Monday, December 31, 2007

DC Fatties: The Fattest Girl in Metropolis!

In the Silver Age of comics, DC Comics in general, and the Superman titles in particular, had a strange obsession with bizarre physical transformations. Dysmorphism was the order of the day, as covers showed our favorite heroes transformed into aliens, cavemen, babies, ant-heads, and giant-brained future men. When new ideas were hard to come by, the writers could always just turn their star fat. I can’t imagine that a cover depicting a grotesquely obese Superboy flying an equally distorted Lana Lang around in a phone booth with her enormous ass sticking out could have sold that well, but there were enough similar stories to prove that someone was buying them.

Obesity was treated with the same compassion and sensitivity a were womens issues in '60's DC comics, which is to say, badly.

So as you can imagine, "The Fattest Girl In Metropolis" from Lois Lane #5 is a double barrel blast of cruel gags at the expense of both women and the morbidly obese. As usual, Lois has gotten herself into a situation that only a traumatic physical mutation and a series of escalating public humiliations engineered without her knowledge or consent can solve:

“The Fattest Girl in Metropolis” begins as Lois is interviewing yet another in the endless parade of Crackpot scientists that showed up in comics so often back then. He’s touting an experimental growth ray, and naturally, immediately turns it on Lois , indiscriminately flooding the room with dangerous radiation:

Lois goes home, and when she wakes up the next morning is horrified to see that she has become hugely fat! Of course, her first thought is not of her health, but of Superman, whom she plans to avoid until the rays effects wear off. Wackiness ensues, as Lois has to go to a “Fat Girls Shoppe” to buy new clothes, and her day to day routine is hilariously upset as she desperately tries to avoid a seemingly omnipresent Superman:

Poor Lois tries to get in shape, but the arrival of a poorly-timed gift box of chocolates shakes her resolve:

I’ll spare you the scene of fat Lois, insensate on her apartment floor, surrounded by empty candy wrappers, emitting a contented and window-rattling belch.

Finally, the jig is up, as Lois’ secret shame is revealed to Superman in the most humiliating way imaginable:

Ha ha! Always a freakishly mutated bridesmaid, never Superman's bride. But fear not, Lois, it turns out Superman knew what was going on all along…because he arranged it. Yes, Superman once again humiliates and degrades one of his friends to collar a crook he should have been able to deal with in one panel. I think he just liked jerking his girlfriend around. Lois’ response to all this is all too predictable:

You get your eat on, girl. That internet guy was right, Superman is a dick. This story hasn’t aged too well, actually, as fat Lois now looks like an average American. Once again, comics point the way to the future, and the future looks puffy and winded.

Next: Haul your lard ass back to the keyboard as we continue our look at DC’s silver age fatties with “The Fat Boy of Metropolis”!


Anonymous said...

There should be a Earth in the DCU with fat characters!
Etta Candy could be the Wonder Woman of that Earth. It would be awesome

Comics Creator said...

...and that what-if should be written by Grant Morrison!

Harvey Jerkwater said...

Me, I was hit by Professor Hendrickson's infamous "Donut Ray."

That's my excuse.

Kevin said...

Let's not forget Jimmy's moment of sensitivity: "Here, Ms. Lane, let me get you this extra-strong chair!"

madmiker5d4 said...

I thought Lois Lane made a good-looking fat chick; nothing wrong with BBWs, more cushion for the pushin'! During the post-Comics Code 1950s, Lois was drawn as so bland and sexless, pretty but not particularly sensuous; that any change to her appearance was welcome.