Q&A #106: What’s the most memorable marriage in comics?

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.

What’s the most memorable marriage in comics?



Anika

I got all excited by this topic because I have been waiting for a reason to babble about Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul. Then I immediately realized that they don’t actually fit the topic seeing as NO ONE remembers they were married.

Admittedly, this marriage might not hold up in Gotham courts. But seriously, how much awesome is in this panel? Batman wants a ceremony before sex. Sex in the preserved BatHoneymoon Suite complete with birds of paradise! But it’s okay, Bruce, because her proper dad married you himself in an attempt to keep you from interfering in his plans. Like you do! But he’s absolutely legit because he is wearing a cross. You were dressed as Batman and she was dressed in a dress even Heidi Klum would call too short, but in Ra’s country that is totally appropriate wedding attire. And the witnesses/armed guards really add to the celebratory atmosphere, dontchathink? What is not memorable about this?! (I realize that Bruce himself is not remembering but then I also heard a rumor that Grant Morrison never actually read Son of the Demon. To quote Talia, ~SIGH~)

To be serious for a moment, I do adore them. And this picture (taken out of context) is a very good representation of why.



Caroline

Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor Summers.

Memorable doesn’t mean good. Every X-Men fan remembers Scott Summers’ second wedding, to longtime sweetheart Jean Grey. We also remember the affair that broke it up. But as for anything that happened in between — the actual marriage — there’s not much to recall. Scott and Jean were an item pretty much all the time that she was alive. It didn’t make any real difference to most of the stories whether they were married or not.

Scott Summers’ first marriage though. . .well, that’s an object lesson in the argument that superheroes should never get married. Especially to non-superheroes. From a Watsonian perspective, they shouldn’t get married because whoever they marry will turn out to be a clone of their dead lover and also prone to insanity. From a Doylist perspective, they shouldn’t get married because some editor will eventually come along and say, “I hate this relationship but because they are married we can’t just have them break up. Let’s write a story where she is the clone of a dead lover and also prone to insanity. Incidentally, do your best to have the hero character act like a jackass and poison his reputation for years to come.”

Scott and Maddy. Everything related to their marriage was a terrible terrible storyline in every possible way. But, hey. Everybody remembers it.



Jennifer

With Congress in the midst of debating the merits of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, it seems like a good time to highlight what may be the only same-sex marriage between superheroes in mainstream comics: Apollo and Midnighter.

I’ve said before that there are some problems inherent in the depiction of these characters, particularly under Mark Millar’s pen. But the fact remains that these are a pair of married superheroes who are no less badass because of their sexuality. In the face of all kinds of conflict, they fell in love, got married, and formed a solid family with their adopted daughter, Jenny Quantum.

Maybe — hopefully — this marriage won’t be so memorable in the future, when the idea of married same-sex superheroes isn’t so unique and different. But for now, it stands as a testament to the possibility of progress, in the genre and in the world at large.



Sigrid

Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are my favorite marriage in comics.

These are two adults coming together to become partners. They aren’t kids trying to prove themselves — they have both thrown their lives against the wall of proving themselves, and failed mightily. And they had survived those failures and kept going. Jess and Luke have each run businesses. They’ve each done some form of community service. They have each, at different points in their lives, been the kind of screw-up who has needed an understanding friend.

They are whole, is what I’m getting at. They are clear-eyed about who they each are, with very little in the way of illusion. This means that when they agreed to be partners, they each agreed to accept all of the other — flaws and warts, quirks, and flinches, insecurities and paranoias included.

And in return for this they are each partnered with a person who is strong all the way to the core. A person whose character has been tested and found true.

I am certain, because this is comics, and long-form serial comics require melodrama, that Jess and Luke’s marriage will suffer or end at some point. That’s okay, I’ll live through that. However it ends — stupidly, with bad writing for some asinine stunt, or well, with thoughtful characterization — I’ll still always have this. The marriage of two adults setting out on their second or third chance at building a life, trying to be better than their previous flaws.


So what about you? What’s the most memorable marriage in comics?

  • Anika

    Sigrid’s answer seriously brought tears to my eyes.

  • Ah ha ha, we have the BEST scans.

  • Menshevik

    Re. Scott and Madelyne (I generally avoid “Maddy” because nobody called her that before the “geniuses” who wrote the first issues of X-Factor): Actually, I think the break-up of that marriage is an object lesson that old fans should not be allowed to write the characters they are/were fans of. Because it does seem that the guys who wrote the breakup of the Pryor-Summers marriage expected readers to look on it exactly as they did and would consider Scott’s abandonment of his wife and son without even telling Madelyne why he was ditching her excusable if not even acceptable. That large numbers of readers would hold his behaviour against Scott apparently came as a complete surprise to Marvel, and then other writers had to be brought in to retool Madelyne as evil, and even that failed to convince a sizeable number to this day. Truly a screw-up of epic proportions brought about more by misguided fans than by editorial fiat.

    That’s my take from a Doylist perspective. From a Watsonian one, well, I’m a Watsonian of a different colour, and thus for me the most memorable marriage in comics is…

    … Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson. A marriage that made a bigger splash than any of the ones mentioned so far outside the fan ghetto (with a live enactment in Shea Stadium, Stan Lee officiating) and that survived several attempts by writers and editors to destroy it. Even after OMD it continued to exist in the MC-2 universe (Spider-Girl’s parents) and the syndicated newspaper strip…

  • It’s my impression that it was editors who wanted the original X-Men team back at X-Factor, which is what set the ball rolling, but I’ll concede the difference between ‘editors coming in to change things’ and ‘new writers coming in to change things’ isn’t that important. Scott/Madelyne is still an awful relationship, I’ll stand by that!

    Good call on Peter/MJ :)

  • xenokattz

    NO. Luke & Jessica will never, ever, EVER break up. EVER. Never ever ever ever in the history of ever. EVER.

    *rocks in a corner*

  • Menshevik

    Re. X-Factor: The impression I got at the time was that the creators, Bob Layton and Jackson Guice, went to then editor-in-chief Jim Shooter with their project and he okayed it so long as they came up with a way to bring Jean back without being guilty of the genocide committed by Dark Phoenix. But the X-Men and New Mutants team, writer Chris Claremont and editor Ann Nocenti, seem to have been kept out of its development, which also led to the strange situation where Madelyne, who in UXM had always got along extremely well with the active X-Men (better than Scott, in fact), suddenly was dead set against Scott seeing them.
    X-Factor for a long time was edited separately from the other X-books, issue #1 by Carlin (then-editor of the Fantastic Four) and Higgins, then ones starting with #2 by Bob Harras.

  • Caroline

    Interesting.

  • handyhunter

    @xenokattz YES. (This is partly why I don’t read any recent/on-going comics with them.)