I just finished reading It's Superman! by Tom DeHaven. It's a retelling of the origin of the world’s greatest super-hero. Over they years, Superman’s origin story has been written and rewritten over and over again. Different authors change certain scenarios: time frame, location, circumstances. But no matter who does the telling, there is always one constant: the undeniable love between Clark Kent and Lois Lane and Superman.
But isn’t Clark Kent really Superman? So shouldn’t it just be the undeniable love between Clark and Lois? Eventually, yeah. But when they’re starting out, the worldly investigative reporter just seems to be unable to connect the dots. It’s impossible to believe that a Superman would dumb himself down to become a slouching mild-mannered reporter who grew up on a farm in Smallville.
Here’s how it inevitably works: Clark meets Lois and is instantly smitten. Lois treats him like an uneducated hick, to whom she wouldn’t even give the time of day. Lois meets Superman and is instantly smitten. Superman treats her as he treats every other citizen of the world, with kindness and respect. Clark knows that if he shows up in the cape, he could easily be with the woman of his dreams. But he also knows that she’s not in love with the person he really is. She’s in love with the spectacle.
Clark goes through those early years of his career, both as a reporter and as a hero, struggling with his unrequited feelings toward the intrepid Ms. Lane. Time and again he shows her the way he feels about her. He saves her life from certain doom as Superman. He offers her a kind word and a shoulder to cry on as Clark Kent. But, time and again, he is forced to endure a broken heart as she constantly brushes Clark to the side in favor of her unattainable infatuation.
The It’s Superman! version of Lois saw the flaw in herself. She knew she only wanted Superman because she could never have him. She knew that she could have Clark any time she wanted him. But she was always reaching for what was beyond her grasp.
I wonder what it must be like for Clark Kent. He knows from the moment he lays eyes on Lois that she’s the one for him. And nothing, not Lex Luthor, not alien invasions, not giant rampaging gorillas, not even the Man of Steel will get in the way of his love for her. So he perseveres. And he deals with her continual cold shoulder.
In some ways I think it would be great to have a Lois Lane in my life. A woman that I was so confident would be the one I’d spend the rest of my life with that it verges on destiny. But I think about the patience it would take to see her day after day and not be able to express how I feel. ‘Cause no matter what is said or done, she’ll never be able to see past the glasses to see what may be hiding under the surface. Still, that certainty would be kinda nice.