Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Random Thoughts on Romance

I've been thinking lately. I'd really like to see more romance in superhero comics. It could just be that I'm reading the wrong issues, but I'm really feeling the lack of, well, the super-couples I'm used to seeing.

Lois and Clark are very satisfying (especially when Busiek is writing) but aside from them, I'm having trouble thinking of any major couple that still really feels like a couple.

Hal Jordan's going on his first date post-Parallax soon, in an issue centering around Star Sapphire. That's a plus, but Carol still is unfortunately out of the running and unless the new girlfriend is Cowgirl (which would surprise me given the direction that their relationship has gone so far), I'd really doubt she'll be inclined to last.

The Richards are broken for now. Something that makes me undoubtedly sad. Namor is neat, but Reed and Sue are the Marvel couple I still find myself rooting for at the end of the day. Jean Grey is still dead (last I heard anyway). Storm and Black Panther would be awesome, but I'm still not fond of the characterization therein.

JSA is promising, with Rick and Jessie as sickening newlyweds. Though I'm rather sad that we don't get to see more of the courtship on panel. I'm pulling for Maxine to have an unrequited teenage crush on anyone really, though that is also not the same.

Robin and the Flash both seem to be promising, but the tone is more adolescent flirtation. I'm not seeing viable romance yet.

I suppose I'm not really complaining too much. I've been enjoying my comic book stacks, and there are certain characters that I'd prefer not seeing in romantic entanglements...(Guy Gardner for example, unless it's Ice, darnit. Though amusing encounters with androids...gynoids?...are A-OK with me). But I guess the holidays have gotten me a little sentimental. :-) I'd like to see a little more of it soon.



  • At December 18, 2006 9:31 AM, Anonymous Jer said…

    Not to be too snarky, but I get the feeling that most of the folks writing comic books these days have never seen a healthy relationship (or even don't believe that such things can exist) and so we don't get to see much romance these days. Plus, back in the day, the writers of the superhero books had also had experience writing romance comics, something that the new writers would probably turn their noses up at. I'd like to see them pull in some folks who can write a good action/romance, but I'm not pinning my hopes too high for that.

    On the other hand, Manhunter seems to sprinkle in a nice dose of romance every once in a while - Andreyko is doing a good job with the soap opera aspects in that book. I'm not sure (yet) that the Chase/Dylan relationship is one that I'd call "healthy", but the snippets of the Damon/Todd relationship we get to see seem like the closest thing the comics have these days to a good relationship.

  • At December 18, 2006 9:33 AM, Blogger Brett said…

    The Richards being broken bums me out. Spider-Man is the young person leaving the nest in the Marvel universe. Is he going to make it or not. The Richards were the established family with kids. As you point out pretty much the only functional one in the whole Marvel comic universe. Now, thanks to Civil War, we don't even have that. Oh well, I will go back to yelling at kids to get off my lawn.

  • At December 18, 2006 10:21 AM, Blogger Matthew Perpetua said…

    Well, it seems like the problem is that you have a lot of high profile characters married off, and they end up in these fixed positions. One of the best things to happen to the X-Men in ages was getting Cyclops away from Jean and with Emma Frost instead, which is a vastly more interesting relationship. I wish more people would take chances like that, or if you can't get out of the marriage things, make them less idealistic and more complicated and real.

    I do think you're right, and that a lot of comics would be much better if romance plots were foregrounded, and not focused on status quo relationships. People enjoy the "will they or won't they?" stuff, and being surprised by couplings, it's one of the things people enjoy about serialized fiction.

  • At December 18, 2006 10:23 AM, Anonymous Loren said…

    Much agreed with want to see a fantastic relationship, let's look at Damon and Todd in Manhunter!

  • At December 18, 2006 10:24 AM, Blogger Matthew Perpetua said…

    Also, when Jean inevitably comes back, they have to have her in a relationship with Wolverine. It's unexplored and potent, and would be the best way to go forward, especially given how totally effing weird it would be for Scott and Logan.

  • At December 18, 2006 11:12 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    See, that's why I miss Ralph and Sue...*sniff*

    Kyle Rayner can't date anybody because that's the automatic kiss of death, but wouldn't it be nice for them to have Katma and John back together? I've always seen John as basically a monogamous person anyway...completely opposite from Hal of course.

    Actually, I STILL think that Guy and Diana would be an absolute hoot. I don't think that it would last, but what a ride! Heh heh.

  • At December 18, 2006 12:39 PM, Blogger Zaratustra said…

    Try checking the 4th-gen heroes. Firestorm has that weird girlfriend. And the new Blue Beetle has a nice chemistry with Brenda, though they're not actually dating. And Ryan Choi gets eaten by fifty-foot-tall naked teachers.

  • At December 18, 2006 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You've obviously never read the What If issue where Namor marries Sue.

    It's the only What If that ends with everyone living happily ever after.

    Even the What If writers knew that Sue and Namor are perfect.

  • At December 18, 2006 2:30 PM, Blogger GiantKillerMantis said…

    Have you read Scott Pilgrim? It's got romance. It sort of has super powers, but not superheroes.

  • At December 18, 2006 3:26 PM, Blogger Matthew Perpetua said…

    Scott Pilgrim really ought to be the new model for all comics.

  • At December 18, 2006 6:16 PM, Blogger notintheface said…

    No one's mentioning the Spidey/MJ marriage, which is currently still intact. Do you people know something about the upcoming "Back In Black" that I don't? Is there another "Sue Dibny" in the future?I'm gettin' nervous....

  • At December 18, 2006 7:32 PM, Blogger Lis Riba said…

    Has anybody mentioned Peter Parker and Mary Jane?

    Back when Wolfman AND Perez were doing the Titans there was plenty of romance. Dick and Kory, Donna and Terry, Vic and Sarah...

  • At December 18, 2006 8:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some good old Barda/Miracle coupledom in Birds of Prey.

    I think this largely stems from the idea that it's easier to write dates than write couples. And it almost certainly is. But well-written couples can be so much fun!

    Sue and Ralph were a super-fun couple when written correctly. Hopefully, if we can't have them anymore, we can still get what they offered somewhere.

  • At December 19, 2006 1:13 PM, Blogger Racy Li said…

    I am so annoyed they broke up Sue and Reed. I've been advocating for more romance in superhero comics for years :)

    I love Lois and Clark to bits and pieces.

  • At December 21, 2006 11:59 AM, Anonymous green with wheelpower said…

    Wish list
    Kyle+resurected AND WELL WRITEN Jade
    Storm+Logan (it has worked)
    MORE Selina+Bruce aka Cats & Bats :)

    And for crying out loud can we have Babs and Dick together or not see some non cheap action (aka Nightwing OYL)

  • At December 23, 2006 12:41 PM, Blogger She is Such a Geek said…

    Wow, yeah. I've been thinking this a *lot* lately. Not just romance, but interesting relationships and romantic tension. It seems to be required on television (shows like Alias or X-files lived and breathed romantic tension) but comics are hopelessly inept at it. What do you think of the Jen/John/Pug love triangle in She-Hulk? I seemed to be the only person who adored it.


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