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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