Robot 6

I’m on Team Lois

As part of their promotion of September’s new Superman #1, DC Comics and the New York Daily News are asking fans to vote on whether Lois Lane’s new boyfriend “Jonathan Carroll is an upgrade from Clark Kent.” That’s the way the Daily News puts it, anyway. On DC’s Source blog, they phrase the question a bit differently: “Are you Team Superman or Team Jonathan?”

It’s difficult to set aside feelings about Twilight when that’s exactly what DC’s alluding to. One of the biggest criticisms of the Twilight series is that its lead character is largely defined by who she’s dating. Robin Browne (by way of Andrew Futral) put it well when she compared Twilight to Harry Potter (though her quote is often attributed to Stephen King): “Harry Potter is all about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity…Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.”

It’s frustrating to hear DC express Lois Lane’s story in similar terms. By asking readers to join either Team Superman or Team Jonathan, DC’s suggesting that what’s really important isn’t whatever’s going on in the rest of Lois’ life, but who she ends up with. I hope there’s much more to it than that.

All we’re seeing is two pages from Superman #1. I hope that what we’re not seeing is that “boyfriend” is a hyperbolic term and that Lois isn’t really interested in this new douchebag. I hope it’s a one-night stand. I also hope that it’s a good long time before she sees anything in Clark Kent beyond simple friendship. And vice versa, come to think of it. I hope that DC allows her to be her own character before throwing the messiness of a relationship with Clark/Superman at her. Show her dating, sure. Let’s see what kind of guys she likes. That’s part of who she is. But I sure as hell want to see what she’s like in other areas too. I hope that she’s not just a prize for Superman to win.

It’s just that based on DC’s marketing so far, I don’t hope it very strongly.

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Comments

28 Comments

It’s just marketing. I doubt it’ll have any effect on what Perez or Morrison write in their books.

Yeah, seriously, it’s just a new pop culture shorthand for saying that there may be a love triangle. Disliking the reference to Twilight because it somehow damages the sanctity of the Superman property is a little silly.

Is it possible that your hopes for Lois Lane are just slightly–perhaps not absolutely but at least a little–unrealistic given her status as a supporting character within a series about Clark Kent / Superman?

Never mind Clark or Jonathan, If I were Lois I’d go Team Nipples – her new boyfriend seems to be missing them!

I have been laughing pretty hard these days at the fanboys outrage at the split of Supes and Lois; always with their pleas of “this just wouldn’t happen!” As though any part of this fictional world is rooted in reality. Surely I am not the only one who thinks sex between Lois and Supes would lead to the former’s death.

Simon DelMonte

July 27, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Wouldn’t it be amazing if it turned out that Jonathan Carroll was a really decent guy who could give Lois something Clark can’t? One of the few things that worked about Superman Returns is that Richard White really was worthy of Lois.

Though yes, why can’t Lois be defined by something other than her boyfriends?

Man, I just wonder…what would’ve happened if someone bought BOTH DC and Marvel, instead of the pixie factory that is Disney buying Marvel and Warner Brothers giving DC some more leeway?

i do agree with the last part and i do think thats sort of approach will help both in the long run .

I don’t believe the Daily News is in any position to poll fans on anything when the relaunch has yet to happen. Wait a year or so until readers can gauge something of note, eh?

So why is Carroll a “douchebag”?

I don’t know anything about the new guy, so why on earth would I choose to be on “Team Jonathan????”

No offense, but this is just stupid, unless Clark punches Lois in the face, why would I vote against Superman?

I’m not a fan of what I read in the preview panels by any means, but I fail to see anything in them that suggests Jonathan is a douchebag. Why would I want Lois to be with a man for a one night stand? What’s wrong with hoping her boyfriend is a decent guy? In the post-Crisis era, Lois dated Jose Delgado who was a hero and a good man. If they break up, I’d prefer it was because things just didn’t work out.

Also, I’m uncomfortable with your assertion that being in a relationship with Jonathan, Clark, or any man somehow automatically makes Lois not her own character. Lois, if written well, is the type of woman who would never allow a relationship to define her life. Her assertiveness, determination, wit, heart, goals, desires, friendships, rivalries, and her passion for truth and justice don’t have to suddenly fly out the window if a man’s in the picture. Being a strong and independent character doesn’t have to translate into a literal cutting away of romantic relationships. What ultimately matters is agency. Just like a woman can exercise her agency by choosing to be homemaker, Lois can choose to enter into relationships with men and retain her independent self-hood.

So, while I definitely agree with you that we should Lois dating and see what’s she’s like in other aspects of her life, I believe it’s possible to show Lois dating men long-term, including Clark, without robbing her of her agency as a female. For example, even though we didn’t see this in the released panels, we did learn via the dialogue that Lois is not entirely thrilled with Morgan Edge and we learned she kicked butt as a reporter by covering the Astrodome attack.

@Jaded Devil The reason the Team Whomever marketing ploy is problematic is because it reduces Lois to an object to be possessed and won by two competing males. Lois Lane should never be defined as a love interest only.

@Wraith What’s so unrealistic about hoping Lois Lane is developed as more than just a love interest for two men to fight over? I’ve seen television shows like LOIS AND CLARK and SMALLVILLE satisfactorily accomplish this task. I’ve even seen a lot of post-Crisis comics get it right. It’s not that hard, actually.

@Marc C What are you talking about? Lois and Clark aren’t splitting up. Superman is getting a reboot. So, when fanboys say “this just wouldn’t happen!”, they’re right. It didn’t happen. Also, I don’t know what “rules” you’re following to judge the reality of whether or not Superman would hurt Lois during sex. Is this about the Niven essay? What about that essay was factual or based in reality? There is no reality when it comes to discussing Superman, since he doesn’t exist and since we don’t have any knowledge of the intricacies of Kryptonian biology. So, there will never be a way to discuss the reality of Clark and Lois’s sex life because it’s all fantasy.

From the way Carroll is drawn, we’re going to find out he’s an evil super-villain in about three issues. Just look at the satanic sneer in that last panel. Too obvious, DC.

It’s one thing for Marvel and DC to split up the Spidey/MJ and Superman/Lois marriages via magic or time travel or “we don’t even have to tell you why.”

It seems to be plain evil, though, to explicitly state that as many former members of those marriages as possible are having sex with someone else at any given moment. Do they not consider that, for people who grew up in any decade after the 70s, seeing Lois and some dude, or Peter and some girl, is somewhat akin to walking in on your mother and the mailman?

@ Christine: It’s the last panel. Dude has finally made me understand exactly what the phrase “shit-eating grin” means. That’s why people pull the douchebag card on him.

Anyways. Team Superman or Team Jonathan? I’m not much of a feminist (though I do understand the problem here), so what’s being identified as a problem here doesn’t bug me as much as pretending like I should care about Lois’ new boyfriend. As far as I’m concerned, the star is Superman. And when he’s not smacking bad guys about, it’s all about Lois. Who cares about her boyfriend? I actually care about Lois and I couldn’t be happier she’s being called an “equal to Perry White” at the Daily Planet. But her boyfriend? He’s kinda interchangeable unless his name is Clark Kent. :)

@Christine — thank you for saying my thoughts in a far more articulate manner than I ever could!

I don’t mind Lois dating other men in this new reality; since she and Clark were never an item, it makes perfect sense for her to have a boyfriend. It also makes sense that Lois would date someone (or at least attempt to date someone) who was right for her: someone who was a decent man, didn’t force her into any kind of subservient role, someone who encouraged and even applauded her journalistic endeavors. So far, Jonathon actually seems pretty decent, even with the sneer.

But to try and make it a love triangle in the same way that Twilight calls for teams is… well, degrading, in my mind. It may speak the cultural vernacular to phrase it as “Team Jonathon” and “Team Clark,” but that doesn’t mean it does justice to the characters, particularly Lois. She shouldn’t be defined by her boyfriends; yes, they should compliment her personality, but not be defined as such!

Is it just me or does Jonathan look like James Marsters (Spike from Buffy The Vampire Slayer)??

@Christine: I didn’t mean to give the impression that Lois shouldn’t be in any sort of long-term relationship. I’m all for that. Just not with this guy. And not with Clark as long as he’s lying to her about who he is. I’m not opposed to her starting a relationship with Clark; I just don’t want to see them getting serious and she can’t figure out that he’s Superman and he’s still trying to fool her.

About Carroll’s being a douche: as others said above, it’s all in the art. If I just read the dialogue, there’s nothing wrong with him. “We were just…celebrating” could even be read as politeness; a euphemism to take the edge off an uncomfortable situation. But Carroll’s body language and the way he leers at Lois makes his pause a dramatic one. He’s bragging and that’s a jerk move.

Michael Sacal

July 28, 2011 at 8:02 am

Does this guy remind anyone else of Preus, at least in appearance?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preus

“He’s bragging and that’s a jerk move.”

Yeah, because nice guys never brag about sleeping with hot women. They just keep it to themselves.

Right.

Michael Sacal

July 28, 2011 at 9:27 am

Lois working on TV is so… 1970s! Have these people heard of the Internet?

Michael Sacal

July 28, 2011 at 9:27 am

The art looks gorgeous. It’s too bad that the story can’t be up to the same standard.

Christian Otholm

July 28, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Anyone who brags about getting laid to absolute strangers appear to be douchebags; hence, the common consensus of him being a douchebag. And it doesn’t help that he hasn’t buttoned the top button of his pants. He even looks like a stereotype of a bro. Also he’s obviously evil.

And actually, everyone in the whole world is my bro. You know, because everything is connected. Rocks, eagles, hats…

Honestly, this whole “starting Clark and Lois relationship from the start” thing just bores me. I know DC wants for this to be exciting for new readers and recapture a nostalgia feel for the old readers, but it really does neither. I mean, we’ve spent 60 some years reading comics and watching TV shows, cartoons and movies about how they’re destined for each other. These two are the most iconic couple in comic mythology and they’ll eventually get back together. I know it, you know, the DC staff knows it. No one else will ever be accepted as Superman’s wife. They’ll always be stand-ins and pale imitations. So honestly, this whole introduction of the “Generic Mc-Douche” boyfriend hardly seems like something that needs much attention. I mean his introduction shows him as a tool, who walks out wearing only his jeans and making comments about how he and Lois were about to have sex… this is all done to make us side with Clark over him. He’s designed to be unlikable. So he thus comes off as a plot point to be over-come than an actual character.

And I particularly dislike the comparison to Twilight. I mean, aside from that book just straight up being a terrible piece of literature, that story doesn’t have a main character. It has a golem for girls to put themselves into. Bella Swann has no real personality but is instead vaguely developed so girls can impose their own ideal traits onto her in their imagination.

Lois is (or at least was) a wonderfully developed and interesting character who has become far more than Superman’s Girlfriend. She was witty, adventurous with assorted flaws and quirks that made it easy for fans to understand why Clark would fall in love with her over someone else with super-powers.

I honestly kinda wish that since they’re not doing a “starting from square one” scenario, but instead doing it to where we are already 5 years into his career as Superman, they would have just kept the Lois and Clark marriage in tact. At least that way we get to avoid a rehash of the “will-they, won’t they” or the constant question of how Lois can never figure out Clark and Superman are the same guy.

Carroll clearly fancies himself a player, but that alone doesn’t automatically make him a douchebag. If anybody comes off like a creep in that scene it’s Clark. He shows up unannounced at the front door of a single women with whom he does not appear to have a very close personal relationship, carrying his sad little torch, then gets pissy because she’s in the middle of bedding her boyfriend. Hey, here’s an idea . . . next time call first.

If Lois marries the guy she will become… wait for it… Lois Carroll!

That must be intentional.

@kalorama: We do agree on that. Clark doesn’t come across as any sort of prize either.

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