Happily Never After! Or, Why Won’t DC Let Their Heroes Get The Girl?
My wife, Cathy, and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary the day after Free Comic Book Day. Cathy is my soul-mate. My Imzadi.I like to think she's my real-life Joan Garrick; my Shiera Hall; my Iris West Allen; my Linda Park-West; my Sue Dibney; my Sue Storm-Richards; my MJ Watson-Parker. We're not exactly like this ~
Mel and Joey Schwanke (pictured above) of Fremont, Nebraska said they have enhanced their 65-year relationship by wearing matching outfits for the past 35 years. Joey Schwanke said, "We're of the old school where you get married once and that's it. We've been together 24 hours a day at work and at home." Their outfits, which are custom-made, usually match Joey's dress and Mel's tie. Of their 146 matching outfits, many have a floral theme since the two own a flower shop together. She said, "We joke that we're connected by velcro because we do everything together." Joey says the key to a happy marriage is simple: Respect each other. She explained, "To this day, if he does something for me I thank him. If we bump into each other, we say excuse me. We fully respect each other and consider each other with every decision we make."But, if I can find my "happily ever after", why can't my favorite super-heroes?I was concerned when DC launched The New 52 last fall, because the first casualty of the relaunch, was Superman/Clark Kent and Lois Lane's relationship. I love the TMZ headline. It's hilarious. The Superman-Lois Lane relationship is just like another celebrity break-up. Which is a shame considering how rocky their relationship has been over the last 73 years.The next big shocking revelation was that the incredibly stable relationship between Barry Allen and Iris West was revised out of existence in The New 52. Aside from maybe the original Golden-Age Flash, Jay Garrick and Joan Williams or Reed Richards and Sue Storm; Barry and Iris had probably the most rock-solid relationships in the modern age of comics. Except for that whole Reverse Flash murders Iris/she travels to the future/Barry breaks his neck/stands trial and gets kicked out fo the JLA/then joins Iris in the future before he gives his life in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. That was a little more than just complicated...
When Earth 2 came out, Jay Garrick was re-imagined as an aimless slacker. His college girlfriend Joan dumped him after graduation for a job out west at Tyler Chemical. Sue Dibney was murdered by a crazed Jean Loring. She and her husband Ralph were reunited in death and haven't been seen since 52. Hawkman and Hawkgirl/woman were split a few more years back and have been off again-on again.
Right now, the only major couple in The New 52 is Aquaman and Mera.
I understand The Mephisto Argument. In the infamous One More Day storyline, Spider-Man saves Aunt May, but sacrifices his marriage to MJ. Thist was pretty much The Moonlighting Argument from the '80's. Moonlighting, starred Bruce Willis as private eye, David Addison, whose agency was taken over by his co-star, Cybill Shepherd's character, Maddie Hayes. Moonlighting's ratings dropped when the relationship between the two characters was consumated and the pair became a couple. Time took it's toll on other shows with the same theme: Hart to Hart, Remington Steele and Scarecrow and Mrs. King. It makes sense that to be relatable to the audience, a single Spider-Man is better than a married one. Spider-Man, Superman and The Flash are just a few characters that had become stale, complacent, sedentary or just plain reached a natural conclusion, with no where else to go. The only new or fresh direction for the characters to go in would be to start over.
If recent events are any indication, we're all looking for positive role models.
I think what disappoints me most is that comics writers and editors see a relationship or a marriage as a destination or an end, rather than part of the journey. Marriage may not be as exciting as taking down the Green Goblin, Lex Luthor or Gorilla Grodd, but it is never as boring as it's made out to be. Just look at the fun Arthur and Mera have been having together in Aquaman. Mera is learning so much about Arthur's past and his previous relationships. that's a great way to keep things interesting.