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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Superman's boyhood sweetheart
Lana Lang, who is at least nominally a Protestant Christian, was the childhood sweetheart of Clark Kent, the young man who would grow up to become Superman. Lana Lang was originally depicted as the girlfriend of young Clark Kent in the pages of Superboy.
In post-Crisis continuity, the history of Superman was re-designed such that he was never "Superboy" while growing up, and did not assume his costumed identity until adulthood. In this current continuity, Lana Lang and Clark Kent dated while young and Clark told her about his powers on the day he left Smallville to go to college and eventually become Superman. In the comics, Lana Lang remains a friend of Clark Kent and has never revealed his secret: that he is Superman. But Lana Lang suffers from some bitterness because Clark, the man she thought she would always be with, revealed his immense powers to her, but then left her. Clark is now married to his adult love interest, Lois Lane, naturally causing tension in his friendship with Lana.
The TV series Smallville focuses on Clark's high school and college years. Lana Lang is Clark's principle love interest in this series, and much of the ongoing drama of the series traces developments in their relationship.
In the comics and in the Smallville TV series, Lana Lang is depicted as a deeply moral, highly principled, honorable person. She is an inspiration to Clark, a young woman truly worthy of the attentions of Earth's greatest hero. The comics and Smallville TV series portray Lana Lang and her family as generic Protestants, although there are rarely any overt refrences to Lana's religious affiliation. Passing references in imagery and dialogue indicate Lana Lang has some belief or upbringing in concepts such as God, Judeo-Christian ethics, and the afterlife. Lana's family celebrates Christmas and wedding scenes featuring Lana depict generic Protestant-style weddings. Many depictions of Smallville show a Protestant church with a cross as a major feature in the town's landscape.
Like most comic book characters created in the era that her character emerged from, the taboo against overt depictions of religious content meant that Lana's precise denominational affiliation was not revealed. Lana Lang's ethics and religiosity were primarily revealed through her behavior and not through direct identification.
One novel innovation in the Smallville series is that Lana Lang is the descendant of a family of witches and evil magic users in medieval France. In the Smallville series, later seasons portray Lana Lang studying books about her magical heritage. In some episodes, Lana Lang becomes is by the spirit of her witch ancestor. Despite these developments, Lana should not be considered a witch in any conventional sense, nor should she be identified as a Wiccan.
Lana's interest in magic may have begun in early childhood. The pilot episode of Smallville introduces Lana Lang at the age of 3, dressed as a "fairy princess." The young Lana uses a plastic "magic wand" to grant Martha Kent a wish. Martha wishes for a child, and finds her wish is soon granted, as only minutes later, she and her husband find the infant Kal-El walking away from his crashed spacecraft. Martha and her husband of course adopt the infant and raise him as their son, Clark Kent. Certainly the show's creators are not trying to say that Lana Lang's magical powers actually were responsible for bringing Clark to Smallville, but these scenes do elegantly serve to tie the lives of Lana and Clark to each other, even from an early age.
The wish that Clark Kent's mother made through Lana Lang's the "fairy princess" was recalled much later, in Episode 1 of Season 1 of Smallville. When Lana Lang and Martha Kent find themselves spending a quiet moment together after a hurricane, Martha tells Lana about how the wish she granted came true: Martha Kent explains that right after Lana granted her a wish the meteor shower began. Right after the meteor shower (which of course was a tragic event for Lana), Clark Kent came into the lives of Martha and her husband. Martha tells Lana that the wish she granted came true, and she is grateful for that. Martha does not seriously believe that Lana had magical powers, but nevertheless, Martha never forgot this wish that came true.
Scenes from Smallville, Season 1, Episode 1 - the pilot episode
[Timestamp: 1 minute, 37 seconds. Martha and Jonathan Kent are in a flower shop in downtown Smallville. The shop is owned by Lana Lang's aunt, Nell, who is at the counter ringing up a purchase for the Kents. Martha Kent sees a young girl who looks like she is about three years old. The girl is wearing a play costume that consists of a mostly-white dress, a plastic faux-jeweled tiara, and fairy wings. The girl is holding a plastic "magic wand." The girl is sitting at a small table. Martha Kent recognizes that this girl is Lana Lang. Martha approaches Lana and crouches down to be at eye level with the girl.]
Martha Kent: That is a beautiful dress, Lana. Are you a princess?
Lana Lang (as child): I'm a fairy princess.
Jonathan Kent: Hey, where are her parents?
Nell (Lana's aunt): Oh, they're at the homecoming game, with everyone else. I'm being the good aunt.
Lana Lang (as child): [Addressing Martha Kent.] Do you want to make a wish?
Martha Kent: [Smiling and playing along.] I would love to make a wish.
Lana Lang (as child): Okay. Abracadabra.
[Lana moves her "magic wand" in a circular motion over Martha Kent's head. A musical cue indicates something "magical" has happened.]
[The scene shifts to outside the shop, to the where the Kents parked their red pickup truck. Jonathan Kent carries his purchases and puts them in the back of the truck. Martha Kent is already sitting in the passenger seat in the cab of the pickup truck. She looks wistful. Jonathan gets in the driver's seat. He sees the look on his wife's face.]
Jonathan Kent: I know what you wished for.
Martha Kent: I see a little face. It's all I ever wanted.
[Jonathan kisses his wife. Seconds later we see the tiny spacecraft that carries the infant Kal-El (Clark Kent) hurtling to Earth. It is almost as if Lana Lang's magic has indeed granted Martha Kent's wish. But at what price? Kal-El's spaceship is accompanied by a meteor storm of Kryptonite rocks - fragments of Kal-El/Clark Kent's homeplanet Krypton. Citizens of Smallville in the town's downtown area see the smoke trail left by the crashing spacecraft. Lana Lang's aunt Nell sees the people looking up at the sky. She walks out to the street, carrying Lana in her arms. She looks up a the sky and sees the smoke trail, along with approaching meteors.]
Nell (Lana Lang's aunt): What on God's earth...?
[Timestamp: 4 minutes, 30 seconds. From Nell and Lana looking up at the sky, the camera shifts to show a young couple getting out of a car. The back window is decorated with a balloon, a pom-pom, and a banner that reads, "Let's Go Smallville". These are Lana Lang's parents, returning from the homecoming game to pick up their daughter.]
Lana Lang's mother: [Shouting from across the street.] Hi, Lana.
Lana Lang: Mommy! Daddy!
[A sonic boom is heard. Lana Lang's parents begin walking from their car to where Nell is holding Lana. But they stop and look up at the sky. A meteor, appearing as a fireball, hurtles downward. The meteor hits their car and the impact causes a massive explosion that engulfs them, killing them instantly. Debris flies at Lana Lang and her aunt, who fall to the ground, but they are unhurt. Lana's parents are dead, killed by the very meteor shower that brought Lana's future love interest Clark Kent to Earth. Other meteors continue to pummel Smallville. We see Nell holding a crying, terrified Lana in her arms. It will later be revealed that this very image was captured by a photographer and used as a cover for Time Magazine. Timestamp: 5 minutes, 27 seconds.]
* * * * *
[Timestamp: 28 minutes, 22 seconds. In the previous scene, Jonathan Kent told his adopted son Clark Kent about how clark really came to be in their family. Jonathan showed Clark, who is now sixteen years old, a metal object with Krytonian writing on it, and then showed him the spaceship that brought Clark to Earth. The ship had been stored by Jonathan in a storage cellar all these years, and he had never before shown it to Clark. Clark is upset that his adoptive parents had withheld this information for so long. He storms off. It is night time. We now see Smallville cemetary. Lana Lang rides a horses into the cemetary. She dismounts. She is carrying a small bouquet of flowers. Her horse is spooked and makes a sound that indicates its surprise. Lana notices, and realizes somebody else is present.]
Lana Lang (not a teenager): Who's there?
Clark Kent (also a teenager): It's me. Clark.
Clark takes a step closer to where Lana is standing. He thus positions himself in front of a large, life-size statue of an angel, an ornate grave marker. The scene is purposefully framed so that Clark now appears to have wings. Clark is in front of the head and body of the angel statue, but the angel statue's wings appear to Clark's wings. The symbolism is clear: Clark is an angel. Or at least, for this scene, Clark will be as an angel to Lana.]
Lana Lang: Clark Kent? What are you doing creeping around the woods?
Clark Kent: You'd never believe me if I told you. Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you.
Lana Lang: Clark, wait. Just wasn't expecting to see anyone out here. Are you okay?
Clark Kent: I'm hanging out in a graveyard. Does that strike you as okay behavior?
Lana Lang: Hey, I'm here too.
Clark Kent: Good point. What's your story?
Lana Lang: Can you keep a secret?
Clark Kent: I'm the Fort Knox of secrets.
Lana Lang: I... came out here to talk with my parents. You must think I'm pretty weird, you know, conversing with dead people.
Clark Kent: No, I-- I don't think you're weird, Lana. Do you remember them.
Lana Lang: They died when I was three.
Clark Kent: I'm sorry.
Lana Lang: It's not your fault, Clark. Come on, I'll introduce you. [Lana leads Clark by the hand, walking him over to her the headstone that marks the graves of her parents.] Mom, Dad. This is Clark Kent. Say hi.
Clark Kent: Hi.
Lana Lang: [Lana speaks directly to the headstone, pausing occasionally as if listening to her parents reply to her side of the conversation.] Yeah, he is kind of shy. [Pause.] How should I know? Mom wants to know if you're upset about a girl.
Clark Kent: [Clark shakes his head no.]
Lana Lang: Dad wants to know if you're upset about a guy.
Clark Kent: No, no.
Lana Lang: [Laughs at Clark's discomfort at that question.] He has a twisted sense of humor. Seriously, Clark. Why are you out here?
Clark Kent: Lana, you ever feel like your life was supposed to be something different?
Lana Lang: [Nods yes.] Sometimes I dream I'm at school, waiting for Nell to pick me up. But she doesn't come. So, my parents drive up and they're not dead, they're just really late. And I get in their car and we drive to my real life in Metropolis. That's usuallly when I wake up. And for a minute, I'm totally happy. Until I realize I'm still alone.
[Clark looks at Lana. He looks at the headstone. The top line reads "LANG". Beneath that are the names of Lana's parents, "LEWIS: 1957-1989" and "LAURA: 1959-1989". Below that the enscription reads, "Forever loved".]
Clark Kent: [Clark begins speaking to the headstone, as Lana had done.] What's that, Mrs. Lang? [Pause.] Yeah, I'll tell her. [Looks up at Lana.] Your mom wants you to know that you're never alone. That she's always looking over you. No matter what. [Pause.] What's that, Mr. Lang? [Pause.] Your dad thinks you're a shoe-in for homecoming queen.
Lana Lang: They really say all that?
Clark Kent: Oh, yeah. They're quite chatty once you get them started.
[End of scene. Timestamp: 32 minutes, 15 seconds.]
Smallville Season 2, Episode 1: "Vortex"
Airdate: 24 September 2002
Story By: Alfred Gough and Miles Millar
Teleplay By: Philip Levens
[Timecode: 23 minutes, 7 seconds. Scene: Interior of "The Talon," the coffee shop in downtown Smallville. Lana Lang runs the coffee shop and she has turned into a temporary resource center for emergency services in the aftermath of a devestating tornado that hit Smallville earlier. Lana Lang and Martha Kent are organizing boxes of donated food. Lana Lang watches television footage about her own story of tornado survival, a story that reminds her of how she was featured in the media after Smallville was hit by a freak meteor shower many years ago (as shown in the pilot episode of the Smallville TV series).]
TV News Anchorwoman: Here we see a terrifying example of the tornado's fury.
[On TV screen we see a pickup truck towing away a stripped frame of a pickup truck or farm truck that had been destroyed and blown around on a farm. The scene is in the middle of a corn field.]
TV News Anchorwoman: This truck was literally ripped apart. Incredibly, the young driver, Lana Lang, survived, reminding us that even in the midst of utter devestation, miracles can happen.
[Martha Kent walks up from behind Lana Lang. Martha Kent sees the tail end of this news story. She puts down the box of food she is carrying.]
Martha Kent: It must have been awful for you.
Lana Lang: Yeah . . . uh, I don't think I've ever been that scared in my entire life.
Martha Kent: I'm glad you're all right.
[Martha Kent and Lana Lang embrace each other in a warm hug.]
Lana Lang: Thanks for all your help, Mrs. Kent. I know it must be hard for you right now. [Martha Kent's husband, Jonathan Kent, is still missing in the aftermath of the tornado.]
Martha Kent: [joking] I'm a Saint. [serious] I just can't believe how familiar all of this feels.
Lana Lang: The meteor shower?
Martha Kent: Yeah, I remember it like it was yesterday.
Lana Lang: Yeah, me too.
Martha Kent: Oh, I'm sorry. I-- I didn't mean to dredge up bad memories.
Lana Lang: It's okay. For so long it seemed to define me: that fairy princess picture on Time Magazine.
Martha Kent: Well, if it makes you feel any better, you made one wish come true that day. Jonathan and I were in Nell's, buying flowers, right before the meteor shower, and you were sitting on the counter with your wings and wand. And you asked me if I wanted ot make a wish. So I did. And not long after that, Clark came into our lives . . . I've never even told Clark that story.
Lana Lang: Clark is so lucky to have you and Mr. Kent as parents. I've always been kind of envious. You seem so open.
Martha Kent: I'm glad that you and Clark have become close.
Lana Lang: Yeah. Me too.
[End of scene.]
Webpage created 19 May 2007. Last modified 4 August 2007.
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