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INVESTIGATING LOIS LANE by Tim Hanley (book review)

By Elizabeth Weitz

If you are a female comic reader there’s more than just a chance that you’ve been pissed off how the ladies tend to get written when helmed by a guy. But there has been no greater love/pisstivity relationship than with the great Lois Lane, a character who is both a feminist icon (for her no-holds-barred desire to be a tough, independent reporter) and the sadly all-to-common Damsel-in-Destress trope forced upon her so that she doesn’t come across as too domineering.

Don’t get me wrong, being the love interest of The Man of Steel is great, but there’s always room for a feisty woman who doesn’t always need to be rescued.

If you have always loved Lois Lane but have often found yourself screaming at what some authors have put her through, look no further than author Tim Hanley’s take on this luscious character in his book Investigating Lois Lane: The Turbulent History of the Daily Planet’s Ace Reporter which manages to perfectly capture Lane’s almost 80 years of evolution; from her inception in the Action Comics #1 (1938), to the performances seen through the lenses of movies, television and animations, via her own comic series (Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane 1958-1974) and today where she is relegated to the sidelines while Superman dates Wonder Woman (The New 52).

(Grrrrrr)

Unlike a lot of “History of Comics” books, Hanley has managed to present the character of Lois Lane in an objective way, showing the ups (featuring Dorothy Woolfolk’s legendary run as the first female editor at DC who helped Lane get involved in Women’s Lib during the 70s run of Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane) and the downs (so, so many) without giving into the temptation to proselytize a particular point of view (Lane herself would be proud of him).

Interestingly, this impartiality elicits more cheers and shouts from the reader than one would normally think possible but it’s true, the history of Lois Lane is one that encompasses a true dichotomy of character, a woman who is at times written to be strong-willed and self-possessed but also must be cut-down-to-size so as not to show up the superhero. And trust me when I say, that upon reading this book, you will be screaming out loud in frustration (while cheering just as loudly for her wins).

Yep, Investigating Lois Lane is truly a book worth reading and discussing and, well, throwing across a room, if you are passionate about the depiction of women in the comic medium.

Or, just want to read about an awesome chick who tends to get the shaft.

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