How Dumb Is Lois Lane?

Posted: February 12, 2012 in DC Comics, Superman

The perfect disguise! Even a mother can be fooled!

How dumb is Lois Lane?  That’s the question so many have asked themselves when it comes Superman’s disguise.  How was she able to work with Clark Kent for so long and not recognize the obvious?  Do glasses truly make someone look different enough that they become unrecognizable?  A man from the future by the name of Tempus demonstrated to Lois how truly obvious this should have been to her…

This has been a jolting question for people all throughout the country.  Who IS stupid enough to fall for such a terrible disguise.  I wear glasses and people still recognize me with or without them.  I will admit, people who wear glasses do have a different look when they take off their specs, but you can still tell who they are right?  Especially if you spend everyday WORKING with that person.

In issue #330 of Superman in 1978, DC attempted to address this question to help the whole concept make sense and keep fans from constantly complaining about it.  This issue addressed Superman’s inability to comprehend how he’s fooled so many people for so long…

How is it that Lana can't even accept Superman is Clark Kent, even after he admits to that fact?

Here Superman thinks about how ridiculous he's disguise really is

Supes even admits to the fact this idea for a disguise should never have worked.

Later, however, in the very same issue, we are given a logical reasoning for the mild mannered reporter disguise and how it actually does work.  Apparently the simple task of changing one’s hair, slouching a bit, and wearing a pair of glasses, in contrast with Superman’s demeanor is enough to change people’s perception of you.  The PERFECT disguise!  The simpler the disguise, the greater the anonymity…

See? It all makes sense now doesn't it?

So, how does DC explain it all?  Well, for those of you who may not have known, Superman has gone through MANY changes in his 70 + year existence. When the infamous graphic novel, Crisis on Infinite Earths was being published in single magazine form, Superman had been drastically altered.  Writers were finding it extremely difficult to write stories for a superhero who could basically do anything he wanted and beat anyone to crossed him.  After Crisis on Infinite Earths, Superman was significantly DEPOWERED to help him become much more relatable for readers, and easier to write for.

Before the depowering, Superman had one significant ability… hypnotism.  And just like with Batman, where every aspect of his costume serves a purpose, Superman’s glasses were also given a purpose, allowing his hypnotic abilities (as well as the other powers that come from his eyeballs) and specs to work simultaneously…

His ship was apart of his costume design.

And there you have it, the justification for Superman’s seemingly terrible disguise.  It truly is the best way of making sense of it all.  If you had to keep the disguise, how else would you explain it?  DC, under the circumstances, did a good job.

Do you buy it?  I certainly don’t!  As much as I love Superman, it will never make sense to me.  But it’s really not something I worry about.  It’s comics, the suspension of disbelief is needed in order to enjoy the mystical world of any superhero comic.

  1. Martin Gray says:

    When that issue appeared I found the idea, submitted by regular letterhack Al Schroeder III, brilliant. OK, so it didn’t explain how come photographs didn’t show Clark’s true features, or how the ‘spell’ worked when people were seeing him from behind, but still … of course, the conceit was never referred to again.

    As for Lois being stupid, if she was, she was still a lot brighter than the rest of Metropolis, who didn’t even conceive that Suoerman had a secret ID, never mind work out who it was.

    • Heretic says:

      I agree, the Smallville episode focuses on one person when there were MANY people spending daily work hours with Clark, professionally and socially. If Lois is dumb, so is everyone else.

      The explanation does make more sense than…well…anything else DC could have come up with.

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