Sometimes those who don’t live it, read it. Even when I was at my most cynical, there were romances in comics that always made me happy. Some have years of comic book history together, others are newer relationships that give some really great representation, and one proves that love can come even in the most unlikely of combinations.
Here are 10 of my favorites this Valentine’s Day.
10. Mary Jane “MJ” Watson/Peter Parker (Spider-Man)
“Face it, Tiger … you just hit the jackpot!” Ever since those words were spoken, Mary Jane Watson has been an amazing part of the Spider-Man universe. Despite Felicia Hardy being my favorite of Peter’s love interests, it’s undisputed that Mary Jane has grown to be one of the most important. Her role in the comics fluctuates from being more passive to active, but why she stands out as one of the best love interests in comics is the love and support she gives Peter—not to mention she’s just a fun character.
As Stan Lee once said, Gwen Stacey was planned to be Peter Parker’s true love, but then MJ ended up being “not only more attractive but more fun and more interesting.” Sorry Gwen, but at least you get to be a superhero in your own alternate world.
9. Rogue/Gambit (X-Men)
One of my favorite hetero-couples ever has always been Rogue and Gambit. From the ’90s cartoon, I was always drawn to their chemistry and the angst of Rogue’s powers making it difficult for them to even kiss. Yet, they have always had a fun relationship. On their first date, Wolverine and other members of the X-Men tagged along to make sure he didn’t just take her to Taco Bell (friendship is magic).
It was also great that because of her powers, a lot of their relationship did not revolve around sex, and they were allowed to build and grow as a couple with personality at the forefront. It wasn’t always perfect, but they worked, and last year, they officially got married!
8. Anissa Pierce/Grace Choi (Black Lightning)
For fans of The CW’s Black Lightning, the relationship between Anissa and Grace is one of the few queer relationships between two women who aren’t white. Anissa Pierce, who is the daughter of Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning, has the powers of physical density, rendering herself bulletproof, and creating massive shockwaves. Grace Choi is an Asian-American woman with Amazon heritage, healing abilities, and super strength.
They have amazing sexual chemistry, are really sweet together, and honestly, I just love watching them both and knowing they aren’t going to be killed by a stray bullet.
7. Monsieur Mallah/Brain (Teen Titans/Doom Patrol)
Look … just because Mallah is a genetically enhanced gorilla and the Brain is the brain of the scientist who did the enhancements doesn’t mean it’s weird—I mean, weird for comics. During Grant Morrison’s run of Doom Patrol, the Brain, in one of Robotman’s bodies, confessed to Mallah that he was in love with him, and Mallah felt the same way. They shared a kiss and have been in an evil romantic relationship ever since. It’s healthier than Joker/Harley, so … don’t @ me.
6. Dinah Lance/Oliver Queen (Green Arrow)
My babies. I’ve been a fan of these two since Justice League Unlimited and have been following the romance between them ever since. Does Oliver Queen really deserve Dinah? Not always, but I’ve always enjoyed their sass, chemistry, and the fact that it is a couple of equals.
Dinah is a better fighter than Oliver and has powers, but they are a team. Oliver never feels emasculated by Dinah and enjoys having a partner who can go toe-to-toe with Batman if need be.
5. Midnighter/Apollo (The Authority)
Midnighter went down to Hell to get his boyfriend back. What greater love could you ask for? Midnight and Apollo are violent crimefighters in the superhero team The Authority. Unlike their implied counterparts Superman and Batman, they don’t mind killing and, of course, have an amazingly loving and sexual relationship.
In their old timeline, they were married and had an adopted daughter named Jenny. Additionally, Midnighter and Apollo was written by Steve Orlando, a bisexual comic book writer, which was extra fantastic.
4. Big Barda/Scott ‘Mister Miracle’ Free (Superman)
Barda and Scott just have a really adorable relationship. Both raised under the hellish eye of Granny Goodness, Scott Free rebelled against the totalitarian ideology of Apokolips, and Barda helped him escape the planet. They showed each other mutual kindness and compassion in a dark world, proving that even in Hell itself, love and goodness can win out.
Later, they get married and have one of the most stable relationships in comics. The two have each other’s backs, and Barda is often seen flinging Scott over her shoulder and taking him to bed, which is honestly … one of Jack Kirby’s greatest gifts to romance. We love an untraditional big spoon/little spoon.
3. Wiccan/Hulkling (Young Avengers)
For a lot of young fans, Wiccan and Hulkling was their first gay couple in comics,and despite a series of problems and the meddling of Loki (the worst) the two have managed to have a sweet, committed relationship to each other. We found out in a time skip that, in at least one future, that they are married and have a daughter together named Kate. After all, why should Northstar have all the fun?
2. Harley Quinn/Poison Ivy (Birds of Prey)
I have a lot of personal attachment to Harley and Ivy. They’re very charismatic and fun to watch together. Plus, their interactions in everything from the animated series to Injustice 2 speak to them having a very intense bond.
However, the other reason why I love Ivy and Harley is that they aren’t a perfect couple. Ivy is a dick sometimes, and both are villains (anti-heroes at times) who have a lot of baggage. It’s great to have loving f/f couples, but it’s also good to show that queer couples are just as capable of being toxic as non-queer ones.
Considering that Harley’s only other long-term relationship is the Joker, I don’t think it’s a swipe against Ivy/Harley to address their bad points. Bad girls need love too.
1. Superman/Lois Lane (Superman)
Yeah, Clark and Lois are my forever OTP. Lois has grown from being Superman’s “girlfriend” to becoming a character whose partnership is valued and equally as important to Superman. The best stories between these two show how Lois and Clark both fight for justice in their own way, and that her passion for work makes her a help, not a hinderance to Superman. She doesn’t need to be Super to be his greatest weapon and partner.
Which couples in comics bring you joy?
(image: Marvel Comics)
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