‘Lois Lane, Super-Baby-Sitter’ — “Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane”

Acci­den­tal expo­sure to an youth-restor­ing treat­ment has turned Super­man into Superba­by, and Lois Lane and Lana Lang, rivals in seek­ing to win the heart (and hand in mar­riage) of Super­man, see an oppor­tu­ni­ty to final­ly get the (Super)man of their dreams, albeit with a lit­tle hyp­not­ic help.

Descrip­tion: In ‘Lois Lane — Super-Baby-Sit­ter’ in issue #57 (May, 1965) of “Super­man’s Girl Friend Lois Lane, Super­man drops off Lois Lane and Lana Lang at a fan­cy hotel, just before leaves Metrop­o­lis, telling them that he is tak­ing Clark Kent to help him write up the find­ings of his exper­i­men­tal youth restora­tion machine, but that he will be back in time to attend an aniver­sary par­ty of the Dai­ly Plan­et. Lois and Lana are shar­ing a suite at the hotel as part of the hotel’s grand opening.

Lat­er, Lois dis­cov­ers a very young Superba­by in an alley and takes him back to their hotel suite. They soon dis­cov­er just how dif­fi­cult is it to dis­ci­pline some­one who is invul­ner­a­ble and can­not feel pain and so must find oth­er means to keep him safe until the youth restora­tion treat­ment wore off. Besides, it gives the both of them the chance to rein­force and pos­si­bly height­en his attrac­tion to them, which they seem to have no luck doing.

Its Lana’s idea to watch tele­vi­sion with him (and to get an idea how old this com­ic is, the TV at this swanky new hotel is black & white), fig­ur­ing that it would fas­ci­nate the tod­dler Superba­by. It cer­tain­ly does, but a pro­gram on the TV fas­ci­nates Lois. That pro­gram shows a hyp­no­tist hyp­no­tiz­ing a young sub­ject and plant­i­ng a post-hyp­not­ic sug­ges­tion, which the sub­ject blind­ly fol­lowed just a few min­utes later.

[As the TV screen lights up.] (Announc­er) “And now Pro­fes­sor Mills will demon­strate the use of post-hyp­not­ic suggestion.”

(Pro­fes­sor) “Chil­dren are most eas­i­ly influ­enced when under hyp­no­tism. A month ago, while this lad was hyp­no­tized, I gave him cer­tain com­mands … Let me replay the tapes of that program.”

[When the tapes are re-run] (Pro­fes­sor, mak­ing a hyp­not­ic ges­ture by extend­ing both hands and arms toward his entranced sub­ject) “Remem­ber, my boy! I have giv­en you a post-hyp­not­ic com­mand. 30 days from now, at pre­cise­ly 8:25 PM, you will obey that com­mand, no mat­ter where you are. Till then my orders will be locked in your subconscious.”

(Boy, with the light from a spin­ning device shin­ing into his eyes) “Yes, master!”

[As the re-run ends.] (Boy) “But Pro­fes­sor, I don’t remem­ber being hyp­no­tized … I don’t rememver any com­mands. What did you order me to do?”

(Pro­fes­sor) “We’ll know in just a moment. It’s almost 8:25 now.”

[Then, at the pre­cise moment …] (Boy, pick­ing up a pitch­er and dump­ing the con­tents on his head) “Guh­hh! I dumped that pitch­er of water on myself! Some­thing forced me to do it!”

(Pro­fes­sor) “Ha, Ha! This is exact­ly what I ordered you to do when I hyp­no­tized you a month ago. My hyp­not­ic com­mand was irresistible!”

That demon­stra­tion gave Lois an IDEA: if she could hyp­no­tize Superba­by and give him a post-hyp­not­ic sug­ges­tion into propos­ing to her when he returned to his nor­mal age, then she’d get the one thing she’d been want­i­ng as long as she’s known him. Thus, she calls the hotel front desk, say­ing she’s con­duct­ing a test of their ser­vices, and wants an elec­tric fan, a mir­ror, a chalk­board and chalk and a few oth­er items. Using the rotat­ing fan and the mir­ror to reflect a flash­ing light into Superbaby’s eyes, she hyp­no­tizes him and has him write the words “ME LOVE LOIS” on the chalk­board, over and over. (Inter­est­ing in that Superba­by speaks in baby-talk but has enough intel­li­gence to spell even sim­ple words correctly.)

Unfor­tu­nate­ly for Lois’ plans, Lana caught the cun­ning gleam Lois flashed when she though of her idea, and cov­er­ly watched her hyp­no­tize Superba­by, and she went and did exact­ly the same thing. She gets a spin­ning top and some paint (and a gal­lon of ice cream) through the hotel and pro­ceeds to hyp­no­tize and brain­wash Superba­by by paint­ing a spi­ral on the sur­face of the top. And Lois watch­es her do it.

From then on, each will alter­nate­ly keep hyp­no­tiz­ing Superba­by and rein­forc­ing the sug­ges­tions until one morn­ing he dis­ap­pears. They both fig­ure he returned to his nor­mal age, and then await­ed to return to gain their reward. But when Super­man appears, he has no idea what they’re talk­ing about, as they both expect him to obey their post-hyp­not­ic com­mands. But he said he could­n’t have been the Superba­by: the machine he was work­ing on explod­ed before it could be test­ed. That leaves the ques­tion of who was Superba­by, and the answer is to be found with the advanced devices in Super­man’s Fortress of Solitude.

There, they dis­cov­er that it was a Superba­by from a par­al­lel uni­verse (“one of count­less such worlds, all sim­i­lar to Earth, but each with its own pecu­liar dif­fer­ences.”) There, the machine explod­ed after reduc­ing Super­man to Superba­by, at the same time shift­ing him into their par­al­lel world. They were even able to track and watch Super­man meet up with Lois and pro­pose to her (Lois: “My post-hyp­not­ic sug­ges­tion worked! He’s propos­ing to my dou­ble!”) and then to pro­pose to Lana as well. Appar­ent­ly bigamy is legal (an inter­est­ing thing to dis­cov­er in a com­ic from the mid-60’s) on that world and so Super­man is able to car­ry out both sets of post-hyp­not­ic sug­ges­tions and mar­ry both Lois and Lana.

Com­men­tary:

  • The depic­tion of the tele­vised hyp­no­sis demon­stra­tion is his­tor­i­cal­ly true. There were sev­er­al live demon­stra­tions of hyp­no­sis in the ear­ly days of tele­vi­sion, with no con­sid­er­a­tion about (and some­times actu­al­ly attempt­ing to) hyp­no­tiz­ing the audience.
  • The con­cept of par­al­lel worlds was not new to DC at this time: the first men­tion of par­al­lel worlds in the DC Uni­verse was in 1953 in an issue of Won­der Woman, but the sem­i­nal sto­ry about par­al­lel uni­vers­es was the ‘Flash of Two Worlds’ sto­ry in “Flash” #123 (Sep­tem­ber, 1961) in which the Sil­ver Age Flash (Bar­ry Allen) cross­es between uni­vers­es to dis­cov­er the Gold­en Age Flash (Jay Gar­rick). That sto­ry by Gard­ner Fox (one of the pro­lif­ic and imag­i­na­tive writ­ers of the Sil­ver Age at DC) encour­aged DC to start mak­ing use of its Gold­en Age char­ac­ters, a trend that has con­tin­ued to this day.

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