Writer Greg Rucka will be the first to tell you: Lois Lane, the greatest reporter in the history of DC Comics, subscribes to the Washington Post. “Find me a good journalist who doesn’t actively pursue other good journalism,” he says.
In the “Lois Lane” maxi-series that debuted in July, Rucka and artist Mike Perkins are out to prove democracy doesn’t die in even the darkest garages of the DC universe. When Lane wants to meet discreetly with a secret source, she’ll text them, “full Woodward.” Rucka even has the Daily Planet’s top reporter opining on why she thinks Bob Woodward and FBI source Mark Felt’s famous garage meetings during the Post’s Watergate investigation worked: Even if you can’t see someone coming, you can hear them, and scram if you must.
“Lois Lane’s” 12-issue tale is titled “Enemy of the People,” a term at times shouted from the highest political office in the country to describe reporters assigned to cover politics. Rucka thought it necessary to mirror modern journalism with the most famous reporter in comics , who’s now covering the White House in addition to the superpowered happenings in Metropolis.
“I’ve seen criticism saying, ‘I don’t read comics to see what’s going on in the real world.’ Too bad. It’s called art. And it has to reflect what’s happening around us,” Rucka says. “I don’t think you can tell an honest story about Lois if you’re not reflecting the state of journalism and also hostility to journalism in the world today. The danger in telling truth to power and the fear that power has of truth being told, is in and of itself, a worthy story.”
In the first issue, Lane is in the other DC universe, the District of Columbia, grilling a fictional White House press secretary on whether her administration is monetizing the separation of children from their families at the U.S. border. Lane is ejected from the news conference and has her press privileges revoked. (She ends up moving on to investigate other stories, including a suicide in Russia where it looks like foul play was involved.)
This isn’t the first time Lois Lane has had her own comic book. From 1958 to 1974, DC ran “Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane,” a series that Rucka admits made its protagonist an occasional sideshow and nuisance to Superman. DC’s Lois Lane of 2019 is anything but.
Rucka brought over the kissing scandal he inherited from Brian Michael Bendis’ current run writing “Action Comics” and “Superman” for DC. In a smartphone world where everyone has a camera in their pocket, Lane is photographed kissing Superman. The problem? She’s married to Clark Kent, who the world doesn’t know is Superman.
It leads to attacks on her character, with the double standard that no one seems to be pointing a finger at the Man of Steel.
“Let’s be honest. What’s our society like?” Rucka asks. “Who’s that (drama) going to get aimed at. It ain’t going to get aimed at (Superman).”
In the third issue, Superman swoops in to save her from an assassination attempt that may or may not have been intended for her. Lane’s source, who could have implicated very powerful people, ends up dead. But she’s less than thrilled to have been “rescued” — she’s the one looking to protect Superman for once. And she lets Superman know it.
Rucka says its just a day in the life of a married couple, super or otherwise. “Every now and then they’ve got to disagree. They love each other. They trust each other. The marriage is a good one. You know, a lot of times you hear that once characters hook up, the drama’s gone. No. It’s not. And it’s insulting to every couple who has been happily together for more than 18 months.”
That happiness has led to another kissing controversy: the fact that Lois and Superman smooch so much in this series. Rucka says readers should prepare for more of that.
“They are intimate. They are honest. They annoy each other. They (tick) each other off. They make up,” he says. “They make it work.”