The Man of Steel has a soft spot. Superman, one of America's oldest but ageless super heroes, is about to make a commitment.

Shorn of his powers, resigned to a normal, mild-mannered life, Superman (in his guise as Clark Kent) finally succumbs to Lois Lane's 50-year pursuit and pops the big question in the Nov. 1 issue of the "Superman" comic book.Lois, though still unaware that Clark is the Man of Steel, accepts. No immediate wedding date was planned and, naturally, complications loom.

"It's not a gag, not a one-issue trick story," according to DC Comics. "This time, for the first time since the characters were created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, it's for real."

"They've played games long enough," said Editor Michael Carlin. The announcement came with a fist-size, plastic engagement ring (perhaps Lois gets the genuine article) and a newspaper-style notification.

For example, Kent, a native of Smallville, Kan., and Ms. Lane, of Queensland Park, Metropolis, are both Pulitzer Prize winners and published novelists.

Kent asks for Miss Lane's hand after he is exposed to red kryptonite and looses his super powers.

Finally able to live what he thinks will be a normal life, Kent proposes, said DC Comic spokeswoman Martha Thomases.

Not every proposal becomes a wedding, of course, and when Superman regains his super powers he must again decide whether to reveal his secret identity to his betrothed.