Lana traditionally has been Superman's romantic interest when they were teenagers in Smallville. In the Silver Age, she regularly appeared in series featuring the character’s teenaged self, Superboy. She also often appeared as an adult in Superman series, vying with current love interest Lois Lane for his attention.
In the modern DC Comics continuity, she and Clark Kent were and still are close friends with a certain degree of romantic tension between them. For a time, Lana is married to Pete Ross, Clark Kent's best friend as a youth, and has a son named Clark by Pete.
Lana has been featured in most other media adaptations of Superboy or Superman as a teenager, including the series Smallville where she is played by Kristin Kreuk. She has also appeared in many adaptations of Superman, although her role is generally smaller. An exception is the 1983 film Superman III, where she was played by Annette O'Toole (who also plays Martha Kent in the TV show Smallville) and was the character’s main romantic interest. Prior to Smallville, Lana was a regular cast member in the half hour live-action Superboy television series, played by Stacy Haiduk in the entire 100 episode run. Up to this point in time, it was this series that gave the Lana Lang character more exposure than any other media adaptation of the Superman sagaTemplate:Fact. The show ran from 1988–1992 in first-run syndication.
Lana is one of several Superman characters with the alliterative initials "LL", including Lex Luthor, Lionel Luthor, Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass, Lena Luthor (whose surname was changed to "Thorul" in the Silver Age, to distance herself from her criminal brother), Lois Lane, Letitia Lerner, Lori Lemaris, Lucy Lane, Lara Lor-Van (Superman's Kryptonian mother), and Linda Lee (aka Supergirl). Even Superman's birth name is Kal-El, and his father's Jor-El.
Fictional character biography Edit
Earth-One Lana Lang Edit
In the original Superboy stories, Lana was the girl who lived next door to the Kent family in Smallville, and was a romantic interest of Superboy. In the Silver Age stories, Lana often behaved like a younger version of Lois, spending much of her time trying to prove that Superboy and Clark Kent were one and the same.
At one point, Lana once rescued an insect-like alien trapped by a fallen tree in Smallville. In gratitude, the alien gave her a "bio-genetic" ring which allowed Lana to gain insect (and insect-like, such as arachnids) characteristics. Lana created a yellow honeybee-like costume and mask, and took the name "Insect Queen", under which identity Lana had several adventures.
Lana also had various adventures with Superboy, and several with the futuristic superhero team the Legion of Super-Heroes. Also appearing in some Silver Age stories was Lana's uncle, Professor Potter, an eccentric inventor.
After Clark and Lana graduated from high school, Lana went to college, and eventually became a television reporter; as an adult, she became a rival to Lois Lane for Superman's romantic affection in various 1960s stories, often appearing in the title Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane.
During the 1970s and early 1980s, Lana became an anchorwoman for WGBS-TV's evening news in Metropolis, as a co-anchor to Clark Kent. Her attraction to Superman during this time had also died off, leaving Superman to Lois. Lana later became romantically linked to the alien super-hero Vartox. Eventually, she and Clark Kent became romantically involved in stories prior to the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Earth-Two Lana Lang Edit
In the early 1980s, with the use of the multiverse system DC had in place, Lana Lang was also shown in several stories to have had an Earth-Two counterpart (Earth-Two at the time the home of the Justice Society of America and DC's Golden Age versions of its characters, versus its mainstream universe of "Earth-One"). The Earth-Two Lana Lang was introduced in Superman Family #203 (September-October 1980). In this story, set in the early 1950s, Lana Lang joins the Daily Star staff as a television critic. She relates to Clark Kent that she and her family left Smallville when she was very young, explaining why they hadn't met during their youth unlike the Earth-One versions.
Later, she became an Insect Queen like her Earth-One counterpart; in this case, Lana had received a mystic amulet from her archaeologist father, said amulet having been created to allow a Pharaoh to control and divert the locust hordes that threatened ancient Egypt. Unfortunately, the charm associated with the amulet was set to be energized by the sound of approaching insect wings; by unfortunate coincidence, the sound of Superman's super-speed flying was similar enough to activate the spell. Lana was thus compelled to create a Chitinous golden-brown costume (woven by silkworms under her control) and adopt a villainous alter ego, the Insect Queen. After an initial clash with Superman, the Insect Queen fell under the mental influence of Superman's enemy, the Ultra-Humanite, who kept her under the spell's compulsion and prevented her from reverting to normal. Earth-Two's Superman was able to locate an antidote to the spell, which Lois Lane used to remove the compulsion (Superman Family #213, December 1981), letting Lana break free of Ultra's influence and making her able to use the amulet's power at her own discretion. The Earth-2 Insect Queen would later use her abilities to aid Superman in times of need. This version of Lana Lang phased out of existence during the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Dark Knight Lana Lang Edit
In Frank Miller's classic graphic novel Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Lana is The Daily Planet's managing editor. A portly, no-nonsense middle-aged lady, she is Batman's most outspoken supporter, appearing in a series of TV debates in which she and others argue over his methods and influence.
Modern version Edit
After the 1985-1986 miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths was written, various aspects of Lana's history were retconned, starting with comics writer John Byrne's miniseries The Man of Steel, which was designed to rewrite Superman's origin from scratch. In the post-Crisis version of events, Lana was a childhood friend of Clark, with a certain degree of romantic tension in the air as Lana had long pined after Clark, who had loved her only platonically in return.
After they graduated from high school Clark took Lana on a private walk, saying that he had to tell her something important, which Lana honestly expected to be a marriage proposal. He then divulged to her that he had superpowers, displayed by flying her around the world, before explaining that he felt he had to leave Smallville to help humanity as a whole. Kissing her goodbye "like a brother," Lana was left in considerable shock, not only over the revelation of Clark's superpowers, but also over the final realization that he held no reciprocal romantic feelings towards her, leaving Lana heartbroken and alone. When Lana finally aired her grievance with him years later, Clark felt very badly over how he had hurt her.
When Clark appeared in public as Superman some years later, the lonely and depressed Lana deduced his true identity and became something of a stalker, to the extent that Lex Luthor noticed the frequency with which she appeared in the vicinity of the hero and actually had her tortured in an attempt to gain whatever inside knowledge of Superman she might have.Template:Issue However, Lana bravely kept Clark's identity a secret and upon his rescuing her their relationship became more healthy once again, albeit still at a distance. Unlike the pre-Crisis Earth-One continuity, Lana did not go on to have a journalistic career, compete with Lois for Superman's affections, nor play a significant role in Clark's life in Metropolis.
Years later, the post-Crisis Lana eventually married Pete Ross.Template:Issue The two settled into a quiet life in Smallville, where they had a son they named after their mutual friend, Clark, after Lana asked Clark to save the baby's life when a car accident caused him to be born eight weeks premature; although Clark's efforts to take him to receive care were interrupted by the attack of the Brainiac-controlled Doomsday, Brainiac's subsequent attempts to use the baby's DNA to create a new body for himself brought the baby to full term.Template:Issue Pete began a career in politics that got him elected to the United States Senate.Template:Issue In 2000, Senator Ross became Lex Luthor's vice presidential running mate in Luthor's bid to become President of the United States, and after the two won, Lana moved to Washington, D.C.Template:Issue Eventually, Luthor was forced from his office, and Pete Ross became president (and Lana the First Lady of the United States)Template:Issue. As she and Pete began to drift apart, Lana began to subtly attempt to regain Clark's affections, much to the anger of his (now) wife Lois LaneTemplate:Issue. Pete and Lana briefly reunited after Superman saved them from being killed by the villainous Ruin in Adventures of SupermanTemplate:Issue.
In Superman #654, Perry White reported that Lana had become CEO of Lexcorp following the ousting of founder Lex Luthor. In Superman/Batman #49, it is revealed that she sold Kryptonite to the government to prevent Lexcorp from going under, and had caches of Kryptonite placed all over the planet, as a last-ditch defense if Superman should ever go rogue. When Superman and Batman come to remove the Kryptonite, Lana refuses to hand it over, and pushes a button which turns the caches into "dirty bombs" which spread Kryptonite molecules through the entire planet, forcing all Kryptonians to vacate. However, Toyman uses special nanobots to remove all of the Kryptonite molecules, undoing the damage. Superman meets with Lana again, with Lana telling him she was left with no choice. Superman responds by telling her the reason he is with Lois instead of her: because Lois would never have pushed the button. After Superman flies off, someone is shown watching Lana crying on a screen, saying to her "you did perfect".
She later tries to help Superman, facing the time-traveling strongman Atlas, by sending the Luthor Squad. This act activates a dormant program inside the Lexcorp mainframes, an holographic version of Luthor. The holographic copy of Luthor informs Lana that by helping Superman she has violated the Lexcorp standard contract of employment, that forbids Lexcorp employers to use Lexcorp resources for helping Kryptonians, under the penalty of termination. So, Lana Lang is instantly fired, given a short amount of time to leave Lexcorp for good.Template:Issue
New Supergirl writer Sterling Gates tells Newsarama "We're integrating Supergirl's book more into the Superman universe, and that includes having a supporting cast that overlaps with that world. I'm very interested in tying her back in to Metropolis and making sure that her world is a part of the Superman universe. Cat Grant will be a regular supporting cast member, as will Lana Lang."
Lana takes it upon herself to reach out to Supergirl. She offers her advice and friendship. Around the same time, Perry White has been actively pursuing Lana to take over the Business section of The Daily Planet, a position which Lana was afraid to accept, following her bad experience with Lexcorp. Eventually, Lana and Supergirl decide together that Lana will accept the position, and that Supergirl will take on the secret identity of Linda Lang, niece of Lana Lang. Lana now lives in Metropolis with Supergirl, and is working as the editor of the Business section of The Daily Planet.
Superman: Red SonEdit
In other media Edit
The Adventures of SuperboyEdit
In the failed 1961 TV pilot The Adventures of Superboy, Lana Lang made her first live-action appearance, portrayed by Bunny Henning, alongside Johnny Rockwell as Superboy.
Superman: The MovieEdit
In Richard Donner's Superman in 1978, Lana Lang had a brief appearance in a scene at Smallville High. She was shown to be a cheerleader at the school with a fairly obvious crush on Clark, even though her current boyfriend was a football player named Brad. She was portrayed by Diane Sherry.
In the 1983 movie Superman III, Lana was played by Annette O'Toole. In an interview for the documentary Look Up In The Sky: The The Amazing Story of Superman, O'Toole states that the producers of Smallville (where she plays Clark's own adoptive mother, Martha Kent) were not aware that she had appeared in Superman III until after she was cast in the TV series. In Superman III, Lana is a divorcee with a son named Ricky. Lana's former boyfriend Brad, a former jock and Clark's childhood bully, is now a security guard and is still vying for her attention
Superboy (TV series)Edit
In the late 1980s-early 1990s Superboy television series, Lana was played by Stacy Haiduk. In this version, she was a lifelong friend of Clark, who accompanied him to Shuster University (named after Superman's co-creator) and later the Bureau for Extra-Normal Matters, where she and Clark investigated all of the unusual incidents that took place in Capitol City, Florida.
Superman (1988 TV series)Edit
Lana also appeared in the Superman 1988 animated Saturday morning television series produced by Ruby-Spears Productions and had a 13-episode run. It's also notable for being the first appearance of the Superman mythos following John Byrne's major relaunch of the character from 1986. The final four minutes of each Superman episode were devoted to a brief snapshot from the "Superman Family Album." These biographical segments deviated from the contemporary comics to have Clark have his powers fully developed since infancy as opposed to developing as he matured. These stories depicted the Smallville misadventures of the young Kryptonian immigrant as he faces typical childhood trials with his first day at school, an overnight scouting campout, getting a driver's license, his first date, and more. Lana was featured in some of these "Superman Family Album" flashback segments, but never appeared during the regular episode story segment.
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of SupermanEdit
Lana made one appearance in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, where she was played by Emily Procter (best known as Calleigh Duquesne in TV's CSI: Miami). Lana's appearance was in an episode set in an alternate universe where Lois was dead and a blonde Lana was engaged to Clark, encouraging him to keep his abilities secret, constantly telling him that he would be locked up and sent to a government laboratory if people knew what he was capable of. When the mainstream universe's Lois persuaded that world's Clark to become Superman, Lana ended their relationship.
Superman: The Animated SeriesEdit
The pilot episode of Superman: The Animated Series followed the "post-Crisis" comics, with Lana being the first person Clark confided in about his superpowers. Lana, as an adult, appeared in later episodes as a world-famous fashion designer. Adult Lana first appears in "My Girl," already having deduced Superman's identity, when her relationship with Lex Luthor breaks off after she tries to pass information on to Clark about Luthor's plots. She later plays a prominent role in "Obsession" and cameos in the ending of the episode "The Late Mr. Kent." The young Lana was voiced by Kelley Schmidt, and the adult version by Joely Fisher.
Lana appears in a cameo in the episode "Hereafter", at Superman's funeral.
- Main article: Lana Lang (Smallville)
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