. Clark shortly after revealed to her that he was Superman.
DC had planned on Lois and Clark being married in 1993's Superman #75. However, with the then-upcoming television show Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, DC decided they did not want to have the two married in the comics and not married on TV. Partially as a result of this, Superman was killed in Superman #75 instead, dying in Lois' arms after a battle royal with the monster Doomsday. After a period of time, Superman returned to life, and both he and Lois resumed their relationship, though not without a few problems (such as a brief reappearance of Clark's former college girlfriend, the mermaid Lori Lemaris). Lois eventually decided to take an overseas assignment to assert her independence and not be dependent on Clark, who had begun to overprotect her. When Clark became convinced Lois was in danger, he and her father Sam allied to aid her secretly.
When Lois returned to Metropolis, she had been through several life-threatening exploits, and was slightly amused when Clark informed her his powers had been recently depleted, and that he was her editor (due to Perry White's cancer). Upon discovering Clark still had her wedding ring within a handkerchief, Lois warmly broke down, teasing Clark and finally agreeing to become his wife.
In 1996, coinciding with the Lois and Clark television program, Lois and Clark were finally wed in the one-shot special Superman: The Wedding Album, which featured the work of nearly every then-living artist who had ever worked on Superman. The Wedding Album itself, however, was forced to spend part of its opening pages accommodating and reconciling the then-current comic storyline of Lois and Clark having broken off their engagement (the television program's producers had failed to provide adequate lead time for the Superman comics' writers).
Since their marriage, Clark and Lois' continue to remain one of the stronger relationships in most comic series. In 2007, the couple recently took the 'next step' in adopting a newly arrived Kryptonian boy, who they name Chris Kent. The boy is discovered to be the son of Jor-El's arch-foe, General Zod. Although initially uneasy about raising a super-powered boy, Lois has shown immense aptitude of being 'Mommy Lois'. However, following a devastating battle with Zod, Chris sacrificed himself to seal the Phantom Zone rift, trapping himself inside with Zod's forces, leaving Lois without her son.
In the second issue of Final Crisis, Lois and Perry are caught in an explosion triggered by Clayface destroying the Daily Planet and apparently Lois is seriously injured or even dead. In the third issue, it is revealed that only Clark's heat vision is keeping her heart beating. Clark is visited by a mysterious phantom who insists that he must depart Earth immediatly if he is to save his wife's life. The story is continued in the 3D tie-in comic "Superman Beyond"
In the Elseworlds series Kingdom Come (now Earth-22 in the DC Multiverse), flashbacks reveal that ten years prior to the story's beginning, the Joker murdered ninety-three people in the Daily Planet, and Lois was the only woman in that body count. While her face is never shown in any of the flashbacks, her body is seen hunched over her desk.
In added material given in Justice Society of America #13, one can notice in Superman's flashback that a Daily Planet paperweight on Lois' desk is covered in blood.
In 2005, DC launched a new All Star Superman comic series by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. The series takes place outside normal DC continuity. In this storyline, they are not married, and although Superman revealed his secret identity to Lois in issue #2, she didn't believe him. At the end of the issue, Superman (who believed he was dying) presents Lois with a super-powered chemical and a superhero costume and Lois Lane becomes Superwoman for 24 hours.
She is introduced as the cousin of Chloe Sullivan and arrives in Smallville to investigate Chloe's apparent death . After teaming up with Clark Kent to find her cousin Chloe Sullivan, she returned for several guest star appearances in Season 4 before signing to return as a thirteen episode regular from Season 5 to the present.
At first, Lois was often shown teasing Clark and had romantic feelings for other superheroes including Arthur Curry and Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow. Other differences to her character was her lack of interest in journalism, instead working in politics for Jonathan Kent, and later Martha Kent.
It was not until the sixth season that her character began to change into a more familiar Lois Lane as she developed an interest in journalism, working at the tabloid paper, the Inquisitor. She began to investigate and write articles about the Green Arrow. Lois even enlisted Clark's and Jimmy's help in proving that Oliver Queen is actually the Green Arrow. In the same episode Lois kisses a masked Clark who is posing as the Green Arrow. This shows another big change as Lois and Clark's future romance starts to creep into the show. After this kiss both Lois and Clark are shown to have enjoyed it, although Lois is unaware that it was Clark. Soon after Lois is under a love spell which makes her fall in love with Clark. Conveniently her love potion is made of Red Kryptonite which makes Clark lose all inhibitions, and he reveals his powers to her by taking her on a romantic flight-like super jump from the top of the Daily Planet building, although Lois lost all memory of these events after the potion wore off .
At the start of Season 7, Lois is employed at the Daily Planet as a reporter and shortly afterwards started dating her editor Grant Gabriel, later revealed to be a clone of the deceased Julian Luthor. In a very emotional scene after Lois and Oliver break up she is consoled by Clark. . She returns the favor when Lana Lang leaves Clark. In the eighth season, Lois and Clark have begun to work side-by-side at the Daily Planet; the character has developed into the intrepid reporter of the source material.