This article is about the series. For the titular character, see John Lane (character).
John Lane is an alternate-universe series by Richard Lobinske that was initially inspired by The Angst Guy's "Darius" that was started in January 2005 and completed in March, 2012. The series speculates on the changes that may have happened if Jane Lane were born as John Lane. Because Daria is initially reluctant to stop by John's home, they are not present to stop the bank officers from foreclosing on the Lane home. This leads to an investigation of Amanda and Vincent as parents and John eventually being taken in by the Morgendorffers. Instead of becoming best friends, Daria and John develop a romantic relationship.
Winner of "Favorite New Series" in the 2005 Daria Fanworks Awards
Analysis of the Series
Warning: The following may contain plot or ending details.
The consequences of Jane Lane being born male have been explored elsewhere, but never to the extent that the John Lane series takes it. Fanfic author and former IUF member Beth Ann began an as-yet incomplete serial on PPMB in September 2003 entitled “Age Old Question,” in which Daria meets a Jacob “Jake” Lane when she comes to Lawndale High. Jacob Lane lost his former girlfriend Monique to his older brother Trent, so the two brothers have much rivalry and bad feeling between them. Daria and Jacob are immediately attracted to each other, but do their best to play it cool and “just stay friends,” a strategy that seems doomed to failure.
The John Lane series neatly sidesteps such romantic entanglements by having John and Daria naturally gravitate to each other and no one else. Monique is Trent’s off-and-on girlfriend, as in the TV series, but Daria has no canon attraction to the older Trent. As the series progresses, each chapter spins off from one or two TV episodes in sequence, and divergences with the TV series begin to accumulate. The romantic relationship between John and Daria spawns a host of predictable troubles, especially after John is taken in by the Morgendorffers when the Lane home is lost. Jake and Helen Morgendorffer fear that Daria and John will become sexually active and finally decide to face the matter by introducing them (and a horrified Quinn) to birth control, an option that Daria and John make an effort to avoid despite their deepening physical relationship.
However, a far greater cascade of well-reasoned consequences ripples out from the change from Jane to John. Other students, particularly Brittany Taylor, notice how John and Daria act as a couple, and their romantic relationships change as well. The once antagonistic Quinn becomes Daria’s closest supporter and ally. Jake begins to rant less often about his father as his friendship with John improves. Daria the loner is forced to be a joiner, taking a position with the school newspaper, which has the consolation of a closer friendship with Jodie. John becomes a trophy-winning track runner, but he remains on the school team as no romantic conflict exists to force him to leave (as did between Jane Lane and Evan, over Jane’s friendship with Daria). Vincent and Amanda Lane reappear and take hesitant steps to repair the emotional damage their long absences in John’s life have caused. Even the misanthropic loner Penny Lane helps them out. In a significant break with canon, Tommy Sherman is not accidentally killed, instead becoming a pariah for bullying John. John’s presence as Daria’s boyfriend short-circuits a number of plot possibilities (e.g., dates between Daria and Ted DeWitt-Clinton), as John is protective of Daria and rather jealous of potential suitors. Even the two main characters relationship with Kevin Thompson is strengthened when circumstances lead to Principle Li maneuvering them to become Kevin's tutors. As a result, as much as Daria and John prefer to keep to themselves, Quinn firmly asserts, to their consternation, that they have become among the most popular kids in school.
The John Lane series plays off nicely on the popular perception that Daria and Jane make a great couple in canon, and they would make an even better couple if either they were both lesbians or one of them was a male. The overall tone of the series, despite the ingrained cynicism of John and Daria, is warm and hopeful. Daria matures more rapidly here than in the TV series, and her personality is markedly more positive. This is in striking contrast with the situation in “Darius,” by The Angst Guy, a tale about the tormented relationship between Darius Morgendorffer (Daria as a male) and the rest of the world, including his new-found girlfriend, Jane Lane.
Stories in Series
John Lane 1: John:
- Outcast artist, John Lane, meets an interesting new girl in his self-esteem class.
John Lane 2: Can I Just Have The Coffee?
- With a little luck, Daria may be able to avoid the new coffee house Mr. O’Neill is planning, but don’t count on it.
John Lane 3: New Model Year.
- Daria turns sixteen, the Amazon Modeling Agency is at Lawndale High, and one of John’s comments lead to unanticipated results.
John Lane 4: The Maze Thing.
- Daria and Kevin are assigned to do a science project together. When Brittany decides Daria’s stolen her boyfriend, she decides to return the favor. Meanwhile, John’s cats, Zachary and Taylor, have eyes on the mouse.
John Lane 5: Sitting Cute.
- Daria deals with an emergency babysitting job, Quinn worries about losing the cuteness arms race, and John’s a fill-in roadie for a combined Mystik Spiral/Harpies gig.
John Lane 6: Morgendorffer Prison Blues.
- Jake and Helen’s experiment in household jurisprudence results in John, Daria and Quinn grounded for a month. Will Jake and Helen survive the sentence?
John Lane 7: Lessons of Spring.
- It’s spring break and time for road trips, concerts and camping for John and Daria. And don’t forget the glitter berries.
John Lane 8: Killing a Legend.
- Former Lawndale football legend Tommy Sherman returns to be honored by the school. When John and Daria are less than impressed with him, things go badly downhill.
John Lane 9: Good Art Hunting.
- In the aftermath of the school's poster contest, John has plans for the scheduled paintball field trip.
John Lane 10: A Tale of Two Brains.
- Much to Daria’s dismay, after Quinn’s essay is published in the Lawndale Lowdown, she gets a new reputation as a brain. What can Daria and John do about it?
John Lane 11: A Mirror of Future Fears.
- Daria’s cousin Erin is getting married, so Helen has made sure that Daria and Quinn are bridesmaids, and John a groomsman. Has the dysfunctional Lane family prepared John to face the Barksdales?
John Lane 12: A Time for Every Purpose.
- John is temporarily evicted from his room to a sofa to make space for Jake and Helen's old hippie commune friends, Coyote and Willow Yeager. With nowhere to run, John and Daria must prepare for a weekend of good vibes and two annoyed cats.
John Lane 13: Movie Magik.
- Mr. O’Neill assigns a short film project to his English class. What better subject for Daria and John to work on than a local grunge band on the verge of waking up?
John Lane 14: Fairly Illuminated.
- To avoid being transferred from the school newspaper to the yearbook staff by Ms. Li, Daria agrees to help sell reproduction manuscript pages at the school's fundraiser to repair the library roof, a medieval fair. At the same time, John is volunteered to make the reproductions and Quinn auditions for a part in the fair's production of Canterbury Tales.
John Lane 15: Ring of Champions.
- John's hard practice begins to pay off as track season starts with a string of wins for him, while Daria's frustration with gym class reaches a new height with cheerleader practice being masked as agility training.. John's sudden popularity as a track star has several unintended consequences leading up to his sixteenth birthday.
John Lane 16: Left to the Heart.
- As the school year draws to a close, Mr. O'Neill gives Daria a special writing assignment because she's read all of the books on his reading list. Thinking about the free time Daria and John will have over the summer, even with some kind of "useful activity", Helen decides to make sure Daria is protected if she and John go too far.
John Lane 17: Summer Incoming.
- John and Daria start summer classes at Lawndale Community College, interning with Jake, and prepare for a visit from Grandma Barksdale.
John Lane 18: Lessons.
- Things are not looking good as Daria and John begin driving lessons. Jake's too nervous, Helen is overworked on the exploding ketchup lawsuit, and then there's the old saying, "never try to teach a boyfriend/girlfriend how to drive".
John Lane 19: Retouched Parents.
- After the Morgendorffers cancel their island cruise vacation, Vincent Lane arrives in Lawndale. Despite his lack of contact with John over the previous eight months, he invites John to visit him and John's mother, Amanda, at the Ashfield arts colony.
John Lane 20: Hear No Beauty, See No Beauty.
- With the start of a new school year, Helen still insists that Daria and John have some kind of official after-school activity. Much to their annoyance, Ms. Li announces “Awareness of Others Week” that requires them to take on a second extracurricular activity.
John Lane 21: Apocalypse Dance.
- With the school dance approaching, Daria and John find themselves with several very unexpected commitments as John prepares the decorations and they prepare to double date with Kevin and Brittany.
John Lane 22: Valuable Experiences.
- Mr. O'Neill enters one of Daria's essays in a magazine contest and it wins second place. Much to her annoyance, one of the staff writers comes to Lawndale to present an award plaque.
John Lane 23: Cupid in a Nutshell.
- After the school's "career aptitude test", Quinn recruits Ted to photograph her as a jewelry model, while Kevin finds work at It's a Nutty, Nutty, Nutty World. In the wake of confusion, jealousy and misinterpretation, John and Daria find themselves trying to get Ted and Stacy back together, as well as Brittany and Kevin.
John Lane 24: Heart Flush.
- Penny’s visit highlights for John and Daria the physical temptation they feel, and their feelings are further complicated when Jake has a heart attack. His mother Ruth is scandalized by John’s presence in the Morgendorffer home and Quinn is horrified to learn she’ll have to share Daria’s room.
John Lane 25. Echoes of a Relationship.
- Trent and Monique’s relationship finally explodes when she travels to Fremont to bail Mystik Spiral out of jail. Afterward, John and Daria find themselves drawn into the dispute and wondering about their relationship.
John Lane 26: Neptune et Fortuna.
- John and Daria decide to use the school’s Casino Night on the Princess Fairy cruise ship as a good place to catch some sleep after an all-night Sick, Sad World marathon while earning points with Jake and Helen by giving them a worry-free night to themselves.
John Lane 27: Sloane Tom B.
- When the credit card bills arrive, Quinn flees to the Zon to hide with Daria and John. Getting away from his stuffy home life, Tom Sloane decides to investigate the grunge club he heard was downtown. What could possibly go wrong?
John Lane 28: Partners in Pain.
- Under Ms. Li’s directive, Mrs. Bennett randomly assigns partners for an assignment in real-life economics. John is teamed with Mack, Jodie with Kevin and Daria with Brittany.
John Lane 29: The Snows of Mt. Lawndale.
- John and Daria, along with Quinn, go on a school-sponsored overnight mountain hike. When a late blizzard traps the students inside a cabin, they find that they must endure much more closeness with their classmates than they anticipated.
John Lane 30: A Test of Honor.
- A chance encounter allows John to persuade Kevin not to use a stolen history test to cheat, resulting in John and Daria being placed in the odd position of protecting Kevin for doing the right thing.
John Lane 31: View from a Parade.
- As a result of Mr. O'Neill's "failure" assignment, Daria and John find themselves as the "court" for the Homecoming King and Queen, Mack and Jodie. Among their duties is to ride in the annual parade.
John Lane 32: Ties of Family Bondage
- Jake and Helen prepare to go on a business trip for him. Amy is invited to stay at the Morgendorffer home over the weekend to watch Quinn, Daria and John. When Helen can't make the trip, Quinn is selected to take the trip with Jake while Helen decides the weekend will be a good time to re-bond with Amy, as well as John and Daria.
John Lane 33: Tiptoe Through the Ivy
- It's Helen's turn for the law firm's sponsored family retreat at Quiet Ivy Spa. While hoping to make a good impression, she is worried about how Daria and John's relationship will appear to the firm.
John Lane 34: Barbeques and Gridiron
- As a result of Ms. Li "assigning" them to tutor Kevin and Brittany, Daria and John are invited to the annual LHS Football Barbeque at the Thompsons by a grateful Mrs. Thompson who seems to think that they are a good influence on Kevin.
John Lane 35: Give Me a C!
- Feeling a bogged down from tutoring Kevin and Brittany for regular school work and helping Quinn prepare for the PSTAT test, Daria and John are more than happy to help Mystik Spiral prepare for a gig and avoid a party thrown by Brittany's parents to celebrate her improved grades.
John Lane 36: Promises
- It's prom season at Lawndale High and as expected, Daria and John find themselves under pressure to attend, despite their strong desire to avoid the whole mess.
John Lane 37: Chrysalis
- After their trip to avoid the prom, John and Daria feel that their life is changing around them as they finish the school year and try to convince Jake and Helen to let them continue with their plans to spend the summer at the Ashfield Artist Colony
John Lane 38: Yeah, It's Summer
- Daria and John are away to Ashfield Colony for the Arts for the summer, while Helen volunteers Quinn to work at the Okay To Cry Corral. John introduces Daria to Alison, who becomes a friend to the couple. Quinn gets invited to the Winged Tree Country Club fireworks display by Tom and also gets Link to open up at camp.
John Lane 39: Leaving Summer
- Daria and John come to grips with Alison having kissed each of them while Quinn tries to deal with the aftereffects of Link's crush on her, as well as Mr. O'Neill's misinterpretation of events.
John Lane 40: Starry Eyes Open
- With the beginning of the school year also comes the Starry Night Ball and, much to the anticipation of the Fashion Club, Quinn's chance to meet the Sloanes' social circle. Meanwhile, John prepares to show some of his work at the ball and simply survive.
John Lane 41: Friends and Rediscovery
- Quinn, Daria and John travel to the Camp Grizzly five-year reunion. Quinn tries to balance her concern about Sandi's broken leg with meeting her old friends, while Daria looks forward to a repeat of another bad experience and John hopes to mooch enough food to feed him and Trent along the way.
John Lane 42: Legally Halloween
- The Morgendorffer clan prepares for a Halloween costume party put on by Helen's law firm. In addition, the teenagers prepare to escape that party and move on to one at Brittany's. Daria wonders which one will cause the least brain damage.
John Lane 43: We're On A Mission
- Needing a clandestine way to get to an antique book store in Washington D.C. to buy a present for Daria's eighteenth birthday, John recruits Tom Sloane. To cover his absence, he convinces Helen and Quinn to spend a day of mother/daughter/sister bonding with Daria.
John Lane 44: Fizzy Logic
- When Ms. Li calls a school review meeting on Super Bowl Sunday, the new editor of the Lawndale Lowdown assigns Daria and John to cover the story. When Ms. Li signs a contract with a soda company, they find themselves with limited options on what to do about it.
John Lane 45: Haunted by the Past
- When the Fashion Club decides to produce a fashion newspaper, Daria's past in Highland comes back to haunt her. Meanwhile, Helen encourages Daria and John to seek scholarships and some extra activities for their college applicatins.
John Lane 46: Substitute Plans
- When the faculty of Lawndale High goes on strike, Ms. Li finds a shortage of at least minimally acceptable substitutes. To make up for the shortfall, she comes up with a way to "recruit" John, Daria, Jodie and Mack.
John Lane 47: Another Look in the Mirror
- While John and Daria finish up their college applications, they learn that Daria's cousin Erin is getting a divorce and will be dropping in to work with Helen on the process.
John Lane 48: A Boston We Will Go
- With Helen and Jake busy with work and unable to make the trip, Amy agrees to chaperone John and Daria on a trip to Boston for college visits. Meanwhile, Quinn starts to face the reality of being in a house alone with her parents.
John Lane 49: Acceptances
- As the school year nears an end, the seniors of Lawndale High School it seems as if everyone has heard from their college choices except John. Meanwhile, Jodie is facing the choice of going to her preference, Turner, or her parents choice, Crestmore.
John Lane 50: Boxed In
- The empty box from a replacement refrigerator brings back old memories for John and Daria. While they spend time trying to recreate part of their pasts, Quinn gets to meet the extended Sloane family at the Cove.
John Lane 51: Promises Kept
- While Quinn prepares to attend both Lawndale High and Fielding Prep proms with Tom, Daria and John plan a return trip to Washington D. C. to avoid the prom and to fulfill a promise from the year before.
John Lane 52: From the Last Step to the First
- The series concludes with Daria and John graduating from Lawndale High and making it through their last summer in Lawndale as docents at the Lawndale Art Museum before leaving for college in Boston.
The John Lane Series can be found:
- here at Outpost Daria (via Wayback Machine)
- here at The Contrarian's Corner
- here at Glitter Berries
- here at The Sh33p's Fluff
- here at Sick, Sad World
- here at Lawndale Sun-Herald
Note: Websites are updated at owner's convenience; some of these sites might not contain the latest installments of the series