Top Ten Comic Book Romances

Top Ten Comic Book Romances

No, even flying supermen, masked urban crimefighters, and giant green behemoths are not immune the power of Valentine's Day. On the day of the worldwide celebration of romantic love, impossible-to-get dinner reservations, and super long lines at Zale's Jewelers, Newsarama looks at some of the most notable long-term relationships from the world of comic books over the years.

10. Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner

Easily the most unique couple on the list, in addition to being a comic book couple in a long-running series, they also happen to be movie couple in a big-screen comic book adaptation (portrayed by actors Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis), and be a real-life couple as well.

Pekar, one of the most celebrated underground comic book writers in the history of the medium, documented much of his life with second wife Brabner in his autobiographical America Splendor series, which has been published in various incarnations since 1976.

Most notably, Pekar and Brabner co-wrote and well as appeared as the main characters in Our Cancer Year, an award-winning 1994 graphic novel off-shoot of Splendor that depicts Pekar's real-life struggle with lymphoma in 1990 and Brabner's struggle to hold their lives together while he deals with the disease.

9. Batman and Catwoman

One of the comic book worlds' longest running  and most sexually-charged romances, it doesn't get higher placement on the list because it's been figuratively unconsummated for most of the 69 years since sometimes cat burglar/sometimes superheroine Selina Kyle first slinked into the Dark Knight's life.

Mostly "cat and mouse" (well, "cat and bat") the couple traditionally dance around their feelings for one another, sometimes briefly giving into them, with Batman even recently confessing his true feelings to her while he thought she was unconscious.

Any chance of them finally taking that next step was lost, however, when Batman was apparently killed but in reality his consciousness was sent hurdling though time.

It's always something with those two…

8. Comic Book Readers & Wednesdays

For much of the general public, Wednesday - or so-called "Hump Day" - is favored day because they know at its end more than half of their long work week is over. But Wednesdays hold an even more special place in the heart's of comic book readers. That's the day when dozens and sometimes even hundreds of brand new titles are released to local comic book shops around the United States, 52 times a year without fail, with many fans building their whole weeks around the day.

Now that's true love.

7. Apollo and Midnighter

It's not just that these groundbreaking teammates on the DC-offshoot Wildstorm Universe superhero team The Authority were comic books' first openly gay, married couple, with an adopted daughter no less … it’s the subtext. The two heroes are analogues – a common fictional device – of two more iconic, archetype comic book superheroes.

Apollo is a super-powered being that derives his special abilities from the sun's energy. Midnighter is a more intense, street-level type, crusading in the shadows in a dark black suit dispensing a more urban brand of justice…

Sound a little bit familiar..?

6. Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy

It's still the comic book world's greatest romantic tragedy. Once a hopeless nerd/science geek before getting bit by that radioactive spider, Peter Parker eventually wooed and won the heart of one of the most popular co-eds at 'Empire State University', the very blond and very beautiful Gwen Stacy.

Spider-Man had finally found true contentment and happiness, until one day the Green Goblin pitched her off the top of the George Washing Bridge, killing her instantly. While it's been over 35 year since her death (and despite recent temptation, Marvel has let her rest in peace), it still remains a defining moment in the life of Spider-Man and a defining moment in comic book history.

5. The Incredible Hulk and Betty Ross

When she's not dead (she's one of many characters on the list that have cheated that ultimate fate), Betty Ross has played the classic "Beauty" to Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk's the "Beast" in the Marvel Comics series.

Of course the genius of Marvel/comic book legend Stan Lee was the real-world twists he put on his creations. One of the Hulk's greatest arch-nemesis is General "Thunderbolt" Ross, who for years was always leading military campaigns to capture or kill the 'Green Goliath'. Oh, and he just happened to be the Hulk's father-in-law…

What married guy can't relate to that dynamic?

4. Archie and Betty … and Veronica

One of fiction's most enduring and iconic romantic triangles, for over 60 years teenage Archie Andrews has been torn between his feelings for the blond, easy-to-please girl-next-door type Betty, and the more demanding, raven-haired, spoiled rich girl Veronica. The dynamic has even coined the pop-psychology phrase "The Betty or Veronica syndrome".

Of course the times may have ultimately caught up with Archie and solved his problem for him. While for decades he's agonized over which girl he'd choose, he may not have to make that choice anymore. In 2009, it seems like dating two different people simultaneously is much more of a viable option than ever before.

3. Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson

Okay, Spider-Man eventually moved on after Gwen Stacy, building a long-lasting relationship with red-headed party-girl Mary Jane Watson, ironically once something of the "Veronica" to Gwen's "Betty"

Spider-Man married Mary Jane (over 20 years ago, in fact) and they were even pregnant with a baby girl. Marvel Comics would like you to forget all that, however. Because they want Spider-Man to be seen as a younger hero closer to his teenage origins, the publisher recently mystically annulled Peter and Mary Jane's marriage so they and and the world don't even remember it (it's a long story), and their baby hasn't even been referred to for several years (it's an even longer story).

Spider-Man may be a "swinging" (sorry) bachelor again, but many long-time fans will probably always pine for the day the star-crossed lovers are reunited.

2. Clark Kent and Lois Lane

Perhaps the quintessential comic book superhero/love interest relationship. Clark Kent longs for Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane. Lois Lane longs for Superman, as all the while she's on the cusp of discovering his secret identity.

As familiar as that dynamic is to American pop culture, it's actually now firmly a part of the characters' pasts. Superman/Clark and Lois have been happily married for nearly 13 years now, with those romantic courtship games long since over. The success of their marriage, however, has placed one of the comic book world's great unopened can of worms on the table.

When – if ever – will a super-baby make three?

1. Reed and Sue Richards

Like any other married couple they've gone their occasional rough patches because of the usual petty issues – political differences, child-rearing disagreements, jealously over flirtations with Monarchs of vast undersea kingdoms, impersonation by shape-shifting aliens, each of them dying every now and again, and of course, the age-old toilet seat debate. But the Fantastic Four's Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman have remained committed and passionate for nearly 45 years now, are raising two beautiful children, and together help save the universe as we know it every few odd months.

They are comic books' ultimate "power couple", both literally and figuratively speaking.

Also on Newsarama:

5 Things We Hope Barack Obama Learned from Spider-Man

When World's Collide: Top 5 Real World/Comic Book Crossovers

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