View Full Version : The Woman Behind Superman: Inspiration for Lois Lane Dies

02-15-2011, 07:00 PM


By Claudine Zap, Yahoo! Buzz | Tuesday, February 15, 2011, 12:07 PM

Siegel inspired "Superman's" Lois Lane
Alan Light

Here's some super-sad news: Lois Lane has died. The woman who inspired the character from the "Superman" comic, Joanne Siegel, was 93. Her husband, Jerome Siegel, modeled Lois Lane after the woman who eventually became his wife.

The Cleveland native met the Man of Steel co-creator Siegel and his partner Joe Shuster when she was just 15 or 16. The teen had placed a classified ad in the local paper offering her services as a model. Shuster answered the ad, and the sketches he made were the basis of iconic Lois Lane.

The love interest of Superman eventually became the real-life love interest of Siegel. She was introduced to Siegel by Shuster in the 1930s, but the two didn't marry until 1948, when Siegel's divorce to wife Bella Siegel was finalized.

"Superman," introduced as a DC comic book in 1938, became one of the best-known superheroes of all time, but the writers were not credited. In 1978, with the Warner Brothers movie about to come out, DC finally added the co-creators' names to every Superman story and agreed to pay a lifetime stipend.

After Jerome Siegel died in 1999, the Siegel and Shuster families filed for partial ownership of the character from Warner Brothers. Joanne Siegel could not leap tall buildings in a single bound, but she would end up doing something more important: preserving the legacy of the Superman creators.

Brad Ricca, who teaches a comic book class at Case Western University, described her determination for justice this way: "Siegel would call DC Comics in New York and say, 'You need to help these people who made you all millionaires.'" The professor added, "Kind of like Lois Lane, she just wouldn't give up."

In 2008, a ruling gave the families a right to a large share of "Superman," but details are still being worked out.

All that, and looks, too: An expert on Siegel tweeted, "Just heard Joanne Siegel passed away. Lois Lane herself. One of the most beautiful people I ever met."