They Say Lois Lane is a Bad Mutha

Bloggified by Jake on Sunday, May 20, 2007

Indulge me if you will and let's turn the clock back a week. I've been sitting on my copy of Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #110" for almost five months waiting to post a recap of this story about racism, compassion, environmentalism, terrorism, single motherhood, foster parents, Viet Nam, and the fact that no matter how independent a woman tries to be, she'll never feel complete without a baby.

Ha ha, in your face, When Fangirls Attack!

Ryno bought me this comic as a Christmas present and as soon as I read it, I earmarked it as a perfect Mothers' Day post. Unfortunately, I completely forgot about it until I was shuffling some comics on my desk and said, "Oh, I have to remember to do this one on Mothers' Day... which was last... aw, crap..." So, let's pretend you read this seven days ago, okay?

On the cover, an angry mob is hurling rocks at Lois Lane, who appears to be on her way to play the mascot at a Florida State football game. But these angry folks aren't just drunken Gators fans. Instead, they're... um... well, I'm not really sure which of the many angry groups from this story the mob is supposed to represent, but I'm guessing it's white people who don't think a Native American baby should be allowed to live in a two-bedroom walk-up brownstone in Metropolis because there's too great a risk of it growing up to kill General Custer and thus should have its head crushed by a flying brick.

Lois's path to motherhood is a bit different than the one you learned about it biology class. It begins when she is assigned the story of finding Metropolis's Mother of the Year. Of course, we all know a career woman, who has put her job ahead of gestation, can't possibly know what qualities to look for in a good mother and is unqualified for the task.

The words of the PMS-ing mom hit Lois right in the uterus, but nine months is too long to wait to change poopy diapers and be thrown up on and never sleep in past 7:45 again, so she stops by an adoption agency to see if she can get a baby. Unfortunately--or rather, quite sensibly--they won't give her one, so Robert Kanigher decides to shift gears entirely and talk about racism and the treatment of Native Americans in a manner so sensitive, I'm shocked the terms "Injun," "firewater," and "How!" are never used.

Lois goes to cover a Pueblo Indian rain dance outside Santa Fe. The Indians, however, aren't dancing, and the people who paid to see the event are getting unhappy.
Seriously? Is anyone really still upset about Custer? Based on this story, we're led to believe Custer's defeat at Little Big Horn resonated with the people of 1971 about as strongly as the World Trade Center collapse did on September 14th.

Anyway, the Indians won't dance because it's a religious ritual, not a show. The people get angry and call them ripoff artists, but since a tour bus company sold them the tickets, and the Indians told the tour bus company they wouldn't dance, it's suggested the tour bus company might be the ripoff artists.

The angry patrons insist that's all beside the point and decide to kick the Indians' asses to honor the memory of General Custer and the 50 cents they'll never get back from the tour bus company. Then Superman shows up and stops the fight by blowing everyone's hats off.
As calmer heads prevail, Lois Lane learns the Indians are planning to all become suicide bombers and destroy a dam the construction workers are building. The Indians then explain the reasoning behind their plan by pretty much paraphrasing all the political points made in Little Big Man with Dustin Hoffman. The white man killed all the buffalo, put them on reservations, and so on.

So, a dam is being built on a sacred river that will flood a Pueblo village, killing all the Indians. The government has apparently done nothing to help relocate the Indians. The construction workers and the Indians hate each other... yet the construction workers will take a break in the middle of the day and pay good money to go watch an Indian rain dance.

Superman comes along again and solves the conflict by picking up the dam, flying it up river twenty miles, and completing construction in a matter of minutes. One might think the conflict resolved, but tragedy strikes in a most unexpected way when a mother who was going to strap her baby to a bomb to destroy the dam slips on some loose gravel.
"Would you like me to take you to a hospital?"
"No, I'll just lay here an die. No big."
"Well, can I at least pick your face up out of the dirt?"
"Aw, why bother? I'll have six feet of it over my corpse in a matter of hours."

What is this? Al Jaffe's Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions?

Friggin' help her. Don't let the clinically depressed woman whose husband was just declared dead after being MIA in Viet Nam and who was just about to explode her baby decide whether you should let her live or die.

Hour later, much longer than it would have taken to get to a hospital, bandaged her head, and prescribed some anti-depressants, she finally dies, but not before doing something else Kanigher-ianly stupid.
First off, what kind of shitty brother do you have to be for your sister to--with you sitting right there next to her--give custody of her child to a stranger she'd met just a day earlier? Second, why is everyone giving this obviously insane woman's decisions so much gravitas? Because it was her dying wish that Lois have her baby, the brother declares he cannot do anything to oppose it.

Too bad her dying wish wasn't that you produce a Broadway rock opera about HIV-infected New York artisans based on La Boheme because then you would be a millionaire, dude. On the bright side, she also could have used her dying breath to whisper, "And eat bagel as big as a house," and croaked before you could appeal that even if you built an oven large enough to bake such a monstrosity, a bagel of that size would never bake evenly and the inside would still be raw dough on the inside while the exterior would be burned. You'd have to find a way to do it though or you'd dishonor her dying wish.
I love the look on Superman's face when Lois returns to Metropolis. It's as though he saw her getting of the plane and thought, "What the... no, it can't be... shit, it is! All right, all right, gotta give her the benefit of the doubt here. Just give her a chance to explain. I'm sure there's a perfectly logical reason my superbrain just hasn't considered." Unfortunately, Lois's answer does nothing to allay those fears.

Lois takes a leave of absence from work to care for Little Moon, but her decision to care for the baby stirs up all kinds of controversy, pitting Native Americans against their natural enemy (other than construction workers), feminists.
Native American protesters face a frustrating catch-22. Most of the time, the topic of protest is something along the lines of "treat us with respect, we're not all caricatures with big feather headdresses," yet to be recognized, they have to wear their headdresses and full outfits to the protest. I'm sure there is some obvious distinction between the authentic garb they wear and the Lil' Indian costume in the dress-up section of Toys 'R Us, but the average tailgater going to a Kansas City Chiefs game has no idea what it is nor does he care.

Lois decides to get Little Feather away from the city and the negative vibes, but when an army truck loses control, tragedy strikes again.
Poor Little Feather, he's already had one mom die this week. This has to be some kind of parental mortality record.
Make sure you get to the surface, Little Moon. That is Lois's dying wish and failing to survive would dishonor her memory which is apparently the greatest tragedy your people can imagine. Or at least the greatest tragedy Robert Kanigher can imagine your people can imagine. Fortunately, Lois and Little Moon are both saved by that soldier diving into the water in the above panel, and we learn why the truck lost control.

It was overloaded and the rear axle broke because it was carrying the biggest deus ex machina in the world.

The soldier in the truck just happened to be Little Moon's dad, fresh from his escape from a Vietcong POW camp and on his way to an army discharge office. Lois returns the baby to his rightful father (completely dishonoring the dying wish of Singing Rain) and fails to mention that she let his wife slowly bleed out and die of a head wound last week rather than take her to a hospital.

With almost all of the loose ends tied up, the last question is finally answered. Who is Metropolis's mother of the year?
Has there ever been a worse indictment of a city's foster care system? A woman who babysat a kid for a week and a half was just elected foster mother of the year! Who were the other nominees she beat? I'm guessing if you can stay in a room with a kid for six hours without eating it, you're a finalist. The skin of the foster children of Metropolis must be 68% cigarette burns.

But for all of you who didn't get your kids by watching a tragically depressed Native American woman will herself dead and then pawn said kids off on a magically resurrected father a week later, yet have never been honored with a rally in the park to recognize you as mother of the year, Happy Mothers' Day.

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