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In every DC Comics alternate Earth I can think of, Superman and Lois Lane are together.

Why?

Other than "because the writers said so" or "because she occupies the requisite-female-love-interest slot," I mean.

I can see why she'd be attracted to him. He's an exotic alien who just happens to be shaped exactly like a tall, athletic, well-muscled, very handsome Caucasian male of her species who also happens to be blessed with godlike powers beyond mortal men. Add that he's a genuinely good man—kind, gentle, caring, courageous, merciful to his enemies, unshakably moral, the whole bit—and throw in his status as occasional planetary savior and most famous man alive...and it's all going to be a bit much for a girl to take in. On the makes-you-feel-dangerous-but-also-safe scale, he makes Edward Cullen look like a creepy geek in the bushes with a video camera, wifebeater, and lisp.

So why does this alien god love Lois Lane? Why her—why this one woman, especially when he could quite literally have his pick of the entire planet? What is so special about her? What does he love about her? What made him fall in love with her?

It seems like it's got to be more than just that his proximity to her in his life as Clark Kent distinguished her from the rest of the women he encounters/rescues day to day.

I have a couple ideas, but I'm no expert on the material. I've seen all the movies and read a few—but not a lot—of the comics. I'm not particularly bothered about which particular retcon or alternate Earth we're talking about, but I'm hoping for more concrete specifics and depth than the easily googled wiki entries on each character offer.

Extra credit: In the various continuities and incarnations, does she usually fall in love with Clark Kent or Superman first? Or, is it usually simultaneous but for different reasons, and then she's torn until she realizes they're two sides of the same man (isn't there a trope for that)?

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    Why does anyone love anyone? Love is weird. It does what it wants to do. No sense trying to figure it out.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 1, 2015 at 18:26
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    In The New 52 / DC You continuity, Clark & Lois aren't anything more than platonic. Clark has been seeing Wonder Woman for some time. Indeed, Clark is monumentally pissed at Lois at the moment.
    – Politank-Z
    Jul 1, 2015 at 18:36
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    She embodies all of the things he admires; she's brave, fearless, intelligent and physically attractive. What's not to like?
    – Valorum
    Jul 1, 2015 at 18:58
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    Are you saying Edward Cullen isn’t a creepy geek in the bushes with a video camera, wifebeater, and lisp? Jul 2, 2015 at 17:55
  • @WadCheber - eh, love is purely a biological and pretty explainable.
    – Davor
    Jul 15, 2015 at 17:07

4 Answers 4

22

Because she's tough.

In almost every incarnation of Lane's character (and every single incarnation of any real quality), Lois Lane is NOT a "damsel in distress," like many superhero girlfriends. Rather, she's a hard-bitten, tough-as-nails reporter whose attitude captures Clark's attention and fascinates him. Just Google "Lois Lane" and you'll get a parade of pictures of the character looking hard-to-please:

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She's also famously defiant, refusing to stay out of harm's way, and when she does get herself in trouble, she is cool and confident under pressure.

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Their relationship is riddled with scenes in which Kent's home-spun sweetness is contrasted with Lane's big-city cynicism. For example, in the Justice League cartoon, we get the following scene, in which Superman whisks Lois off to a picnic on top of a bridge tower overlooking Metropolis:

Lois: A picnic? I suppose your high school sweetheart loved this kind of cornball stuff.

Clark: (with a smile) As a matter of fact, she did.

As in so many real-world relationships, Clark and Lois are attracted to their opposites:

  • Clark sees an unusual force in the savvy reporter, a sophisticated woman so very different from the girls in the aw-shucks town he grew up in. He is attracted to her intelligence and spirit, and as someone who spends much of his time responding to calls of "Help me Superman!", he is fascinated by this woman who seems not to be bothered by danger, and (genuinely or playfully) isn't particularly impressed that he's Superman. (Plus, he gets to show off, and playfully show her up, when he DOES get to swoop in and save her.)

  • Lois, though she'd never admit it, is often shown to be charmed by Clark's innocence. In addition to the obvious physical attraction, Lois gets a glimpse at a more hopeful, trusting world through Clark, and (like Mary Jane toward Peter Parker) enjoys her relationship with the one man who can consistently break through her aloofness and prove her cynicism wrong.

Clark vs Superman

As for your extra credit question, the answer is "both."

In many (undoubtedly the majority, if you include the whole history of the characters), Lane has no idea that Superman is Clark Kent. In this telling, Clark often pretends to be so clumsy and so inept, that Lane never looks at him twice. She's WAY out of his league. She falls in love with Superman, and during some dramatic moment, he reveals himself to be Clark Kent. She usually has trouble believing it for a while.

However, there are plenty of stories in which she has flirtations or an attraction to the goofy Kent before she can really develop a rapport with Superman himself. And oftentimes they're simultaneous, either before she knows they're the same person (like the famous Spider-Man/MJ dynamic), or because she immediately learns they're one person (like she did in Man of Steel).

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    No Margot Kidder?
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 1, 2015 at 19:10
  • Most of the pics I could find of her as Lois are more like glamor shots. I literally just googled "Lois Lane" and all four of those pics were in the top row. Further demonstrating my point. :P
    – Nerrolken
    Jul 1, 2015 at 19:14
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    I liked how "Lois & Clark" did it. Lois was immediately infatuated with Superman, but slowly began to love Clark for who he was. The implication was that, given the choice, she would ultimately pick Clark.
    – Omegacron
    Jul 1, 2015 at 19:21
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    @Nerrolken - sorry, that kind of undermines your point. Teri H. is glam, but not quite "tough as nails" material type. And I'm a fan of that series in general. Jul 1, 2015 at 21:30
  • Like Hannibal Lecter said: "We covet what we see." Jul 2, 2015 at 14:42
16

Superman always had things with people by the initials of LL. Some were his lovers (Lana Lang), some his adversaries (Lex Luthor).

So Lois must have been a person of interest right from the start.

The Superman Fandom page for LL states

In The Adventures of Superman #646, Mr. Mxyztplk suggested that the initials had an important significance within the Kryptonian Language.

It's not entirely certain what the significance was though.

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    Am interesting theory. I was ready to downvote until I saw that you'd actually backed it up with an in-universe reference. Well done :-)
    – Valorum
    Jul 2, 2015 at 15:24
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    For the record. The significance was that the Kryptonian equivalent of the letter L looked slightly like a ring. And LL looked like an infinity sign. Apr 7 at 8:22
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There are many reason you could see Lois Lane as nothing less than outstanding. Whilst most other love interests, particularly in comics, are the damsel in distress, and you could classify Lois under that label earlier days, now she is seen more as independent and strong. But even in saying that, since the beginning of her appearances, she has always been fearless- looking for trouble.

One reason Clark has come to see Lois under such a fascinating light, is her fearless attitude. For example, in Superman Unbound she didn't hesitate to give Brainiac a piece of her mind. Not to mention how many times she's talked down to Lex Luthor.

Lois, especially in the recent years, isn't the typical comic book woman. The house wife, the cook, the stay-at-home mother. She's never displayed those qualities. Her biggest setback with any man is her refused to settle down. Of course, she has made the exception with Clark. He was the first man she could ever really commit to (except Bruce Wayne in Superman/ Batman: World's Finest before she found that he was Batman), even warning him that she was obviously wearing the pants in the relationship.

She likes to take charge, find trouble, make a difference. She believes that nothing less than the truth should be promoted, along with Justice and a non-corrupt society. One reason she fell in love with Superman was that he stood for truth just as she did - of course he fell in love with her for the same reason.

Lastly, her wit. Shown from the start, Lois has always been the one to lighten the mood in any situation, appropriate timing or not. Somehow, she always managed to find some one-liner or quip in every circumstance. Why wouldn't Clark fall for someone who would always be able to find humor everywhere? These qualities were shown most clearly in Lois and Clark: the Adventures of Superman, the Smallville series and Smallville Season 11 series. Also with the following comics from any series.

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Extra credit: In the various continuities and incarnations, does she usually fall in love with Clark Kent or Superman first? Or, is it usually simultaneous but for different reasons, and then she's torn until she realizes they're two sides of the same man (isn't there a trope for that)?

The more recent series "Superman and Lois" shows a version of Lois that is immediately attracted to Clark and not interested in Superman at all.

From Superman & Lois delivers a pitch-perfect origin story romance:

One detail I love is that Lois is the more flirtatious of the two when she’s hanging out with Clark, while Clark is the more flirtatious one when he’s in his Superman persona. It speaks to the way the tights and cape let Clark act with a swagger of anonymity that he doesn’t have in his human persona. And it’s absolutely adorable that Lois actually prefers Clark’s nerdiness to Superman’s confidence.

From Five Thoughts on Superman & Lois‘s “A Brief Reminiscence In-Between Cataclysmic Events”:

Here, though, the show goes to great lengths to show Lois as someone frankly uninterested in Superman because of course she wouldn’t care about the guy saving kittens from trees when she’s busy rooting out the source of neo-nazi attacks on minority neighbourhoods because this isn’t the 30s. Metropolis needs to have real problems for Superman’s presence to even matter in the first place and the way the show explores Clark’s naïvety in contrast to Lois’s keen eye was perfect. Putting Clark in Lois’s life before Superman creates that lasting bond between the two long before Superman even enters their life, making that revelation down the line matter all the more.

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  • Thanks for the edits Laurel.
    – Andrew
    Apr 6 at 22:29

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