SUPERMAN'S GIRLFRIEND LOIS LANE #106 - I AM CURIOUS (BLACK)! (DC COMICS, 1970)
Script by: Robert Kanigher
Pencils by: Werner Roth
Inks by: Vince Colletta
Superman – “Yes, Lois!You’re white again!The effect didn’t last as long as I expected!”
WHAT IS IT? It’s a story taken from a 1970s Lois Lane comic that has Lois changing her skin colour in order to understand prejudices faced by the black community.
GOOD IDEA/BAD IDEA: Well to be fair the story tried to highlight prejudices faced by anyone who wasn’t white.It also made an important point about Superman being an alien, meaning although he appeared white he was still very different to everyone else.The problem was that in order for this to happen the crux of the story was that Superman had a device that turned Lois Lane black!Just think about that for a minute.Superman...had a device...that turned Lois black.Ok, so the machine was invented by a Kryptonian surgeon and it wasn’t like Supes was going around transforming everyone at the drop of a hat, but there should have been a better way to get the message across than Superman having the power to do that.It was just daft....but in a really dumb way.
WHAT’S THE STORY?
Investigative journalist Lois Lane is white.She was born white, will die white and for most of her life this has never been an issue.However Lois starts to notice that some black people dislike white people and this intrigues her because as far as she’s aware everyone is equal.So in order to truly understand what it is like to not be white she decides she needs to go black, so she can get to the heart of the problem.
Realising that painting her face will no doubt seem a bit racist, she enlists Superman’s help in coming up with a better way to turn her black.At first Superman suggests putting in a call to his buddy Richard Pryor for suggestions, but then soon remembers he has a much better idea because hidden away in the Fortress of Solitude (in the back of the closet) he has a machine which can turn a white person black! Before he goes any further he informs Lois that once she goes black she’ll never go back, but Lois assures him she’s heard that before and it’s not quite true.She then agrees to be zapped by his machine and before anyone can say ‘extreme fake-over’ Lois is transformed from white Lois Lane to black Lois Lane.
With her new skin colour firmly in place Lois soon discovers what it’s like to be black, which means she breathes air, eats food and has conversations with people.She also discovers that some white people are racist to black people, just like some black people are racist to white people.In fact the more time she spends as a black person the more she starts to realise that everyone is racist to a certain degree and the planet is actually a pretty hate filled place.Finally understanding that it matters not whether she’s black or white because the world is a pressure cooker waiting for just the right excuse to explode, she turns back into white Lois Lane and makes friends with some black people.Desperate to please her new friends, she invites them around for a Chinese take-away, which suddenly gives her an idea for a story!
IN BLACK AND WHITE: *Since going black for a day Lois Lane has asked Superman to turn her Mexican, Welsh, Canadian, Icelandic and Smurf.
*Superman claims that his ‘skin tone’ changing machine is not in any way inappropriate and is in no way any different to getting a haircut.He does however admit that his penis enlargement machine and collection of breast pumps are frowned upon in certain circles.
*Superman isn’t actually friends with Richard Pryor.In fact it’s just a dirty lie made up to convince people that the film Superman III really exists.It doesn’t.So don’t ever try and search it out.Never.Ok?!