It’s worrisome to think that several generations of girls and yes, even boys, grew up learning that male and female relationships and gender roles were even remotely like how they appeared in the comic books. The famous Lois Lane/Clark Kent/Superman dynamic were a poor enough example for any young person to emulate. But the average romance comic book typically portrayed women as overwrought, distraught, needy, obsessive, unhinged creatures who were only happy if they cooked dinner and became pregnant.
As for the men, well, perhaps they didn’t get it so bad. One could grow up with worse attitudes towards the opposite gender as believing one should protect and provide for the women. At best though, in most of these stories the men were portrayed as little more than incredibly condescending father-replacements complete with smoldering pipe.
A Promise Of Heartbreak! from Falling In Love #48 (February 1962) is as unsettling in the depiction of the nervous breakdown of a jilted woman as it is unintentionally hilarious. This tale has everything! Obsessiveness, feelings of worthlessness, panicked, manic behavior, stalking of the former boyfriend and even a panel of woman getting slapped around to knock her back to her senses after an hysterical episode. This is an even worse portrayal of a woman on the edge than the one from Young Love #80, and I didn’t think those panels would be beat.
So, here you go. Eight pages of early 1960s pre-feminist drama written by and edited by old men craziness guaranteed to make the gangs at Girl-Wonder and WFA grind their teeth! Enjoy!
Yikes! Dude, RUN!
From Honkytonk Sue #2 (February 1980).
I’ve been pretty pleased about the current team of Robinson, Guedes, Magalhaes and the others on the current Superman title. They are doing a bang-up job with the Atlas story line. It’s interesting and has me excited about seeing the following issue. In Superman #679 (Oct 2008) the creative team gave Superman a foe who could conceivably beat him to death without there being much of a stretch (though if it’s an iteration of a Doomsday clone I’ll be annoyed). They also did a good job of removing another, stronger player in the form of Supergirl from the immediate fight. Atlas would be no match for the cousins if they teamed up against him. Supergirl is still probably stronger than her cousin and should be able to take out Atlas, so removing her from the scene by having her fight on another front allows the drama required for Superman to rise to the occasion and defeat Atlas, the stronger and more vicious opponent.
One of the subplots that has me excited about the next issue is the involvement of Krypto. I love Krypto.
For those who were not paying attention, last month in Superman #678 (Sept 2008) Lois Lane and Clark (Superman) Kent are at home discussing among other domestic issues, the family pet. In what appears to be a simple flashback scene Lois is letting her feelings for the dog be known. She doesn’t care for the super-dog, considering him dangerous and uncontrollable. During their conversation Clark is fully aware that Krypto is keeping an eye and ear on the humans he considers part of his pack, the Kent family. This is where Robinson shows some cleverness without being expository and respects the reader enough to catch on.
What looks like an artistic device of a flashback is really a dog’s eye view of the Kent apartment from who knows how distant. Krypto is watching and is probably getting concerned about Lois’ attitude. Since the dog uses steel girders for chew toys it is probably not a good idea to appear to be a threat. Robinson shows the reader that by Clark’s emphasis on certain words he is not really speaking to Lois, but actually to the eavesdropping dog. Lois is obviously not catching on to her husband’s odd turns of phrases. By reinforcing that Krypto is a good dog and that the dog should also love Lois, Clark is making sure that his pet doesn’t do anything to harm his fragile, human wife while he is occupied elsewhere and is also ensuring that the dog would come to Lois’ aid if she required it by protecting a member of his pack. Clark knows Lois would freak out if he had to tell her this because Krypto is dangerous, so he doesn’t bother explaining it in depth to her or us, the readers.
This reinforcement of training for Krypto comes in handy later after Atlas knocks Superman out during a battle in the center of the city.
What it really heralds is the promise of a great next issue featuring KRYPTO! Yay! DC better not kill him.