Lucy is the more interesting Lane sister. There, I said it. Some of you might think I’m crazy, especially when the other sister is Lois Lane, but when you take a look at Lucy’s life, I think the evidence is pretty compelling. Lucy has been a flight attendant, a vampire, a Kryptonian assassin, a military soldier, an agent for the 100, and a giant flying mutant. Oh, and she has also been married to Jimmy Olsen twice. Quite the resume, isn’t it? Tonight, Jenna Dewan will be reprising her role as Lucy Lane on The CW’s Superman and Lois, making this the perfect time to get reacquainted with Lois Lane’s wacky sister. So, without further ado, who is Lucy Lane?
Lucy first appeared in 1959’s Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #36. This debut story established Lois’s younger sister as a flight attendant, and it didn’t take long for Jimmy to fall hard. For most of the Silver Age, Lucy was Jimmy Olsen’s love interest, but the relationship wasn’t exactly a healthy one. Have you ever had two friends who you were both great people on their own, but as a couple they were just the worst? That was Jimmy and Lucy. There are too many examples to name, but to start with, Lucy was always breaking dates with Jimmy to go out with men she met on her flights.
In Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #69 the couple got engaged, but their relationship was so ambiguous and inconsistent that the letters pages of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #81 stated that even Jimmy was confused about whether they were still engaged or not.
The most outrageous example was when Lucy created a persona called Sandra Rogers and disguised herself as a Hollywood starlet. As Sandra, Lucy began a whirlwind romance with an international magician named Magi. The twist? Magi was actually Jimmy Olsen in disguise, unaware that he was cheating on Lucy with…well, Lucy. What’s even richer is that this wasn’t a one-off hoax story, but a reoccurring plot thread that ran for a year.
To their credit, the couple did eventually get married. Twice, even! But neither union lasted more than a day. Their marriage in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #82 fell apart after they learned the truth about the whole Magi and Sandra thing. It helped that the justice-of-the-peace made a clerical error, so the marriage wasn’t legal, and the couple took it as a sign to slow things down. They got married again in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #100, and the wedding proved to be just as big of a catastrophe as their entire relationship.
Miss Gzptlsnz (think Mxyzptlk in a dress) had the hots for Jimmy, so she put a hex on Lucy’s lipstick. As a result, Superman turned into a mole every time Jimmy and Lucy kissed, which after a few times really started testing the whole “Superman’s best pal” thing. In short, Jimmy didn’t find it so funny, and after a few more of his evil exes (Yes, Jimmy Olsen has multiple evil exes) tried to sabotage the marriage, Lucy and Jimmy decided to annul the whole thing.
Eventually, Lucy grew bored of her life as a flight attendant and Olsen as love interest, and decided to spice things up by becoming an agent for the 100. Yes, Black Lightning fans, THAT 100! Using her position as a flight attendant, Lucy spied on government officials and scientists, using their secrets to strengthen the 100’s criminal operations. In Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #120, Lucy fell for one of her targets and began to fear what the 100 would do with the weapon he’d created. Lucy stole the secret plans, found a canoe, and fled along a South American river. Her boat was wrecked, and she was presumed dead until Lois found Lucy’s journals and was horrified to learn what her sister had been up to.
Lucy Lane had survived, but her injuries left her close to death. In Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #160, it was revealed that a group of natives mystically healed her, but the procedure turned Lucy into an elderly woman. She changed her name to Lena Lawrence, and assisted Jimmy on a few cases before revealing her true identity. Lucy regained her youth after trying to save some children in a burning building, when the chemicals that had been caught in the fire were shown to be able to reverse her condition. Lucy was young again, but her hair remained silver, a look she kept for the next few years.
Lucy’s final Pre-Crisis appearance was in the 1986 Lois Lane limited series, where the two Lane sister finally reconciled. Lois had never made peace with Lucy’s decision to work with the 100 and wasn’t thrilled that she had revealed her survival to Jimmy and not her. Luckily, they buried the hatchet, ending an estrangement that had lasted for fourteen years of comics (and that seems to be very present in Superman and Lois).
After the reality-altering events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Lucy Lane was reintroduced in 1986’s The Man of Steel #5. Lucy had been blinded by chemicals after a confrontation with an airline hijacker, but an encounter with Bizarro helped her regain her eyesight, thanks the unique blend of chemicals that make up his physiology. The 1990’s were pretty eventful for Lucy. In 1992’s Superman #68, she was shot by Deathstroke and lived to tell the tale. In Superman #70, she was temporarily turned into a vampire, fought Robin, and almost succeeded in biting the Man of Steel’s neck. Through all of these misadventures she continued to date Jimmy Olsen, but all that changed when she met Daily Planet reporter Ron Troupe in Action Comics #712.
Lucy had begun to feel alienated from Jimmy after he took at a television job at GBS and let his new fame go to his head. When he began spending time with a coworker named Dana, Lucy decided to break things off once and for all and began a new relationship with Ron Troupe. (Hey Lucy, it’s okay to date people who aren’t your sister’s co-workers.) Things with Ron got serious fast, and by Superman: The Man of Steel #83, Lucy learned she was pregnant.
The couple decided to get married, and the couple were happily wed in Adventures of Superman #584. Lucy then became a mother in Adventures of Superman #587 when Samuel Troupe (named after his maternal grandfather) was born. It seemed she had finally gotten her happily ever after, but then things took a dark turn.
When Sam Lane was presumed dead during the Imperiex War, Lucy took it hard and decided to become the type of daughter her father always wanted. Lucy left Ron and baby Samuel, and joined the United State Army. She quickly rose through the ranks and became a Major, which didn’t go unnoticed by her father, who wasn’t as dead as everyone thought. He approached Lucy about being the test subject for a secret government project, and Lucy accepted without hesitation. Lucy was given a powersuit which gave her all the powers of a Kryptonian.
The younger Lane was dubbed Superwoman, and sent undercover to New Krypton where she was tasked with spying on the Kryptonian refugees for the United States government. As Superwoman, Lucy began to grow mad with power. She killed a few people in the line of duty, and later killed out of anger and to test her powers. During a confrontation with Supergirl in 2009’s Supergirl #41, Lucy’s powersuit malfunctioned and her body chemistry was altered. She now had all the powers and weaknesses of a Kryptonian, even when she wasn’t wearing her Superwoman suit. In the aftermath of the War of the Supermen event, Lucy was arrested for helping her father instigate a war between Earth and New Krypton.
After reality was altered by another DC event, this time 2011’s Flashpoint, Lucy Lane was restored to her pre-Superwoman self and reintroduced in 2012’s Superman #7. This time around, she briefly dated Clark, but his responsibilities as Superman and burgeoning romance with Wonder Woman stopped the potential relationship from getting off the ground. (Sidenote: Another Daily Planet employee? Sign up for a dating website, Lucy!) In Superman: Lois Lane #1, Lucy became addicted to a street drug that transformed her into a giant flying monster. Fortunately, with the help of Lois, Lucy was able to detox and stop her scary transformations.
Over the years, Lucy Lane has also appeared on the big and small screen. Maureen Teefy brought Lucy to film in the 1984 Supergirl movie. Elizabeth Barondes portrayed Lucy in the first few episodes of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman before disappearing from the show. Lucy later returned in the second season recast as Roxana Zal. During her return appearance Lucy dated John Corben (aka Metallo), finally proving that she can indeed date men outside of the Daily Planet bullpen…and that maybe we should be glad she doesn’t.
Peyton List appeared as Lucy in two episodes of Smallville. List’s version of Lucy was a con artist who had a complicated relationship with Lois. This brings us to Jenna Dewan, our current live-action Lucy. Viewers first met Jenna’s Lucy during Supergirl’s freshmen season. Lucy was an officer in the United States Army, and in a complicated on-again/off-again relationship with James Olsen (some things never change). She even was temporarily made the head of D.E.O. after controversy arose over J’onn J’onzz’s alien origins. Her relationship with Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl was initially uneasy, but by the end of the season, the two of them were friends. Lucy stepped down from her position as D.E.O. director, broke up with James for good, and hasn’t been seen since.
Until now that is! Dewan will be joining Tyler Hoechlin, Elizabeth Tulloch and David Ramsey in the very small pool of actors to appear in both Supergirl and Superman & Lois. Remember, the Arrowverse has had a Crisis of their own since we last saw Lucy, so there’s no telling how it affected her. I doubt tonight’s episode will be bringing back Lucy’s Sandra Rogers persona, or find her donning her magic mole lipstick, but if there’s one thing this primer has taught us, it’s that when Lucy Lane comes to town, expect the unexpected.
Superman & Lois airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on The CW, or catch up on season one now on HBO Max! Looking for more on the Family of Steel? Visit our official Superman & Lois show page.
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.