Towards the end of the 1960s, DC began to look for ways to increase the average age of its readership. For many years it had been successful with younger readers, but those readers were growing up and moving on. Aware that Stan Lee’s Marvel Comics had managed to attract healthy sales amongst the college crowd, DC sought to do much the same thing by taking some of its existing titles and filling them with stories intended to engage the older reader. With anti-war protests and civil rights movements occupying the thoughts of many of those on campus at the time, it was thought that the standard model of ‘super-hero hits super-villain’, was perhaps rather old hat, and no longer relevant to young adults. The resulting period has come to be known as the “relevance” era, and, while well-meaning, much of the stuff produced then seems pretty silly today.

This ad showcases the beginning of the period where Lois Lane was updated for the adventurous new era. Feminisim was the new buzz word and Lois was getting in on the act. She got a new haircut and her clothes took on a distinctly ‘mod’ look. No longer would she chuck herself off the top of buildings just to attract the attention of the man she swooned over. Indeed, she would no longer swoon over him: in this brave new world there was an attempt to make Lois and Superman equals.

Art by Curt Swan and Neal Adams. I particularly like the effect where it appears that Lois has ‘torn through’ the cover to show the panels underneath.

©2008 DC Comics