We've previously seen that the Silver Age Superman Family was a dysfunctional one at best. What else could you say about a "family" where the hero's "best pal" fakes having a terminal illness, to trick that hero into revealing his secret identity???
Well, it turns out that Jimmy learned his dickweedery from the best:
Now, I know what some of you are thinking: Superman had a damned good reason for doing this. He's faking Clark's death to trick some villains into revealing themselves, or to protect Lois from intergalactic goons, or something equally noble.
NOPE. The complete and only reason that Superman fakes Clark Kent's suicide is to teach Lois a lesson for always being mean to Clark. Seriously. That's it!!! You don't love me enough, so I will emotionally torture you!! That's what I call a great hero!!
And no, there's no red kryptonite or magic or anything remotely exonerating involved.
This story starts as The Daily Planet, once again not feeling there's any actual news to print, sends BOTH Lois and Clark to cover the Metropolis County Fair (what, again with the county fair??). Clark spots "Rabbit-foot Willie, the superstitious heist artist who always consults a fortune teller before he starts a caper." (Not exactly a Batman caliber villain, eh?) So, doing what any brilliant hero would do, he quickly takes over an abandoned sideshow booth, and at superspeed creates the identity of Dr. Astar the mystic!!
Using a combination of super-hypnosis and super-vision trickery, Superman convinces Willie that Astar is the real deal, and ferrets out enough clues to figure out where the crime will take place:
TIME OUT: So the swankiest restaurant in Metropolis closes at 7PM on a Friday night?!? What kind of freakin' cow town is Metropolis, anyway??
Back to our story. Superman of course catches the thugs in the act, and shows that, even before the Department of Homeland Security, it was OK in the DC Universe to use torture to extract confessions:
And when Superman finally takes down criminal mastermind Willy, well, Lois is pretty damn smitten with Astar:
Clark decides to keep his new secret identity as Astar going for awhile, just to see how interested Lois really is. What does he find? That Lois is a complete evil bitch to Clark Kent:
A couple of flashbacks up the ante on how cruel and nasty Lois has been to the poor Smallville reporter:
So Kal-El finally decides that Lois must be punished for not liking Clark Kent enough!! He has Astar predict Clark's suicide to Lois...
...and then he "actually" carries it out! He leaves a suicide note and everything!!
Text of suicide note: "Darling Lois, I've worshipped you for years, always dreaming that you'd marry me some day, but it's hopeless. You taunt me as a weakling and coward, and you're right. You'd never consent to be Mrs. Clark Kent, but... (Rest illegible)"
Lois is completely guilt-stricken, and confesses how wrong she was:
Now, if this were your average cruel sitcom, it'd be time to fess up, let Lois know that Clark was really alive, and hope she had learned her lesson. Oh, but that wouldn't be nearly dickweedy enough for the Man of Steel!! Lois must suffer for her sin of daring not to love him!!
Anyway, so insane is Kal-El at this point, he decides to leave Clark Kent dead forever, and permanently take up Astar as his new secret identity!! Wha???
Sadly for our somewhat-deranged Kryptonian, the plan doesn't go well. For although she is dating Astar, Lois is still obsessed over poor Clark's death:
So, it's on to plan B. Announce to Lois that the "stars" have said their relationship will never work, AND predict that Clark will be found alive tomorrow!! And when Clark shows up (along with a patently absurd and complicated explanation as to why he had been gone--hint--it involved Aquaman and super-hypnosis), well, it's time for (finally) some Super-lovin' from Lois Lane:
So men-folk, if there's one lesson that Silver Age DC comics have for you this Valentine's Day. this is it: fake your own death, and your woman will love you even more for it!! Because that's how DC heroes rolled in their love lives back in the day.
BONUS PANEL OF JIMMY OLSEN STUPIDITY:
Yeah, because if I had a watch that could instantly summon the most powerful being on the planet, I would forget about that all the time, too...
Superman equates emotional suffering with love in Superman #210, 1968. Please don't try this in real life, kids...because only Kal-El loves the ladies enough to make this work!!