Review: Superman and Lois By Greg Berlanti, Todd Helbing
Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…a bunch of clever deep cuts and fun references! Not only did the Superman & Lois premiere episode set up an emotional story and a captivating mystery that promises to drive this debut season in interesting directions, but it also contained tons of cool Easter eggs alluding to aspects of Superman history from throughout his eight-decade run. Did you miss them? Don’t worry, we’ve rounded them all up for you! Below are the Easter eggs you may or may not have spotted during the Superman & Lois premiere event.
During a flashback to the early days of Superman’s career, the Man of Steel is seen wearing a costume similar to the one from the classic Fleischer Superman cartoons. These 1940s-era animated shorts revolutionized the industry and have become an iconic part of the Superman mythos.
As the Fleischer-dressed Superman sets down a PT Cruiser that he’s just saved from certain doom, the framing of the scene is reminiscent of the cover of Action Comics #1—the Man of Steel’s debut. Of course, that particular car wasn’t handled with as much care.
Speaking of the Fleischer-suit, Superman tells an admiring fan that his mother made it for him. Martha Kent sewing the Superman suit has been a heartwarming part of the mythology across many incarnations, from 1986’s The Man of Steel #1 to the television series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
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Although the scene doesn’t call much attention to it, Perry White is the one who introduces Clark Kent to Lois Lane. The gruff but loveable editor has been an important part of Superman’s supporting cast since 1940, first appearing in the Superman radio series before making his comics debut in 1940’s Superman #7.
Lois Lane mentions Steve Lombard, a former athlete who became the Daily Planet sports reporter. Lombard is an insufferable coworker who likes to give Clark Kent a hard time. During the same conversation, Lois mentions the Metropolis Meteors, a pro football team that Lombard once played for. Both Lombard and the Meteors were introduced in 1973’s Superman #264.
Jonathan and Jordan are both named in tribute to Clark’s two fathers. Jonathan is named after Jonathan Kent, Clark’s adopted father, while Jordan is named in tribute to Jor-El, Clark’s biological father. The choice of names becomes even more interesting when it’s revealed that Jordan was the one who inherited his father’s powers.
During the montage of Superman’s career, Lois walks by a television that mentions the Man of Steel averting a crisis at Ace Chemicals. This infamous chemical plant is the site of the Joker’s origin and was named for the first time in Batman: The Killing Joke.
During this episode, both Lois and her father General Lane summon Superman with a miniature signal device. This appears to be a modernized version of the signal watch which Jimmy Olsen used to summon Superman back in the Silver Age. This handy SOS device first appeared in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #1.
Jordan is playing Injustice 2, the popular fighting game set within the DC Universe. It makes for a great moment in the pilot between Jordan and his father, but it also raises so many questions. Does Jordan realize the backstory of the game is about his dad killing his mother before going crazy? Man, as if the poor kid wasn’t carrying enough psychological baggage already…
Did you catch the names on the chalkboard while Clark was on the phone? Dr. Donner is a reference to Richard Donner, director of the 1978 Superman movie. Siegel and Shuster are on there as well, as a tribute to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman’s co-creators. The next morning, the name Dr. Reeve is written on the board, which is a reference to Christopher Reeve, the iconic actor that brought Superman to life in Superman, Superman II, Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.
When Lois and Clark arrive at the Daily Planet they’re greeted by Max Mencken, an obscure character from the 1966 Broadway musical “It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman.” Now THAT’S a deep cut!
Clark is fired by Samuel Foswell, a Daily Planet editor who temporarily replaced Perry White in 1990’s Superman #51. Like his television counterpart, the comic version of Foswell went a bit crazy with layoffs.
Morgan Edge buys the Daily Planet in this episode, much like he did in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #133. His company, Galaxy Broadcasting System, was first mentioned the same issue.
Martha Kent’s physician is Doctor Frye, an homage to the Kent family doctor that was mentioned in Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman film.
During Martha’s wake, Clark and Lois speak to a man named Cobb Branden. In the comics, Cobb Branden was the grandfather of one of Jon Kent’s friends, first appearing in 2016’s Superman #2.
Jonathan and Jordan are invited to a bonfire at Shuster Mines, named after Superman’s co-creator Joe Shuster.
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When Jordan and Jonathan are in Clark’s old bedroom, a Crows pennant can be seen on the wall. This is a reference to the Smallville Crows, the high school football team that Clark played for in the Smallville television series.
When Clark and Lana reminisce about old times, they mention someone named Pete. Young Clark Kent first met Pete Ross in 1961’s Superboy #86, and the two grew to become best friends. In Post-Crisis comic book continuity, Pete Ross married Lana Lang.
While speaking to Lois and Clark about Martha, Lana uses the term “Superwoman.” It was an interesting name for Lana to use, since she once operated as Superwoman in the comics, even starring in her own ongoing title for about a year and a half.
When Clark lifts the truck to demonstrate his powers to his sons, the framing of the sequence briefly mirrors toddler Clark Kent doing the same thing in Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman film.
Superman’s battle with the Stranger begins at Hudson Nuclear Power Plant, which was the site of Firestorm’s origin in 1978’s Firestorm #1.
Whew! The Superman & Lois writers sure did their homework. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed a few Easter eggs myself. If you found a cool reference that I overlooked, let us know in the DC Community or on social media using the #DCTV hashtag. And be sure to tune in on March 2nd for the next exciting chapter in the Superman & Lois saga!