OBX 2015

The first week of this month, we enjoyed a relaxing week in the Outer Banks with Grandma and Grandpa.  We managed to get the same house we had 3 years ago (even though I was convinced for some reason it had been razed by a hurricane in the interim).  The chief appeal here is the direct access to the beach, and the ability to watch the sun rise and set from the comfort of the deck.

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As an avid sky-watcher, I found plenty to look at all week, though the highlight was probably the electrical storm we got to watch one night as it lit up the skies a few miles away.  Living in the tree-filled suburbs, you don’t often get a feel for the true size of a storm, or the play of lightning from cloud to cloud, but with a miles-long unobstructed view of the storm out over the coast, it’s like the world’s biggest fireworks display.  Sorry I couldn’t manage any photos for here.

The kids enjoyed the water all week, even though for the most part they couldn’t wade in too far due to treacherous rip tides.  After Labor Day, the lifeguards packed up and left for the year.

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Collecting shells was a popular passtime. This week I was trying to organize the garage and found a collection of shopping bags filled with shells the kids (and I) had picked up over the course of the week.  It probably weighs about ten pounds.  I’m pretty sure we left a few on the beach, though you wouldn’t know it from that pile.

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Grace was easily the biggest beach bum, angling for walks with Grandma every chance she got.  Somehow every “walk” ended up getting her wet.  Meanwhile the boys were just as content hanging out inside, playing video games and watching untold hours of “American Ninja Warrior” repeats.  But when we did get Jason out on the sand, he seemed to have a good time.

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For the grown-ups, the trip was largely about food.  Laura and I made sure to get out to our favorite spot, Kill Devil Grill, as often as we could, and over the course of the week we ate way too many Duck Donuts (and yet, somehow, not enough of them).  I even broke down and tried fish tacos at one eatery, and found they’re surprisingly a lot better than they sound.

I went in with vague plans for seeing the Wright Memorial again, or climbing Jockey’s Ridge early one morning, or maybe even a horse sightseeing tour for Grace.  But by silent consensus we all seemed to agree to just relax and recharge, instead.  It helped that most kids had to return to school that week, so after the holiday Monday the crowds diminished considerably, and things were comparatively quiet. We even fit in a little birthday party for Grace, who turned 7 (gulp!) that Wednesday.

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Thanks for the fun, OBX.  See you next time.

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Hitting 50: Help!

Help!, the Beatles’ second motion picture, arrived in American theaters fifty years ago this month.  Like its predecessor A Hard Day’s Night, it was directed by Richard Lester and featured a number of new songs, a frantic pace and screwball humor, with the Fab Four playing a fictionalized version of themselves.  But where the first film was filmed in black and white, lending an almost documentary feel to the proceedings, Help! made the transition to living color and full-blown fantasy.

In fact color very much defines the look of the film, as the previous film’s city-bound and overcast “all England” locations give way to the blue skies and wide open locations in the Austrian Alps and the sunny Bahamas, and interior shots feature sets with brightly painted walls and lit with color gels.   Under cinematographer David Watkins, color practically becomes another character in the film.

 
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The plot, such as it is, centers on a ring that’s being sought both by members of an Indian cult and a pair of British mad scientists, but which is currently stuck on the finger of our favorite drummer, Ringo.  Beyond that basic notion, it’s mostly just an hour and a half of musical performances, slapstick comedy and pretty locations, strung together in just-short-of-random fashion.

The lads continue to demonstrate a flair for comedy, even if their accents and rapid-fire delivery can sometimes make the dialog a challenge for these American ears to follow.  Ringo probably fares best, especially in a scene where he explains to an incredulous police inspector that the cultists want to paint him red so he be sacrificed to their god.  “It’s a different religion from ours,” he says.  “I think.”

Just in case anyone’s still taking things seriously, at one point Paul is accidentally shrunk down to do doll size and has an “adventure on the floor.”  And hang on, girls: when he shrinks, his clothes are left behind!

 

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Cannily, the gag-a-minute approach only requires the stars to remember a few lines at a time, with the lion’s share of the work falling to the editors and post-production wizards to make it all somehow gel as a film.  And that’s a good thing, as all four of the Beatles later admitted they were usually too stoned to focus on much of anything during production, and even the shortest scene could take all day to capture between giggle fits.  Anyway, the genius of making the whole thing a madcap lark is that it almost renders criticism impossible.  “But it’s all so illogical!”  Yes, that’s what we were going for.  “Nothing makes any sense!”  Yep, that’s the idea.  And admittedly, it does kind of work. Films built around pop stars always involve ridiculous detours into the fantastic as characters suddenly break into song with mysterious instrumental accompaniment wafting in magically from somewhere off-camera (Heaven?) .  But whereas in the Elvis movies that just felt like a bizarre, almost supernatural interlude in an otherwise conventional romance or adventure, here launching into a spontaneous performance on electric instruments in the middle of a pasture, on a ski slope or on a beach is no more or less insane than anything else that happens.

 

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In about a year’s time, the Monkees would borrow this approach of stitching together short, comedic scenes shot in multiple locations with “concept” musical performances and build a TV show around it, becoming something of a popular sensation and earning more fan mail than any performers on the tube (though Mr Spock and Ilya Kuryakin gave them a run for their money).  Also in its no-holds barred use of garish color, Help!‘s inspiration is seen in shows like Batman, also a year away at this point.

There are three sequences that always stick out for me. One is our first look at the Beatles’ London flat(s).  In this fictionalized version of their lives, they all live happily together in a giant space that’s part swingin’ bachelor pad and part carnival funhouse (and which they’re able to casually enter and exit without being mobbed by throngs of screaming girls).

In a neat touch, the music stand on the electric organ is filled not with sheet music but with vintage issues of Action, Jimmy Olsen and Superman comics (I look at exactly which ones here).

The next wild scene comes when the lads try to travel incognito to the Bahamas, arriving at the airport in disguises designed to look ridiculously over-the-top but which, amazingly, end up closely mirroring the looks the Beatles will grow into in just a few years time.  Well, at least in the case of John, George and Ringo, anyway.    Paul just looks like he’s impersonating Eric Idle.

 

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The other amazing scene comes in the Bahamas, when George rides on the back of the villains’ car in what strikes me as a fairly dangerous stunt.  In the Beatles Anthology book, George notes in surprised hindsight that the Fab Four were plopped onto skiis for the Austrian scenes and simply told to perform, despite having no experience whatever on skiis.  His point was that no one seemed overly concerned at the prospect of one or more of the films’ stars ending up seriously injured.  If anything, the car stunt is even more outrageous; from what I can tell that’s really George on the trunk as the car careens down a mountain road at a not inconsiderable rate of speed.

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George doesn’t mention this stunt in Anthology, but he does note that the film provided his first introduction to Indian culture, a development that would have a huge influence in his life and music, and eventually, if briefly, lead all four Beatles to explore transcendental meditation under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Also interesting for me as a 007 fan is the influence of the Bond films, starting with composer Ken Thorne’s homage to the famous Bond theme (tacked on to the start of the title song, at least on the “Red Album”).  Goldfinger had exploded onto pop culture just a year earlier and was likely still in release as Help! was being filmed.  In one scene where the femme fatale tries to remove the ring from the finger of a slumbering Ringo, the accompanying music is clearly inspired by John Barry’s Goldfinger score, specifically the scene where Bond finds the late Jill Masterson covered in gold paint.   And in a “blink and you’ll miss it” gag, one of the villains doffs his headgear and throws it at someone, adding his own “swisshhh!” sound effect to mimic Oddjob’s deadly bowler.  However, as the “headgear” in this case is a turban, it merely unravels en route and falls to the floor.

As a film, I have to agree with the consensus that Help! is inferior to A Hard Day’s Night, and the first time I saw it, it didn’t really hold my attention to the end.  But as time goes on and 1965 slips further into antiquity, I think it takes on a greater value as a sort of filmic time capsule.  It’s got a lot of great footage of the young Beatles near the end of their “moptop” phase, the groovy fashions, interior designs and vehicles of the mid-60s, a few really clever gags and, of course, plenty of awesome music.  Also, taken in the context of the times, it takes a fairly ingenious approach to the old problem of how to make a movie starring non-actors.  Probably its greatest charm is that it presents the Beatles not quite as they were, but as we liked to imagine them; witty and carefree, shuttling around the world from one romp to the next, all living happily together in one groovy flat and prone to breaking spontaneously into song.

Verdict: Still looking Fab at 50

 

Jason Goes To Camp

From July 11 to 18, Jason experienced his first Boy Scout summer camp at Camp Raven Knob, just outside Mt. Airy, NC (aka “Mayberry”).  Given his dietary and allergy issues, I opted to tag along to help out the leaders and prepare Jason’s meals.  It was a fun week, with tolerable temperatures, pretty scenery and interesting merit badge classes for Jason.

Here’s Jason at easily the most popular spot in camp, the Trading Post.  This is where scouts could supplement the less-than-inspiring cuisine of the dining hall with snacks, ice cream and “slush puppies,” and spend all that money from Mom and Dad on t-shirts, pocket knives, walking sticks and whatever they forgot to pack before leaving home.  Jason didn’t get to enjoy the snacks, obviously, but he did score a neat utility knife with about a dozen gadgets included.

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Jason’s tentmate exhausted all his funds pretty much on Day One, and spent the next few days anxiously awaiting a care package from home (“I know I’m getting one because I sent it myself!”) so he could sell the contents for more spending money.

With 43 scouts and ten leaders, Troop 800 took up two adjacent campsites and, as always, made its presence known.

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With canvas tarps strung over concrete or wooden floors, it wasn’t quite the Waldorf, but our accommodations did keep out most of the rain and bugs.  Except for a couple of storms (one big enough to see us evacuated to a permanent structure for an hour or so), the weather was sunny and pleasant, anyway.

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There were lots of aquatic activities on the lake all week, including swimming, canoeing, sailing and paddle-boarding.  Jason’s a strong swimmer, but none of his classes involved the water, and I couldn’t talk him into taking a dip even during the Free Swim periods, but I’m pretty sure Scott will be all about the water when it’s his turn to go.

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We went to three campfire ceremonies over the week, including a very impressive “Order of the Arrow” induction ceremony for the Old Hickory Council. The ampitheatre gave a great view of the lake and mountains, a view I tried to sketch at one point, with disappointing results (which I’ll spare you here).

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There were numerous trails, but the only one we took was to the top of Raven’s Knob, which afforded a nice view of the camp.  (This is not my photo.  I took one, but my camera took a hit and I ended up losing a day’s worth of images.  All things considered, I opted not to climb the mountain again for another shot).

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It’s not like we didn’t get in plenty of walking, anyway.  The building in the clearing in the upper right is where Jason had most of his classes. For his aviation class, he followed that road down past the aquatics area, past the ampitheater and on off to the left for what had to have been at least another 1/8th of a mile to a shelter on the edge of the “Cripple Creek” area where some scouts got to recreate pioneer life.  Since it was such a long trek, I usually walked with him to that class and  back.  By the way, now I know why Boy Scout socks are dark green; I ruined five pairs of white gym socks walking those dusty trails!

At week’s end, Jason had completed his requirements for his Photography and Movie-Making, Digital Technology, Metal Working, Leather Working and (nearly) Aviation merit badges, and acquired a new appreciation for air conditioning and indoor plumbing.  Still, he claims he slept better on his cot in the tent than he does at home on a mattress.

All told, a rewarding experience.

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RIP Patrick Macnee

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I couldn’t let the recent passing of actor Patrick Macnee go by without at least a tip of the bowler.

My memories of Macnee go way back.  It’s likely I heard him before I saw him, thanks to his ominous narration at the beginning of every episode of the original Battlestar Galactica. Later, he was the voice of the Cylon’s “Imperious Leader” in the same series, before finally showing up in (sort of) human form as the evil Count Iblis.  By then, I’d probably seen him as British agent John Steed on The New Avengers, running at 11:30 EST on the CBS Late Night Movie.

Naturally it was the Steed role that made the biggest impression, as James Bond had already predisposed me in favor of secret agents and all things British.  Though paired in The New Avengers with two more contemporary, youthful and “hip” agents, it was the comparatively anachronistic (if not fantasy-based) Steed who most interested me.  With his Edwardian outfits and ever-present umbrella, his impeccable manners and cultured ways, he was exaggeratedly “British,” which I suppose satisfied me in the same way that foreigners want all Americans to wear cowboy hats and talk with a twang.

Post-Avengers, Macnee went on to memorable roles in the horror film The Howling and the cult-favorite comedy, This is Spinal Tap, and practically innumerable guest appearances on TV shows.  He starred as Dr Watson opposite two Sherlock Holmeses, Roger Moore (!) in Sherlock Holmes in New York and his old school chum Christoper Lee in two other films.  Macneee also played Holmes himself in The Hound of London, making him one of very few actors to play both roles.  In the wake of his passing, I sought out the Magnum, PI episode titled “Holmes Is Where the Heart Is,” in which Macnee guest stars as a former British agent who thinks he’s Sherlock Holmes in a sort of “two for one” package of Macnee specialties.

Indeed, the Steed role was the gift that kept on giving for Macnee, keeping him steadily employed from 1961 to 1969 opposite various screen partners on the original series, then again in 1976 in the aforementioned New Avengers revival, plus in-character cameos on talk shows, variety shows, music videos and commercials.  Even when he was “done” with Steed, he pretty much turned “ex-British agent”  into a second career; you could just imagine producers saying, “We need a former spy in this episode.  Get me Macnee!”  In 1983, he replaced the late Leo G. Carroll as Napoleon Solo’s boss for the Return of the Man from UNCLE TV movie, and if his precise status was somewhat unclear in the 1985 Bond film, A View To A Kill, his casting opposite Roger Moore was obviously meant to capitalize on the nostalgia appeal of pairing two former icons of 60s British adventure TV.

In the 90s, I finally got to see the original Avengers series on AMC, and it became a bit of an obsession for me.  Almost every episode had at least one moment for Steed to shine, but near the top of the list, for me, was a scene in “A Touch of Brimstone.”  Chiefly famous for a skimpy and suggestive outfit Mrs Peel wears as “the Queen of Sin,” (contributing mightily to the decision by American networks not to air the episode at the time), the episode also features the immortal scene where Steed applies for membership in the mysterious Hellfire Club, and is put through a tension-filled initiation by the wonderfully evil Lord Cartney, as played by Peter Wyngarde.

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Steed is first challenged to drink a ridiculously huge mug full of some sort of alcoholic spirit, which he does with aplomb (asking for a bit more as “the drive down seems to have given me quite a thirst.”) Then, with his wits and reflexes thus (presumably) impaired, he’s challenged to remove a dried pea from a chopping block before a club member can cut it in two with an axe.  Another member, and a veteran of this particular test in the past, holds up his two prosthetic fingers as a warning of what could happen.  Steed agrees gamely, with the air of a fatuous aristocrat out of his depth and blind to his peril.  Lord Cartney looks on with a cruel leer, al but licking his lips at the prospect of witnessing a gruesome maiming.  The signal is given, the axe swings down and Steed — puff! — blows the pea off the chopping block, thus meeting the challenge of removing it, and without ever risking his digits.

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Wyngarde, still a couple of years away from iconic superspy status himself as Jason King in Department S, is perfect here, projecting first an oily sadism, then a fuming disappointment at Steed’s clever dodge.  Macnee handles the scene perfectly as well, playing up his “clueless fop” act while underneath he’s acutely aware of his danger, and Cartney’s treachery, and determined to outwit him.  By literally “blowing off” Cartney’s “ultimate test,” he makes a mockery of the whole exercise, and gives Cartney a figurative poke in the eye without ever dropping the pretense of fun and games.   Here we have Steed in a nutshell, the eccentric, flighty facade concealing a center of hard, English steel.  It’s no coincidence that the bowler secretly has a steel brim and the umbrella conceals a finely honed sword.

At the height of my infatuation with The Avengers, I bought a full-size umbrella to replace my collapsible version.  I wanted to practice all the “stage business” Macnee was so great at when he used his as a cane, a pointer or a hook (rarely did Steed’s brolly actually get opened).  In my defense, I never carried it unless their were rainclouds out, and ultimately I abandoned it as too hard to wrestle in and out of my car.  Plus I could never roll it even a fraction as tightly as Steed did.  Even at my most intense stage of fandom, I didn’t buy a bowler, but I definitely sympathized with Niles and Frasier Crane when they defended their love of Steed to their dad Martin in an episode of the sitcom, “Frasier:”

Martin: My point is, you guys could never resist putting on airs.  Even when you were in junior high, you used to love that TV program, “The Avengers.” You used to run all over the neighborhood pretending you were that guy with the umbrella…Steve.
Frasier: Steed!
Niles: (rolls his eyes) Dad!
Frasier: There were worse role models. Steed was dapper and witty.  When anyone tried to give him grief, he gave them a sound thrashing with the umbrella.
Martin: Well, that’s great, admire him if you want. But did you have to run through the neighborhood in bowler hats? I mean, you were just begging to get beat up.
Frasier: Come to think of it, it was rather a rough summer that year, wasn’t it?
Niles: I remember getting a chin strap so the bowler wouldn’t fall off when I ran.

It’s worth noting that much of what we associate with Steed are traits native to Macnee himself; the cheery good humor, the charm and pleasant manner and gentlemanly conduct.  In his book, “The Avengers And Me,” Macnee noted that it was largely up to him what form his character would take (not least because, at first anyway, it had been meant as just a supporting role):

“Nobody told me how I should play steed, or relate to other people.  I never, ever, got a brief. It was never written down.  The script for ‘Hot Snow,’ the first episode in December 1960 said; ‘Keel is about to push the bell button when the door is flung open.  Steed stands there.’  Just that, nothing else.  No description, nothing.  So I just made him up….[Steed] was never a character in literature, like Bulldog Drummond, Simon Templar or James Bond, or a persona somebody else had first created in another medium.  Steed was never written down — “Steed stands there.”– and I was the man.  I’m awfully proud of that.  As time went on, Steed and myself just grew together.”

Even in his heyday, Steed was an anachronism, and more’s the pity.  Macnee, likewise, seemed one of the last exemplars of a more civilized and decent era, a time either long past or maybe just imagined in the first place.  We’re a bit the poorer to have lost them both.

 

Hitting 50: Lois Lane, Nut Case

Superman’s one-time supremacy on the newsstands meant that by 1965, girl reporter Lois Lane was well-established as the first (and I think, still only) character to headline a comic by virtue of being the girlfriend of a superhero.  Given that it’s a book about a character with no super-powers — a single, working woman in the big city —  it might be tempting to consider this a feminist milestone of sorts…provided you never actually read the books.

The reality is that Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane was written by middle-aged white men, like all other DC comics of the era, so she’s not so much a character as a collection of, at best, comedy cliches and at worst a sort of paranoid misogyny.  One part Lucy Ricardo and one part Delilah, her endless schemes are usually portrayed the sort of “hare-brained” notions “only a woman” could come up with, but on another level she’s arguably Superman’s greatest enemy: if her plans ever succeed, she’ll destroy his career either by revealing his identity or by trapping him in…gasp…holy matrimony.  Or both.

In June of 1965 (but with an August cover date), Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #59 gave the world what I consider probably the best-ever example of everything the book was about.  That is to say, it’s pretty messed up.

(NOTE: This post is lifted from my old Confessions of  A Superman site, if you’re interested in reading more of my observations on the Man of Steel in his heyday).

In the lead story, “Lois Lane’s Super-Perfect Crime,” Lois receives from friendly aliens an elixir that grants her invulnerability, making it possible, she reasons, for Superman to finally take a wife without fear that his enemies will strike at him through her (his eternal excuse for NOT wedding).   The only catch with their invulnerability formula, say the aliens, is that she’ll have to consume at least one glass of milk every day to ward off its dangerous side effects.

All that’s left now is to clue Superman in on this happy development, so Lois quickly arranges a meeting with the Man of Steel and explains the whole thing in a logical and rational manner.  Haha, just kidding!  Instead she summons him to a rocky ravine and uses dynamite to dump an avalanche of boulders on herself while Superman looks on in horror.  As he digs her out in a state of shock and grief, he’s astonished to find her hale and hearty.

Naturally a little thing like invulnerability is handy indeed when you live a life as peril-filled as Lois Lane’s.  In fact, it’s fair to say the term “trouble magnet” was invented with this gal in mind.

To Lois’ consternation, her newfound ability does not move Superman to immediately pop the question. Quite the contrary; when asked on a television chat show when he’ll get around to marrying, Superman answers quite frankly, “Never!” and Lois, watching the program, flips her wig.

Naturally Lois assumes that “marriage” for Superman means marriage to her.  If you’re thinking this tirade is a bit over the top even for Lois, you’re right.  It seems she forgot to drink her daily glass of milk the night before, and that “side effect” the aliens alluded to is, well, insanity.  Oops.

As fate would have it, Superman picks this very day to reveal to Lois and Lana Lang the secret hiding place of a deadly Kryptonite ray gun (honestly, won’t he ever learn?) and Lois takes advantage of this opening with a plot to rid herself of both Supmern and Lana, killing the former while disguised as the latter.

Based on eyewitness accounts and Lois’ (true) testimony that only she and Lana knew about the Kryptonite gun, Lana is convicted of Superman’s murder and months later, she’s executed in the electric chair.  All is well for Lois, until one night she finally drinks a glass of milk and comes to her senses (really, months between glasses of milk?  For shame, Lois!).  Lois does the honorable thing and confesses to her crime, but the courts rule she was insane at the time and let her go.  That’s small comfort to Lois, who’s killed her friend and her true love and has to endure the angry stares of people who know what she did.

Luckily the whole thing is revealed as an hallucination; Lois experienced a dizzy spell after drinking the invulnerability formula and imagined the rest of the story.  She quickly demands an antidote to the formula to keep her vision from coming true, and the aliens wave their farewells.

So the old “it was all a dream” ploy leaves us (and Lois) unsure of just what she might really be capable of (though the image of her murdering Superman can’t help but linger), but the second tale in this issue is less ambiguous about her character.  In “Lois Lane’s Romance With Jor-El,” the girl reporter interviews a scientist who’s drawn up plans for a massive tower that, if built, could aim a ray at the Earth’s core which would prevent the sort of atomic reactions that might explode the planet.  When Lois asks if the invention might have saved Krypton, the scientist agrees it could have, and gives Lois the plans for the tower so she can share them with Superman. “Superman, nothing!” she thinks, ” I’m going to follow this up myself!”

Borrowing an experimental time machine from Professor Potter, she travels to Krypton, careful to pick a time period where Jor-El is still young enough to actually build the tower before it’s too late.  When she arrives, Jor-El has yet to marry his steady girlfriend, Lara.  Deciding the Jor-El of this time period would scoff at claims Krypton was doomed, Lois presents the tower as a defense against alien attacks aimed at the planet’s core.

Someone might want to tell Lois that if she has just succeeded in saving Krypton, she won’t find Superman waiting for her on Earth to hear the news.  Anyway it’s a moot point since she returns to her time machine to find it non-functional, and realizes she’s stuck on Krypton.  Immediately she decides to make the best of it by stealing that hunky Jor-El away from Lara (“If I can’t have the son, then why not the father?” she thinks, doing her bestJoan Collins impersonation).

Lara offers to let Lois room with her, and is rewarded with betrayal, as most of Lois’  girlfriends eventually are.

At the beauty salon, Lois tries to turn Lara’s hair green but ends up accidentally dyeing her own.  When she recovers from that boo-boo, she tries to win over Jor-El at a dance all three attend.  That too goes badly, so Lois gets even bolder, altering Lara’s datebook so she’ll miss a romantic moonlight appointment with Jor-El, then disguising herself to take Lara’s place.

Okay, now tell me Lois isn’t a complete sicko.  Anyway Lara sure thinks so when she walks in on this scene and slaps Lois in the face.  The next day, Jor-El prepares to activate the newly-constructed planet-saving tower in a public ceremony, but the tower and the town it’s next to have mysteriously disappeared.  Only then does Lois realize the tower has been built on the outskirts of Kandor, famously shrunken and stolen by future Superman foe Brainiac.

Suddenly, getting off of Krypton has become a bit more of a priority (since nothing can stop it from blowing up now), so Lois returns to the time machine to try it out again.  Luckily the atmospheric anomaly that rendered it inoperable has been counteracted by a second weather effect and now it works again.  Lois takes her leave, but before returning to the present, she sets her dials only a few years forward, and stops at the El home to stalk a very young Kal-El.

Okay, I’m pretty sure that sort of thing would get you locked up in any state in the Union.  Once the shudder of disgust passes, check out the groovy Kryptonian architecture on Jor-El’s house.  Wooden siding , neatly trimmed hedges, a white picket fence and a healthy, green lawn?  Turns out Kryptonopolis looks a lot like Mayberry, NC.

Over on his “Deck Log” blog, Commander Benson has already ably covered the third story in the book, “Superman and Batman’s Joke on Lois Lane,” but I figure it’s worth including these panels to give you the gist of Lois’ character in the tale:

Okay, so in the course of just one issue we see Lois murder Superman and frame her “friend” for the deed (albeit in a dream), try to steal Superman’s father away from his mother (at one point making out with him while disguised as someone else), snatch an unsuspecting couple’s toddler from his yard for an inappropriate display of affection and plot to marry Bruce Wayne only because she thinks he’s really Superman.  And remember, she’s supposed to be the hero of this book.

In fairness, of course, it must be noted that this sort of behavior was pretty standard for our favorite girl reporter and yet Superman always came back for more, making him what psychologists would call a “co-dependent,” every bit as messed up as Lois is.  Bruce Wayne, at least, seems to understand this, as indicated in this panel where Lois willfully misinterprets the teachings of Norman Vincent Peale:

So, that’s Lois Lane in a nutshell.  Where she belongs.  Fifty years on, her name is still linked to Superman’s as half of one of fiction’s great “love stories,” but why, when she’s at best just a nuisance to him, is beyond me.