It’s Valentine’s Day, and for a hopeless pop culture obsessive like me, this means that my thoughts have inevitably turned to the great romances we’ve seen over the years in film, TV, comics, and video games. From here, it wasn’t long before I found myself engaging in the internet’s favourite pastime: ranking things. I wanted to work out which pop culture couple rated as the greatest of all-time – and it wasn’t easy.
After all, with so many worthy options to choose from – Lucy and Ricky, Harry and Sally, Homer and Marge, Rachael and Ross, Carl and Ellie, Carrie and Big, the list goes on! – how on earth was I going to narrow it down? In the end, I listened to my heart (natch), which kept screaming the same two names at me: Superman and Lois Lane. For me at least, nothing comes anywhere close to matching the enduring appeal of Superman and Lois’s 77 year-long romance – so let’s take a look at why.
A surprisingly relatable romance story of alien boy meets human girl
For starters, there’s the relatability aspect of this relationship to consider. Yes, it’s wrapped up in the fantastical trappings that come with any superhero love story, however, it’s also grounded in emotions, experiences and sentiments that are disarmingly realistic and relatable.
Take their first ever encounter, way back in 1938’s Action Comics #1. Given the genre (and the era), you’d expect that Superman and Lois fell madly in love at first sight, but like most actual couples, they didn’t. Sure, there was clearly a strong mutual attraction between them, but neither acted on it.
And even when they did finally become aware of their feelings for each other, like many real-life turtle doves, they struggled to get their act together on the dating front – a situation complicated by Lois’s disinterest (and sometimes even outright disdain) for the Man of Steel’s meek civilian alter-ego, Clark Kent.
In the decades that followed, Superman and Lois remained a non-item, they did something else most of us are at least a little familiar with: they saw other people. For the Last Son of Krypton, this meant delightfully bonkers trysts with mermaids and famous actresses from his home planet (time travel is a heck of a thing), whereas poor Lois’s flings tended to be with space monsters, robots, gangsters or worse…
Ultimately though, Superman and Lois have always found their way back into each other’s arms – and even tied the knot, back in the mid-90s – for one simple, heartwarming reason: they complete each other.
There’s more than meets the eye with this comic book romance
See, like all lasting relationships, not only do these two have a lot in common, the ways in which they’re different only add to their overall compatibility.
It’s easy to dismiss their attraction to each other as purely superficial, as both parties are, well… hot. Lois is a sassy go-getter with girl next door good looks, and Superman is a tall, dark and handsome guy in (a kind of) uniform) who can fly. Yet there’s more to it than that; what draws these two together is their deep-rooted passion for exposing the truth and standing up for the little guy, and that they can do so alongside each other as respected journalists only strengthens this bond.
“[It’s] that brilliant central paradox in the Superman/Lois relationship. The perfect man who never tells a lie has to lie to the woman he loves to keep her safe. And he lives with that every day. It’s that little human kink that really drives their relationship.”All-Star Superman writer Grant Morrison discusses the Superman/Lois dynamic with Newsarama
And if you want to get into slightly kinkier territory (and why not?), Superman and Lois are both clearly fans of roleplay. Think about it: the otherwise unfailingly honest Man of Steel pretends to be shy, ineffectual Clark, ostensibly to protect Lois, but on some level, there’s an element of prolonged foreplay here, especially since she’s smart enough to see through his infamously flimsy disguise. This continues even when (depending on the continuity at the time) Superman and Lois are finally married, only now, it’s a sexy charade they’re both in on and – in perfectly harmless, healthy fashion – get off on.
Okay, so what about Superman and Lois’s differences I mentioned earlier? Well, again, at a surface glance, what separates the pair is pretty obvious: theirs is a story about a man from the stars with the power of a god, who falls head over heels with a plucky girl from Earth. That doesn’t make it any less profound, though; Lois is the person who literally keeps Superman grounded, who keeps him connected to the human condition he craves but will never fully understand – and that’s pretty special, unique even.
And that more than anything is what makes them pop culture’s all-time greatest couple.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter!