OPINION – Keep them Together (For the Kids)

I swear, every time I check the comics news it’s another event that revolves around some long-term couple getting broken up in their series. Or some wedding event that ends in tragedy. How did that Ben Grimm wedding end? Don’t tell me, I’m too afraid to know.

The Big-2 have a bad habit of repeating the notion that their couples need to have drama and break up to create a compelling story. That drama and heartache sell. Matrimonial bliss is only good for selling events and that the status quo of happily married superheroes is a bad thing. That canon relationships aren’t important enough, in the long run, to merit having healthy depictions.

Is Deadpool still married in current continuity?

I am ride-or-die for very few couples in canon. I love the idea of characters being able to navigate the waters of love and relationships as freely as if they were real, but there are some couples that you just do not break up. Peter and MJ, Reed and Sue, Lois and Clark, Rogue and Gambit. Everything and everyone else are basically fair game in love and war.

50 issues of “will they or won’t they” makes me smack my head on the desk.

But that doesn’t mean that those core couples shouldn’t be together. There isn’t some magic button that dictates that these characters don’t have to have drama and tension and problems in their relationships. That’s part of life! That’s what makes these characters so compelling; seeing the near-god of a man that is Superman having problems at home with Lois that isn’t her imminent death. There are plenty of ways for these couples to have functioning relationships and compelling stories without sacrificing their marital status or happiness (overall) to make them work.

I find it infuriating that so many Big-2 writers rely on breaking up Lois and Clark to make Superman’s stories be more interesting. I gag every time that I think about that one story where MJ got cervical cancer and died because of Pete’s radioactive junk. Breaking up these characters is old hat, it’s unfortunate that there is already so much drama and sacrifice going on in the comics universe around them that there isn’t some other way to create tension and drama within the relationships without breaking them up or killing one of the partners. (And let’s be real here, it’s never Clark who dies in that scenario.)

I wouldn’t be so happy to climb up on my soapbox and yell to the heavens that Peter Parker and Mary-Jane Watson belong together if there wasn’t always the slight chance that this couple would be broken up in continuity to create some weird kind of tension and drama. The only place where I will argue that it works and is okay is in the Spider-Gwen universe where Peter is dead instead of Gwen and now Gwen and MJ are maybe possibly a gay couple. (In my heart of hearts, this is the only acceptable solution to breaking up Pete and MJ, and it works without breaking the continuity of the newly established alternate universe.)

The Kitty/Peter bait and switch for Gambit/rogue still gives me a headache.

The same soapbox passion I have in my heart goes for every other couple in Big-2 comics. What is it about these happily wedded, functioning human relationships that scared the writers so badly that they go out of their way to destroy them? What part of a happy marriage is such anathema to tension and plot building that it is almost an expectation of any new writer to come and break up the marriage whenever they get the chance? You cannot argue about character development and representation when you denounce happy, healthy, functioning relationships in favor of cheap drama at the expense of the relationship, and the character development that comes from a healthy, loving relationship.

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Kai Kiriyama

Kai Kiriyama

Senior Editor
A writer, editor and Twitch gamer from Canada, Kai is often cold and usually under-caffeinated. You can find her books on all ebook retailers, including Amazon.
Written by
A writer, editor and Twitch gamer from Canada, Kai is often cold and usually under-caffeinated. You can find her books on all ebook retailers, including Amazon.

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