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Lois Lane 38
"The Girl Who Refused to Marry Superman!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND Script: ?, pencils & inks: Kurt Schaffenberger

It’s February 14 and Superman is visiting the Daily Planet offices. As Lois and Jimmy look on, Perry shows him a mound of thousands of St. Valentine’s Day cards that were sent to him in care of the Planet. “Gosh, Perry! This is embarrassing!” he objects, but Lois isn’t having it: “Tush! MY card is in there, and I’m sure Lana Lang didn’t forget you, either! So, suppose you start reading them! It’s the least you owe the people who sent them!” “Well…er…okay, Lois!” he stammers, his tail between his legs. Suddenly there’s someone else in the room, a guy with a receding hairline, horn-rimmed glasses and a bow tie, who looks a little like Bill Cullen or maybe Bennett Cerf, looking straight at the reader, pointing at Superman with his thumb, and exclaiming, “Holy cats! He’s reading 1,000 CARDS a second!” Bill/Bennett vanishes as quickly and mysteriously as he appeared, with seemingly no one else in the story having noticed him. “Here’s the card YOU sent, Lois! Also Lana Lang’s!” says Superman. “But I wonder if you both are any different from these female admirers who know me only as SUPERMAN, the great, glamorous hero!” “What do you mean, SUPERMAN?” frowns Lois. “Just this! These girls don’t know the real ‘me,’ the person I am when I’m not wearing my colorful costume! [And Lois and Lana do?] Would they be attracted to me if they knew me only as an ordinary American? I’ve often wondered whether you or Lana would care for me if I were not SUPERMAN…”

But SUPERMAN cuts himself off in mid-sentence, thinking, “Gasp! I-I feel a tingling sensation, which means the onset of a RED KRYPTONITE reaction! One of the RED HEARTS on these cards must contain some grains of RED KRYPTONITE which must have accidentally mixed with the red ink!” [Not again!] He quickly makes an excuse (“important matters to attend to”) and flies out the window. “Seriously, Lois, SUPERMAN raised a good question!” points out Perry. “You and Lana have been mad about SUPERMAN for years! But would either of you still love him if he weren’t the greatest super-hero of all time?” [What if he were, say, Aquaman?] “Of course I would, Perry!” objects Lois, while thinking, “But…honestly…WOULD I? I wonder…”

Superman, meanwhile, has decided that the red kryptonite tingling was only a false alarm. He spots two crooks fleeing a bank robbery, and one of them, who looks like he should be named “Rocky,” pulls a hand grenade out of his pocket and flings it at him. The other one, who looks like a “Muggsy” or maybe a “Lefty,” sneers, “You fool! What good is a grenade against SUPERMAN? His body is INDESTRUCTIBLE!” But, after a “KABOOOM!” and a “YEOOWWW!”, Superman falls to the sidewalk with an “OHHHHH!” and a “KRUMMPPP!”

Next we see Superman on a stretcher in Metropolis Hospital, with bandages on his head, face, chest and arm. “W-Wait! That hand-grenade…my face…I-I remember falling! Where am I?” “In a hospital, my good man, getting a blood transfusion!” answers the doctor. “What’s the big idea of masquerading as SUPERMAN?” “Masquerading? Are you mad? I AM SUPERMAN! I…groan…Ohh, my legs! My arms! They hurt so…” “Take it easy, mister, and lie still! You’ve got broken bones and we’ve taken a dozen grenade splinters out of your body…which proves you’re NOT SUPERMAN! If you were SUPERMAN, your skin would be penetrable [I think he means impenetrable…] and we couldn’t give you a blood transfusion! Now come clean! Who are you? Why were you wearing a SUPERMAN costume?” “Great Kryptonite!” Superman thinks as he lifts his broken arm to his bandaged temple in a typical “Great Kryptonite!” gesture. “I know what’s wrong! The RED KRYPTONITE reaction! It robbed me of my super-powers just as I was about to stop those crooks! I became instantly transformed into a normal human being…” Give the doctor credit for open-mindedness, though, because despite the obvious non-invulnerability of his patient, he sends for Perry White to come and question the man: “He’ll know whether he’s a faker or not!”

That evening, Perry arrives at the hospital room and promptly lights his cigar. Lois and Jimmy, of course, have come with him. “If you really are SUPERMAN, tell me what you gave me for my birthday last month!” he challenges. “That’s easy…I gave you that cigar lighter you’re using. It contains a fuel from another world, so that you don’t have to refill it for TEN YEARS!” [Since it’s from another world, it follows that you wouldn’t have to refill it for ten years.] “There’s no doubt of his being SUPERMAN! Only SUPERMAN and I know about this unique lighter!” Perry tells the doctor. “Then SUPERMAN has actually LOST his powers! What a blow!” observes the doctor, who actually looks pretty blasé about the whole thing. “Now the whole universe will be at the mercy of the menaces SUPERMAN alone used to handle.” Lois sits on the edge of the bed and tries to console him. “This is terrible! SUPERMAN is now an ordinary person!” she says, coming up a bit short in the good cheer department. “Here’s the signal-watch you gave me, SUPERMAN! I-I guess I won’t be needing it any more!” is Jimmy’s contribution, which seems like adding insult to injury. “No, Jimmy! It looks like I…uh…won’t be much use to you now!” responds Superman, who then muses on the fact that the others don’t realize that this can’t last more than 48 hours. “Two days from now all my wounds will automatically heal and I’ll be my old self again! But what an opportunity this situation gives me to learn something that’s puzzled me for years! Whether Lois and Lana are in love with my GLAMOR or ME!”

The next day Lois and Lana enter the hospital room simultaneously; Lois with candy, fruit and books, and Lana with a transistor radio, a phonograph and a stack of records. “Now what shall I read to you…Shakespeare or a mystery?” asks Lois. “And after I fluff up your pillows, I’ll play your favorite records!” counters Lana. “What’ll it be…Beethoven or bop?” Superman asks them not to make a fuss, and reminds them that he’s nobody special now, just an ordinary man, but they each kiss him and swear that it doesn’t make any difference.

The next scene occurs “days later,” according to the caption, but 48 hours after the injuries, according to Lois. The doctor removes Superman’s head bandages and asks him what he sees—even though the bandages were never over his eyes in the first place. It must not yet be 48 hours after the grenade explosion, as Superman finds that he can’t even tell the difference between Lois and Lana, standing right in front of him. “It’s shocking, Lana!” confides Lois. “He can’t see—but only 48 hours ago he had microscopic vision, telescopic, and x-ray vision!” “Shh, Lois…SUPERMAN may hear you!” “You forget SUPERMAN no longer has super-hearing! The glamorous super-hero we once knew is no more! Now he’s just an invalid!” Perry, also in the room [though Jimmy vanished from the story as soon as Lana appeared—coincidence?], gives Superman a tape recorder so that he can dictate his memoirs for the Planet and earn a living like everybody else. Perry plugs it in and suggests, “Why don’t you begin by relating how you always kept an eye on your best friends? Like the many times you rescued Jimmy Olsen, Lois, Lana, and me?” Superman starts by remembering saving Lana from a dinosaur when she got “trapped in the prehistoric past” and Lois from savage aliens when Luthor had abandoned her in outer space. Soon he tells Perry that he’s too weak to continue. “Isn’t it awful, Lana?” asks Lois. “SUPERMAN can never come to our rescue again!” “You’re right! Our whole lives will change now that SUPERMAN is no longer “super’!” [What an inconvenience for the two of them.]

The next day, Lois and Lana are pushing Superman in a wheelchair in what looks like a park. “The doctors said it may take a year before you’ll be all right, SUPERMAN!” says Lana. “But you can count on Lois or me to be around!” “You mean…both of you STILL care for an invalid like me?” he whines pathetically. “Invalid…bosh!” replies Lois as she and Lana exchange worried looks behind his back. “Nothing…uh…could change our feelings toward you!” Unbeknownst to them, Superman is smirking and thinking, “Hmm…it won’t be long now before the RED KRYPTONITE wears off! [This is getting to be a very long 48 hours!] So tonight won’t be too soon to learn how these girls really feel about me! But I must lay my plans carefully!”

That night, Lois and Lana, both in dripping wet raincoats from a thunderstorm, are talking in Superman’s room, as he seems to be asleep. “But I’ve been wondering something, Lana!” says Lois. “Mind if I speak frankly to you…about SUPERMAN?” But he’s not asleep, he’s thinking: “That’s it, girls! Start talking! I can’t make out your voices or see you clearly, but the tape recorder volume is turned up to catch your every word!” Unfortunately, the reader can’t see which is which, as the following exchange occurs:

LL#1: Well, as you know, SUPERMAN isn’t super any more! He’s just ordinary now! This changes everything for me…” LL#2: I can understand YOUR change of heart and why YOU’D never marry SUPERMAN now. But I’D marry him even if he were deaf, dumb and blind!” LL#1: Then I wish you luck, because I’M dropping out of the picture! I guess I was always in love with the super-hero, not the man beneath the costume!”

But when they leave and Superman plays back the tape, he hears: “SQUAAWW! I won’t marry SUPERMAN now that he isn’t super any more! SQUAAWW! KRAA!” He doesn’t conclude that they were being attacked by crows, but instead thinks, “Gasp! I can’t make out who’s talking! The storm must have affected the mechanism and ruined the sound! One says she’ll marry me! One says she WON ’T! But I can’t tell whether it’s Lois or Lana!”

Suddenly, Superman finds himself outside, in mid-air, grabbing Rocky and Muggsy by the collars. “See? Didn’t I tell you that grenade wouldn’t stop him? Now he’s got us!” nags Muggsy. “G-GOT them? But that grenade injured me! I-I lost my super-powers! I was hospitalized and I was testing Lois and Lana to see which one truly loved me!” thinks Superman. “GREAT KRYPTON! Now I know what happened! The RED KRYPTONITE didn’t affect my powers at all! But for one split second, it gave me a hallucination about Lois and Lana’s feelings about me! Between the time of the grenade burst and now I only experienced a SUPER-SPEED DREAM!”

The story ends with Superman still deep in thought, as now the press, the mobile TV camera unit, and Lois and Lana have arrived at the scene. “What’s the matter, SUPERMAN?” asks Lois. “You’re staring at me so strangely!” “And at me, too! What’s wrong?” asks Lana. “Why…er…nothing!” is all he can say, as he thinks, “Hmm…Even in a momentary hallucination I couldn’t learn which one would marry me for myself! I wonder…which of the two girls said ‘NO’…which one said ‘YES’??” And a final caption asks: “Readers—can you guess? Give us your reasons and we’ll print the best letters!”

The issue then ends with a 2/3 page Henry Boltinoff “Jerry the Jitterbug” gag—how out-of-date was that in 1963? Henry could at least have re-named him “Twistin’ Tim”…