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Author Topic: What's Marty Pasko have against Lana, anyway?  (Read 4474 times)
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Council of Wisdom
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« on: August 23, 2006, 06:09:56 AM »

Don't get me wrong, Marty Pasko is one of my favorite of the seventies Superman writers, and the only real reason he isn't as well remembered today is because he was followed by the one-of-a-kind Len Wein, who not only had "Marvel" coolness, he also had a great skill for plots, as well as a unique unpredictability and chutzpah; I mean, on his SECOND ISSUE, Wein has Superman regrow Kandor.

Pasko also did some good stuff...for instance, the introduction of the Master Jailer, an intriguing and seldom-used villain. And it was interesting to see Superman use his seldom-used hypnotism in that Pasko story involving the gender-reversed world (and the Master Mesmerizer tale). Pasko was also the one that had the bright idea to give Bizarro "backwards" powers, like Shrinking Telescopic Vision and Cold Vision (and in his earliest stories, Pasko wrote stories with very solid use of Bizarro as well). I especially like some of Pasko's quieter backup stories with the Superman supporting cast, such as that story where Morgan Edge discovers his biological mother (a cleaning lady) and embraces his Jewish roots.

But I have to say, I disagree with Pasko on the Lana thing.

One of the interesting things about Earth-1 Superman was that Earth-2 Superman was married, because he had only Lois on his earth, whereas Earth-1 Superman had a lot of other girlfriends. And while I respect Lois's position in the Super-Mythos, I've never agreed with writers that pair off Lois and Superman as if it was a "natural law" for this reason.

So, it was strange to have Pasko have Superman snap at Lana, saying that she doesn't really love him, and that Lana is driven to be the center of attention that she would receive by being Superman's girlfriend and.or wife. In SUPERMAN #334 (1979), Pasko has Superman just plain admit that Lois is the only woman for him.

The Master Jailer story wasn't the only evidence of this type of characterization, however...there was a Pasko SUPERBOY story that has Lana learn Superboy's secret identity, only to become frustrated and furious when Superboy reveals it to everyone himself, with the implication being that knowing the secret is only important to Lana because it made her feel "special" and "important."

Len Wein ran with this somewhat self-absorbed Pasko characterization of Lana; when Superman was trapped under glass by a space germ, all Lana could think of was their relationship, which made Superman burst out laughing. To be fair, this characterization wasn't all Pasko's doing...Lana was a newscaster and celebrity as far back as the beginning of the sixties, traits that imply a specific personality type.

"Wait, a startling new development, Black Goliath has ripped Stilt-Man's leg off, and appears to be beating him with it!"
       - Reporter, Champions #15 (1978)
Genis Vell
Last Son of Krypton
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2006, 08:14:00 AM »

The ending of SUPERMAN #334 (part 2 of the Master Jailer saga) was very sad! Lana was seen a selfish woman by Superman, and this seemed to me a bit cruel (hey, she spent all the day in danger!).

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Council of Wisdom
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Semper Vigilans

« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2006, 02:19:30 PM »

As someone who grew up with a huge crush on that cute Smallville redhead in the tight sweaters and hairbows, I always hated that "Master Jailer" story and the others like it (which, thanks to you, I now see as the work of Pasko).  Lana deserved better.  Then of course came the reboot and Lana was recast as a plain Jane loser with an unrequited crush on Clark (who's a totally insensitive jerk about it, BTW).

If any would-be paramour ever burned her bridges and indulged in petty, conniving, back-stabbing, petulant, mean-spirited behavior over the years it was Lois Lane.  I loved her when Maggin wrote her, but otherwise if you'd asked me as a kid who Superman should end up with, my answer would have been, "Anyone but Lois!"  Thus my enduring affection for Lori Lemaris, Sally Sellwyn and that cute Lana.

This looks like a job for...
Council of Wisdom
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Silver Age Surfer

« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2006, 07:18:39 PM »

I'm not a big Pasko fan, but reading this thread made me go back and read India Ink's summary of the dialogue at the end of the Master Jailer story (still archived in the DC Mesage Board threads here at STTA) seems to me that Pasko wanted to say something about any of the women (outside of one-off love interests) who professed to love Superman, and this story just happened to have Lana bear the brunt, especially as it was an ironic statement on how she treated Carl Draper.  An interesting point, but perhaps once again the trend of having the writer insert himself with a good point at the expense of a particular character that might not have deserved it...Superman's statement to Lana could have just as easily included Lois's name along with her own.

But, it does remind me that the Master Jailer needs an entry at Supermanica... Cool
Superman Emergency Squad
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This Ain't No Sippin' Tea

« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2006, 05:25:50 AM »

I have to admit that I laughed when I got to the scenes with Lana and Superman that Pasko wrote.  Wow.  What a cold, cold man that Superman.  I mean the only thing he could have done worse is start making out with Lois in front of her.

I know there was a point in there, but that was a frigid way to do it.

"I now own well over 13,000 comic books.  Most people would call this a hobby.  I prefer to call it was it actually is; a hopeless addiction." -MRB
Uncle Mxy
Superman Squad
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2006, 01:25:38 PM »

I will say that it took me awhile to "warm up" to the adult Lana (who for the longest time, AFAICT, was essentially a Lois clone with different hair color) and the Superboy Lana.  Since no one was going to do anything seriously "bad" to Lois, I suppose it could be rationalized that it was ok to do to Lana.
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