G&G History 101: Lois Lane was Black that one time.
I don't typically write Race Relation pieces on Gadgets & Geekery, because it doesn't usually fall into this niche category of comics and geekdom. Unless it's about Jo Scar playing a Asian/not Asian robot character or race and cosplay.
But today, I am not here to talk about either of those two things. What I wanted to enlighten my audience on is about the time that DC Comics went against the grain in 1970, and created an issue entitled: Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane Vol 1 106 - "I Am Curious (Black)!"
This particular edition follows Lois Lane's quest to get the biggest story of her career, that could possibly win her a Nobel Peace Prize. The Black Experience.
Now, I've read a couple of blogs about how racially ridiculous this comic is and how it should have never been printed in the first place. I don't share in those views. I don't concur with these ideas, because in America right now, the first time that we see anything that has to do with Race, we all put on our "Is-this-racist" glasses and can't see it any other way after that. But we have to keep in perspective, that we all have the right to conceptualize or bring to life any ideal we have about another gender, race or sex that we want to, and it doesn't have to be mean, negative, sexist or racist. It's just a thought.
Now what I got from this comic was that someone took the time to think about another people's journey in this life that may be different from their own. And was brave enough to put it out there to the world, and hope it was taken the right way.
To get a story about life in Little Africa, a black ghetto in Metropolis, Lois Lane has Superman use a transformation machine designed by Dahr-Nel to turn her into a black woman. During her stay there, she meets neighborhood activist Dave Stevens, and helps save his life with a transfusion of her own blood after he is shot by drug dealers. When he awakens, and sees she has become a white woman again, he accepts her sacrifice nonetheless with gratitude.
Now... Right off the bat, people are mad about the black community coined "Little Africa." Yes it could have been called something else, but what is so racist about calling it Africa? Is Africa shameful in some way? Do we not give names to great American Communities where the neighborhood greatly consist of a certain race of people? Like: Little Italy, China Town, Little Puerto Rico, Little Haiti and so on. We might not think that these communities should be called by these names either. But 9 times out of 10, these names gained popularity by the people who grew up in those communities.
I know that got a little to damn serious, but some of the reviews on this comic were just outlandish. So I had to bring it up. So, let's get back to the comic book.
I just like the fact that Robert Kanigher opened his mind as best he could in a 15 page comic book.
Basically, Lois first walks in the shoes of a white woman, which she does everyday, nothing special about that in her eyes because that is her life, and then as a black woman... And she notices the differences immediately! She couldn't get the inside story from black people as a white woman, because as we all know, the 70's were hard times, and black people weren't always that trusting of white people in those times. So, "hell no, we aren't talking, lady" was the response Lois got, whether it was verbal or physical. But once she switched her outward appearance, she got the response she was hoping for. And with that said, she also immediately notice how other white people treated her. Lois also had internal dialogue with herself about this treatment, because she was still herself at her core. And just because of who she was on the outside, white people that she interacted with on a daily basis couldn't get past the outer shell. And dismissed her.
Lois learns a lot about the black experience for her story. Much more than she would have just asking the hard questions, but living in the moment, in the skin of the individual, even if it was for only 24 hours. That is long enough, trust me.
And check out the gallery below of Lois Lane & Superman.