Action Comics vol.1 #34 - cover date March 1941
By 1941, Lois in near-constant peril has become a staple of the Superman stories. Kidnapped by crooks, imprisoned by petty tyrants, threatened with poisonous gas, death traps and super-scientific raybeams of all varieties and not to mention nearly becoming the victim of everyday tenement fires and collapsing buildings any given day of the week, threats to Lois’ life and limb happen so frequently that it runs the risk of becoming so much white noise in the background – ho-hum, she’s fallen off a building again.
To keep Lois’ danger fresh, Superman’s writers had a few tools at their disposal; most often, they chose to simply replace Lois with another damsel they could conveniently distress. Having just engineered some timely escapes in a rustic setting for Miss Lane in the last issue of Action, it would have been repetitive to have Lois wander from trouble in the logging camp to trouble in the mines. Enter Doris Laurey, daughter of a coal magnate and recent inheritor of his profitable mines.
The blonde Miss Laurey stands in well enough for Lois in terms of stepping blithely before her insidious uncle’s attempts to have her snuffed out, but substituting for Lois only seems to accentuate the unique qualities Lois brings to the table; the quick lip, the defiant chin, the stubborn self-reliance and her unsettling forwardness. More than that – in these early years, particularly – Lois has the luxury of becoming somewhat jaded about Superman, so while substitute women are fainting and gasping in their peril, we lose Lois’ easy quips in the face of danger…