Siegel, Swan and Kaye create an interesting sort of meta-story in Action 272 (Jan. 61).
Lois Lane begins drawing a comic strip about a super-hero, Mental Man, and the woman who loves him, Laura Lovely. She does this for her own amusement, but Perry White is impressed, and begins running it in the Daily Planet. It becomes a huge success, but no one expects it when Mental Man suddenly comes to life, evoked into existence by all the people who have been reading the strip.
Mental Man and Lois Lane immediately hit it off, and she is by his side as he uses his mental powers to stop crime and perform other super-deeds. Even Lana Lang and Lucy Lane are jealous of her. No one seems to care about Superman anymore.
But Mental Man can sense Lois Lane’s feelings for Superman. Some hoodlums give him the secret on how to kill Superman, and Mental Man turns the Daily Planet globe into kryptonite, killing him.
But once the villains start to go wild, the whole thing is revealed as a hoax intended to draw them out. Mental Man was really Aquaman, pulling off the various super-deeds through a combination of his own powers, Superman’s, and help from Aqualad.
In an interesting coda, Mental Man and Laura Lovely get married in the newspaper strip, and the readers lose interest. The strip gets cancelled.
This so clearly reflects the belief at DC, that Superman and Lois must stay separate to maintain reader interest.