Chicago Spanking Review Special Presentation

The Lois Lane Spanking Letters

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superman robot spanks lois lane

© DC Comics Inc.

This by now famous scene of a Superman robot spanking Lois Lane in Lois Lane #14 has been seen all over the place, including here at CSR where we posted it several years ago. Also seen before is a remarkable series of five letters from Lois Lane readers requesting that Lois get spanked! For example, The American Spanking Society (ASS) reprinted them and gave some background. However, we'd like to delve a bit further into the subject, identifying the issues these letters appeared in and giving some examples of Lois' conduct to place these readers' spanking requests in context and make them seem less like a bunch of spankos! We're convinced that the letter-writers' desire for Lois to receive a well-deserved comeuppance spanking was justified, sincere, and absolutely "vanilla". We'll also reflect a bit on the editor's responses, since they tell us a great deal about why there are no known scenes of Superman spanking an adult female in the many "Superman Family" comic books.

We don't know who originally scanned the letters - obviously someone with an extensive collection of Lois Lane back issues, and probably the same person who scanned the spanking panels from issue #14 - but we'd like to thank him for this signal service, especially since we can't seem to locate most of our own Lois Lane collection right now.

lois lane spanking letter by twill

We'll try to present the letters in chronological order. First is this one from F. Twill in issue #21 (November 1960). Note that this is after Lois had already been spanked once by the robot, and the readers still weren't satisfied - they wanted Superman to administer another spanking: "The next time Lois fouls up Superman's plans, why doesn't he bend her over his knee and give her a super-spanking?"

The editor replied that Superman was too much of a gentleman to "strike" a lady, and then added, "However, he did give Lois a spanking when she was 'Baby' Lois Lane in a story we published a few years ago." If this was a reference to "The Cry-Baby of Metropolis" he was wrong on both counts - Superman mock-threatens, but does not deliver, a spanking in that story, which appeared in Lois Lane #10 (July, 1959) some 16 months, not "years" earlier.

lois lane spanking letter by danny rining

But this response did not satisfy the readers, who really deserve a lot of credit for continuing to press the editor for a Lois-spanking. In fact, an entire Superman fan club, by a vote of 49 to 2(!) politely requested that "Superman teach her a much-needed lesson and give her a good hard spanking" (emphasis added). This letter appeared in Lois Lane #24 (April 1961).

Weisinger stuck to his guns and reiterated that "Superman... would never inflict bodily punishment on a lady" (for reasons we won't go into now, we believe that "Superman Family" editor Mort Weisinger and not his assistant E. Nelson Bridwell did the letters pages). Given all the attempts at spanking Super-Tot and Superboy that took place in his books, it appears that Weisinger (1915 - 1978) viewed child-spanking as o.k. but for some reason thought it wrong or ungallant for a man to spank a grown woman (see also in this connection the aborted spanking of Lana Lang in Superboy #93). This attitude was doubly unfortunate since it allowed for numerous child-spankings while needlessly depriving us of good M/F scenes in all of the "Superman Family" books.

lois lane spanking letter by sharon bush

Two issues later (Lois Lane #26), Sharon Bush of Mt. Clemens, Michigan notes the number of readers who want to see Lois spanked, and adds herself to the list: "She should be treated like any spoiled child..." Note that Sharon, like the others, isn't expressing any interest in romantic/erotic spanking, their focus seems purely disciplinary, which is why we referred to it as "vanilla" earlier.

Weisinger refers to an upcoming story called "The Punishment of Lois Lane". We're still trying to track this one down, but we can be sure the "punishment," whatever it was, wasn't as good as a spanking.

lois lane spanking letter by betty makohan

Yet the readers were still undeterred. One Betty Makohan was so determined to see Lois spanked she came up with a way Superman could spank her while still remaining a gentleman by Weisinger's standards: red kryptonite! Of interest is Weisinger's joking response, "How could we produce further Lois Lane stories when we'd be unable to show her sitting down for at least two months?" and Betty's introductory observation that "Everybody keeps asking for a story in which Lois gets a super-spanking."[!] This letter appeared in Lois Lane #27 (August 1961).

lois lane spanking letter by larraine laertura

That brings us to the last letter, from Larraine Lertura and published in Lois Lane #30. At first, because the name is unusual and because it has the initials "L.L." we thought someone had made it up (the significance of these initials is discussed here), but we checked and found there was a Lorraine Lertura who lived in the Bronx and graduated high school a couple of years before this letter was written! (Yes, we really are that dedicated, or crazy, when it comes to investigating matters related to superhero spanking). Like Betty Makohan, Larraine or Lorraine tries to find a way around Weisinger's "too much of a gentleman" argument. Her approach is to point to her own father who, though a gentleman, "has spanked me several times" and to solve the sitting down afterward problem by recommending the use of a soft pillow. What a great letter, and what a great scene it would have been if Lois had indeed been shown sitting on a pillow after a super-spanking!

In fact, she's covered the bases so well that this time Weisinger gives up on his previous arguments and writes that her request comes too late because Lois already got spanked back in issue #14.

Now that we've seen all the letters, and bearing in mind that they probably represent only a fraction of the spanking requests that the readers sent in, let's point out a couple of things:

  1. Disciplinary M/F spanking was seen as perfectly normal and acceptable to many people at this time.
  2. Male and female readers were in agreement about Lois getting spanked, so this was not a case of male chauvinism.

superman calls lois lane a minx in showcase #10

© DC Comics Inc.

Now let's see if we can vindicate the letter writers' view that Lois deserved to be spanked. Already in her second solo appearance (Showcase #10, September-October 1957) she's scheming to get Superman to marry her. Supes gets wise to the plot, and her co-conspirator tells him, "I think we ought to teach her a lesson..."

lois lane laments her troublemaking ways in showcase #10

"I see that matrimonial trickery does not pay!" © DC Comics Inc.

Sounds promising, but instead of giving her a spanking, Supes and the other guy stage a fight, wrecking Lois' cottage!

"I see that matrimonial trickery does not pay!" declaims drama-queen Lois, putting one hand to her brow and gesturing toward the wreckage with the other. You know, the exact same line would have worked just as well if she were using those hands in a vain attempt to rub away the sting in her backside!

About a year later, in Lois Lane #6 (January 1959), Lois gets into more trouble, this time by sneaking aboard an experimental rocket. The rocket is off-limits, and of course launches unexpectedly with her inside it. Superman rescues her, but she has passed out from the acceleration. "I'll have to teach her a lesson, and I know just what to do!" Sigh - if only, Supes old man. Definitely grounds for a spanking, but by now we know better than to expect one. Instead, Supes decides to use the time dilation effect to convince Lois that fifty years have passed on Earth while she was away.

lois lane goes too far in #6

© DC Comics Inc.

To do this, he enlists the help of the professor (the one who built the rocket), Perry White, and he even sends away to Gotham City for Batman! Wouldn't a spanking have been just a bit simpler than this elaborate charade?

lois lane sees everyone 50 years older

(l. to r.) Lois, Superman, Perry White, and Jimmy Olsen. © DC Comics Inc.

Forget simpler - a spanking would have been far kinder, for Supes and the others wear make-up to look older and pretend that Batman and Clark Kent were both killed in a plane crash! Never mind for a moment that there is absolutely no reason in the world that Kent and Batman would be on the same commercial flight, especially since they live in different cities, or that Batman would probably have chosen to fly his Batplane instead of taking a commercial flight, getting groped by the Transportation Security Administration, and losing his Bat-luggage. Never mind that Perry White (seen at rear with a cigar in his mouth) should be dead after the passage of fifty years! Never mind that there's no reason Lois should be all that broken up over Batman in the first place - it's positively cruel to torment her mentally and emotionally like this. A spanking, we repeat, would have been much more humane.

lois lane sees a balding, 65-year old Robin

© DC Comics Inc.

Now when they tried to drag Batman into this mess, he begged off and sent Robin in his place. Their story is that after Batman was killed in that plane crash, Robin gave up crime-fighting and became a crime reporter. For some reason, he's still wearing his Robin costume while at his desk typing up his copy, even though he's now supposed to be in his middle sixties! We can tell you that in the corporate world we know, you won't get very far coming to the office wearing a bright red vest and green chain-mail briefs.

So let's summarize: instead of a nice, simple spanking that would have satisfied everybody, Superman chose to

  1. Waste the professor's time (and he is doing rocket science, you know).
  2. Idle the entire staff of the Daily Planet, wasting thousands of dollars and causing important stories to be missed
  3. Ask Batman to drop everything he's doing and fly all the way from Gotham City to Metropolis, and when he points out he's got better things to do than play tricks on Lois Lane
  4. Pull Robin out of school to take his place!

Only at DC, we're gonna tell ya. In any case, these examples (and there were plenty of others) show that the readers were not just a bunch of spankos hungry for material (like we are) - they had reached a dispassionate conclusion, based on the facts, that Lois deserved to get spanked.

lois lane in position to be spanked

Lois in good OTK position. The only thing missing is Superman's knee! © DC Comics Inc. Posted by the Web-Ed on 04/22/2011.

It cheers us to think of all those good and faithful readers who wanted to see Lois get her just desserts. In fact, it may well have been earlier requests than the ones we saw here that led Weisinger to approve, or even originate, the plot of issue #14 in which the robot spanks Lois. We can't help wondering if Otto Binder had suggested a Superman/Lois spanking and Weisinger altered the story. Either way, he was apparently trying to reconcile the obvious need for Lois to get spanked with his own (mistaken) notion that a gentleman wouldn't spank a lady.

We think this explains why Superman never spanked Supergirl either. (Technically, this is still an open question as our search for this Holy Grail of superhero spanking is ongoing - you can follow our progress here - but there are only a few Supergirl appearances during the Weisinger era that remain to be checked.) Weisinger simply wasn't comfortable with Superman in the role of super-spanker, a great pity especially when you consider all the ridiculous situations he did allow Supes to get into, but at least we now have a better understanding of why there weren't any good M/F spanking scenes in the "Superman Family" books.

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