Who can get married while celebrating his 40th anniversary at the same time?
Why, Superman, of course!
Celebrating the fourth decade since the Man of Steel first hoisted that green sedan over his head, Action Comics #484 (1978) featured the long-awaited wedding of Superman and Lois Lane!
Making the issue even more special was this gorgeous cover by Jose Garcia Lopez, conveying all the joyous spectacle you'd expect from these star-crossed lovers finally tying the knot.
Or did they?
Sharp-eyed readers quickly realized something was up. The Daily Star building in the background and Superman's obscured chest symbol provided clues that all was not what it appeared to be.
You see, this was indeed a wedding between Superman and Lois Lane....of Earth-2! For years, the earliest adventures of Superman had cleverly been exported to an alternate Earth, where differing details of his Kryptonian heritage, his workplace (The Daily Star instead of the familiar Daily Planet) and even a slightly different "S" symbol were still the norm.
So, yeah...on one hand it was a bit of a cop-out to marry the Earth-2 version of the couple, but on the other hand it made perfect sense. When you think about it, these were the characters who appeared in the first issue of Action Comics in 1938, so it seemed natural that they would receive the reward denied the "real" Superman and Lois from the ongoing series (at least until 1995).
But back to that dynamite cover. As someone who's always been a sucker for sentiment and tradition, this cover hits all of my buttons. The classic design of the wedding dress, the "Just Married" banner, and the obvious joy of the bride and groom (without a molecule of cynicism or irony) all seem like something imported from another age.
You know, while I'm at it, I might as well make this an unofficial clip for The Highlight Reel, my ongoing effort to chronicle my favorite comic book moments. There's so much to love about the story inside. Writer Cary Bates turned in a tight and (at times) unexpectedly moving script, perfectly complemented by the artwork of Curt Swan (who else?) and inker Joe Giella. However, the part of the story that makes the Reel is actually the final two panels of the story.
Earlier in the tale, Lois Lane had fallen in love with and married Clark Kent who, at the time, had forgotten his life as Superman due to a magic spell courtesy of The Wizard. After Clark eventually regained his memory (and superpowers) and took care of the Wizard, there was only one thing left to do.
Taking his bride to his Secret Citidel (an art-deco precursor of the Fortress of Solitude) Superman and Lois privately reaffirm their vows in a touching Kryptonian ritual (click on the panels for a larger view). In all the years I've read and enjoyed Superman stories, there aren't many moments with more grace and understated beauty than this one. All of it done in the shadow of Kal-L's Kryptonian parents, who looked like the reigning gods of some lost 1930's sci-fi pantheon.