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Today in Depressing

Lois Lane, Girl Reporter: The Awesome Comic That Never Was And Probably Never Will Be


Comic pitches are thrown around left and right in the industry, in formal meetings, at social events. Some get made, some don’t. This particular story goes back about a year, when creator Dean Trippe posted on his Tumblr a project of his that never came to fruition. It was called Lois Lane, Girl Reporter and was brought to light once again this weekend when artist Terry Blas was inspired to post a cover image based on Trippe’s unfulfilled idea. Read on for some fantastic images as well as the story which is both wonderful and depressing. 

Just to kick things off, here’s the original cover image Trippe posted by artist Daniel Krall.

I don’t know about you, but I’m already sold. Here’s what Trippe wrote:

[Lois Lane, Girl Reporter was] a pitch for a series of illustrated young adult novels I worked on a few years ago for DC Comics. Story by me, with considerable brainstorming help from my pal John Campbell, and art by Project: Rooftop fan favorite Daniel Krall.My wonderful editor, Chris Cerasi, was a real champion of the series, which we codenamed “Project 77,” and while we had a great time working on it and finding this secret window into the DCU, it doesn’t look like the current leadership of DC is remotely interested in this kinda thing. I thought some Lois Lane fans here on the interwebs might at least like a look at what might have been.

Over 2,000 notes on tumblr later, I think it’s safe to say Lois Lane fans did want to see it. Blas called it, “the best and most important pitch for a comic I’ve heard in a long time.” The premise, as Trippe described it, would have had Lois discovering her path to investigative journalism at eleven-year-old. “She sets out to right wrongs and help out her friends. This series explores Lois’s character, reveals her surprising early influence on the future Man of Steel, and introduces fun new elements into this enduring character’s back story,” he wrote, adding that each book would have found Lois solving a problem or mystery affecting people in different parts of the country. “The investigations in this series will not be mystical or supernatural (though some characters may suspect such sources), but real world problems that Lois works to set right.”

Trippe goes on to describe in detail what Book One would have entailed (Lois exposing corruption at a pharmaceutical company), Book Two (Lois gets a scholarship opportunity in Gotham and meets Bruce Wayne), and posts some sample prose. He also mentioned how he would have gotten an 11-year-old Lois to meet a young Superman as per DC’s wishes. “They wanted me to have Clark and Lois meet at one point, which I thought was insane, but then came up with a bit I liked where Clark goes to help Lois, who’s in greater danger than she realizes, undercover at an OverCorp student outreach week,” he wrote. “Clark has to use his developing powers (entering the soon-to-be demolished building by leaving a boy-shaped hole in the wall), so he grabs Lois’s red scarf and wraps it around his head like a mask. But Lois won’t trust anyone wearing a mask. That’s why Superman doesn’t wear one.”

And that, dear readers, is the gist of Lois Lane, Girl Reporter which will likely never be made. Someone wondered why Trippe didn’t just produce the series as a webcomic, gaining no profits, so as to not infringe on DC’s copywrite and he replied.

I sold the concept for ‘Lois Lane, Girl Reporter’ to DC back when it looked like their licensing division would find a way to publish it. I’d be extremely happy to see (and share) more fan art for LL:GR, but I won’t be working on any publications, myself. These days, and for the forseeable future, I’m devoting as much of my time and creative energy as possible to characters I own, especially Butterfly Lark. Eleven-year-old Lois will live in our hearts, and I suspect, eventually find her way into the official continuity, presumably following half a dozen future reboots.

It makes me sad of course, comics like these are ones I’m constantly hoping publishers like DC and Marvel will produce, and not just to help gain the female/younger demographic (they would) but to give a little variation to their usual releases. Blas had something interesting to say about that, in fact. “What I find more insulting is companies thinking that only young girls would be interested or should be interested in this,” he wrote. “I’m a 31 year old man, and I would love to read this book. I could care less what gender or what age the characters are in a story, as long as the story is told well.”

Hear, hear. Read more details about Lois Lane, Girl Reporter, and see a few more images, on Trippe’s tumblr.

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  • http://twitter.com/mitaukano Kash Mitaukano

    Oh wow, what a shame. This comic sounds like it would have filled the missing niche of an all ages comic book that isn’t silly. I personally enjoy Tiny Titans but I know it’s really just a humor comic, this would have been something needed, something different. 

  • https://twitter.com/#!/haversam [A]

    “Over 2,000 notes on tumblr later” ~oh well, I’m sure people is willing to invest money on this.. really, “notes on tumblr”? That’s no marketing research..

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    I’m sorry I didn’t hire a marketing firm to write this piece but rather relied on what was available to me.

  • http://twitter.com/WanderinDreamr Helen the Dreamer

    I remember seeing this and I would’ve loved this comic as a kid. Actually, I don’t recall there being that many comics when I was a kid that I liked which seems so strange now since I adore webcomics/manga and really makes me wish there had been more variety when I was a kid so I could’ve figured it out earlier.

  • Daniel Dellinger

    Kind of reminds me of Spider Man Loves Mary Jane, only more interesting. I definitely would have been interested in such a series. Sad to see it never really got off the ground.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VK7U6RFTAUIPW2JR2NGPBP2IYA super

    about 10 years ago the should have made this comic but called it  Chloe Sullivan.

  • Frodo Baggins

    I like the idea of a comic about a girl reporter, but… why have her be Lois Lane? That just lumps on a bunch of DC universe baggage to deal with. 

  • Anonymous

    Tumblr is a great way to gage fan reaction.  It’s a slice of pop culture and a great insight to what people are buzzing about and talking about.  

    But I guess I would have to question why the person above thinks it’s ok to criticize thousands of people on tumblr talking about something when so often I hear 1 or 2 fanboys trying to tell me that the culture at places like CBR represents “all fans.”  

    The reality is that the number of people registered at Clark/Lois fansites are in the thousands and they outnumber the single digit posters in threads in places like CBR over and over again.  Yet, it’s ok for DC Comics to claim that they have “gaged the fan reaction” by reading boards at CBR or the old DC boards?  

    If you want to talk about pure numbers, the fan participation at those places is a drop in the bucket compared to the number of people who have spent money on products that involved Lois Lane over the years.

    Bottom line?  This book would have been fantastic and with the proper marketing should have been a huge hit.

  • Anonymous

    No one cares about Chloe Sullivan except a very small group of vocal fans.  Outside of that, no one cares about her at all.  She’s not an icon like Lois Lane.

    The reality is that Lois Lane isn’t just an icon because she’s a reporter.  She’s an icon because of WHY she’s a reporter and the KIND of reporter she is.  

    You know, there have been a lot of reporters in comics.  Lana Lang was a reporter in Superboy comics for a long time. (And Lana Lang is the character that any true Superman fan can tell you Chloe very closely resembled in the early years of Smallville.  She was very much based on the Superboy version of Lana Lang who worked at the school newspaper with Clark in the Superboy comics.)

    Cat Grant is a reporter.  J. Jonah Jameson in the Spiderman comics.   Iris West.  The entire Daily Planet staff including Perry White and Ron Troupe. Vicky Vale.  Even Mary Jane Watson has been a reporter.

    The “reporter” aspect is not the defining factor. Not really.   Because if it was then all the other reporters in comics—like Iris West, Vicky,Lana Lang etc.—would be just as iconic as Lois Lane is.  

    It’s the why.  Lois Lane is a reporter because she can’t handle letting people get away with hurting other people and because she wants to expose corruption. Chloe Sullivan was a reporter because she had an interest in the meteor freaks and the weird and unexplained.  Which–btw—is a fine reason to be a reporter.  But it’s not the reason LOIS is a reporter as Lois has a very specific and special journey that makes her who she is.  She’s inspired by her father’s powerful position in the army and she’s seen a lot of powerful men do some very bad things and abuse power.  That’s why Superman is so different to her and that is the root of the attraction.  

    Lois Lane is an icon in her own right.  This book would have only succeeded with HER name on the title.  Not any of the other random reporters that have come in and out of comics over the years.   They are a dime a dozen.  Lois is the icon.

  • Anonymous

    Because Lois Lane is one of the most famous women at DC Comics and is arguably the most famous fictional pop culture reporter that exists.   Her name alone is a market draw for young women as she is beloved by many.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Bazilio/100000132443742 Eric Bazilio

    I couldn’t agree more.

    Comics have beem pidgeonholed with the concept of superheroes and their sidekicks/love interests/whatever for far too long to be considered healthy for its artistic development.

    And superhero bagage is way too convoluted and immature to deal with, honestly.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VK7U6RFTAUIPW2JR2NGPBP2IYA super

     having a tie in with an active tv show like smallville makes success far more likely because of the cross marketing.   Your knowledge of the Lois Lane character is far greater then mine.  Since Lois is a military brat that doesn’t establish roots anywhere the early age of Lois interest in becoming a kid reporter i have difficulty seeing it occur.   However you can tell me if its something that has occurred in her past at a young age??  Its more likely seeing her interest in journalism occurring as a later teens not early or pre teens.    While with Chloe i can see it occurring at a very young age. 

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Not if it’s not in continuity. They could pretty much do whatever they wanted with her, pick and choose which characters to include etc.

  • Anonymous

    I totally agree that cross-marketing is important.  I was a huge fan of Smallville despite not agreeing with every choice made over the years.

    I am a huge supporter of the new Smallville Season 11 comic coming out because I do believe that one of the strengths of the show was the way in which they treated the women as important players in the narrative.   The Smallville comic is very important for cross marketing and I honestly don’t think DC has done enough in the slightest to capitalize on the strength of that show.

    But this is a different issue.

    Yes, Lois is an army brat and her approach to journalism and to men has been deeply influenced by that.

    The age in which she becomes interested in journalism has varied depending on what age you are talking about. 

    In some stories, she lies about her age and basically deceives Perry White into thinking she is older than she is so that she can get hired by the Planet.  

    On “Lois and Clark” she became a reporter to prove her father wrong.  He had always raised her hoping she’d be a boy and wanted her to be a Doctor.  She became a reporter hoping to stick it to him and wound up loving it.  

    On Smallville, Lois always had a knack for investigating (she came on the series searching for the truth) and her motivation with journalism was always about exposing crooks and making them pay for their crimes. But on Smallville, the entire point of the series was about the JOURNEY and about taking all of these iconic characters and starting them off far away from their iconic positions and then watching them get there. So that’s a totally different construct.

    There have been just as many stories told where Lois wanted to be a reporter from a young age. Neither approach is right or wrong. They are all valid interpretations. The “why” is always the same and that’s what matters.

    Chloe Sullivan (while a very cute creation) fit more in line with the Lana Lang idea of the girl working at the school newspaper from the Superboy comics.  It’s a much different character and not the kind of character that Dean Trippe was writing about in his pitch for this book.  Lois’s personality is as important to the pitch as the journalism angle and Chloe’s personality (while very cute) is nothing like Lois.

    The entire concept of Dean Trippe’s Girl Reporter book was very focused on the idea that Lois Lane has been exposed to a lot of powerful men and corruption and that she forms ideas as a young woman about how she can fight back against that injustice through the written word.

    This kind of book only works if you are talking about Lois Lane 1.) because she is the iconic popular character and 2.) because she has the specific approach to reporting that sets her apart from the other journalists in the genre.

    Cross marketing with Smallville is great.  But a book like this doesn’t work without Lois’s name attached to it.

  • Anonymous

    If there can be a ton of million different AU’s and elseworlds that we are asked to accept about our male superheroes than I really fail to understand why it’s so hard to conceive that there could be multiple stories being told about women in another medium like a YA comic or book.

    I have never had a hard time with different timelines or different stories told about these iconic characters.  Part of their iconography is that they have become larger than life icons at this point.  They are like fairy tales or epic poems passed down in oral tradition that get retold over and over again.

    I have no problem accepting Superman: The Movie, The Animated Series, “Lois and Clark” and Smallville all as valid but DIFFERENT timelines and interpretations of these iconic characters.  I like them all for different reasons and I could tell you what I think its awesome and not so awesome about all of the adapations.

    I feel the same way about books.  I would have zero trouble understanding that a Lois Lane: Girl Reporter book would be set in it’s own universe.  It wouldn’t confuse me or confuse my understanding of these characters at all.  On the contrary, I really treasure different venues and chances to see new sides to these characters that we wouldn’t otherwise see.

  • Josh Brown

    this is coming out next spring….written by Greg Cox, published by Capstone