Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Lana Lang is a red-haired fictional character who appears in the Superman stories published by DC Comics. Lana's first appearance was in 1950 in Superboy #10. Her traditional role in the comics was as Superman's romantic interest when they were teenagers, and as good friends when they became adults, especially once Lois Lane entered the picture. In the modern comics, she was married for a time to Pete Ross, Clark Kent's best friend as a youth.
In the original Superboy stories, Lana was the girl who lived next door to the Kent family in Smallville, and was a romantic interest of Superboy. In the Silver Age stories, Lana often behaved like a younger version of Lois, spending much of her time trying to prove that Superboy and Clark Kent were one and the same.
At one point, Lana once rescued an insect-like alien trapped by a fallen tree in Smallville. In gratitude, the alien gave her a "bio-genetic" ring which allowed Lana to gain insect (and insect-like, such as arthropods) characteristics. Lana created a yellow honeybee-like costume and mask, and took the name "Insect Queen," under which identity Lana had several adventures.
Lana also had various adventures with Superboy, and several with the futuristic superhero team the Legion of Super-Heroes. Also appearing in some Silver Age stories was Lana's uncle, Professor Potter, an eccentric inventor who had inadvertently created the first Bizarro.
After Clark and Lana graduated from high school, Lana went to college, and eventually became a television reporter; as an adult, she became a rival to Lois Lane for Superman's romantic affection in various 1960s stories, often appearing in the title Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane.
During the 1970s and early 1980s, Lana became an anchorperson for WGBS-TV's evening news in Metropolis, as a co-anchor to Clark Kent. Her attraction to Superman during this time had also died off, leaving Superman to Lois.
In the early 1980s, with the use of the multiverse system DC had in place, Lana Lang was also shown in one story to have had an "Earth-Two" counterpart (Earth-Two at the time the home of the Justice Society of America and DC's Golden Age versions of its characters, versus its mainstream universe of "Earth-One"). In this story, Lana wound up becoming an Insect Queen like her Earth-One counterpart; in this case, Lana had received a mystic amulet from her archaeologist father, said amulet having been created to allow a Pharaoh to control and divert the locust hordes that threatened ancient Egypt. Unfortunately, the charm associated with the amulet was set to be energized by the sound of approaching insect wings; the next time an insect flew by, Lana was compelled to create a chitinous golden-brown costume (woven by silkworms under her control) and adopt a villainous alter ego, the Insect Queen. Earth-Two's Superman was able to locate an antidote to the spell, which Lois Lane used to remove the compulsion. (Superman Family #213, 1981)
After the 1985-1986 miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths was written, various changes were made to Lana's history, starting with comics writer John Byrne's miniseries Man of Steel, which was designed to rewrite Superman's origin from scratch. In the "post-Crisis" version of events, Lana was a childhood friend of Clark; after they graduated from high school, Clark divulged to her before leaving Smallville that he had superpowers, which knowledge Lana kept secret. Years later, Lana eventually married Pete Ross, and the two settled into a quiet life in Smallville, with Lana eventually giving birth to their son, whom she named "Clark."
In 2000, Pete Ross became Lex Luthor's vice presidential running mate in Luthor's bid to become president of the United States, and after the two won, Lana moved to Washington, D.C.. Eventually, Luthor was forced from his office, and Pete Ross became president (and Lana the First Lady). Recently, Lana and Pete divorced.
In the 1980s movie Superman III Lana was played by Annette O'Toole (who went on to play Martha Kent in Smallville). In this film she is a divorcee with a son named Ricky. Her ex-husband is a former jock and Clark's childhood bully (possibly inspiring the character Whitney in Smallville).
Lana made one appearance in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, where she was played by Emily Procter. Lana's appearance was in an episode set in an alternate universe, where she was engaged to Clark, and encouraged him to keep his abilities secret. When the mainstream universe's Lois persuaded this world's Clark to become Superman, Lana ended their relationship.
The pilot episode of Superman: The Animated Series followed the "post-Crisis" comics in Lana being the first person Clark confided in about his superpowers. Lana, as an adult, appeared in later episodes as a world-famous fashion designer. The young Lana was voiced by Kelley Schmidt , and the adult version by Joely Fisher.
In the television series Smallville, Lana, played by Kristin Kreuk, is again the (often forbidden) love interest of the young Clark Kent, with at least some of each episode devoted to their potentially developing relationship.
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