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 recognition of Valentine’s Day we present:
Dear Valentine …
To: Becky Ryan
From: Franklin Richards
You’re hot. Uncle Johnny said to begin with that because it’s what most people who write to you are thinking no matter what they are writing. So by saying it first I come off honest. Also Uncle Johnny says you are hot.
You are pretty, Becky, and you sing really well and you are brave. If you would be my Valentine I would take you to Disneyland. I know I just turned seven
again but I am a really old soul and also I can sometimes manipulate time. Remember I was honest about how hot you are when you respond!
Please me my Valentine.
Thank you for the wonderful note and the picture of you and your family. When y’all come out to L.A. I’d love to bring you — and your sister — to Disney, sure thing. I’m including two pictures for you and your uncle. Make sure to keep the one I signed to my best Valentine for yourself. Have a very happy holiday, kid.
P.S. Tell Uncle Johnny he’s hot.
Why is TMZ reporting you’re “hot and heavy” with Johnny Storm?
TOP SECRET S*W*O*R*D* COMMUNIQUE: FROM THE DESK OF THE DIRECTOR: BURN AFTER READING
All right, you win.
I swore you would never get any kind of acknowledgement from me about this sappy, stupid fake holiday. To tell the truth, I never thought we’d make it past one Valentine’s Day, much less. . .however long it’s been since we cuddled up in that cave on the ice planet.
Yet here we are. And by “here,” I mean “I’m on the orbiting headquarters of the Sentient Worlds Observation and Reporting Division, waiting for you to shuttle in for a dirty weekend from the reform school/amusement park where you’re currently mentoring the newest generation of mutant rugrats.” As long distance relationships go, that makes Hades and Persephone look sane and workable.
Weird thing, though: it really is working. I spent most of my life expecting that I’d never even have a friend. Now I have a friend who is also a partner who is also the smartest and bravest and best man that I know. I don’t require that in a relationship, for the record. Not by a longshot. Somehow I was lucky enough to get you anyway.
In a few minutes, you’ll bound off that shuttle carrying New York City bagels and coffee that’s magically still hot and an art project one of your students wove out of their own tailfeathers or something equally off the wall. And I’ll make a face and (though you won’t see me behind the glasses), I’ll roll my eyes and (after I chug the coffee) we’ll make out like crazy and get through the whole weekend without talking about feelings even once. Then on your way out I’ll stuff this note between your uniform vest and your fur and with any luck you won’t find in until you’re back in Westchester.
I love you, furball. I’m glad you’re my valentine.
PS. SHOW THIS TO ANYONE AND I DESTROY YOU.
I have been enjoying many programs on your television, and they have been very informative. One of the things they have informed me about is a feast day called St. Valentine’s Day. I have used your internet to research this celebration, and I do not understand why anyone would want to commemorate the ignoble death of such an insignificant figure. However, I am very much in favor of a holiday which incites men and women to engage in various forms of sexual congress.
I have come to understand that this is not an appropriate day to express one’s desire to copulate with multiple partners, however, so I will refrain from doing so. Instead, I wish to express my dedication to you in particular, as the primary target of my most deeply-felt affections. The advertisements advise that I should buy you some kind of gift, but I know that your immune system reacts negatively to flowers, and candy will not help you to remain in the shape of a warrior. The advertisements also indicate that jewelry and other adornments represent a proper gift, but the recipients of these offerings always seem to be women, and you have reacted poorly in the past to gifts you considered to be feminine. Besides, these advertisements claim that “every kiss begins with k,” and this is patently untrue in most languages, including the one of your birth. I do not trust their guidance.
Therefore I will simply give you gifts that I know you will enjoy: this very attractive photograph of myself, a meal that is both nutritious and gastronomically pleasing (which I was taught to prepare by a delightful woman appearing on your Food Network), and some other things that Guido tells me I cannot talk about when he is within audible range.
Te amo, Julio.
Dinah, Helena —
I’ve had plenty of opportunities to think, “I really should have told X this important thing, and now I won’t get the chance to do so.” It’s a reality of the life we lead. Because of this I’ve planned ahead. If you’re getting this note I am dead and you are alive, and there’s not much to be done about that.
I hope you are well. I always hope you are well.
This is, in point of fact, a Valentine’s Day note. To my two closest friends. Which may be odd in a broader cultural context, but I think you two will understand. There’s love, the kind that Dick and I used to share, and then there’s the bone-deep certainty that another person will be there until death. And sometimes after, Lazarus Pits being what they are.
But if you are getting this note, the Lazarus Pit or the nano-restorers or the trip to Paradise Island, none of those things worked. And I know you tried them. I know you tried them all. Because that’s what I mean about love.
Love doesn’t preclude mistakes, though. And I made mistakes in my relationships with each of you. I don’t have an excuse, just an explanation — I loved you each enough to want to help you, to help you be more and better and happy. But I didn’t ask you, first, what you wanted. And I am sorry for that. Love lets me say how sorry I am, but it doesn’t let me say it to you in person.
I hope that you have love in your lives this Valentine’s Day.
Well, what I actually hope is that you never get this note. That I am alive, and we are having take-out Thai and watching whatever atrocious movie is passing for romantic comedy in the years to come. But in the event that this is not the case, I wish you all the best. I wish you happiness, and fulfillment, and love.
So what about you? Do you have a comic book character valentine?