Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and fifteenth installment where we examine three comic book legends and determine whether they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends.
The memory-erasing kiss from Superman II was based on a kiss-based superpower that Superman had in the comics.
There is a popular website among comic book fans called Superdickery. The idea behind the site is that during the Silver Age, Superman covers would often portray Superman doing some awful stuff, but the story within would show that Superman was actually doing something good, it just LOOKED bad. This came from the way that longtime Superman editor Mort Weisinger produced the comics. He would ask kids to suggest stories that they'd like to see and he would also accept cover concepts (the first assignment that Cary Bates ever had at DC is when he came up with a cover concept that became the cover of Superman #167. I am not even going to check to see if that's the right number, that's how oddly confident that I remembered the exact issue number. Am I right? Am I wrong? We'll never know! As there is no such thing as an engine that can search for information like that). He would then have his writers come up with a story based on said cover concept. So, like, the cover shows Superman tearing off Lois Lane's oxygen tube while they're in space and she's all, "Oh no, Superman is murdering me!" while in the comic, he tore it off because it was filled with poison or something like that. However, the conceit of Superdickery is that all of those covers are just Superman's actual personality. He's simply a sadistic dude.
I mention that because that basic idea of taking an old Silver Age story out of context, while VERY funny at times, becomes a bit of a problem when people then start writing articles based on just the out-of-context panel. A few years back, I did a Comic Book Legends Revealed about how a superpower Superman is often cited as having, Super-Weaving, is actually based on a panel of another character who LOOKS like Superman doing the super-weaving. Superman probably DOES have the same ability, but we've never actually seen him do it.
And that, you might be shocked to note (obviously, you're not surprised at all), ties into today's legend.
In Superman II, Lois Lane discovers that Clark Kent is Superman and she and Clark decide to pursue a relationship and Superman decides that he will give up his powers so that he can live a human life with Lois. They even spend the night together...
However, due to the threat of three Kryptonian criminals who are ravaging the Earth in the absence of Superman, Clark must regain his powers and take on the bad guys. Lois understands this, she really does, but at the same time, it's a whole lot of hurt to actually get with Superman and have it all taken away by his nobility and desire to help the world.
Superman, then, decides to lessen her burden by using a super-kiss that strips her of her memory of Superman's identity...
This appears to be similar to the end of the first Superman film, where Superman spins the world backwards to reverse time so that he can prevent Lois Lane from being killed....
By similar, I mean that it appears to be a superpower that the filmmakers just pulled out of thin air (Superman DID travel in time in the comics, but he could not force the Earth to reverse in time). However, some people argue otherwise with regards to Superman's memory-erasing kiss.
I won't spotlight any one site here, as it is just way too common of a thing, so why pick on any one given site, but here is an anonymous quote from one site about Superman's memory-erasing kiss existing in the comics:
The ‘Amnesia Kiss’ was a superpower of Superman that was introduced back in 1963 in Action Comics #306, in this issue Clark uses his memory loss-inducing lip-lock on Lois Lane leaving her dazed and confused, forgetting everything about his superhero identity and keeping his secret safe. We do in fact get to see this in action within the final moments of Superman II, however that’s it. So the point that I’m trying to make is; if you have the power to erase people’s memories why not use it?
However, this is just a plainly inaccurate reading of Action Comics #306 (by Robert Bernstein and Al Plastino). Here's the scene in question in full....
Obviously, Superman does not REMOTELY erase Lois' memory. He just kisses her really forcefully. I mean, they DO call it a Super-Kiss, so I get why people make the connection, but it really isn't there.
Thanks Tom P. for suggesting this one!
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Superman Took Forever to Tell the Flash If He Was Still In the Justice LeagueAbout The Author
Brian Cronin (14969 Articles Published)
CBR Senior Writer Brian Cronin has been writing professionally about comic books for over a dozen years now at CBR (primarily with his “Comics Should Be Good” series of columns, including Comic Book Legends Revealed). He has written two books about comics for Penguin-Random House – Was Superman a Spy? And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed and Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? And Other Amazing Comic Book Trivia! and one book, 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, from Triumph Books. His writing has been featured at ESPN.com, the Los Angeles Times, About.com, the Huffington Post and Gizmodo. He features legends about entertainment and sports at his website, Legends Revealed. Follow him on Twitter at @Brian_Cronin and feel free to e-mail him suggestions for stories about comic books that you'd like to see featured at email@example.com!