I recently spent a few minutes over at the Grand Comics Database flipping through the database entries for the first hundred issues of Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane, looking for covers that might provide context for a comment regarding “the ‘unintentional’ surrealism of […] Silver Age Superman comics.” I rather hastily decided upon one cover from the Lois Lane series, and posted it along with two covers, which I had found by other means, from the run of Superman that began in 1939:
[CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE]
However, truth be told, the Lois Lane covers that really stood out for me in those first hundred issues were these three, with pencils by Curt Swan and inks by Stan Kaye (according to GCD):
They aren’t the most amusing or surreal or just plain odd Lois Lane covers, and they’re not the best drawn or the most flashy, but they have specific conceptual, emotional, and even aesthetic qualities — simplicity and restraint, for instance — that I appreciate. Thirteen casts Lois Lane as the woman in the lead mask — but unlike Dumas’ man in the iron mask, Lois’s imprisonment, which is both heartbreaking and ridiculously over the top, is not imposed on her but is her own self-punishment! I also find it amusing that, in the same way that she has already packed up her head in a grey box, Lois is packing a grey suitcase to leave Metropolis “for good” as she rebuffs Superman’s question, “What secret are you hiding from me?” Sixteen combines the notion that the beloved has a sort of hypnotic attraction for the one who loves him or her — “You’re just too good to be true/Can’t take my eyes off of you.” — with the old idea that “you always hurt the one you love.” And although Superman’s situation is desperate, I can’t help but laugh when he says, “Lois… take your eyes off me… go far away… you’ve become a menace to my life.” And finally, twenty eight, the most conventionally exciting of the three, nicely conveys the simultaneous feelings of horror, expectation, and even enchantment, that accompany any human journey into the unknown, and it does so through the contrast, intentional or not, between Lois’s frenzied exclamations — “Superman — Save me! I’m going too fast. I can’t stop! I’ll go to the end of space!” — and the frozen, wide-eyed intensity of the expression on her face! And again, Superman provides a bit of deadpan comic commentary: “Why did you follow me, when you didn’t know how to brake your super-speed?”
Even the “large” images at GCD are small — which is the main reason why the images posted above are not from GCD — but if you start here, you can easily flip through all 137 issues of Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane and choose your own favourites. For your browsing convenience, each page includes “Next Issue” and “Previous Issue” links, where applicable. Enjoy!