The Happiness and Heartaches of Superhero Romance!
When it comes to matters of love and romance, only the Immortal Bard
can say it best. No, not William Shakespeare, but the late, great Barry White.
Take it away, Barry:
(click "play" to hear Barry's dulcet tones)
Now that the deep-voiced crooner has set the proper mood, it’s time to pour some wine, pull up a bearskin rug and swoon over some superhero romance covers.
Although comic book covers are normally the place for heated battles, villainous schemes or zany transformations, they’ve also been known to feature the occasional romantic interlude…as Cupid’s arrows compel busy crime fighters to take a break and experience the finer things in life.
Uh…thanks again, Barry….but I can take it from here.
Our first love connection harkens back to the melodramatic romance comics of decades past. Captain America #44 (2001) finds the two lovebirds secretly fretting over their relationship. Cap/Steve wonders if the lovely Connie Ferrari will accept him for who he is, while Connie can't decide which identity she's really in love with. And why Cap is only wearing half a mask.
There’s none of that emo ambiguity on the cover of Police Comics #66 (1947), as Plastic Man presides over the thoroughly love-struck couple of sidekick Woozy Winks and his girl.
The old saying “love is blind” should be amended to "love is blind and without the sense of smell" on the cover of Swamp Thing #34 (1985), as Abby Arcane presses the flesh..er…moss with her beloved sentient Chia-Pet.
Fantastic Four #317 (1988) featured not one, but two monsters in love, as the radically mutated Ben Grimm (left) embraces his newly Thing-like girlfriend Sharon Ventura (a.k.a. Ms. Marvel II). Sadly, beneath the amorous Things, it’s splitsville for the star-crossed couple of Crystal and Johnny Storm.
Another member of Marvel’s famous foursome, The Invisible Woman, obviously isn’t bothered by the fishy breath of her one-time crush in Namor, The Sub-Mariner #50 (1994). Imperius Sex!...er...I mean Rex!
Princess Diana has every right to look terrified on the cover of Wonder Woman #125 (1961), as Steve Trevor, a Mer-Man and (gulp) a giant alien amoeba (!) battle for her affections! Watch those hands, Amoeba-Man!
Never let it be said that Superman is afraid of commitment, as the Man of Steel gives up the lower half of his body for mermaid girlfriend Lori Lemaris in Superman #139 (1960). Geez…and to think some guys won’t even give up belching in public.
Lois wasn’t the only jealous Lane girl, as her sister Lucy is green with jealousy over “The Girl With Green Hair” in Jimmy Olsen #61 (1961). The alien “Ka-Ra” turned out to be none other than Supergirl, who staged the elaborate hoax to get Lucy to treat Jimmy better. Sadly, Supergirl’s scheme failed and Lucy once again reverted to a nagging harpy.
Supergirl had romantic entanglements of her own in Adventure Comics #402 (1971), after a con-man used his charm (and a secretly administered anti-superpower pill) to make her oblivious to the crime wave in the background.
No cover encapsulates Supergirl’s wonky love life quite like Adventure Comics #390 (1970). This giant-sized “All-Romance” issue reprinted three of the most disturbing relationships of the Silver Age era, including Supergirl’s make-out session with her pet Super-Horse (yuck!), marrying a Phantom Zone villain disguised as a teacher at her high school (eewww!), and setting Superman up with a super female who looked exactly like an adult-version of Kara (triple eeewwww!).
While we’re on the uncomfortable topic of underage dating, Green Lantern #33 (1992) featured the budding romance of Hal Jordan and Arisia, formerly a teenaged Green Lantern who power-ringed herself into an adult form.
Introducing a new twist to the pejorative term “frigid female”, the villainous Killer Frost gives the Nuclear Man a “chilly reception” on the cover of Firestorm #3 (1978).
The cover of Flash #302 (1981) features yet another brush with villainy as a bedazzled Flash plays super-speed tonsil hockey with skating-themed rogue The Golden Glider.
Predating TV’s The Bachelor by several decades, Bizarro presents his chosen bride-to-be with roses on the cover of Action Comics #255 (1959). The question is, which Lois does Superman’s imperfect duplicate want to marry?
Wonder Woman experienced her own Beauty and the Beast moment on the cover of The Demon #17 (1991), as she and Etrigan reenact the classic Gone With The Wind movie poster.
Trading up on the cover of DC Comics Presents #32 (1981), Wonder Woman gets friendly with Superman, courtesy of the mischievous love god Cupid. Note the consternation of their significant others, as well as some not-so-subtle background symbolism.
When Superman’s not stealing Steve Trevor’s girlfriend, he’s busy stealing Lex Luthor’s wife! The whole sordid mess is detailed in Action Comics #512 (1980).
Suggesting an alternate interpretation of his nickname “The Action Ace”, Superman is once again locked in a passionate kiss on the cover of Superman #243 (1971), though this time while under the beguiling spell of “The Starry-Eyed Siren from Space”.
With all of the sweet lovin’ Superman enjoyed, where did that leave his long-time girlfriend, Lois Lane?
Well, fear not...because Lois appeared to be doing just fine here on Lois Lane #29, just about the hottest cover you were likely to find in straight-laced 1961.
Considering the anxious line-up behind Green Arrow (including a wide-eyed Batman), a temporary logo change might have been in order:
So ends our romantic stroll through the complicated love lives of superheroes. Whether it’s the insecure fretting of Captain America and Connie, or the inter-species interludes of Supergirl or Swamp Thing, superhero romance is every bit as delightful, diverse and, yes, demented as human relationships can be.