The Man of Steel's Magneticism
Superman's sex appeal is a integral component of his superheroity. The article
Go West, Superman, describes Superman's power and ability as
a stereotypical appeal to young boys and men. However, for a superhero to appeal to girls
he must have superior sex qualities. The writers, Seigel and Shuster, imprint basic morals in America's
youth's collective memory. To capture the attention of both male and female they must create
a father figure/male sex object.
Seigel and Shuster must create a man for girls and boys alike.
He is the archtypal aloof, yet sexy and chivalrous man.
Joanna Connors, in her article, "Female Meets Supermale" (See Works Cited List), refutes this superiority and
portrays Superman more as a typical male, describing the Fortress
of Solitude as a sort of haven for male autonomy, a den where men retreat to watch football.
She certainly has support for her thesis. He is quite literally impenetrable. He can not
even receive a vaccination for needles can not break his skin. He has a protective covering,
literally and figuratively in his pseudonym, Clark Kent. She further writes that he has an
incapabililty to divulge emotions to his girlfriends, closing off his feelings like a
However, Connors thesis of Banalman can only possibly stand in reference to Clark Kent. Superman
is in fact the furthest thing from ordinary. He is perfect, an Apollo figure of heroirity.
His physique is modelled after Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Clark Kent's name is derived from
Clark Gable and Kent Taylor, (see Mirrored Image, all men whom
were greatly admired in the thirties (for more on Superman's identity see
Superman at the Star). These male movie stars are not simply
actors, but the sex objects of the 1930s (for more on 1930s film see
Breadlines to Choruslines).
His body is superior to all other men in the comic strips, especially in contrast to his
major enemies, like Bizarro, the grotesque imitation of Superman. He is tan, fit, and strong.
In fact, he is the strongest man on Earth, faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than
a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings. He flies through the sky rescuing damsels
in distress. Seigel and Shuster have recreated the modern-day
knight in shining armor. However, the muscle-bound Superman of the imagination is not quite realized
in Ray Middleton's figure when he dresses as Superman in the 1939 Superman Day. The photo on the
right really deflates our tall, darl, and handsome superhero.
Ray Middleton, the first man to act as Superman in 1939's Superman Day.
Superman's love life extends far further than Lois Lane, the Superman-starved journalist.
Superman's Oedipal complex comes into play when, like his mother Lara, all his lovers' names
are initialled L.L.. For example, there is Lyla Lerrol, Superman's "Kryptonian Romance" and
perhaps the most erotic of his romances.
They have a special connection because on Krypton Superman is not "super" but a regular
man. Finally he finds someone who can love him for who he really is, not for his
There is also Lana Lang who is one of few who suspect that Superman and Clark Kent have the
same personality. She is a childhood friend from Smallville. Already it is clear that
the L.L. trend is neither bound to Earth or Krypton. Lois Lane is Clark Kent's
co-journalist at The Daily Planet, and strangely enough, her sisters name is
Lucy Lane. Lucy is Jimmy Olsen's girlfriend and although Jimmy proposes, she refuses his
offer. Her reason is that she must wait until Lois is married before she can. Of course,
since Lois' heart is set on Superman it is unlikely that she will be married soon.
This conundrum ensures Lucy's virginity, a necessary characteristic of a superhero, and
retains Lucy's initials. Linda Lee is the name of Supergirl's secret identity; Supergirl
being Superman's cousin. Then there is Lori Lemaris, the mermaid of Atlantis who meets
Clark Kent and who, with her telepathy, discovers the hidden identity. Lori and Superman
can never have a relationship because Lori feels that a relationship between a mermaid and a
superman can never work out. She eventually marries Merboy.
Lyrica Lloyd is the movie actress who Superman falls in love with and decides to marry,
thus revealing his identity. Naturally, fulfilling the
plot of supreme unfulfillment, Lyrica dies of a severe illness. Luma Lynai is the
prospective wife of Superman, but of course, Earth's rays are deadly to her and she can
not survive on Superman's planet. The only woman whose name does not initial L.L. is
Sally Sellwin, but she does have two sets of two "L"s within her name. The interesting twist
on this pattern is that Lex Luther is Superman's most vicious enemy and his name is also
initialled L.L. It draws the comparision that woman are an enemy to our altruistic
Superhero. Perhaps this is the final indication that requited Love would be the death of
Superman. For more see The L.L. Legend.
Lois, caught in the middle of a love triangle.
Many have speculated that this inability of Superman to consummate any of his passions
is a way of maintaining the virginity of our national superhero. This "last unicorn" type
theory insists that the Love Triangle between Clark Kent and Lois Lane and Superman is
another way of using unrequited love to saving the virginity of the characters. Somehow
allowing any of them to consummate a relationship would sully their idealogies. Moreover,
America's obsessive myth of virginity, as in the case of Henry Nash Smith's
often stands stronger than history.
So while realistically Lois and Superman's relationship would probably not stay in the
courting stage of their relationship for 50 years, in this myth it must. Joanna Connors
supports this by noting that whenever Lois gets close to peeking inside Superman's
Fortress, total chaos erupts. It is interesting, too, that Lois is the pursuer and Superman
is the pursued in a society in which opposite gender roles are the norm.
Lois finally gets what she wants?
Although lustful romances have certainly been proven audience-engaging, there is
something that keeps that drawing of Lois and Clark from ever being realized. Superman's
actual job description is not journalist, but savior of the world. His job is the most
demanding in the world; he's always on call. His first love must always be the planet
Earth. Lois will never get her Superman nor will she find out the secret identity of
All the women of Superman's Love Life.