From the original Grant Morrison/Mark Millar/Mark Waid/Tom Peyer modified-then-approved-then-rejected pitch for Superman for 1998.
Memories, as science is only now theorizing and as Brainiac has known for years, are not electrical in nature. They are, in fact, actual chemical deposits in the brain. And what is chemical can easily be turned to poison.
Brainiac has adjusted Lois’s chemical memory of Clark’s secret identity so that it’s killing her.
The poison memory can’t be removed. It can conceivably be masked–Superman has more than one magical ally who could erase Lois’s conscious memory of his identity, who could facilitate a reality in which Clark and Lois were married without Lois being aware of her husband’s double life–but deep down, Superman knows that’s too risky. He can’t live with her, can’t be her husband, can’t share her life. She’s too sharp. No matter what he does, no matter how on guard he is, she’ll stumble onto his secret eventually, and when she does, it will be the death of her.
With no other conceivable option, Superman turns to Mxyzptlk. Sure, says Mxy, I can fix this–
–but only by altering history so that she NEVER knew. So that there was never a memory TO poison.
Unacceptable, says Superman. You have the power to fix this more simply. You don’t have to go that far.
Untrue, counters Mxyzptlk. Despite what I may or may not WANT to do for you…when I’m in the third dimension, I’m INCAPABLE of doing anything BUT mischief.
So the offer’s on the table, the clock is ticking on Lois, and together, she and her husband make their tragic decision. Though Lois would rather spend one day with Clark’s love than a lifetime without it, he swears to her that they’ll be together again when the time is right. For now…they have no choice but to erase their lives together so that Lois might live.
Mxyzptlk weaves his spell. As night falls around the globe, people will begin to fall asleep–and as they do, the world will change and Clark’s secret will be restored. People will awaken without any memory that Clark Kent and Lois Lane were ever married, were ever together. Clark and Lois have until sundown to enjoy one last, perfect day.
And so long as we live, we will never again see two people so much in love as we do that day.
Eventually, however, the violet dust of twilight settles across the city. It’s happening. Their arms wrapped around one another as if they’ll never touch this way again, Lois and Clark begin to fall asleep. With a last kiss, they drift into slumber…
…and when dawn breaks across Metropolis, Clark Kent exits his bachelor apartment at 344 Clinton Avenue and makes it to his Daily Planet desk just in time to catch the latest in a long line of caustic barbs from rival reporter Lois Lane. She has her sights set on Superman, thinks Kent for the millionth time. If only I could get her to love me as Clark…
And from Joe Quesada and JMS in 2009…
In Swipe File we present two or more images that resemble each other to some degree. They may be homages, parodies, ironic appropriations, coincidences or works of the lightbox. We trust you, the reader, to make that judgment yourself. If you are unable to do so, please return your eyes to their maker before any further damage is done. The Swipe File doesn’t judge, it’s interested more in the process of creation, how work influences other work, how new work comes from old, and sometimes how the same ideas emerge simultaneously, as if their time has just come. The Swipe File was named after the advertising industry habit where writers and artist collect images and lines they admire to inspire them in their work. It was swiped from the Comic Journal who originally ran this column, as well as the now defunct Swipe Of The Week website.