This year marks Superman's 80th anniversary, a milestone that DC is marking throughout 2018 with the appropriate amount of fanfare for one of pop culture's most important figures. Among the biggest moments of the celebration is the release of Action Comics #1000 -- a landmark number for a landmark title in comic book history. But as the Man of Tomorrow makes use of that famous super breath blowing out his birthday candles, it's important to not forget that a certain special woman in his life shares this anniversary with him.
1938's Action Comics #1 introduced the world to Jerry Shuster and Joe Siegel's unique creation; a man from a distant planet who could lift cars, leap tall buildings and championed the oppressed. In that same issue, we also met the equally unique Lois Lane, his intrepid Daily Planet colleague whose eventual love for the Man of Steel -- and the less steely Clark Kent -- would be the only thing to rival her love of journalism. Lois Lane's 80 year-history has had its fair share of ups and downs, and like any enduring comic book character, has seen reinvention after reinvention. Her enduring legacy, however, remains intact and, for the most part, unchanged.
When we think of Lois Lane, we think of a tenacious, outspoken career-woman dedicated to a greater calling. That characterization is owed to two major inspirations Shuster and Siegel drew on for her creation. Her fast-talking sass comes from fictional film character (and owner of the most 1930s name ever) Torchy Blane, the "Lady Bloodhound with a nose for news!" who starred in a number of black-and-white, pre-WWII serials. Back then, Torchy was one of the very few career-driven women who could rival her male equivalents without being put back in her place.
The other influence came from a real-life source -- the pioneering journalist, Nellie Bly. Bly started writing for the Pittsburgh Dispatch in 1885, a job that would see her go on to have some pretty wild adventures, from traveling the world in a record 72 days, to going undercover as a sweatshop worker and later as a mental patient on Blackwell's Island to expose institutional abuse. Her investigative work was considered groundbreaking territory for a reporter of either gender, and her writing was fueled by a burning commitment to social justice -- particularly for working women. It's this spirit that emboldens Lois to sneak her way into supervillain hideouts or report from the front line of warzones to this day.