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Ringing On Their Own Bells

Girl Taking Over: A Lois Lane Story

By Sarah Kuhn & Arielle Jovellanos 

1 Dec, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework


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Sarah Kuhn, and Arielle Jovellanos’1 2023 Girl Taking Over: A Lois Lane Story is a graphic novel about Lois Lane.

Having surmounted all the obstacles small town America places in the way of Asian-American girls, Lois Lane leaves Macville behind for to the big city — well, bigger city — where she has won an internship at Cat Grant’s prestigious CatCo, where Lois’ journalistic talents will no doubt be showcased. Lois has a plan for her life.

Arriving at her semi-legal sub-let, Lois discovers her mother also has a plan for Lois’ life.

Content warning: comic book minutiae.

Lois arrives to discover she has a roommate, former BFF Mihara. Lois and Mihara’s mothers are friends. Concerned about the years-long rift between Lois and Mihara, their mothers have arranged for them to spend a summer in the same quirky sub-let. Nothing repairs a broken friendship like forced proximity.

More delightful surprises wait at work. Lois arrives to discover Cat has sold CatCo to Comet News Group Media Corporation. Comet has installed Bradley Beauregard Belmont as the new boss. Despite a comprehensive lack of qualifications beyond a command of buzzwords and abundant social connections, BBB plans to transform CatCo into a broadly marketable product. For that to happen, there have to be changes.

Cat is summarily fired. So is the majority of the staff. Lois is spared because she is, in BBB’s eyes, ideal intern material. Lois is permitted to showcase her ability to fetch her obnoxious boss his coffee and lunch. When necessary, she is hauled out in front of investors to show CatCo’s inclusive hiring policies. The cherry on the humiliation sundae is BBB’s inability to remember Lois’ name.

CatCo fails to live up to BBB’s vision. It may be that firing all the writers impacted content generation. This could be an opportunity for Lois. Although himself unfamiliar with post-20th century culture (aside from empty marketing buzzwords) BBB would love for CatCo to appeal to the young people. Lois is just such young person! Perhaps she could write something useful.

The flaw in the plan is that Lois is very work-focused. It may well be that young people do young people things, but she has no idea what those might be. Perhaps Mihara has some utility after all.

Mihara brings Lois to the Cleave, where a diverse assortment of stage-oriented artists workshop ideas under mentor Dante Alexander. Lois soon notices a curious fact: Dante is reluctant to share his notes on his charges’ work. When he does, the result is always that their ideas are unworkable, that they should begin again. In fact, the only person whose work hits the Cleave’s stage is Dante’s.

A reporter at heart, Lois does a little digging. Dante isn’t just stringing kids along, smothering their dreams with neglect and unconstructive criticism. He’s doing something much worse. An expose is in order!

The catch? Dante is well-connected. One of his connections is none other than BBB. Lois and Mihara can try to expose Dante’s abuse, exploitation, and plagiarism … but there will be consequences.


I am not crazy about the art in this graphic novel.

I am confident that this isn’t a superhero comic. No superheroes and (assuming that venture capitalists do not count), no supervillains. All of the obstacles encountered are entirely mundane. This work may well be in the (or a—see below) DC superhero continuity, inasmuch as events incline towards justice, which long-time comic readers will remember is an essential element of matter in the DCU. Don’t look at me like that or I will explain the backstory to Earth-three.

However, this is science fiction or fantasy; the comment section of the website Lois and Mihara eventually create is supportive and yet does not require the full-time attention of a moderator to keep the 4‑Channers out of the comments of a POC-created site.

Lois Lane is Asian-American? She’s not Asian-American in my issue of Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #106!” some readers might protest. There’s probably an interesting conversation to be had about imbuing a long-established character with elements previously absent from a static portrayal. In this instance, Lois Lane is a DC Comics character. For various reasons, DC embraces a mutable continuity in which characters are reimagined all the time2, sometimes in ways that imperil readers’ sanity3. Reject the idea of canonical versions of characters, because DC has.

It’s safe to say this Lois Lane has the essential elements of Lois Lane4. Lois is ambitious, talented, and wants to be a journalist. This version of her deals with issues other Loises must have faced, such as sexism, and issues other Loises didn’t, such as entrenched racism and interfering moms5. This Lois Lane isn’t necessarily your Lois Lane but she’s definitely Lois Lane. I am not the target market for this, being an oldbie, but I expect those readers who are in the target market will enjoy it.

Girl Taking Over is available here (Amazon US), here (Amazon Canada), here (Amazon UK), here (Apple Books), here (Barnes & Noble), and here (Chapters-Indigo).

1: Color by Olivia Pecini, lettering by Melanie Ujimori, and some breakdowns by Sam Lotfi.

2: Speaking of transformed characters, not only this version of Cat Grant a black woman, she is portrayed very, very differently than the brittle blonde gossip columnist from The Adventures of Superman #424. Ethnicity aside, I believe this is a continuation of a gradual development of Cat’s character over the decades.

3: Hawkman. To explain would endanger the reader’s sanity.

4: No sign of the Man of Steel, but this story is set long before he pulled on the long-johns and before he met Lois. Even if he were around, it’s not as if he could solve patriarchy by punching it in the face. Well, he could, but most versions of Superman wouldn’t.

5: Wikipedia says that Lois Lane’s mother is named Ella and that the Lanes lived in Pittsdale rather than Macville. I am a little sad the authors missed the chance to give Lois the chance to say she escaped the Pitts.” I am sure that’s what Pittsdale kids call Pittsdale. I also don’t remember Ella appearing in any comic I’ve read.