Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #54 is the comic with the marvelously titled story, “The Monster Who Loved Lois Lane.” Last month we watched as Dr. Elder opened an inter-dimensional portal — out of which walked Herko, the giant pink monster who obeys only Lois Lane.
He is super strong, invulnerable, hairy and head-over-tentacles in love with, well, let’s find out, shall we?Several pairs of young lovers lounge in a park. Coming over the hill we see the silhouette of Lois Lane and Herko still holding "hands." It seems an almost idyllic sight and certainly doesn't speak of any danger. However, how in control is Lois Lane? Her thoughts belie the passive stance of Herko. "I did lead Herko out to this park… But… But who knows how long I can control it? Oh, dear… I'm scared… And those young sweetheart-couples down there would be scared too, if they saw us!" So all is not well with Lois Lane. She's doing her best to control the interior-dimensional monster in her charge, but her control is an illusion. Herko breaks from her and begins pulling bushes and trees out of the ground Lois is afraid she will be the next one attacked. Instead, Herko presents Lois with a flowering tree and a rose bush, imitating the couples with their bouquets of flowers.This is a brand-new twist to Lois. She sits bemused, the tree and bush to her right, a pond in front of her, and Herko with his tentacle around her on her left. Suddenly Herko goes running off toward a small zoo, where he allows a leopard to escape. He presents it to Lois as if it were a kitten. That's one gift Lois turns down.I need to mention a rather unusual addition to my copy of this story. On this page filled with young love are two bright, pink kisses. They look too large for a child and yet I'm a little freaked out that a grown woman would kiss the pages of a comic book. Maybe a teen with lusciously large lips? It doesn't occur on any other story. Apparently, one of the owners of this comic was quite a fan of the dashing Herko. I guess if you're into tentacles and pink fur he would be a heartthrob (that and the adorable way he is drawn). Yes, I am also falling for Herko. Now, where did I put that Cover Girl monster-pink lipstick…I'm not the only one who is finding Herko cuter and cuter. Lois is getting more and more attached to him. She decides to take him away from the park and the zoo. "As Lois and her new 'boyfriend' stroll along…" [I love it when the yellow box descriptors get cheeky] Lois and her monster window shop and see yet another young couple in a jewelry store buying a ring. I do believe we're about to see our cover shot. And there it is: Herko grabs a streetlight and twists the metal into a circle leaving the globe at the top resembling a giant pearl. The narration for this panel is a little weird. “The gallant Herko has bigger ideas! Tearing a street lamp up by main strength, and bending it…” What the heck is “main strength”? It’s really strong; I get that. “Bobby has some muscles, but Duke’s strength isn’t at all normal. It’s main strength.” Never heard that expression before. Super-human? Yup. Main? Nope.Back to the main story. Now we have managed to go several pages without anyone or anything getting beaten up, without buildings being destroyed, and without Lois feeling like there might be danger. There is also a complete lack of a Kryptonian man in a costume.Hey look! It’s Jimmy Olsen! And he has spotted Lois and her monster. Jimmy thinks the only person who can save his coworker is Superman. The familiar zee-zee-zee of his signal watch quickly summons the Man of Steel.Superman arrives immediately and lets Lois know that he is there to save the day. Lois tries to tell him that Herko isn't hurting her, but could hurt him. She doesn't get the whole thought out before Herko gives Superman a massive punch. He falls through a brick wall, which helps illustrate just how big a punch Herko has. "Please, Superman… Go away, or you and Herko will wreck the whole city in your fight! Find Dr. Elder and ask him what can be done!" Oh, sure, Lois, be all practical and nonviolent. Don't you realize you are in a comic book? Practical nonviolence is no way to behave. Punching people through walls, now that's the right stuff. However, since it was Superman who got punched through the wall, he decides to follow Lois's advice.He races to Dr. Elder's lab and finds out he has fixed the inter-dimensional machine. Oh, goody! Superman comes back and gets a mighty glare from Herko. Supes instructs Lois to lead the monster back to the lab, which she does. When she gets there, the machine shows a portal to Herko's world. Superman, playing hide and go seek behind a wall due to his overwhelming fear of the smiling pink monster, tells Lois that the only way Herko will go back to his world is if she leads him there. They walk through together as Superman tells her to ask Herko for a bouquet of flowering trees. For reasons meant to manipulate little girls' fear, Lois says, "And cut me off from Earth forever! All… All right…"How little she knows of Superman. Of course he has no intention of abandoning her in Herko's dimension. As soon as the monster heads toward the trees Superman sucks Lois back into this dimension with his super breath and the doctor closes the inter-dimensional doorway. It seems like all is well, but like every little girl reading this, Lois wants to see how this has affected her new suitor. She asks that a little peephole in the dimensional barrier be opened so she could see the other side. And when she does we see a heartbreaking panel. Herko is standing holding his tree bouquet and weeping for his lost love."He was the dearest monster!" Lois sheds her own tears while Superman listens. "I feel he'll wait and wait for me… But maybe someday I'll have the dimension-door opened and at least let him see me again…" The end.Okay, that was a major bummer of an ending. I would've wept over and over again at this story had I read it as a child. I would've remembered it, filing it away in that corner of my mind saved for sad stories, songs, movies and other things that moved me in my lifetime. I would've been madly in love with Herko, the giant, hairy, pink monster. In fact, it might have made me think agreeably about monsters in general. Some people dismiss Silver Age DC comics as having no depth. I disagree. Those who say that are not reading them as seven-year-old girls. Those of us who did so in that time know how greatly they affected us. My friends and I (all of us little girls hooked on Silver Age DC comics) were always searching for stories like this one that had a heart as big as its monster.Please come back next month as I delve into yet another gem from the world of DC Comics in the Silver Age of storytelling. And now I need to go have a good cry. Poor, dear Herko… ::sob!:: ::gasp!::
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