Time for a major character in the Superman mythology: in Man of Steel, she just has a cameo as a little girl on the school bus, portrayed by Jadin Gould, but for every fan Lana Lang is surely not an unknown name (the pic is awful, but I didn’t find anything better). Her first live action appearance was in The Adventures of Superboy pilot, where she was portrayed by Bunny Henning, and she also had a small cameo in Superman: The Movie, appearing as a school friend of Clark Kent (she was portrayed by Diane Sherry); in the original movie series, she had a major role in the third movie, portrayed by Annette O’Toole. She mostly appeared on television, always as Clark’s best friend and/or love interest: in Superboy, a single episode of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and, of course, Smallville, where Kristin Kreuk gave the character a world-wide fandom. Let’s see together who Lana Lang is in the comics.
Lana Lang’s story has been rebooted even more than the other characters’ one: in the first version, she was born the daughter of Lewis and Sarah Lang, a couple living in Smallville, Kansas. When she was a teenager, she fell in love with two people at the same time: Clark Kent, her neighbor, and Superboy, the local hero. During much of her high school days, she spent her time trying to discover Superboy’s secret identity, either by following him and by feigning to be in distress in order to lure the hero. At a certain point, she helped an alien who gave her the powers of the Insect Queen, but this is another story. In her second version, we find Lana as an adult, as a television critic for the Daily Star. She was born in Smallville, but moved to Metropolis when she was very young. In this reality, she wasn’t attracted by Clark, nor by his superhero alter ego, Superman. Lana met Clark in television, and she recognized in him her childhood friend she hadn’t seen in decades, and the two became friends once again. Even this Lana became the Insect Queen, but this time she obtained her powers not through a grateful alien, but through a mystical amulet her archaeologist father retrieved in an ancient temple, and that he gave her daughter as a gift unaware of its properties. If a live action version of Insect Queen will ever see the light, we’ll speak about Lana’s exploits as a superheroine.
The third and final (at least for us) version sees Lana as a childhood friend of Clark’s. The two of them grew up together in Smallville, and they fell in love with each other when they were still children. Lana discovered about Clark’s powers when she was very young, when Clark saved her life deploying his incredible strength. From that moment, Lana stayed close to him and helped him keep his secret, and she also helped him to control and understand the new powers he was discovering: the first time they kissed, the arousal made Clark develop his heat vision, and when Lana was sucked up in a tornado, Clark learnt to fly and saved her. The two parted when Clark left Smallville, and Lana herself moved to Metropolis to attend University, getting a degree in Business. When Superman appeared, Lana was the only one (apart from Martha Kent) who knew perfectly who was hiding behind the red cape. Lana became a successful businesswoman, and met again Pete Ross, another childhood friend from Smallville. Pete fell in love with her and proposed to her, but Lana still felt something for Clark; when she realized that Clark would have never loved her the way she loved him, she eventually married Pete and moved to Smallville with him. She became pregnant, but the child was born premature: fearing for his son’s life, Lana called Superman and asked him to take the baby to an advanced medical facility in Metropolis as soon as possible, but on the way Superman was attacked by Brainiac in the body of Doomsday, who defeated him and kidnapped the baby. Brainiac wanted the baby as a new host, and started a process of rapid aging, but Superman interrupted it and saved the child, who was however older than before. He brought him back to his mother, and Lana chose to name him Clark Peter Ross. Lana then moved to Washington, D.C. when Pete became Lex Luthor‘s Vice President and then President himself. After their White House adventure, anyway, Lana’s and Pete’s marriage was severely tried, and the two eventually divorced. When Luthor fell from grace, Lana became the successful chairwoman of LexCorp, a powerful woman who was now trying to use her resources to help her hero and friend, Superman.
Lana Lang is, in every incarnation, a loyal friend and a good girl (or woman), with a strong character and an indomitable will. Despite being quite uncertain about her feelings (she’s always in love with Clark Kent, despite her try to deny it, first of all to herself), she has proven more than once to be a reliable ally for Clark, in both his civil life and his super identity. Since she divorced from Pete Ross, she has started some sort of rivalry with Clark’s wife, Lois Lane, who doesn’t see well the return on scenes of her husband’s first love…