In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, today’s question is: What’s your favorite romance in comics?
The storied tale of Alexander Summers (Havok) and Lorna Dane (Polaris). I could write 1000 words or speak for an hour or more on the ridiculous (adj. 1. inspiring scornful pity 2. incongruous 3. broadly or extravagantly humorous; resembling farce) wedding drama alone. I could mention the ensuing hilarity every time it came up again after that (example: No one actually talks like this; example: Alex tries to prove he’s NOT such a Summers Brother after all; example: Lorna and Alex can’t decide whose sense of humor is more inappropriate.) I could discuss their long history and mention that I own an entire long box of “Comics that Feature Alex and Lorna.” I could share the date in which (1)Lorna plays with silverware and Alex wears yellow and blue even out of uniform, (2) she compares him to Scott and (3) convinces him to ignore the braindead mutaphobe nearby until (4) he attacks her boyfriend’s honor and (5) she shows him just what she can do and (6) well, all Hell breaks loose, but that is why I love Alex and Lorna!
Or I could simply quote X-Factor 100: Love: the one constant, in a constantly changing word. It radiates between you two with a power, a desperation, that is almost over-whelming. Alex. Lorna. As long as you stand together it doesn’t matter if the universe blows apart…you’ll survive. You’ll triumph. Ah, but break the bond…snap the connection…and you’re both adrift, alone. So you cling to each other like liferafts…But when dependence and love become interchangeable, the soul suffers… You have to see the panel itself to truly appreciate the depth of their codependence. The bottom line is no matter what Marvel does to them Alex and Lorna need each other, find each other and become codependent all over again.
One of the big announcements at last week’s New York Comic Con was that Batwoman, a.k.a. Kate Kane, will be coming to the pages of Detective Comics in a starring role. You might remember that the character was unveiled back in 2006, to a lot of hype and some exceedingly silly controversy over her lesbian identity. While other people argue about whether the character is too pretty, or a bad influence on impressionable kiddies, or whatever people are constitutionally required to argue about when gender issues and geekdom collide with the mainstream media — I’ll just be over here, crossing my fingers and hoping for a good love story.
See, Kate was first introduced in my favorite DC Comics series, 52, as the socialite ex-girlfriend of my favorite DC character, Renee Montoya. Things have never gone smoothly for the two of them, what with Kate being kidnapped by crime-worshiping death cults, and Renee hunting down and eventually being recruited to leadership of said cults, and. . .look, the plot is not the point with these two. The point is that they are women being written by Greg Rucka, which means that they are tough and smart, great at kicking ass and lousy at making personal choices. And when they cross paths, as they did memorably in The Question: Five Books of Blood, the sparks fly like crazy. I can’t wait to see more of them.
I’m a sucker for highly-dramatic, ultimately-doomed romance. Especially when that romance began as shy teenage yearnings between two characters I’ve adored since the beginning of my tenure as a comic book fan. I’m speaking, of course, of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, the X-Men’s ’til death do them part (again and again) Cyclops and Phoenix. Over the years, they’ve been portrayed as everything from the high-emo couple of the Dark Phoenix Saga to the near-ciphers of Scott Lobdell’s run to the cold, distant, nearly unrecognizable characters of Grant Morrison’s run. But through it all, whether they’re raising a child for twelve years in the future on their honeymoon or having somewhat ill-advised sex on a desert mesa, this couple manages to be dynamic and interesting, with a love that’s inextricable from the circumstances of their crimefighting teenagerhood and the challenges they’ve faced. It hasn’t been an easy ride for the two of them, with all the tragedy of death and infidelity, but there’s a reason Scott’s mind always returns to Jean, no matter how long she’s been dead, and a reason Jean always finds herself drawn back to Scott, no matter what’s ripped them apart. He’s a little too stodgy and cautious; she’s a little too wild and risk-taking. But together, they represent the best the X-Men can be, and the best a romance in such trying times can be. They’ll always be my first comics love, and no Wolverine or Emma Frost or Madelyne Pryor can stop that.
I’m really not a romance fan. My favorite romantic movies are, in order, Chasing Amy, Philadelphia Story, The Secretary, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. So I’m not sure I’m qualified to talk about romance. On the other hand, I have a whole musical playlist called “Love is Stalking.” So let’s talk about that.
My favorite romantic stalker is David Qin. His interest in Katchoo begins when she’s a call girl, continues through her being a killer, and covers years of his life. David gives almost everything to Katchoo and takes a ton of her abuse — one can almost feel sorry for him. But his relationship with her is fundamentally imbalanced. The power is not equal between them It is, far too often, a relation being the agent — David — and the object acted upon — Katchoo.
It might be love, it might be romance, but it’s sure as hell stalking. And I love it.
What about you? What’s your favorite romance in comics?