In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments. Last week’s Favorite Siblings question unexpectedly revealed a slate of X-Men-related answers. As it were. This week we decided to expand on the question. Therefore —
Who are your favorite Non-X-Men sibilings in comics?
Terry and Matt McGinnis. I love Batman Beyond. Terry is Not Bruce. And eventually Bruce realizes he’s Not Robin, too. Terry is sort of “what if Peter Parker was Batman?” — he’s normal except not. And his punky little brother is a part of that. Matt grounds Terry. So he’s the hero of Gotham City, he’s just My Annoying Big Brother Who Never Has Time for Me to Matt…and at the same time, he was Matt’s hero long before he was anybody else’s.
There’s something to be said for sharing a power, or a curse, or a supernatural duty with your sibling. But sometimes it’s fun to see a brother and sister in a comic who are just regular people. Scott and Stacey Pilgrim, from the popular series by Bryan Lee O’Malley have a relationship that flaky brothers and long-suffering sisters everywhere will recognize instantly.
While superhero comics are full of great siblings, one of my favorite sibling pairs exists outside of Western comics entirely. Edward and Alphonse Elric, protagonists of the wonderful manga Fullmetal Alchemist, are probably the most devoted brothers in anything I’ve ever read. In some ways, they’re the exact opposite of normal birth-order predictions. Ed, the older brother, is impulsive and frequently childish, with a quick temper and a flair for the dramatic. The younger Al, on the other hand, is calm and practical, quiet and sweet, and prepared to dig his brother out of any scrape — all this despite the fact that he literally has no body, and must exist as a soul embedded in a moving suit of armor. But when it comes down to it, Ed is willing to lay down anything — including, literally, his own limbs — to protect his baby brother, and the driving narrative of the entire epic story is the brothers’ quest to heal each other. They fight and bicker like any brothers do, but ultimately this is a story about deep, devoted brotherly love, and the threads of that emotional arc end in an extraordinarily satisfying way. If this kind of brother-narrative interests you at all, I highly recommend giving the Fullmetal Alchemist manga a try.
My favorite siblings outside of my beloved X-Men are the Endless, from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. For all that they are the anthropomorphic personifications of eternal principles, they are still siblings. They bicker, feud, and love each other as family. I always appreciated that.
(L’il Endless art by Jill Thompson. I own a print of this, it hangs on my wall.)
So what about you? Who are your favorite Non-X-Men sibilings in comics?