Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!
Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane #106 – November, 1970
Cover Art by Curt Swan
With the release of the film “Lee Daniel’s The Butler” and the publication of “March (Book One),” by civil rights activist, Congressman John Lewis, race relations seem to be in the spotlight this week. Comic books have certainly played at least a small part in the civil rights struggles of the past seventy-five years or so, but not always in a positive way (just look at some of the comic covers from the World War II era.)
In the mid-forties, Superman became one of the first superheroes to address racism during the “Clan of the Fiery Cross” episodes of his serial radio show, The Adventures of Superman, where the Man of Steel took on the Ku Klux Klan and even broadcast the groups secret passwords over the radio so that people could enter and disrupt their meetings. (You can read more about Supes versus the KKK in this Mental Floss article.)
Superman may have been the first comic-book superhero to take a stand on civil rights, but almost twenty-five years later, in Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane #106, the Man of Steel’s trouble-prone girlfriend, Lois Lane, actually became a black woman for a short time, going undercover in order to write a story about the troubled “Little Africa” neighborhood in Metropolis.
Taking a page from the book “Black Like Me,” Lois has Supes fly her to the Fortress of Solitude where he uses his handy “Transformoflux” machine to change Lois’ skin pigmentation to black, so she can more easily blend-in with “Little Africa’s” residents, who are not keen on talking to a white woman reporter.
Lois’ unorthodox method in the Robert Kanigher story titled “I Am Curious (Black)!” may not be very politically correct, but at least her (and Kanigher’s) intentions were good – and at least we got to learn about the awesome “Transformoflux” gizmo.
NERDVANA – CLASSIC COMIC COVER CORNER BONUS:
If you would like to read the historical civil rights comic book, “Martin Luther King and The Montgomery Story,” which helped inspire many civil rights activists of the fifties and sixties (including Congressman John Lewis – as seen on The Colbert Report), you can find it right HERE, courtesy of Mr. Ethan Persoff’s website. There is also a Spanish version available.