Lana Lang was born and raised in Smallville, just down the road from the boy named Clark Kent, who was the same age (but secretly a super-powered Kryptonian). The two first met as young children in elementary school. As the years passed, Lana grew into the pretty red-haired "girl next door" whom Clark developed a romantic interest in. After they reached their teens, Lana and Clark became high school sweethearts. The two maintained a friendly relationship after parting ways following high school.
Lana Lang was created in 1950 by writer Bill Finger and artist John Sikela and first appeared in Superboy #10 in the story "The Girl in Superboy's Life". She is one of several Superman characters with the initials "LL" (others include Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, Laurie Lemmon, Lori Lemaris, Lenora Lemaris and Lyla Lerrol). Lana has traditionally been depicted as Clark Kent's teenage love interest in DC Comics. Her first comic book appearance was twelve years after Clark's longtime adult love interest, Lois Lane.
During the Silver Age, Lana was the literal girl next door who was obsessed with proving that Superboy and Clark were the same person. As was common in the Silver Age, she also gained insect powers at one point after saving the life of an alien traveler who had been pinned under a tree. In gratitude for this, he gave her a bio-genetic ring. After discovering that the ring could transform the user into insects or give its user insects's powers or attributes, she became the Insect Queen and went on a number of adventures with Superboy. Lana also gained reserve status in the Legion of Super-Heroes after saving them during her trip into the future. As an adult she became a television reporter for WMET-TV, and acted as a romantic rival for Lois Lane, as both women had their sights set on Clark.
In the Bronze Age, Lana became an anchorwoman, and, for the first time since her original appearance, stopped pursuing Superman romantically, going so far as to take an assignment in Europe to forget him (Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #109). In this same issue it was revealed that Lana was a graduate of Hudson University. (Later stories had Lana attending Metropolis University.) Lana would later team up with Clark Kent to co-anchor WGBS News (Superman #317). This situation changed in the run-up to the Crisis on Infinite Earths, as Lana and Clark were shown again to be romantically involved. In one of the last pre-Crisis Earth-1 stories it was revealed that Lana got married in Europe and had a son. The terrorist group Red Hand kidnapped her son and sent Lana the child's ear. Lana never spoke of this tragic event nor of her marriage while in Europe (Lois Lane #2). Also during this period, Lana was revealed to have an Earth-2 counterpart who was similar to the Earth-1 counterpart, but had left Smallville at a young age (The Superman Family #203). Later Lana was accidentally turned into the villainous Insect Queen by a magic amulet (The Superman Family #213). The events of Crisis erased these versions of Lana from existence.
Lana's origin story and motivations have been constantly altered during the Modern Age. Following the Crisis, her origin was rewritten such that Lana was deeply in love with Clark Kent, who did not return her love. He revealed his powers to her just before they left high school, and when Superman appeared she made the connection and became something of an obsessed stalker. Her origin was changed again in 2003, when she and Clark were established as having had a romantic relationship in high school. This version of the character leaves Smallville shortly after Clark himself leaves to explore the world. She was changed yet again following the Infinite Crisis, and her romantic relationship with Clark was strengthened; though they still eventually broke up, they remained fairly close into adulthood.
Lana's history has been yet again re-made following the events of the New 52 and Rebirth. In this new history, Lana was the first to leave Smallville, and the one who initiated their break up. As an adult she became on electrical engineer, and a part-time science contributor for the Daily Star. She has also become romantically involved with Steel.
Major Story Arcs
The Man of Steel
Lana Lang is in love with Clark Kent, but he does not return her affections. He reveals his powers to her just after both have graduated high school; she is devastated, because she has finally realized he doesn't love her. Some time later Superman appears in Metropolis, and she quickly makes the connection between the two. She becomes obsessed with Superman, and begins stalking him. Lex Luthor takes note of this and, believing her to have some inside information on Superman's identity, has her kidnapped and tortured. She does not reveal Superman's identity and is rescued by him. Her obsession with Superman cools somewhat, and the two develop a healthier, if still distant, friendship.
During the events of Millennium, Lana was discovered to be a sleeper agent for The Manhunters.
Lana marries Pete Ross, and together the pair have a child who they name after Clark Kent. Ross runs alongside Lex Luthor in the latter's bid for the presidency. The pair succeeds, and when Luthor eventually falls from grace, Ross becomes President. Lana thus becomes First Lady. However, her relationship with Ross falls apart, and she begins to romantically pursue Clark Kent again, who resists her advances. She and Ross briefly reconcile.
CEO of LexCorp
Lana becomes the CEO of LexCorp. While in charge of the company, she presides over the sale of Kryptonite to the government in order to keep LexCorp in the black, as well as overseeing the implantation of a series of Kryptonite caches around the globe designed to defend against Superman going rogue. When confronted by Superman she detonates these Kryptonite caches, creating Kryptonite dirty bombs that fill the air with Kryptonite particles, forcing all Kryptonians to evacuate the planet. She later repents and attempts to aid Superman in a fight against Atlas, and is fired from LexCorp for her efforts, under a section of her contract that explicitly forbids aiding any Kryptonians using LexCorp resources.
Lana grows close to Supergirl, and takes a job at the Daily Planet as the editor for the business section of the paper. Supergirl adopts the identity of Linda Lang, Lana's niece, and the pair move into an apartment together in Metropolis. Lana begins experiencing unexplained health problems, collapsing twice. She goes to a hospital, but apparently dies while in the midst of an operation. However, she is actually becoming the host of the Insect Queen, who takes over the hospital and kidnaps Supergirl in the hopes of using the young woman to create a hybrid army. Supergirl escapes and frees Lana of her possession. The pair briefly have a falling out over Lana's concealing of her condition, but eventually reconcile.
In September 2011, DC Comics rebooted it's entire continuity. In this new timeline, Lana works as an electrical engineer, and will often use her scientific knowledge to help Superman on his adventures. On one such adventure, Lana teams up with John Henry Irons (Steel) to help Superman stop Brainiac from assimilating the minds of every person on earth. But while she helps save billions of lives, she could not save her parents; both of whom died as a result of the attack. After their deaths, Lana moves back to Smallville with her boyfriend John Henry. Shortly after these events, the New 52 Clark Kent dies. His death cause a solar energy explosion, which strikes both Lana and Lois Lane, who were both present at the time of his death.
One night, not long after Clark's death, pre-Flashpoint Superman finds Lana attempting to break into Clark's crypt. When asked why she was breaking into the tomb, she explains that she had made a promise to Clark to bury him next to his parents in Smallville. She also reveals that she knows the location of Clark's Fortress of Solitude, but can't explain how she came by that knowledge. Pre-Flashpoint Superman then enlists her help to revive Clark. However, it quickly becomes apparent to both of them that they will not be able to revive him. He then flies her to Smallville where she re-buries Clark's remains next to his parents.
Later, it is revealed that the energy which struck both Lana and Lois caused the two women to develop powers. Lana gained energy powers based on Clark's solar flare ability, flight and super-strength, and the ability to locate his Fortress, while Lois developed traditional Superman powers. To honor their fallen friend, Lana and Lois both agree to share the mantle of Superwoman. However, shortly after they launch their superhero careers, Lois is killed in battle, leaving Lana as the sole Superwoman.
Lana collapses shortly after she defeats Ultrawoman, and would have died, if not for the intervention of John Henry Irons and Clark Kent. Clark saves her by placing her into his Kryptonian Battle Armor. According to Clark, the healing fluid of armor can help the wearer heal from almost any injury. When Lana wakes, she is cured of her illness. But while she is no longer dying, she no longer has powers. John and his niece, Natasha Irons, then realize that the 'Insect Queen' armor, which Lana wore to defeat Ultrawoman, had copied her previous powers. Lana has since altered her armor to be Superwoman again, and continues to fight crime.
While working on finding the metahumans who escaped from Stryker's Island during Ultrawoman's attack, Lana winds up on the trail of Skyhook, the villain who kidnapped John Henry's nephew many years ago. After learning that John's brother Crash, a Stryker's escapee, was hunting him, Lana seeks him out, hoping to bring him in before any of the vengeance fueled Irons do. Though she manages to find out where he is hiding, she fails to capture him when her suit malfunctions due to electromagnetic interference. Unwilling to stay down, Lana goes to repair her armor and sees something in the data recorded by the suit that shocks her. Before she goes after Skyhook again, she tries to talk John Henry out out of seeking revenge, to no avail. Determined to protect her boyfriend from himself, she reaches Skyhook as Crash is fighting him. During the fight, Lana intentionally exits the suit, and defeats Skyhook. She reveals to Steel and Natasha what she learned from reviewing the suit: even though the suit was channeling her powers, it turns out the energy was still inside her the entire time. Letting the authorities have Skyhook, Lana then flies off to begin investigating why she still has her abilities.
In issue #13, we see bits of Lana’s youth at elementary school with Clark, Lex and many more. One person in particular, Amos, who was Lana’s boyfriend back in the day, plays a key role. Amos was nothing like Lana, quite the opposite. He was a boy that didn’t follow the rules. He convinced her to skip detention and go for a ride. It all seemed pretty well but then they crashed. Thankfully, Clark was right on time to save Lana. Lana was glad he’d saved her and thanks him by kissing him. Clark backed off rather quickly due to Lana’s necklace, which is apparently red kryptonite.
Flashforward to present day, we see that the red kryptonite has affected Lana, who’s now teamed up with Amos in order to kill Lex Luthor. Lana has been stopped by Supergirl. Lana insists that she's not the red kryptonite monster anymore, since she's been neutralized.
Following the events of the clash between Supergirl vs Lana and Amos, Amos had finally been cured by Supergirl. Admittedly, Amos wanted to be Lana's hero. Therefore, he used the red kryptonite. Unfortunately, it had consumed him and turned him into a monster. He feels remorseful and realizes now that Lana doesn't need a hero, in fact, she's her own hero!
The Midnight Hour
Later, a new threat arises named M1dn1ght. A creation of Lena Luthor designed to free her creator in the event of capture, M1dn1ght begins pulling people into her virtual world to increase her power so she could take over Lana's body and use it to pull Lena from her dimensional prison. While capturing citizens, M1dn1ght achieves sentience and decides to use Lana to overwrite her programming. After capturing enough people, including Steel, M1dn1ght uses them as confronts Lana and nearly defeats her until her allies grab her and retreat. Lana in order to take control of her body. When Lana manages to enter M1dn1ght's world, she offers to free her hostages in exchange for control of Lana's body. She agrees, allowing M1dn1ght to take over.
However, the transfer is only partially successful, allowing Lana to have partial control of herself, though M1dn1ght is mainly in control. Unable to fight M1dn1ght, Lana takes a different approach: working with her enemy, exposing her to human emotion to move her to leave her body willingly. However, M1dn1ght explains that she is still bound by her programming, and must either free Lena or stay inside Lana forever with neither of them having true freedom. While Lana argues with M1dn1ght, they are cut short when they hear John Henry's voice. Lana's love for Steel moves M1dn1ght to devise a way for them both to be free. She suggests Lana use her power to destroy her, turning her into energy and granting her freedom, though doing so would mean permanent loss of power. Lana goes thrugh with her plan, purging M1dn1ght at the cost of her powers, ending Superwoman.
Powers and Abilities
In the current continuity, Lana was given powers from the energies emitted by Superman as he died. She has the basic power of flight and super-strength, but also a more complex ability. She can now turn radiation into other forms of energy. Originally, it was thought that she could only absorb solar radiation. However, it was revealed that she could absorb other types of radiation and convert it just as proficiently. Her default use of this ability is to convert the stored radiation into electricity that she uses for different purposes. Her mastery of electrical energies reached the point where she can channel enough energy to power most of Metropolis. Later, Lana loses her powers when Superman's history is altered. After learning that a power suit she wore for a mission copied her powers before she lost them, she uses it to continue her hero work. She later learns that her powers never truly disappeared and returns to fighting crime without the suit, until she abandons her power permanently.
In the past continuities, Lana Lang had no exceptional personal powers. She is intelligent and in good health and fitness for a woman her age. She occasionally gained super-human powers, usually during the Silver Age. All these transformations have been impermanent, and she has spent the majority of her life as a normal human.
During the Silver Age, Lana became the Insect Queen after saving the life of an alien traveler who had been pinned under a tree. In gratitude, the alien gave her a device called a bio-genetic ring. The ring granted her the power to transform herself into an insect's or an arachnid's form, or grant her the features and/or attributes of one. However, she was unable to use any such form, or summon any such attributes, any more often than once every twenty-four hours.
During the Bronze Age, the Earth-2 Lana became the Insect Queen, but she had different powers from those of her Silver Age version. Lana received a magical scarab from her father that possessed her and turned her into a villainess temporarily. The scarab granted her the ability to control insects and make them grow to massive sizes.
The Dark Knight Returns
In the Dark Knight universe, Lana Lang is middle-aged, the managing editor of the Daily Planet, and an outspoken advocate for Batman.
JLA: The Nail
Lana is a doctor who performs research on metahumans. She occasionally sneaks imprisoned metahumans out of the facility and hides them with the aid of the Kents.
Superman: Red Son
Lana Lazarenko grew up on a farm in the Ukraine alongside the man who would become Superman. They remain friendly in adulthood.
The New Adventures of Superman
Lana appears in a number of The Adventures of Superboy segments. She is voiced by Janet Waldo.
Lana appears in a number of the four-minute vignettes, called the "Superman Family Album," that end every episode.
The DCAU (DC Comics Animated Universe)
Lana first appeared as a teenager to whom Clark Kent confides his superpowers in the Superman: the Animated Series episode "The Last Son of Krypton Part 1." She later appears as an adult in the episode "My Girl," where she is a fashion designer. She discovers Clark's secret identity, and uses the romantic relationship which she has developed with Lex Luthor to aid Superman in uncovering Luthor's schemes. She also features in the episodes "Obsession" and "The Late Mr Kent." She is voiced as a youth by Kelley Schmidt, and as an adult by Joely Fisher.
Lana made a cameo appearance in the Justice League episode "Hereafter," wherein she attended Superman's funeral. She also appears in combination with Lois Lane as a character called "Loana," Superman's dreamworld wife in the Justice League Unlimited episode "For the Man Who Has Everything." This combination character is voiced by Dana Delany, who usually voices Lois in the DCAU.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Lana makes a cameo appearance in the episode "Battle of the Superheroes!" She does not speak in her appearance.
The Death of Superman
Lana's name is dropped by Superman's parents over a diner.
Superman: the Movie
Lana Lang makes a brief appearance as a teenage cheerleader at Smallville High; she is there shown to be attracted to Clark. Diane Sherry acted out the role.
Lana Lang had married, but now she is divorced and caring for a young child. But she still has feelings for Clark, who is shown to reciprocate these feelings. Annette O'Toole, who later acted out the role of Martha Kent in Smallville, acted out the role.
The Adventures of Superboy
Lana appeared in the pilot for this failed show. She is played by Bunny Henning.
Lana appears as a childhood friend of Clark's who went to university with him, and later finds employment at the Bureau for Extra-Normal Affairs alongside him. Stacey Haiduk acted out the character.
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Lana appears in the episode "Tempus, Anyone," which is set in an alternate universe. In this universe, Lana and Clark are engaged, and Lana is forcing Clark to hide his powers, lest he be discovered and experimented on by the government. She leaves the relationship after the main universe's Lois helps Clark to accept and reveal his powers. She is played by Emily Procter.
Lana is a major character in Smallville. She is Clark Kent's love interest through much of the series, though their relationship is very complicated. She is descended from a French witch who possesses her in the fourth season, and is frequently the target of so-called "meteor freaks," people who have been mutated by their exposures to kryptonite. She spends about half of the series ignorant of Clark's secret.
In Season 8,, Lana Lang does re-appear, and receives the Prometheus nano-derm armor, which Lex intended to receive for himself. She then manifests super-strength, durability and speed, as well as the ability to absorb various forms of energy. She and Clark enjoy the freedom of expressing affection for one another (without the worry of Lana getting harmed), and he even takes her on some of his patrols. On their last “op” together, Lana absorbs the kryptonite energy fueling an explosive device that Lex has built. Lana saves the city, but now, she can’t be within 10 feet of Clark. They share a heart-felt goodbye, and she departs at hypersonic speed. Lana does not make additional appearances on the show, but she is referenced by the code-name of Valkyrie, going up against rogue warlords in Africa.
She is played by actress Kristen Kreuk.
DC Universe Online
Lana appears in DC Universe Online. She was voiced by Lori Singer.
As Superman's boyhood girlfriend, Lana Lang was ranked 91st in Comics Buyer's Guide's 100 Sexiest Women in Comics.