At the centre of the beating heart of the world of DC Comics is the multiverse, a vast array of parallel worlds in a vast array of fictional universes, often interacting with one another and affecting one another in ways that make one’s brain turn to mush. Trying to figure all this out is often as easy as trying to figure out why men open doors for women. I mean, it’s nice, but she will likely forget your kind gesture in a matter of minutes. “So, tell, tell! What first attracted you to Mark?” “Well, he opened a door for me…” “And?” “And what? Instant turn on.” Today, we’re taking a trip to the wonderful world of Earth-91 and yes, for those playing Nerd Bingo, this is a pre-crisis world, from the glory days when DC Comics had not a mere 52 worlds but hundreds. And it was a great world, was Earth-91. It featured a superhero of the name Superlass, which, to me, is the most Yorkshire sounding superhero ever. Okay, it was the ‘60s, but still…
Lois Lane was your typical 1969 gal, except she was blind and doing Superman, so not entirely typical, one could argue. However, Lois was not always blind. In fact, once upon a time, she was dating the one and only… Clark Kent! Of course, she had no idea he was Superman, a superhero she much adored. All was well in the world, but all would not be quite so rosy for very long.
One day, Superman faced a most evil of foe, staring down the barrel of a deadly ray. Desperately trying to save her beloved superhero, Lois found herself blinded in the crossfire and, worse still, poster boy Superman was left horribly disfigured by a mixture of green and red kryptonite. Lois didn’t know this, of course, because she was blind, and Superman wasn’t eager to tell her what had happened. All this isn’t great news because, as all nerds will tell you, Superman and kryptonite get on like Sonny and Cher. Green kryptonite severely weakens Kryptonians like Superman, whilst red kryptonite causes bizarre mood swings and even mutations.
Lois Lane was blinded and Clark Kent was left horribly disfigured. Regardless, the two carried on dating, and, as a thank you for saving his life, Clark proposed to Lois. Still, though, Lois didn’t know her future husband was Superman. She thought he had had a terrible accident and was proposing out of love and nothing more. So there you have it, ladies. If that fella of yours isn’t looking like proposing any time soon, try saving him during a kryptonite attack. Or something similar if you can’t find any kryptonite.
Soon, along came an adorable bundle of joy, a super child. I assume that’s superman and not, “Oh gee, Lois, what a super child you have there!” I think. I’ve always assumed everyone spoke like that in 1960s America. Golly indeed. Lisa Kent was Lois and Clark’s much adored child, who grew up wanting to fight crime just like Superman. Awww. As soon as she was born, she started displaying powers. And that was strange, because Lois didn’t know her husband was Superman so this must have come as something of a shock on a world where there’s only one superhero. Imagine all this at dinner. “Mama, I don’t want ‘dit!” “Honey, please…” “NO!” “ARRGH!” “What’s wrong, sweetheart!” says Clark, running in to the room. “She burnt me again with her stupid heat ray eyes!” “I think you’ll find it’s called heat vision, darling.” “Literally not the issue, here!”
Family life would not be so swell for very long, as, whilst rescuing a ship carrying hazardous materials, Superman was killed by an atomic kryptonite bomb. Clark had vanished too, presumed dead, and Lois was left all alone with Lisa, utterly confused. Young Lisa did her best for her mother, but there was no escaping the fact that shit really had hit the fan…
“Don’t cry, mother… Please… don’t cry… we have to… carry on… for daddy.” Lisa Kent.
Lisa had to get over her father’s death and quickly. She had to carry on for her distraught mother, who, by this point, really should have figured out that Clark and Superman were one and the same, but there we are. Superman had disappeared and he was presumed killed in action, but the world was not left stranded. His Kryptonian cousin, Kara Zor-El, took the mantle Supergirl and became the new defender of Earth-91!
Several years later and Lisa had grown into a teenager. Soon, her mother, Lois, fell in love with a strange and kind man, who happened to be… disfigured. She didn’t suspect it could be Clark. So long had passed that she believed any hope of him being alive was impossible. This new man was a good father for Lisa, who had been too young to remember what her real father looked like, plus there were no photos. Lois was too heartbroken to speak of… Clark. This strange new man, meanwhile, was just what the doctor ordered for Lois. For the first time in many a year, she didn’t feel alone.
Lisa, meanwhile, greatly inspired by Supergirl, decided to use her growing powers for… good. Sadly, she took the moniker Superlass, but hey, at least she had a natty green skirt as part of her costume. Heck, I think it looked rather dandy paired with the blue top. The world now had two heroes to look up to. Lisa knew her mother’s new boyfriend was horribly disfigured, a hideous hunchbacked monster hated by society, but Lisa never saw his disfigurement nor her mother’s blindness as sources of weakness, as many in society did, but sources of great strength. The two were an eternal beacon of shining pride for her. You Lisa, can be a superhero!
And she did it, oh boy, did she do it. She became an incredible superhero, fighting crime without ever realising her own father was once the, presumably, deceased Superman. Oh, Man, I love this comic! I want, at the very least, a feature television special of it. Maybe drop the Superlass. What’s wrong with Superwoman? Hey, let’s just stop defining one another on gender, okay? What about calling her just… Super? Nah, that’s terrible. I’ll keep thinking.
Lisa was a real smart gal and, during her day-to-day heroism, she saved an alien spacecraft, as you do. In reward, she was given a device able to cure her mother’s blindness. Of course, this wasn’t great news for Lois’s new boyfriend, who feared Lois would not love such a beast. When Lois first saw him, she was visibly scared. Her boyfriend ran away, depressed and greatly hurt. Lois ran after him, pleading that she still loved him, that she was just ‘shocked’ and that he was still the man she loved. But he was having none of it. And so he left. For the second time in Lois’s life, she lost her love, still not realising they were, in fact, the same man.
Regardless, the new boyfriend flew off into the sunset. Up, up and away! To the great cigarette store in the sky, one presumes. This wasn’t the best move on his part because Lois and Lisa soon realised, FINALLY, that the man they loved and adored was none other than the former superhero… SUPERMAN! AND CLARK KENT! He was Lisa’s father and Lois’s husband ALL ALONG! How can you not know you’re banging Superman, really…
“He’s leaving Earth! I’ll trail him secretly… see where he goes! Maybe someday we’ll find an antidote for the K effect!” Superlass.
Clark Kent, A.K.A. Superman, was so disgusted with himself that he didn’t dare let his family know he was alive. And now both Lois and Lisa knew that, not only was he still alive, but that he was Superman all along. Until this point, Lisa had no idea that Kara Zor-El, A.K.A. Supergirl, was her cousin or that she had followed so wonderfully in her father’s footsteps and, despite his rejection, he was proud of her. Kara Zor-El might have been the most powerful woman on Earth and the world’s first and foremost superhero, but little Lisa, she was number one in her daddy’s heart, vowing to protect Earth-91 for the rest of her days! But she wasn’t going to let her father get away quite so easily…
And so Lisa left the Earth, to search for Superman, to hunt him down, find a cure for the nasty effects of the kryptonite that hurt him and turned him into a monster, and return to Earth, forever guarded by the trio of Superman, Supergirl and Superlass! Did she find what she was looking for? Did she get her happy ending? Did Superman realise that you don’t need good looks to be cool and that there was nothing really wrong with him? Did Superlass finally get a decent superhero name?
Well, the answer is… I don’t know, I hope so, I really hope so, and God, I even more really hope so. Earth-91 is what’s known as an imaginary world, unlike every other DC Comic universe, which is very much real. Throughout DC Comic’s history, we have seen many ‘visions’ and ‘dreams’ of other worlds, such as Earth-91, but they were just that. Dreams. Not real worlds in the multiverse. Lois Lane dreamt of this world in a 1969 comic and she woke as her daughter Lisa left to go in search of her husband, Superman. There is no ‘next chapter’, so we can only speculate. For me, I think she did it. Superlass might have one of the worst names in comic book history, but she’s also one of my favourite characters. She epitomises what we love about superheroes. She’s strong. She’s good hearted. She sees the best in people and believes the villains of her Earth can find a better path, a road to redemption. She is rich in soul and spirit. And, most importantly, all this wonder was given to a female superhero… IN 1969! There was nothing but good in this character, and for the time she was created, that elevates her to the pantheon of all time great superheroes, even though she only appeared in a few pages, once.
So would I visit Earth-91? I think I would. You can argue how this comic treats people with disfigurements isn’t great, but the dislike comes from reality. Society does stop and stare at people with disfigurements, people just do. Regardless of how wrong it is. And Lois and her blindness were never exploited, it was an unfortunate circumstance and, much like Clark, she not only got on with life but was utterly brilliant and never stopped doing utterly brilliant things. And, to top it off, they had the most awesome of children that I think anyone would love to meet.
Would I visit Earth-91? Absolutely. Because it sounds… gnarly.
Image (Click on It to Enlarge)
1) Lisa Kent, A.K.A. Superlass
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