Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Musings: Where Have All the Great Comic Book Couples Gone?

Sensation Comics #97
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
Happy Valentine's Day! I sincerely hope you and your significant other have had a joyous day filled with love and happiness. Here at Comics Fairplay we are putting off the celebration until this weekend, when we will both be home to enjoy it.

Lately comic book couples have been coming apart at the seams, either by editorial mandate or because of a logical story thread ending. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth when I think of some of the great comic book romances and their untimely endings.

In good news though, I still have Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash, and his lovely wife Joan. Through many years of adversity and a great deal of story progression, this couple has stayed together, and more importantly, grown old together. There were no hasty break-ups that I can account for, and when the plot is driven anywhere, it goes towards the strength of their relationship rather then focusing on the weaknesses. Bless Jay and Joan. May they live happily ever after. Did you hear that DC?

As pictured in Sensation Comics #97 at right, Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor had a wonderful relationship that transcended death and adversity. Unfortunately, the first crisis and a new volume of the Wonder Woman series put an end to that. I miss Diana saving Steve's butt and I miss his bravery and masculinity. It is rare to find a non-hero male portrayed that way anymore and I miss it.

Unfortunately over at Marvel there has been an epidemic of break-ups, whether by death, magic, or irreconcilable differences. Poor Jean Gray died so that Scott could take up with Emma and lead the X-Men into a new era. Peter and Mary Jane's marriage was retconned out of existence. Luke and Jessica are on the outs. Reed and Sue had a close call. Danny and Misty haven't been together in like forever, you know? It really sucks.

Over at DC, the marriages have been a bit more stable, but characters have taken their hits. Aquaman lost Mera to his super hero career and the shattering of their lives by the death of their son. Garth and Dolphin almost broke up over his commitment to the Titans and now they are presumed dead. Hal and Carol just couldn't make it work with him turning into Parallax and her becoming Star Sapphire. Now Hal has taken up with "Cowgirl" and seemingly left Carol in the dust. Granted, she was a few women ago, but he is portrayed as a "playa".

What has been most fascinating is that we as readers have become so attached to these relationships. As much as I love Grant Morrison, I am still pissed that he killed off Jean. I may never forgive Marvel for the Peter/Mary Jane debacle and they are probably very gleeful about that. I got righteously pissed when I thought Reed and Sue were going to break up, fangirl that I am.

Isn't that amazing? Through the years, these characters and their relationships have affected me enough to care. Keep on going, Jay and Joan, as you give me hope for the future.

Happy Valentine's Day All!


Swinebread said...

I've given' up on Happy endings for our heroes because they have to keep pumping out new stories... sad but true...

Heidi Meeley said...

Swinebread- I have to agree with you on that one. Definitely sad but true!