Just visit your local grocery store and you’ll discover that Valentine’s Day is coming soon. I’m always happy when that holiday goes by because it means February is half over, that month bringing the worst weather of the year where I live on the East Coast. Second, I’m not a big fan of love stories.
Why, you ask? Because every love story ends in either one of two ways: 1. They get together, or 2. They don’t. So I have a 50/50 shot at predicting what’s going to happen. As an “experienced” reader/viewer, I find that a lot less challenging than other kinds of stories.
If you watch much television, shows with “sexual tension,” meaning “Will they? Or won’t they?” crash and burn in the ratings when they “do” it, or consummate the relationship. Good examples of this include Northern Exposure and Lois And Clark.
So I get really nervous when comics characters begin or are in relationships. For instance, Kyle Rayner found his girl friend in pieces in the kitchen. Peter Parker caught Gwen Stacy when she fell from the top of a bridge, but she was already dead when he did. Things just don’t go well when someone takes a liking to a superhero.
When I first started reading comics, lo, those many years ago, Lois had her own comic in which she tried to “trick” Superman into a loving, committed relationship. You knew she was never going to find out that Superman was really Clark Kent, and writers had to keep coming up with ways that she wouldn’t, so it was an okay book for me to read.
Then, in a move that had me really concerned at the time, Clark revealed his big secret to Lois after proposing to her in Superman (vol. 2) #50. I kept waiting for Mephisto to appear and reverse everything or some other comic book outrageous thing to happen to re-establish the status quo, but, to my surprise, it didn’t happen. Instead, Clark and Lois got married! When that took place, I was also picking my jaw up off the floor.
I kept waiting for something terrible to happen to Lois. But it didn’t.
Instead, I began to see a genuine loving, caring relationship unfolding, and it warmed my heart. I particularly enjoyed Kurt Busiek’s story in Superman #654. Clark was trying to get his job at the Daily Planet back, but was so busy being Superman and saving the day that he couldn’t write the required number of stories in time. At the end of the day, he returned to Lois, dejected, until she informed him that he had indeed gotten his stories done. She had covered for him and “ghosted” the articles.
I really liked that. Even Superman needs someone to save the day for him occasionally.
Sometimes I think we’re too absorbed by the sexual side of romantic relationships. As much fun as sex is, what happens around that is more important. Do the partners get along? Do they look out for each other? Those things will probably have more to do with how the relationship will fare than sexual gymnastics, in my opinion.
I know that conflict is the essence of drama, but it would be a nice change of pace to see, for example, Superman and Wonder Woman continue to develop into friends as well. And to have Diana survive the experience would be a great sight to see as well!
If more comics love stories were like that, I’d enjoy them a whole lot more. Not sure how the sales would go, but it would be worth a try, I think! Sorry, DC!
Happy Valentine’s Day in advance! Be sure to give a copy of Sex Criminals to your significant other so you can show him or her how that person makes you feel – that time stops around them! Ain’t love grand!