Daily Panel | ‘Inspire ordinary mortals’

It was tempting to include the panel after this one to get the rest of Superman’s response, but I wanna stick to one panel a day as much as possible. What I like about this one is that Lois and Superman are finally at a place where she can stop him long enough to ask him about himself (instead of just gushing over how much she’s attracted to him).

She asks where he comes from and he confesses that he doesn’t know (which is true at this point in his career). He just knows that he has to use his powers to “ease the course of justice” while “helping the oppressed” and “seeing that truth and right triumph.” That leads into this panel where Lois identifies why Superman is such an iconic character. He inspires ordinary mortals to follow his ideals. Or, he will one day.

Because she also suggests that the best way for him to do that is to “remain among us.” In other words, she feels that his being a mystery man is hindering his ability to inspire in a positive way. That needs more unpacking than I have room for in this post, but she has a point. For Superman to be a positive inspiration, he needs to be more accessible. Otherwise, people will be negatively inspired by fearing him (and indeed, the police’s reaction to him in this era is to try to take him in).

Negative inspiration can also be effective (see: Batman), but that’s not what Lois wants for Superman. I find it fascinating that she’s the one who articulates this first, at least in newspaper continuity. I’m not sure what’s been going on in the comic books during this time period. Unfortunately, the next panel has Superman finish his sentence by flying out the window and saying that he achieves best results by “playing a lone hand.” He’s not ready to be the kind of hero Lois believes he can.

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