Q & A 18: What’s your favorite romance 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.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, today’s question is: What’s your favorite romance in comics?

Anika

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.

Caroline

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.

Jennifer

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.

Sigrid

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?

  • Oh. My. Goodness.

    No one mentioned Rogue and Gambit? Possibly the most obviously tragic romance ever?

    … I’ll forgive you all because you did go into other incredible romances here (especially Lorna Dane and Alex Summers).

    -Mike

  • Dan

    Wally and Linda West are up near the top of my list. Those kids are just downright adorable together. And, come on, Wally re-wrote reality to protect Linda from the Flash’s enemies.

    I’m also quite fond of Bruce and Selina. Not only is she the only woman Bruce has ever been allowed to be himself around, but if your heart didn’t grow three sizes when Bruce held Selina’s baby for the first time, then you’re dead inside.

    Oh, and just because you’re all expecting it: Kitty and Colossus.

  • I know this won’t be popular,but I’m a big fan of Wonder Woman’s wooing of Tom Tresser. Especially the latest issue when he refers to her as ‘princess’. It made me go all girly inside, which is something I don’t normally do.

    And Annika — great choice. I didn’t pick that pair only because we’ve really only seen them together as exes. Can’t wait to see what Rucka does with Detective comics.

  • I am fond of different romances during different eras! I mean, I love Dick and Babs. I seriously let out the biggest squeal ever when they got back together during No Man’s Land. (That kiss. Is just. GUH.) But I also don’t like them together *now* or want them to be together now, but I love their history together and how at one point they absolutely completed each other.

    But I am also fond of Dick and Kory. (Look, if something happened during the NTT Wolfman/Perez era, I am probably fond of it. Except for Donna/That thing she married. That I could do without.) At that point in their lives, they were totally compatible and wonderful and I loved them together, and I also love them now, but again, I feel that they’ve both moved on.

    I’m also really fond of both 70s Green Arrow/Black Canary, and also Grell era of the same! I don’t particularly like the way they’re being written now, but I still have serious fondness for the couple.

    But… favorite. It would probably go to Dick and Babs, with the caveat of ‘has ended and they are better people because of it. And also Dick did love Kory. But he wouldn’t cheat on her.’ But when Dick and Babs were together and truly *worked* and balanced each other… oh man, I love them so much.

    That… was long winded. Shipping is serious business, I guess. 😉

  • Dan

    I forgot the greatest romance ever: Hal and Ollie.

  • @Dan Well, you know, if bromance counts, I have a whole SLEW of alternate answers.

  • Julia

    @Margot Shipping is very serious business. It’s like choosing between your friends. “I like you really I do, but I like hanging out with them better”. No one’s happy with you afterwards. Like you, I like couples during certain periods. I love Ollie/Dinah in the satellite, but I’m not sure I like them together now. I admit I liked Diana/Steve Trevor back in the day and wish George Perez hadn’t aged him. I love most of the Hawks in their various incarnations, except Carter/Kendra.

    To me, the couples that fascinate me are the ones with longevity, the ones that despite all the odds still manage to stay together. Everyone says once they’re together a couple’s boring. They don’t have to be. I look at my parents who’ve been married for nearly forty years and don’t so much wonder how they got together but what keeps them together. It’s more relationship than romance. *shrugs*

    On the DC side, wow, do I have a lot of couples there. I love Clark/Lois in comics and toonverse. I don’t really like them in live action stuff, even the earlier Superman movies. I love how they’ve evolved as a couple and characters, how they work together and spar as rivals, but can also see past it. I still love Bruce/Selina. No matter how hard they push each other away, they’re drawn back in.

    On the Marvel side, I’ll go with Jean/Scott for exactly the reason given — the big doomed romance. Ironically I found them at one of their rockiest times through Morrison’s New X-men run and the movies that kept pushing Logan with everyone (nearly!). But I liked their connection, how she drew Scott a little out of his shell, how he was so supportive, even when things were falling apart for her.

  • I think a bromance Q &A would be great. Way to go, Dan.

  • As brief as it ended up being, I really loved Ultimate Beast and Storm.

  • Dan

    Thanks…perhaps there’s a guest post in there somewhere (hint, hint).

  • @Julia I totally agree, both on the shipping and the Carter/Kendra. (FWIW, my favorite version of Lois/Clark was in Superman: TAS.)

    And speaking of couples with longevity – Ralph and Sue Dibny! And Jay and Joan Garrick! *adores massively*

    @Dan If we’re talking bromance, I need to throw in my vote for Dick Grayson/Roy Harper. And I won’t argue the Hal/Ollie with you either.

  • You totally forgot about how much I am in love with myself!

    @Dan – agreed any scene where I was holding onto that kid was pure magic. Jokes on her as most people know I’m not suppose to be around Minors.

  • I definitely second Kate and Renee.

    Some of my other favorites are Bruce Wayne/Selina Kyle, Snow White/Bigby, and Luke Cage/Jessica Jones. And in the almost canonical pile, Cable/Deadpool, Babs/Black Canary, and Iron Man/Captain America. (You can’t tell me that Civil War wasn’t the worst breakup story ever.)

    @Sigrid I do think that most romance movies are actually stalker movies. Look at almost any John Cusack movie. Or look at the popularity of Twilight. While I haven’t read all of SiP, I do think the difference with TM’s writing is that the woman call David out on being a stalker.

  • Anika

    @Mike Rapin: Funnily enough, I was the hugest Rogue and Gambit shipper EVER about 15 years ago and absolutely because of the huge tragedy of it all!

    @Dan: What baby-holding-moment do you speak of? If there is a comic that would make me like the Bat/Cat ship I’d love to read it.

  • Julia

    @Erica “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail” are hailed as these wonderful romantic comedies until yeah, you step back and realize they’re stalker movies. Love and obsession are not the same things at all. Of course comics have the serial element involved where we (usually) see these romances built up over time. A movie has only a few hours (maybe) to convince us they’re supposed to be together.

  • Caroline

    @Anika I Looove that Lorna/Alex date issue. Love it!

    @Nikki I went with Kate & Renee as my favorite (potentially) ongoing romance (and so I didn’t steal Jen’s thunder on Scott & Jean!)

    I’m not sure where I stand on the whole love-vs-stalking thing. I’ve never read “Strangers in Paradise” and my feelings about romantic comedies are complicated. But speaking of love-stalking reminds me of Vic Sage, who’s really good at it, particularly in Rucka’s “Huntress: Cry for Blood” mini. And he basically does the same thing to Renee in “52” that he did to Helena in that series; but somehow Renee being gay makes it ‘pure-r’ because he’s just going after her so he can have a legacy, and knows she’s not going to sleep with him. And he’s really there as a catalyst/3rd wheel with Kate and Renee as well. I’m not sure there’s a point to that beyond “Vic Sage is awesome.”

  • Oops! My bad, Caroline. See what happens when I get happy to see same-sex relationships acknowledged?? I’m so shocked and happy that I lose my attention to detail. :-)

  • Dan

    @Anika I’m not sure of the exact issues, but it was in CATWOMAN, after DC did the One Year Later jump.

  • sigrid

    @Mike Rapin No one mentioned Rogue and Gambit because well, . . . because I don’t like it. 😛

    @ all – okay, let’s do bromance soon!

    @Erica YES. Katchoo and the others really do call each other on thier issues, including the manifest creepiness of David’s initial approach.

  • Twyst

    i like couples. i like pairing up my heroclix, i like reading romantic interactions, so i like a lot of couples.

    blackbolt/medusa (i think these are my favourite)
    xavier/lilandra
    gamora/nova
    ms marvel/wonderman
    jessica jones/luke cage
    sue storm/namor

    i also really love the already mentioned lorna/alex :)

  • Jim

    Thanks for mentioning ‘X-Factor’ #100. I’ll check it out. I’m a longtime fan of Alex and Lorna. Maybe not a passionate fan, but I do like them.

  • Hysteria

    I’m a passionate fan of Lorna and Alex. Lorna is such a beautiful character with her long green hair. She’s so unique and a hell of a leader. In her last appearance from Deadpool and The Mercs For Money #7 and #8, she was extremely amazing and gorgeous. Although this is not her first time because every time she does appear, she appears more extraordinary.