Relationship of Clark Kent and Lois Lane
Clark Kent and Lois Lane are among the best known fictional couples. The characters—including Clark's alter ego, Superman—debuted in the DC Comics publication Action Comics #1 (June 1938), and have remained in a complicated relationship ever since.
The couple's relationship was based for a long time in a love triangle, in which Clark was interested in Lois, who was taken with Superman. Clark, unable to reveal to Lois that his mild-mannered demeanor was a ruse, was unable to compete for Lois' affection, the irony being he was his own rival seeing that Clark and Superman are the same person. Following John Byrne's The Man of Steel re-boot, Clark's character became not only the more dominant personality of the Clark Kent/Superman character, but also more outgoing, aggressive, and assertive (more in line with George Reeves' portrayal on Adventures of Superman). This allowed a more natural romance to develop between Lois and Clark.
Finally, Clark proposes to Lois and decides to reveal his identity as Superman to Lois, and so they began a long engagement which was complicated by the death of Superman, a breakup and several problems. At last, in 1996 Lois and Clark got married and Superman: The Wedding Album was released. The event was also made to coincide with the wedding of Clark and Lois on the television series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
In the television series Smallville, the series' focus began with a teenager Clark Kent, who was just learning to balance the demands of his superpowers with his desire to lead a normal ordinary life. Despite the fact that Lois Lane is Clark Kent's love interest in almost every Superman incarnation, in Smallville, Clark's affection on the series began with Lana Lang, his childhood crush in canon. Lois Lane' character was introduced in the fourth season of the series as Chloe Sullivan's cousin. The producers of the show were constrained to limit the usage of the relationship between Clark and Lois, and in the Lois Lane character in general. Only in the late seasons a romantic interaction between Clark and Lois began to develop. Although there did tend to be anvils foreshadowing Clark and Lois' future romances woven throughout their interactions from the moment Lois was introduced on the series. Clark gradually started to fall in love with Lois and realized that she is the one for him and eventually reveals his alien origin to Lois. In the final season of the series Clark proposed to Lois and she accepted. Their wedding ceremony occurred in the series finale, only to be interrupted by the coming of Darkseid and his planet Apokolips. Clark defeated the evil entity and saved the world and finally becomes Superman. A flash forward to the future depicts Clark and Lois working as reporters seven years later at the Daily Planet and still trying to find the right time to get married.
In practically in all of Superman's incarnations, Lois Lane, despite being a brilliant reporter, is unable to see through Clark's thin disguise of mere glasses and change of clothes and discern that he is Superman. Despite being the character that is most up close and personal with both Superman and Clark Kent. This contradiction is sometimes explored, but more often ignored unless it makes for a good joke or plot development.
Clark and Lois in different media
Superman first appeared in Action Comics #1 in June 1938. Other than the fact that he'd been rocketed to Earth as an infant, his complex backstory had yet to develop, but Lois Lane was there from the beginning. That first story included a sequence in which Clark behaved in a cowardly fashion, leaving Lois to defend herself against an aggressive man, from whom Superman later saved her. From then on, Clark was established as a shy man attracted to Lois, while she was interested in his heroic alter ego Superman.
This remained the status quo in the comics for a number of years, though Lois did warm up to Clark for the most part. Yet their relationship couldn't really advance with Lois left out of the secret and with Clark Kent's persona being a disguise. This changed in a comic from 1978 (the 40th anniversary of Superman). A wizard wanted to rid the world of Superman, but he had no idea that Superman had a secret identity. With Superman gone and no memory of being Superman and therefore no need to pretend to be a coward, Clark Kent finally became a man with a backbone.
The new 'take charge' Clark Kent, who was fearless and bold, became very attractive to Lois Lane, which proved it was more about attitude and personality than super powers that attracted her to Superman. Lois and the new Clark Kent began dating, fell in love and eventually he proposed and the couple got married. Then, on their honeymoon, when Lois saw Clark caught in a crossfire that should have killed him, but left no mark on him, she began to suspect he was really Superman. She tried to cut a lock of his hair and the scissors broke. As much as she loved Clark with no memory of being Superman, she knew the world needed Superman and so found the wizard who had cast the spell and had him reverse it.
Clark remembered he was Superman, but he also remembered being married to Lois and didn't want to back out of the marriage. Instead, he took her to the Fortress of Solitude and married her again, but as Superman and a Kryptonian marriage ceremony. From that point until the revamp, Lois and Clark of the alternate universe known as Earth-Two, remained married; on Earth-One, however, it was business as usual. Lois loved Superman, but he said he belonged to the world and couldn't commit to anyone. Also Lana Lang, who had been created for the Superboy comics, was introduced into the Superman comics as an adult rival against Lois for Superman's affections. Lois won that competition, but still was not told of Superman's dual identity. However, a big change was coming.
In 1985, the DC Comics universe went through an enormous overhaul and revamp called Crisis on Infinite Earths. The purpose of the year-long event was to get rid of some character histories, conflicting continuity and overlapping worlds and create a more logical universe. When the Crisis ended, Clark never was Superboy as a youth and Clark Kent became the real person and Superman the disguise. There was finally a setting in which Lois could logically fall in love with Clark Kent because he was the real person this time; although it would take a couple of years for Lois to feel anything romantic for Clark after he scooped her on the Superman exclusive.
In Superman #44 (A Dark Knight over Metropolis), the couple bury the hatchet and begin dating and fall in love. In Superman #50 (Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite), Clark proposes to Lois and she accepts, but Clark does not tell Lois his secret until weeks later in Action Comics #662. This throws Lois for a loop and she needs time to think it over. After contemplating the revelation and its implications, Lois decides it all comes down to love. She loves Clark and would accept and share his complicated life and secret. Then, due to the pending debut of the series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, a chain of events were put into motion to prevent Lois and Clark in the comics from getting married until the TV couple was ready to walk down the aisle.
Superman was killed by Doomsday in Superman #75. Then, after a year of mourning, searching and resurrecting, Superman returned to the land of the living and the arms of Lois Lane. But the comics still had to drag their feet as Lois and Clark on the TV series met as strangers when the show debuted and it would take three years for them to make it to the altar. The comics launched into a series of arcs designed to keep the couple apart including a broken engagement arc, but Lois and Clark on the TV series finally married in October 1996 and so did their comic book counterparts.
More than a decade later, the legendary couple are still married and recently adopted a boy, Chris Kent, the natural son of Kryptonian villains General Zod and Ursa. Although Clark is quick to embrace fatherhood, Lois is more reluctant, until she sees how vulnerable and sweet Chris is, and the three of them become a happy family. Unfortunately, soon after Zod invades Earth and during the battle, Chris along with his birth parents are sucked into the Phantom Zone, leaving Clark and Lois heartbroken. He would return later as a teenager under the guise of Nightwing.
Their relationship is reestablished in Superman: Secret Origin, a six-part miniseries that detailed Superman's origins in the post-Infinite Crisis DC Universe. In this series, Lois becomes Clark's mentor when he begins his employment at the Daily Planet. Also, the Daily Planet has been in financial trouble since Lex Luthor controls nearly every media outlet in Metropolis and the Daily Planet is the only major newspaper that directly attacks him. In Superman's first public appearance, he saves Lois when she falls off the LexCorp building. Understanding the flying hero's benevolence, Lois writes a positive article on him, which boosts the Daily Planet's sales 700%. Eventually, Luthor becomes involved with General Sam Lane, Lois's father, so that they can defeat Superman, believing him to be an alien threat. Superman defeats Metallo, a U.S. soldier converted into a cyborg, and public opinion turns on his favor. In the aftermath, Clark and Lois become friendly rivals, while Superman and Lois begin to develop mutual romantic feelings.
In 2011, DC main continuity was rebooted for The New 52 initiative. In the relaunch, it is revealed that Clark and Lois are not married. Lois views Clark as a friend and respects him as a journalist, but regards him as a loner who has difficulty letting people get close to him, and displays no existing knowledge of his dual identity. Clark and Lois' friendship becomes strained after Clark quits the Daily Planet. Superman Unchained, the new book by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee, will explore Clark's connection with Lois in the new DC Universe.
Christopher Reeve's Superman films
Superman was released by Warner Bros. in 1978, and is based on the popular DC Comics character. It was directed by Richard Donner and executive produced by Ilya Salkind, with music by John Williams. Superman/Clark Kent was portrayed by Christopher Reeve and Lois Lane was portrayed by Margot Kidder.
The movie led to three theatrical sequels, Superman II (1980), Superman III (1983) and Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987), and Superman Returns (2006) was a homage sequels to the first two Superman films. Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006) is director Richard Donner's original vision of his sequel to Superman: The Movie.
One of the most important aspects in the first and second movies was the romantic relationship between the two main characters. Clark was hopelessly in love with Lois Lane and even (in Superman II) gave up his powers in order to be with her. The scene of the first movie where Superman takes Lois in his arms and both fly over the nocturnal sky of Metropolis has become classic and has inspired several parodies and has influenced in many film scores over the years. A similar scene occurred in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.
Margot Kidder's role as Lois Lane in Superman III was greatly reduced due to a conflict with the producers of the Superman film, although she did return as Lois Lane for the fourth film as the female lead and Superman's true love.
In the treatment for the aborted Superman Reborn from the early 1990s, the film would end with Lois Lane and Superman becoming engaged and ultimately married. In the final moments of the film, Superman and Lois would fly up into the stratosphere and into the sunset, similar to how Superman did so, alone in the previous films.
Adventures of Superman
Adventures of Superman is an American television series in the 1950s. This show is the first live-action television series to feature the comic book character Superman and began filming in 1951 in California. Sponsored by cereal manufacturer Kellogg's, the syndicated show's first, and last, air dates are disputed but generally accepted as September 19, 1952 and April 28, 1958. The show stars George Reeves as Clark Kent/Superman, and Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane in the first season. Noel Neill plays Lois Lane from seasons two to season six opposite George Reeves. The series stories follow Superman as he battles crooks, gangsters, and other villains in the city of Metropolis while masquerading "off-duty" as Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent. Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, Clark's colleagues at the office, often find themselves in dangerous situations which can only be resolved with Superman's timely intervention.
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman was a live-action television series in the 1990s and is based on the Superman comic books. The series take us from the moment Clark Kent/Superman arrivals in Metropolis and applying a job at Daily Planet to his first meet with Lois Lane, through to their romantic relationship and eventual marriage, and beyond.
It aired from 1993 to 1997, and starred Dean Cain as Superman/Clark Kent, and Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane and John Shea as Lex Luthor. This series generally followed comic book writer John Byrne's 1986 Man of Steel miniseries, which significantly rewrote Superman's origin and history, with Clark Kent as the true personality, and Superman the secret identity. The main characteristic of this series is that it gave special focus on the relationship between Clark Kent and Lois Lane.
General plot of the series, in 1966, Jonathan and Martha Kent witness the crash-landing of a small spaceship in Shuster's Field near Smallville, Kansas. When they investigate the craft, they discover the baby Kal-El and decide to raise him as their own, naming him "Clark Jerome Kent". 27 years later, Clark moves to Metropolis and gets a job at the Daily Planet. There, he is partnered with Lois Lane, who at first considers him little more than a pest. Eventually, however, the two fall in love and marry after a turbulent courtship, including such problems as Lois being kidnaped by Lex Luthor and replaced with a frog eating clone, Lois suffering from amnesia, and Clark being called away to serve as a leader on New Krypton. Clark and Lois finally get married in the episode "Swear to God, This Time We're Not Kidding" and their marriage in the television series was timed to coincide with the release of Superman: The Wedding Album, which depicts the couple's wedding in comic book continuity.
DC Animated Universe
When developing Superman: The Animated Series, the producers made the decision to establish Lois Lane as a character much more grounded in her Golden Age roots, that of a sharp, aggressive, and career minded reporter who wasn't afraid to dig deep into the Metropolis dirt to gain a story. With Clark Kent as the voice of caution and reason in his alter-ego, and as the well-meaning, boy scout in his role as Superman.
Accustomed already to a world filled with madmen, Superman's heroics in Metropolis do not impress Lois initially, and her professional rivalry with his alter-ego Clark Kent isn't any better. Lois is severely territorial over her stories, and constantly teases Clark by calling him "Smallville" (a line since adapted for the comics and 'Smallville' television series for their version of Lois Lane).
Following a trip to an alternate universe in "Brave New Metropolis", Lois is surprised and dismayed to find Superman has sold out to Lex Luthor after her alternate self was killed, finally beginning to realize she meant much more to Superman. After this version of Superman saved the world from Lex Luthor's dominion, Lois kissed him before returning to her own reality, becoming much closer to Superman afterwards, aware of how delicate his feelings are.
Lois also became more affectionate to Clark as the series progressed, confiding in him as a friend, though their rivalry at times became more heated on a personal basis because of this. In the three part story "World's Finest", Bruce Wayne CEO of Wayne Enterprises arrived in Metropolis and starts a relationship with Lois, Lois actually considers moving to Gotham City, much to Clark's dismay. But Lois eventually learned that Bruce Wayne was the Gotham City vigilante Batman, and ended the relationship.
In "The Late Mr. Kent", Clark is forced to fake his death in order to sniff out an assassin who has targeted his alter-ego. Unaware of his survival (only Clark's parents are aware he is alive), Lois takes the loss of her partner hard, and becomes consumed with uncovering the truth behind his murder, enlisting Superman's help. Whilst investigating Clark's apartment, Lois breaks down, admitting to Superman that she respected and "really liked" Clark, but never told him. Lois is incensed when she find out that Clark is alive and didn't tell her, instead confided in his friend Lana Lang.
Lois and Superman continued to have a friendly, yet distanced relationship, neither really pulling the trigger until the events of the series finale "Legacy", where Superman is briefly turned against the world by Darkseid. After overcoming the threat of Apokolips yet again, Superman admits to Lois that it will take him a long time to restore humanity's faith in him, but Lois assures him he's already got one less human to worry about, and kisses him.
The two continue to date in Justice League Unlimited but nothing is developed further. The producers had intended to have Lois uncover Superman's true identity in "Divided We Fall", but this plotline was not carried into the aired episode. Lois vanished from the DCAU altogether, leaving many fans frustrated with the lack of resolution to her feelings for either Clark or Superman.
In Batman Beyond, an aged Superman leads the JLU of the future. The status of Lois is unknown, but there is a possibility she could have lived into that time due to advanced medical resources.
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Smallville is a series which aired on The WB from 2001 to 2006, and The CW from 2006 to 2011. It depicts a young Clark Kent (Tom Welling) learning to accept his powers and who he really is, along with his destiny. The series shows Clark's reluctance to accept his Kryptonian heritage, his responsibility over his abilities, his longing desire to be "normal," and his constant fear of others discovering his secret. While the show focuses on these issues, Clark experiences crushes and infatuations with some characters in the show, and finds love with Lana Lang during the early seasons.
Lois Lane was later added to the main cast in the fourth season; she and Clark first developed a friendship, and they ultimately grew stronger feelings towards one another romantically. Throughout the series since Lois' character arrived on the show, the series rarely misses an opportunity to hint at their iconic love relationship that happens in the future. Hints have been given from Lois dreaming about a guy in a red cape, or saying she prefers geeks in glasses. And with Lois walking into the scene after Clark talks about not being able to see himself with anybody other than his first love interest Lana Lang. Clark has unknowingly dropped hints foreshadowing their epic love affair when he told Lois, after she just said goodbye to Smallville's Aquaman, with whom Lois had a few dates with in one episode, that she would one day "find somebody even more special". In the episode "Lucy" after Lois and Clark admit for the first time to each other that they have become friends, two stars collide, perhaps a reference to the 'Star crossed Lovers' Romeo and Juliet.
Erica Durance revealed at Wizard World Philadelphia 2006 that "DC Comics has really clamped down on Lois. You can't do a dream sequence (with her and Clark) or any of that sneaky stuff."
Starting in season 6 of Smallville due to the release of Superman Returns, the restrictions on Lois and Clark's romance were apparently relieved to a large extent. In the episode "Hydro," Lois and Clark share their first kiss. However, since Clark is disguised as Green Arrow, Lois doesn't realize his true identity. All she knows is that he is a better kisser than Oliver.
In "Crimson", Lois put on a lipstick that contained Red Kryptonite and an aphrodisiac that made Lois become infatuated with the first man she saw, which turned out to be Clark. Under the influence of the lipstick love potion, Lois kissed Clark, infecting him with Red Kryptonite (which, in the series, removes his inhibitions). In this episode, Smallville's Lois Lane also finally adds her name to the list of Lois Lanes who have taken a flight with Clark Kent, as he takes Lois for a "flight" from the rooftop of Daily Planet building in Metropolis (although technically it was only a leap across the city, as Clark has yet to develop the ability to fly). Furthermore, Clark remembered the tryst and the implication was made that he was attracted to Lois at some level.
In the season 7 episode, "Siren", Clark and Lois made a huge progression in their relationship as Lois, in a very emotionally vulnerable state, told Clark she knows what it's like to love someone who has a destiny greater than her own. In the episode "Apocalypse", after beating herself up for not being as good at dealing with sad happenings as Clark is, Lois still tried to console him, and asked him to go out and have a drink with her. The same episode heavily underlines Superman mythos as it is set in an alternate universe where Clark never came to Earth, resulting in Lois Lane meeting Clark Kent- who has been sent to this reality by Jor-El to make a point- for the first time at the Daily Planet, and the two have an instant attraction to each other, Clark exposing his powers to save Lois's life and working with her to stop President Lex Luthor's plans of conquest. In the season 7 finale, "Arctic", Lana Lang who was portrayed as Clark Kent's first love interest broke up with him via a DVD, and as she said her goodbyes, Lois entered the scene and consoled Clark.
With the beginning of Season Eight, the two took another crucial step towards their future relationship, with Clark starting work at the Daily Planet at the desk opposite Lois'. The writers for the series stated that in the eighth season, Lois finds out about her true feelings towards Clark. While put under a lie detector by a serial killer in the episode "Committed", Lois admitted while sobbing that she was in love with Clark. However, she later tells Clark that she had slipped the sensor off her finger before she had answered the question. This is probably a lie to hide the truth of her love for him as a lie detector would have encountered an error causing it to malfunction and shock Clark.
Later in "Bride", the couple shared many moments of attraction throughout the episode, with Lois being the most obvious of the two. This lead up to Lois and Clark almost sharing a kiss until interrupted by the arrival of Lana. Afterward, during a conversation between her and Oliver Queen, she remarks she felt someone needed her and that she couldn't ignore her feelings for Clark.
Lois leaves to Star City and takes care of Jimmy Olsen (who was injured in "Bride"), while Lana gained superpowers via Luthercorp's Prometheus suit, originally designed to help Lex Luthor recuperate after the season 7 finale. When Lana absorbs the kryptonite radiation from a bomb that would have destroyed Metropolis, she and Clark were unable to touch each other for prolonged periods of time. She then left so as not to hurt Clark.
When Lois returned in "Infamous", Clark tells Lois about his secret and asked her to write his story. When she did, the secret of the RBB (Red Blue Blur) is revealed to the world via a front page article in the Daily Planet. Things soon went awry however, and caused Clark to rewind time using his Legion ring (obtained in the episode "Legion"). Time was then returned to before he told Lois his secret. In the rewritten time-line, Lois invited him to get some coffee to discuss what happened between them during "Bride", but leaves him the option of backing out. Clark arrives across the street from the coffee shop, but decided to send Lois a text message indicating he couldn't make it. Lois responds with a similar message, and later told Clark that they should "go back to basics" and "keep the game on the field" (in the season 8 episode "Hex"). At the end of the season, Lois was taken to the future when she touched the Legion ring. Clark assumes that she was killed in Doomsday's attack on the city, and realizes too late how much she means to him. This leads him to leave behind his human identity and fully embrace only his Kryptonian side, denying any humanity in him (though this was also prompted by other factors, including the death of Jimmy Olsen).
Lois returns in the "Savior" but has lost her memory of where she was. Her reappearance breaks through Clark's self-imposed exile, prompting him to return to the Daily Planet because he finds he "can't stay away from her." Soon, the two were seen flirting much more. In the first nine episodes, Lois is seen having visions of the future, which included visions of her and Clark making love. The truth of what she saw is revealed- including a world where the Kryptonian clones from Kandor had conquered the world and turned the sun red to deprive Clark of his powers- but her memories of the events are erased. Clark finally made his move in "Crossfire" when he kissed her, which Lois reciprocated in "Idol." They decided in the end of "Pandora" to become an official couple. Throughout the rest of season nine, the two took slow steps in their relationship because both Lois and Clark wanted this relationship to be the one they "got right." In the season finale "Salvation," Clark kisses Lois as the Blur and she discovers Clark's secret (though it is made clear in the season 10 premiere "Lazarus" that Clark doesn't realize she knows).
In the tenth and final season of Smallville, several new milestones in their relationship occur: from 'I love yous' exchanged in "Homecoming" to Clark revealing his 'secret' to Lois in "Isis" to them consummating their love in "Harvest". In "Ambush," it is implied Clark asked Sam Lane for Lois' hand in marriage and the audience sees in "Abandoned" Clark with an engagement ring which he uses to propose to Lois in the beginning of the episode "Icarus", which she immediately accepts. Over the course of the season, the two grow closer than ever, learning to rely on each other and help each other through challenges both normal and super. Although they have a wedding in the final episode, it is later stated that the two never completed the ceremony due to the appearance of Darkseid and Apokolips, the two apparently completing the ceremony seven years later for unspecified reasons, which was just a joke from the producers talking about the time that was necessary to get Lois and Clark finally together.
The film Superman Returns serves as a homage sequels to Richard Donner's Superman films, Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980), and ignoring the events of Superman III (1983) and Superman IV(1987). Brandon Routh plays the role of Superman/Clark Kent, and Kate Bosworth plays Lois Lane, the film is directed by Bryan Singer.
In the film, Superman has disappeared for a number of years. On his return, not only did he find the world he left behind has changed in ways he didn't expect, but the woman he loves is a mother and is engaged to Richard White, Perry White's nephew. The couple's son, Jason White, is later revealed to be Superman's son, after the child begins to show superpower abilities.
Man of Steel
In 2013 Warner Bros. released a reboot of the Superman film series, portraying the character's origin story. Man of Steel stars Henry Cavill in the title role as Superman/Clark Kent, and Amy Adams as Lois Lane. The film is directed by Zack Snyder and produced by Christopher Nolan.
In the film, Lois first meets Clark Kent in the Arctic, while writing a story about a scientific discovery, of a unidentified object found in the Arctic ice. There Lois follows Clark to the buried Kryptonian scout ship and became aware of his abilities, when Clark saved and heals her, after she got attacked by a Kryptonian drone. Over the next several weeks Lois begins to investigate Clark's identity, by tracking down Clark's activities in the past few years. Lois eventually arrives in Clark's home town Smallville, and speaks with his mother Martha Kent. Clark and Lois then meet again in the Smallville cemetery, and after revealing to Lois about his father's death, Lois decides to keep Clark's identity a secret.
When General Zod arrives on earth and demand the humans to surrender Kal-El (Clark), Lois is arrested by the FBI, on the belief she knows the identity of Kal-El. Clark agrees to hand himself in to the government in exchange for Lois's freedom. Later both Clark and Lois are taken to General Zod's ship, and are interrogated by Zod's forces. Clark manages to defeat Zod's forces with the help of both Lois and Jor-El. At the battle of Metropolis Clark kissed Lois, before Zod arrives and attacked him. Clark ultimately ended the fight by killing Zod, and then let out a painful cry of guilt, Lois arrives and consoles him. Sometime afterwards, Clark decides to join the Daily Planet, and is introduced to Lois as a new stringer, and Lois plays along with his new secret identity.
- Gerard Beritela (2007), "Super-Girls and Mild Mannered Men: Gender Trouble in Metropolis", The Amazing Transforming Superhero!, McFarland, ISBN 9780786431892
- The Man from Krypton: a closer look at Superman, BenBella Books, 2006, ISBN 9781932100778
- Rhonda V. Wilcox (1996), "Dominant Female, Superior Male: Control Schemata in Lois and Clark, Moonlighting, and Remington Steele", Journal of Popular Film and Television 24 (1): 26–33, doi:10.1080/01956051.1996.9943710