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  1. #1

    Default Did Jerry Siegel think Superman and Lois should Marry?

    This topic was brought up in another thread but began to take that discussion off-topic. So I thought I'd give it it's own thread.

    In November 1977, Jerry Siegel was asked if he thought Superman should marry Lois Lane. He stated that he was in favour of imaginary tales that explored this concept but said "No" as far as cannon was concerned. It was printed in DC Special Series #5 Superman Spectacular, and reads as follows ...



    Of course, everyone is free to draw their own conclusions from this. But IMO DC was wrong to marry the two characters (and even more wrong to bring the marriage back after they'd finally gotten rid of it). This is not a criticism of Lois Lane. It is a criticism of the marriage being made cannon. I think it has made both Superman and Lois Lane less interesting as characters. I think it has made the stories less interesting. And frankly, I think it was (and remains) disrespectful of DC to go against the creative vision of Superman's co-creator.

  2. #2
    Fantastic Member The_Lurk's Avatar
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    Interesting take. For me it makes it all more entertaining. It adds progress and growth to the character and made new storylines possible. I'm glad they did and reinstated it with rebirth.

  3. #3
    Fantastic Member Superbat's Avatar
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    He did not, but that doesn't mean Superman shouldn't be married because he didn't think it was the right decision.

    I am against the marriage, but I would never use Jerry Siegel words as proof that they shouldn't be married. Superman has been around for 80 years now, and has been written and molded by over a hundred people across media. Superman has grown beyond his creators, and that's ok.

    There has been some talk that Jerry Siegel did not think the marriage should happen because it meant Lois would have to quit her job. It has been said that he held the belief that once a woman married, she should quit her job and dedicate all her time to being a wife.

    I want to say, there is no proof of this to be found anywhere. In all my time reading about Superman, I have never come across him saying something like that. I don't know where this rumor originated from but unless proof is provided, it should be treated as a lie.

    Siegel was not a feminist and he didn't have a great view of women even by the standards of his time, but he wasn't so backwards thinking that in 1977 he thought a woman's rightful place was in the home.

    Siegel's reasons for being against the marriage have been proven to hold no weight however. Superman was married in canon for decades and I don't think the married Post-Crisis years were worse than the pre-married Post-Crisis years.
    Last edited by Superbat; 11-16-2019 at 11:24 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superbat View Post
    He did not, but that doesn't mean Superman shouldn't be married because he didn't think it was the right decision.

    I am against the marriage, but I would never use Jerry Siegel words as proof that they shouldn't be married. Superman has been around for 80 years now, and has been written and molded by over a hundred people across media. Superman has grown beyond his creators, and that's ok.
    Exactly.

    This statement is also something Siegal made nearly 40 years after creating Superman. His expressing his opinion about something doesn't mean it was necessarily baked into the characters' DNA right from Day 1.

    Also, comic-books and the superhero genre have evolved exponentially since the days of what Siegal calls the "original premise of Superman". You can't expect the character to be held back by what the genre was back then.

  5. #5
    Ultimate Member Sacred Knight's Avatar
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    Whether he should or shouldn't is pretty much a subjective preference by the individual at this point. I think he very much shouldn't after consuming many years of materials in which he is and don't think it works well anymore for either character. But others obviously feel differently. In this instance what Siegel might have intended one way or another isn't really that critical because basically we're talking about details of the dynamic. It exists both ways, and that's what's important. Its like altering the details of his powers. Either way he still has powers so the spirit is still there regardless how many you give him or their potency. Getting rid of Lois Lane entirely, getting rid of his powers entirely, (and I guess I'll get the little dig in here because I'm still mad) getting rid of his secret identity, those things are betrayals of what was created, because those examples are taking away key parts of the spirit of what was created. In the end in this particular instance what Siegel felt on this issue neither really enhances or diminishes one's preference one way or the other.
    Last edited by Sacred Knight; 11-16-2019 at 11:33 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Well, that is what he thought in 1977. He might have held other opinions earlier or later.

    Now if the "K-metal story" by Siegel & Shuster had been published in 1940 and Lois had been in on the secret for decades as Superman's (non costumed) side-kick, Jerry might have had a different view.

    And wasn't this around the time DC and the Superman creators were playing nice with each other after the movie deal. I'm thinking that maybe he was siding with DC's direction for an unmarried Superman here just to avoid rocking the boat. Sort of giving them a way to say "Even the creator of Superman thinks we are doing Superman right" in response to fans looking for the triangle-for-two to be retired.

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member manwhohaseverything's Avatar
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    I will copy paste what i said in that thread.
    Dude, superman started stagnating before the marriage. In fact, since the crisis on infinite earths. Death of superman had an impact on it.. Constant direction changes hasn't helped either. That isn't a no, no matter how you cut it.Jerry would be happy to marry off lois and clark in main universe if the longevity isn't affected because of the lack of their old (keyword) gags and troupes. Superman can go back to being single bachelor and he would still struggle regardless. Unless his old troupes are modernized in a way that attracts. Which they haven't been able to do. They have been trying. Why do yo think the origin story is retold again and again? Its the same reason.Now,they are trying the 5G thing. Bendis is now getting rid of stuff, now.
    Also, to add to this. Superman's origin was a done in mere panels not issues dedicated to it.that tells you, Superman was interesting without it. The overexplanation of orgin tells you their struggle to keep him interesting. The minute superman becomes interesting like the former again we hit the jackpot aka all star superman.

  8. #8
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    Well he's not saying he doesn't want to see them married in fact he states in that article he would very much like to see it happen. What he's saying is that his character would be overcome with pointless day to day fluff and minutiae of life that would come with it. He was of course completely right, I'm pretty sure in Siegel's darkest dreams he couldn't have imagine one day that Superman would have a mild panic attack while the Justice League brainwashed Batman because he was afraid of what might happen to Lois.

    Post-Crisis Superman has presided over a period of endless blood flow greater than anything either of the Pre-Crisis Supermen oversaw and one of them fought through WWII.
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  9. #9
    Mighty Member Yoda's Avatar
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    His reasoning within this very statement is wrong and kinda sexist. Marriage doesn't limit stories to babies and anniversaries. So honestly his thoughts here are based on a faulty premise and really don't hold any weight for me. And to hold up this one statement as some kind of publishing edict would be ridiculous. He evolved the character over the years as well, so continued evolution respects his creation. it's evolution that has actually kept Superman relevant, not rigid adherence to some original storytelling forumla.

    The idea that marriage or commitment limits storytelling is a falecy anyways. It's only limit is the talent of the writer. They made Lois his "best friend" stripping all the originally intent for a romantic triangle from their characters as well. That was pretty disrespectful. They stuck with that for five years and the stories weren't any better and the comics slid right back towards irrelevance faster than they did when they got married.

    Plus as much as some would like to pretend otherwise, Lois and Clark are cemented as a pop culture couple to an even greater extent than when he made that statement. Marriage is a natural evolution of that dynamic. It's not disrespectful to follow that evolution.

    And I'm sure he'd respect the forthcoming CW checks his family is going to get just fine. I doubt he'd be having his lawyers prepare a cease and desist letter because it disrespects an interview from 1977.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superbat View Post
    He did not, but that doesn't mean Superman shouldn't be married because he didn't think it was the right decision.

    I am against the marriage, but I would never use Jerry Siegel words as proof that they shouldn't be married. Superman has been around for 80 years now, and has been written and molded by over a hundred people across media. Superman has grown beyond his creators, and that's ok.

    There has been some talk that Jerry Siegel did not think the marriage should happen because it meant Lois would have to quit her job. It has been said that he held the belief that once a woman married, she should quit her job and dedicate all her time to being a wife.

    I want to say, there is no proof of this to be found anywhere. In all my time reading about Superman, I have never come across him saying something like that. I don't know where this rumor originated from but unless proof is provided, it should be treated as a lie.

    Siegel was not a feminist and he didn't have a great view of women even by the standards of his time, but he wasn't so backwards thinking that in 1977 he thought a woman's rightful place was in the home.

    Siegel's reasons for being against the marriage have been proven to hold no weight however. Superman was married in canon for decades and I don't think the married Post-Crisis years were worse than the pre-married Post-Crisis years.
    I was the one that said that Siegel once said that he felt Lois couldn’t work as a reporter if she got married. I distinctly remember reading it years ago in an interview with the Superman homepage. I have searched everywhere for the interview and I cannot find it but that does not make it a “lie” and I don’t appreciate being called a liar as that’s a personal accusation. As a woman, I distinctly remember reading this because it bothered me and stayed with me for a long time after I read it. If I misunderstood what I read that’s very possible but that does not make it a “lie” and that’s an extremely harsh accusation.

    It’s very possible that the interview I was thinking of where I got that impression was this exact interview and given the way Siegel talks here about marriage essentially only being about babies and boring daily life coupled with the content of a lot of the Silver Age stories wherein Lois was forced to focus solely on “domestic” pursuits as opposed to being able to both be married and have a career, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that there is a vein of that even in this interview.

    I have the deepest respect for Siegel and thank him for everything he gave us but he was, in this respect, acting as a man in the 1970’s and both the context of the interview and the general view on women at the time —which very much did place women in boxes of career gal or wife but, rarely, both (see Margot Kidder’s comments in the Being Lois Lane documentary where she talks about how the late 70’s felt like such an instantaneous turning point in so many respects) and that all very much impacts context here.

  11. #11
    Fantastic Member Superbat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nelliebly View Post
    It’s very possible that the interview I was thinking of where I got that impression was this exact interview and given the way Siegel talks here about marriage essentially only being about babies and boring daily life coupled with the content of a lot of the Silver Age stories wherein Lois was forced to focus solely on “domestic” pursuits as opposed to being able to both be married and have a career, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that there is a vein of that even in this interview.

    I have the deepest respect for Siegel and thank him for everything he gave us but he was, in this respect, acting as a man in the 1970’s and both the context of the interview and the general view on women at the time —which very much did place women in boxes of career gal or wife but, rarely, both (see Margot Kidder’s comments in the Being Lois Lane documentary where she talks about how the late 70’s felt like such an instantaneous turning point in so many respects) and that all very much impacts context here.
    It is a stretch.

    In the first of Superman/Lois marriage stories Siegel mentions writing, Lois Lane still worked at the Daily Planet while she and Superman were married. That was written in 1960, 17 years before the interview posted.

    In 1965, Sue Storm and Reed Richards got married. She did not retire, even though the way she was written was facepalm inducingly sexist even by the standards of the 1960s.

    In the 1960s, the Silver Age Hawkman and Hawgirl were a married couple, and Hawkgirl was still an active superhero.

    Hank and Janet were married in the early 1970s, and Janet did not retire as Wasp.

    Superhero comics have their share of misogyny and there were writers and editors that believed if a woman was married she should dedicate the rest of her life to that, but Siegel wasn't one of them and he wasn't alone.

    The comments he made are sexist and outdated, but he did not say anything about Lois having to quit her job if she were to marry. He did not say thing about her career.
    Last edited by Superbat; 11-17-2019 at 11:05 AM.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member Powerboy's Avatar
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    DC has frequently gone against Jerry Siegal's wishes. Early on, he wrote a canon story where Superman admits to Lois that he is Clark Kent. She is angry and feels he was playing her for a fool. She keeps his secret but resents him which was supposed to get quite a few good stories before moving on to the next level. But DC vetoed it.

    Probably the biggest factor that has changed since Siegal wrote that is who the vast majority of comic book readers are. If they were still children, I'd say he was correct. But, even by 1981, one of the things that lost my continued interest in the Superman movies was the Amnesia Kiss. It had problems in itself but a greater issue for me was that the story was not going to progress but fall back into the same old endless rehash.

    Then Marvel went ahead and had Spider-Man get married and I think DC saw that they could keep things in a holding pattern for decades but first, they needed to move the story ahead to something an adult could relate to and stay interested in (as in buying Superman comics every month) and so they moved it ahead to Superman and Lois getting married and then went into a long holding pattern.

    I love the Silver Age stories and I love the George Reeves show. But that's nostalgically reading and watching stuff from my childhood. While I have some issues with MoS, one thing I thought when I saw it was, "Thank goodness they didn't fall into this endless rehash of Lois can't figure out that Clark is Superman and despises Clark but loves Superman who is playing her for a fool". I know some people don't like it but I think having them get married in the comics was a good move.
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