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Super Shady: Five Reasons the Man of Steel's a Really Bad Boyfriend

Super Shady: Five Reasons the Man of Steel's a Really...

By Joshua Lapin-Bertone Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020

Isn’t this a nice family picture? Don’t Lois and Clark look like the epitome of the wholesome American couple, complete with their spunky son Jon? 

While the super-couple may have the ideal marriage now (or as ideal as a marriage can be when DC Universe hijinks are involved), it took lots of work to get there. Clark Kent may have the hero thing down, but it took years of practice for him to become the loving husband and father we know today. In fact, if you look back at some of the mistakes Clark made early on in his history with Lois…well, let’s just say he’s lucky to have avoided a super breakup. It turns out even a Superman can have bad boyfriend moments, and Clark has had his share for sure. We’ve all forgotten anniversaries or left out dirty dishes, but when Superman makes a relationship mistake, he goes all out!

Superman once guilted Lois into quitting her job and leaving town.

Metropolis must have been peaceful back in the Silver Age, because Superman sure seemed to have plenty of free time to devote to destroying his girlfriend’s life. Case in point, one day in Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #16, Supes decided that Lois Lane needed to be taught a lesson about the dangers of curiosity, so he left her a case of alien materials telling her not to touch them. Lois, who certainly has her own impulse control issues, touched them anyway and soon found out that one of the items had given her glowing green laser eyes.

I’d say this one was on Lois if Superman hadn’t purposely set her up for failure. The green rays were perfectly harmless, but the Man of Steel decided to mess with her further and told her they were Kryptonite rays and pretended that Lois’s very sight could kill him. He called her a menace and guilted her until she quit her job and moved to Alaska. (Harsh much, Clark?) He’d later give her a cure, but never told her that he placed the alien items in her possession knowing she’d take the bait, or that it was never Kryptonite vision to begin with. Clark could’ve given her the cure before she sold her home, quit her job and moved across the country, but Superman was feeling a little petty that day, apparently. Worst of all, I’m not even convinced Lois learned his desired lesson about curiosity, or that Superman ever realized that curiosity might actually be a good trait for an investigative reporter.

Superman once tricked Lois into thinking he was Satan and she was damned for all time.

In Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #41, Clark overhears Lois joke that she would sell her soul to marry Superman and he proceeds to once again completely overreact. Deciding that Lois “needs to be taught a lesson about making such statements,” Superman dresses up as Satan and proceeds to terrorize Lois for a period of days. And keep in mind, anybody can cosplay as Satan, but when you have the powers of Superman, the act is a lot more convincing. After a few days of this, Lois is terrified beyond belief!

Superman as Satan leads Lois to believe that she actually had sold her soul and would be spending an eternity in Hell. However, thanks to Lois’s detective skills, she’s able to unmask Superman as Satan and tell him just what a jerk he is in front of all of their friends. The prank he pulled on Lois probably went a bit too far, though admittedly, I haven’t heard Lois making any Faust jokes since then. So, congrats, I guess. You sure showed her, big guy.

Superman disguised himself as Lois’s wicked stepmother to act out some bizarre Cinderella fantasy.

There’s no shame in couples doing a little bit of roleplaying. It helps keep the relationship alive! In Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #48, Kal-El and Lois try out their own twist on time-travel mystery roleplaying, which, I’ll admit, sounds WAY more exciting than the escape room my girlfriend and I went to last weekend. The game goes like this: Superman and Lois go back in time, with Lois being placed somewhere in the time period while Superman develops a new disguise. If Lois can figure out Superman’s disguise, then he’ll reveal the secret identity he keeps in the present day.

If reading all that prompts you to say, “Oh no, I’ll bet there’s going to be some sort of twist from Superman where he humiliates Lois for no reason!” then congratulations, you’ve been paying attention. Superman dirties Lois up, which is humiliating enough on its own, then disguises himself as her wicked stepmother for a recreation of the classic Cinderella story. This means that Lois is expected to wait on Superman in the most degrading fashion, all while he deprives her of food and basic comforts. Even worse, Lois never guesses that he was the evil stepmother in disguise, so she doesn’t even get the nice payoff of learning Superman’s secret identity. She also doesn’t get a fairy godmother, for that matter, who probably would have told her to dump Superman and find some handsome medieval prince. This is a fairy tale, after all.

Superman catfished Lois.

In Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #69, a handsome millionaire does everything he can to win Lois’s hand in marriage. He wines and dines her, all while flaunting around his large amounts of cash, but Lois remains firm and says that Superman is the only one for her. Well, it turns out that Superman had disguised himself as the millionaire to….um…test Lois…or something? The reasoning wasn’t all too clear, and usually you don’t catfish a girl you’re already dating so this entire incident remains a headscratcher. Can we blame it on some weird Kryptonite? Yeah, let’s blame it on some weird Kryptonite.

Otherwise, I don’t understand where Clark was coming from here. Was this some sort of ancient Kryptonian courtship ritual? What would he have done if Lois had accepted the guy’s marriage proposal? How does he have time to protect the world when he’s constantly conducting all of these elaborate schemes to gaslight his girlfriend?

Superman prosecuted Lois for murder.

If your girlfriend is ever on trial, the best thing you can do—as far as the relationship is concerned—is to be as supportive as possible. The worst thing you could do is become her prosecutor and attempt to get her the death penalty!

In Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #99, Lana Lang has been found dead and Lois is the main suspect. The District Attorney’s Office asks Superman to be their special prosecutor and he accepts, while Batman agrees to be Lois’s defense attorney. (Of course, no judge in their right mind would let Superman prosecute this case due to the insane conflicts of interest and, you know, the fact that he’s not a lawyer, but I think everyone involved wanted to see where this would go.) Fortunately, it turns out Lana is still alive, so the only thing Lois is guilty of is dating an idiot. However, the trial was real, so there’s no getting around the fact that Superman tried to convince everyone to execute his girlfriend. Apparently, though, that’s not the relationship killer I thought it was, as Lois ultimately forgives Clark for it. I wonder if they ever told Jon about this one?

So, what’s the lesson to be learned from all this? Dating is hard, and even Superman can make mistakes. Oh boy, can he make mistakes! But he and Lois were able to move beyond them and now they’re one of DC’s most iconic couples. So, the next time you forget to buy your girlfriend or boyfriend a birthday gift, or blurt out the name of your ex, just remember that if Superman can grow from his mistakes, so can you!

Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for and, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.