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  1. #1
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    Default Which role plays Lana Lang in the modern Superman mythology?

    The thread "WILL WE EVER SEE LANA LANG AS SUPERWOMAN AGAIN?" made me think about which role plays Lana Lang in the modern Superman mythology. Or which she could play.

    Her last appearance was as weird Superwoman who resembled like the electrical female version of Superman red/Superman Blue event after gained powers from the death of the Lois Lane from the New52 era. Pretty much contrived. But that seems to will change after the Reborn retcon in the Superman books and her appearance as a reporter in the issue of 20 of Superman, so we can scratch all that Superwoman bussiness era as a retcon? It is not clear yet, but it is most probable than Bronze age Lana is back. WHich I don't think is the best move.

    Let's start with Lana. I think than the forum member The World says right when he explain it:

    Quote Originally Posted by The World View Post
    I doubt it. Post-Crisis has always never really been sure on what to do with the character and she just bounces around between concept to concept. Lana's a character I'd really say is more a pre-crisis character lost in a post-crisis world makes sense they don't really know what to do with here.
    And he is right. When we start looking at her origin Lana Lang is born to be the analog, the teenage version of Lois Lane for Superboy. We must thanks the creatives for the effort, I mean, a lazy writer would just retconned Lois Lane in to be also a resident of Smallville. But she is a character who only can exists in Smallville. She is the first love and the first romance before the coming of the real romance (Lois). It merits to mention than she was popular enough to be even a member of the Legion of Superheroes.

    And then it came the bronze age and changes were made, one of them made Lana a reporter, same as Clark. Naturally, if you take the old flame and put him again in the world, you have a romantic triangle to make your stories more interesting (it was a triangle? Or it was an square?). Anyway, you must admit than having her and Lois with the same motivations, working in the same place, with the same objetives, it made Lana nothing more than a cipher.

    Until then you had a Lana Lang than if still was a copy of Lois, she at least had a coherent development, even if it was only to make her a lot more like Lois. Post Crisis, with the vanishing of the old elements of the Silver Age, Lana was reinvented more close to the original, She was the representation of the old life left behind. Later developments make her wife of Pete Ross, divorced him, First Lady, CEO of LexCorp, mentor to Supergirl. Always searching a direction, but at least searching. And remembert than for those times already Superman was married to Lois, so her presence was uncomfortable. With Superman/Clark married, her redundance is even more annoying. I mean, which role she does have?

    And then they did the New52 retcon and Lana was retconed into that engineer or explorer. Her most relevant role was in the Superman New52 series with Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder There she was more like a female Indiana Jones almost. It was ok. It was a more assertive Lana, but she was using a role which we already were used to see Lois in. You could replace her with Lois in her role and the story would had not changed a lot. This story, I must add, was from the time when DC was trying to erase the married couple from the readers. Lois were the perfect fit of that story, but they put her perpetual replacement, with the other strategy being push the Superman/Wonder Woman romance.

    In Rebirth you have her again playing the role of replacement of Lois. Never more obvious. Not the first time than Lana had powers, but always for brief time. The many iterations of different powers, same as Jimmy Olsen, is kind of joke in the world of Superman. And eventually always she and jimmy will return to his human forms.

    And where is Lana now? Even if the identity of Superboy was erased from the past of Superman (right now I'm not so sure which is the status), Lana still was the old romance of Clark. And now, as I said, she is back to be a tv reporter, but with the twist of being a competition for Lois. How much of the old background is keep in continuity is unknown. Was she Superwoman? Is she an engineer or always was a reporter? Bendis seems to have a plan for her but it will stick? WHich role in that case should play Lana in the Superman myths?
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  2. #2
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    I think Lana's role depends on what you want her to be, of course, but also on what you want Clark to be. Everyone has their own tastes.

    Was she the nagging-secret-searcher of the silver age (analog to Lois in that regard, too) Clark/Superboy? Was she someone Clark was actually in love with/had deep romantic feelings for as a teen or the best friend or the annoyance he was kinda attracted to? Does she serve any purpose at all for those of us (like myself) who don't like Superboy ever being retconned into Clark's past or even those who only want Superboy in the Legion? She can still be the high school girlfriend or best friend (with or without Pete) in that case. Was she ever a secret-keeper - that has potential to make a big difference in how the relationship is perceived, IMO.

    For me, Lana does not belong in Metropolis. She doesn't have to stay in Smallville, but she shouldn't be in Metropolis and should not be a reporter. She should also have only one job at a time (not report, engineer, and farmer all at once). If he is married to Lois in the present tense (which I like), then IMO the idea of Lana as a love interest in the present (or angling to be one or a threat to the marriage or whatnot) needs to be very dead. Terrible storyline for her character.

    There we come to the Clark part. Do you like a Clark who has strong ties to Smallville (which might indicate parents alive) or do you like a Clark that has moved on and that's a place with good memories, but not his home anymore, and not a place he often has reason to visit? Right now Clark is, I think, old enough to be part of the "drift apart" generation, where people didn't keep in touch via Facebook, etc. when going off to college and the like.

    So, does she need to be part of Clark's past or his present? It depends on what you make the relationship. I generally lean towards "past" with Lois and Jimmy and so forth his people of the present, but I'm willing to see her in the present, popping up occasionally, but not part of Clark's daily life. And not with powers.
    Last edited by Tzigone; 04-11-2020 at 10:44 AM.

  3. #3
    Extraordinary Member Jackalope89's Avatar
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    I kind of see her like Zatanna and Bruce; there used to be something more than friendship at one point, but they still remain good friends regardless. May have babysat Jon when he was younger and Clark was busy with League stuff and Lois had to go for work (but both trust Lana to look after Jon).

    That's my headcanon, and you can't make me change it!

  4. #4
    Incredible Member Gaius's Avatar
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    I think she'd be a good confidant for Clark in his early years as Superman as the one of the few, or only, people he can talk to about it before he's in a relationship with Lois and if the Kents are dead.

  5. #5
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    I think DC should explore the Lana/Clark relationship again. Lois/Clark is old stale and boring.

  6. #6

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    I’d rank Kal-El’s best friends (Lois is the love of his life, and doesn’t count!), I’d go with:
    1. Bruce
    2. Lana
    3. Jimmy

    I love Jimmy but besides not traditionally knowing who Clark is, is kinda the goofy pal you don’t take seriously. Plus isn’t he usually quite a bit younger than everyone else at the DP? Lana, besides being his first love, works as first character besides his parents who learned who he is. I think she can still serve as a platonic friend for adult Superman, on top of being a love interest for young Clark.

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OpaqueGiraffe17 View Post
    I love Jimmy but besides not traditionally knowing who Clark is, is kinda the goofy pal you don’t take seriously. Plus isn’t he usually quite a bit younger than everyone else at the DP? Lana, besides being his first love, works as first character besides his parents who learned who he is. I think she can still serve as a platonic friend for adult Superman, on top of being a love interest for young Clark.
    I admit, it doesn't work for me. It makes Lana extremely important for his entire life when the others aren't. I might take it better if Pete was there, too (I like silver age Pete and am quite sad that he has always been diminished in character since then). But Lana, and only Lana, always there - nope, not for me.

    Mind you, I also like a less goofy Jimmy, so I know I'm in the minority there, too. I'd really love to see them develop as a friendship between equals (in civilian life, not that he has to know Superman's identity) once Jimmy is older than he is in the beginning (I mean, he should at least be late '20s by now and at that point age difference shouldn't matter). But I don't like buttmonkey Jimmy. I was fond of radio show Jimmy.
    Last edited by Tzigone; 04-11-2020 at 07:56 PM.

  8. #8
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    Lana Lang may have started out as a Lois Lane clone, so Superboy could have his own sneaky stalker, but she developed her own character traits distinct from Lois Lane. She seemed to be much less grounded than Lois Lane. She would go on archaeological digs with her father, she was an honourary member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. I think it's telling that while Lois was a print journalist, Lana was a TV personality. She seemed much more glamourous than Lois and perhaps had a bit more ego. She went to Europe and came back with a continental flamboyance. She was the paramour to Vartox of Valeron.

    I think what happened post-Crisis is that in the first place she was made to seem pathetic and not Superman's equal and in the second place Wonder Woman became the other woman to Lois Lane, so there was no place for Lana.

    The fact that Lana grew up with Clark gives her an edge over his other friends and love interests, because she knew him when. She has an understanding of Clark that Lois will never have. That doesn't make her his greatest love, but it does give her a unique perspective and she's someone that Clark can turn to, because they come from the same place.
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  9. #9
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    The problem with Lana is the same problem with Superman- she has become a composite character made up of several disparate takes. The Silver-age, Bronze-age, immediate Post-Crisis, Pre Flashpoint, New 52, and Smallville characters are different people united only by the name "Lana Lang" and having been a childhood friend of Clark Kent. Each has it's fanbase but there is no way to satisfy everyone.

    And worse yet she has no real history to build from.

    Pre-Crisis we saw her and Superboy/Clark develop over time both as youths and as adults. We weren't just told they had been friends, we were shown it. She was the daughter of an archeologist who had seen the world and shared superhuman adventures. After college she'd gone to Europe and come back more self-important and less sympathetic. It was a consistent trait from story to story in the Bronze Age.

    Post-Crisis Lana was introduced as almost a bizarro version of her Bronze Age self. This Lana was quieter and after overcoming some trauma content to live in Smallville. In this take she was in love with Clark, but he never saw her as more than a good friend. Her role in his past remained solid, but her role in the present seemed to shift from writer to writer. She was a farm-girl and happy with that for at least a decade, but then she inherited control of LexCorp (for reasons) and suddenly had business talent- enough to get a job covering business at the Planet after Lex reclaimed his company. Now Lana was Kara's legal guardian (as opposed to the Kents'). But none of that felt earned or even stable based on any prior stories. She was married to Pete Ross and raising a son, then Pete divorced her and neither he nor the kid appeared again.

    And just what Lana's history is now is anyone's guess. Did she and Clark seriously date or was it more like they were each other's fallback position when they needed a partner for a dance or other social event? Was she a farmgirl or engineer who fell into a reporting gig or was she someone attracted to reporting from early on? When did she learn Clark's secret ... and was she the only non-Kent to know it in Smallville? Is she dating Steel or was that part of some other timeline?

    I think we need to give Lana some stable consistent history before we even try to give her a defined role in Superman's mythology right now.

  10. #10
    Invincible Member Digifiend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    I think what happened post-Crisis is that... Wonder Woman became the other woman to Lois Lane, so there was no place for Lana.
    You mean post-Flashpoint, right? Neither Clark nor Diana were in the JLA immediately post-Crisis.
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  11. #11
    Savior of the Universe Flash Gordon's Avatar
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    His confidant, who at a time- was his lover.

  12. #12
    Extraordinary Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digifiend View Post
    You mean post-Flashpoint, right? Neither Clark nor Diana were in the JLA immediately post-Crisis.
    They were still infatuated with each other early on just after Diana debuted. Myndi Mayer set them up, and they went on a date in an Action Comics annual I believe.

  13. #13
    Traveler of omniverses Thor-Ul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Clark View Post
    The problem with Lana is the same problem with Superman- she has become a composite character made up of several disparate takes. The Silver-age, Bronze-age, immediate Post-Crisis, Pre Flashpoint, New 52, and Smallville characters are different people united only by the name "Lana Lang" and having been a childhood friend of Clark Kent. Each has it's fanbase but there is no way to satisfy everyone.

    And worse yet she has no real history to build from.
    You are right. Even with all those changes, Superman keeps a clear basic story: his planet explodes, he is send to earth, he is raised by farmers, he grows in an small community, he travels to Metropolis where he becomes Superman.
    The archetype of Lana is she is the girl from Superman childhood. That is her most consistent trait.

    Pre-Crisis we saw her and Superboy/Clark develop over time both as youths and as adults. We weren't just told they had been friends, we were shown it. She was the daughter of an archeologist who had seen the world and shared superhuman adventures. After college she'd gone to Europe and come back more self-important and less sympathetic. It was a consistent trait from story to story in the Bronze Age.
    And I think that was when the biggest damage to the character was done. She already was a teenage version of Lois Lane. Making her also a reporter, also interested in Superman, emphasized the simmilitudes.

    Post-Crisis Lana was introduced as almost a bizarro version of her Bronze Age self. This Lana was quieter and after overcoming some trauma content to live in Smallville. In this take she was in love with Clark, but he never saw her as more than a good friend. Her role in his past remained solid, but her role in the present seemed to shift from writer to writer. She was a farm-girl and happy with that for at least a decade, but then she inherited control of LexCorp (for reasons) and suddenly had business talent- enough to get a job covering business at the Planet after Lex reclaimed his company. Now Lana was Kara's legal guardian (as opposed to the Kents'). But none of that felt earned or even stable based on any prior stories. She was married to Pete Ross and raising a son, then Pete divorced her and neither he nor the kid appeared again.
    I would add than certains spot used by the pre-crisis Lana were used by other chracters post Crisis: Cat Grant replace her as the glamorous competitor journalist and Maxima replace as the superpowered stalker who wants to marry Superman. But these changes implied than Lana was a character more importan for Superboy7teenage Clark Kent than for Superman.

    And just what Lana's history is now is anyone's guess. Did she and Clark seriously date or was it more like they were each other's fallback position when they needed a partner for a dance or other social event? Was she a farmgirl or engineer who fell into a reporting gig or was she someone attracted to reporting from early on? When did she learn Clark's secret ... and was she the only non-Kent to know it in Smallville? Is she dating Steel or was that part of some other timeline?

    I think we need to give Lana some stable consistent history before we even try to give her a defined role in Superman's mythology right now.
    Well, at least we know she is returning to her bronze age version as a tv reporter. But I don't expect to Bendis to explain how she became one. She just is.
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  14. #14
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    You are right. Even with all those changes, Superman keeps a clear basic story: his planet explodes, he is send to earth, he is raised by farmers, he grows in an small community, he travels to Metropolis where he becomes Superman.
    For a while now, yes. Very briefly, as I recall, he didn't have parents at all. Then he was taken in by a farm couple but seem to be raised near or in Metropolis. Then (for the next 30+ years) the Superboy backstory (which was not in continuity with Superman for a lot of it) had him raised in a smallish (not by Kansas standards, but he wasn't in Kansas yet) town. Only went back to farmers for entire childhood in post-COIE. I don't really prefer it. I think it puts way too much emphasis on something that, when it was crafted, was simply an extremely common job of the time. It makes him all about small town values or farm mentality (at least when teased by big-city Lois, who actually had farming parents, too, at one time) when that was simply not at all the intent or message originally. Particularly frustrating when it's used to further the myth that small town people are more moral than big city people. But yeah over all in the broadstrokes it's absolutely the accepted, popular, and longlived narrative.

    And I think that was when the biggest damage to the character was done. She already was a teenage version of Lois Lane. Making her also a reporter, also interested in Superman, emphasized the simmilitudes.
    Teen Lana was, of course, an expy of Lois. I've heard bronze-age Lana described as still being so. I've read little of Lana in the bronze age. What was there that really distinguished Lana and Lois in the bronze age? I mean, having the same job at the same place, both as potential love interests (though he was dating Lana when I read). Was there much very different about their personalities? Certainly in the silver age stories I read they were very alike. Most of the time, Lana was there to have the same role for Superboy as Lois did for Superman. A role I hated (along with silver age Steve Trevor - earlier Lois and Steve were so much more awesome), so I have read limited stories from the era.

    Post-Crisis Lana was introduced as almost a bizarro version of her Bronze Age self. This Lana was quieter and after overcoming some trauma content to live in Smallville. In this take she was in love with Clark, but he never saw her as more than a good friend. Her role in his past remained solid, but her role in the present seemed to shift from writer to writer. She was a farm-girl and happy with that for at least a decade, but then she inherited control of LexCorp (for reasons) and suddenly had business talent- enough to get a job covering business at the Planet after Lex reclaimed his company. Now Lana was Kara's legal guardian (as opposed to the Kents'). But none of that felt earned or even stable based on any prior stories. She was married to Pete Ross and raising a son, then Pete divorced her and neither he nor the kid appeared again.
    Sounds so frustrating. Both Lana and Pete got put through some damage at times. The lack of consistency seems very frustrating. Like Lucy's kid seemingly disappearing. Though it seems like someone said "heh, maybe last crisis event did it even though they never mentioned it." Of course, sloppy writing or editorial seems more likely. When did Lana's son disappear, anyway?

    Well, at least we know she is returning to her bronze age version as a tv reporter. But I don't expect to Bendis to explain how she became one. She just is.
    I thought she already had become, at least to some degree. Was that just print - I don't really follow Lana.

    I'm rather fond of the idea of differentiating Lana from Lois more if she's going to be used in the present. But in a way that doesn't diminish or villain either. With Lana not trying to break up Clark's relationship with Lois and Lois not the harridan to Lana's understanding nature. At least different jobs. But I don't know what I'd do with Lana. I'm not keen on all old friends becoming rich/powerful/important. But then you don't want to make her a "loser" compared to Lois and Clark, either. Problem is, most of the world are compared to them in the sense that they are highly respected Pulitzer-prize winners at the most prestigious newspaper in the world - not easy to measure up to. And no matter what, I could not have her be the reporter Lois is. For me, Lois is the best and should remain so. But setting up Lana as the perennial loser to Lois Lane (particularly if she still harbors romantic feelings for an uninterested Clark) by keeping her second place to Lois professionally is no fun at all.

    And what direction to take? I mean, Lana's had different family structures (orphaned or not), but so has Lois (but I think she's cemented now and has been a while). Lana's had several careers, but the one we remember (the one that got used) is the Lois-career. Not that that applies to every female report in their orbit, but given Lana's history, I can't help but associate the two. Lana's role in Clark's past is easily enough solidified, no matter if romantic or platonic route taken. But what she should be in the present - particularly in regards to what she should be that isn't about her relationship to Clark - is more difficult.
    Last edited by Tzigone; 04-12-2020 at 12:14 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    I'm rather fond of the idea of differentiating Lana from Lois more if she's going to be used in the present. But in a way that doesn't diminish or villain either. With Lana not trying to break up Clark's relationship with Lois and Lois not the harridan to Lana's understanding nature. At least different jobs. But I don't know what I'd do with Lana. I'm not keen on all old friends becoming rich/powerful/important. But then you don't want to make her a "loser" compared to Lois and Clark, either. Problem is, most of the world are compared to them in the sense that they are highly respected Pulitzer-prize winners at the most prestigious newspaper in the world - not easy to measure up to. And no matter what, I could not have her be the reporter Lois is. For me, Lois is the best and should remain so. But setting up Lana as the perennial loser to Lois Lane (particularly if she still harbors romantic feelings for an uninterested Clark) by keeping her second place to Lois professionally is no fun at all.
    I can see her as a teen-aged Silver-Age Lois expy, if only to cement how Clark developed the skill to maintain a secret ID. She wouldn't be in Lois' class as an investigator but at that point Clark wouldn't be as expert at not having the occasional slip either. And she'd be separated from Lois further as the modern Lois isn't shown having those "must prove Superman is Clark" tendencies anymore. Lana would just be a close friend who prior to being let in on the secret kept noticing things about Clark that didn't add up. As an adult she might still have a one-sided attraction to Clark, but would have realized long ago that she was never going to escape the friend-zone and accepted it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    And what direction to take? I mean, Lana's had different family structures (orphaned or not), but so has Lois (but I think she's cemented now and has been a while). Lana's had several careers, but the one we remember (the one that got used) is the Lois-career. Not that that applies to every female report in their orbit, but given Lana's history, I can't help but associate the two. Lana's role in Clark's past is easily enough solidified, no matter if romantic or platonic route taken. But what she should be in the present - particularly in regards to what she should be that isn't about her relationship to Clark - is more difficult.
    The problem is that her role in pre-Metropolis life for Clark needs to inform her present. If they dated seriously then their interactions have a different dynamic then if they were platonic pals. If Clark going off to Metropolis (or to see the world) was just like Pete Ross doing the same then Lana has a different view than if she'd been thinking she was the future Mrs Clark Kent of Smallville prior to Clark's leaving.

    I agree she needs to have a profession other than reporter to separate her from Lois. And I'd say that if you still wanted any romantic rivalry (even if it was just on Lois/Lana's part) you need to make Lana appeal to Clark's non-Superman side. If Lois is action/adventure then Lana is more mundane/picket fence. Lana will always feel that Clark would have been happier without the powers living as a regular Joe, and Lois will always wonder in moments of weakness if that isn't true. Clark never wavers in choosing Lois, but neither woman is ever 100% sure that Clark might not harbor some regrets about "what might have been".

    The other approach would be to play up the Bronze Age Lana and her similarities to the more b*tchy versions of Car Grant. Lana left Smallville and did make a name for herself (just not as a reporter) and approaches Clark as someone who was hers to lose and is still hers to reclaim. Lois is no competition (in Lana's mind) and Clark will see that. Lana us more interested in being Mrs. Superman than Mrs. Kent. This wouldn't be my approach, but it does have some precedent (mostly the late 70's-early 80's).

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