Modern Comics & Relationships Between Heroes

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Jabroniville
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Modern Comics & Relationships Between Heroes

Post by Jabroniville » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:06 am

Has anyone read enough of modern comics to pick up on the weird trend of what I call "Quickie Relationships"? I've noticed this in a lot of Marvel books lately- instead of slowly growing together romantically, characters are often just shoved together by the writer, with everyone just accepting that they've quickly fallen in love, and the characters are simply just TOGETHER without anyone having done the legwork to make the relationship feel "legit". And then, when the next writer takes over, the relationship is simply dropped.

TV Tropes calls the "Sudden Relationship" thing "Strangled By The Red String", and it's considered pretty pejorative. Authors simply getting a relationship in their heads and forging ahead, no matter the consequences. The most infamous example I can think of in semi-recent comics history is the Havok/Annie relationship Chuck Austen wrote in his X-Men run, which had the full-bore "characters change to make the relationship work; relationship is justified by the ex going insane" stuff.

Times I've Noticed This Recently:
* Inhumans: Johnny Storm & Medusa were hooked up (to be fair, it was done in the past, after a time-skip, before the beginning of the big "Inhumans Push"). They were never really seen together that much, it didn't have much effect on the plot, and Johnny was already on an Avengers team at the same time. Then they broke up and she went back to Black Bolt at the end of the writer's big run.

* Uncanny Avengers: Rick Remender's big run made a huge deal out of Havok & The Wasp being a "one true love" couple. Except he did it all via time-skip, so all of the "They were MEANT to be together!" crap was completely ineffective, even though they had a beloved future-daughter. His whole Kang story hinged around this, and the desire to get their daughter back.

The next writer kept Havok evil during AXIS, and nobody has ever spoken of it since.

* Uncanny Avengers (again): Rogue and DEADPOOL of all people had a flirtation going on. This one actually did the legwork (they were shown appreciating each other on the team; Wade also has a history of making powerful women like him- Siryn, Copycat, etc.), but they were tenuous, even by the end of Duggan's run on the book. They sort of kissed once, but it wasn't a huge deal. The relationship ended as the writer left.

* Uncanny Avengers (jesus, again): Rogue suddenly moves from Wade to the Human Torch, and it's treated as a One True Love situation in the recent Mega-Arc dealing with all the teams, with Rogue losing her shit when she thinks Johnny's been killed.


A few of the same characters keep popping up, which is really weirdly coincidental. I'm getting the impression that writers are just glomming onto whatever "notably single" side-characters they can find- Johnny Storm has no real "daddy" at this point without an FF book protecting him, so he's "free" for any writer to throw him into a couple. And he did kind of always work best in the comics while going after a girl, rather than being a "player". But since he has no One True Love since Lyja did... whatever she did... he's kind of free for every writer.

Rogue is an odd one, probably because the "untouchable" nature of her character, and high-tier status as a popular X-Man, has made her desirable for this sort of thing, since Gambit and her split up "for good".

Has anyone else read enough modern stuff to get a feel for other times this has happened?

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Woodclaw
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Re: Modern Comics & Relationships Between Heroes

Post by Woodclaw » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:30 am

Well, to be honest Johnny Storm had been at this kind of relationship since forever. He pretty much decided that Crystal was the love of his life after 4 panels and ... [drumrolls, please] she actually reciprocated! I think that the reason why today this kind of on-demand relationship are miore noticeable is that authors tend to have a much shorter tenure on many books, making the back and forth much more noticeable.

Going by the TVtropes page we got a crapton of past examples:
  • The aforementioned Johnny/Crystal romance from way back in the day.
  • Hawkeye and Mockingbird, who actually acknowledged in-universe how crazy that was ("Gotta be a record mr. Barton... From stranger to married in nine days flat.")
  • Colossus and Zsaji from Battleworld (granted, explained in-universe as a consequence of Zsaji's healing powers).
  • Cyclops and Emma Frost.
  • Black Panther and Storm.
  • Various relationship from Runaways, mostly involving Karolina Dean.
  • Almost every Spider-Man relationship after One More Day.
  • Hawkman and Hawkgirl are pretty much made of this trope, since they keep reincarnating and finding each other even when it doesn't make any lick of sense.
  • Superman and Wonder Woman in New 52.
  • Almost any relationship involving members of the Teen Titans over the last 10 years, starting with Starfire pretty much bonking anything with a penis that crosses her line of sight and Wally West suddenly having romantic feeling for Donna Troy.
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MacynSnow
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Re: Modern Comics & Relationships Between Heroes

Post by MacynSnow » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:40 pm

Let me Course correct your Zeppelin there Woodclaw,but the Black Panther/Storm relationship was hinted at for Years.It specifically started at the end of the X-Men's(Specifically Generation 2 without Thunderbird) first adventure with Arkon.It was then hinted at further in a short Avenger's Spotlight issue involving T'Challa.

As for everybody else,you right on couse! :D

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M4C8
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Re: Modern Comics & Relationships Between Heroes

Post by M4C8 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:55 pm

I agree about the weirdness of the sudden relationship, the most notable in recent years aside from those mentioned was the Carol Danvers/James Rhodes coupling, I remember thinking 'Wait, what? when did that happen?' I thought I'd missed a story-line somewhere.

I've also noticed how Marvel seems to seriously dislike marriages or even long term relationships, there's only a few hero couples that have remained married (Reed and Sue Richards, Brian and Meggan Braddock, Mac and Heather Hudson etc.) As I've said before I only read Marvel so I don't know if that's the 'norm' in the industry or if it's just a Marvel thing.

And yes I still waiting for Pete and MJ to get back together.

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Batgirl III
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Re: Modern Comics & Relationships Between Heroes

Post by Batgirl III » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:40 pm

• Authors with short tenures on books, often less than eight issues;
• Authors who want to “shake things up,” and not follow up on storylines from the previous creator;
• Corporate mandated roster changes breaking up character groups with decades of history (e.g., Uncanny Avengers; Post-Graduation Day Titans); and,
• Status Quo Ante / First Incarnation Wins attitude from fans-turn-creators who always want the character to be the way they were when they first read them (e.g., Quesada demanding a swingin’ single Spidey).
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Woodclaw
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Re: Modern Comics & Relationships Between Heroes

Post by Woodclaw » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:56 pm

MacynSnow wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:40 pm
Let me Course correct your Zeppelin there Woodclaw,but the Black Panther/Storm relationship was hinted at for Years.It specifically started at the end of the X-Men's(Specifically Generation 2 without Thunderbird) first adventure with Arkon.It was then hinted at further in a short Avenger's Spotlight issue involving T'Challa.

As for everybody else,you right on couse! :D
It's true, but having read both those stories, the final outcome of both was that Ororo and T'Challa pretty much shared the superhero equivalent of a mutual high-school crush and nothing more. Both characters never met again for years, both had a number of other love stories (some throughly developed) and then the entire marriage thing came pretty much out of the blue.
M4C8 wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:55 pm
I agree about the weirdness of the sudden relationship, the most notable in recent years aside from those mentioned was the Carol Danvers/James Rhodes coupling, I remember thinking 'Wait, what? when did that happen?' I thought I'd missed a story-line somewhere.
As a big fan of Rhodey I don't want to think about that.
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Batgirl III
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Re: Modern Comics & Relationships Between Heroes

Post by Batgirl III » Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:05 pm

Did anyone — anyone at all — really believe that T’Challa and Ororo became a couple for any reason other than being Marvel Comics’ two most prominent Black characters?

Might as well have had Silver Samurai marry Jubilee. They met once! They’re both Asian! It’s true love!
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Woodclaw
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Re: Modern Comics & Relationships Between Heroes

Post by Woodclaw » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:41 pm

Batgirl III wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:05 pm
Did anyone — anyone at all — really believe that T’Challa and Ororo became a couple for any reason other than being Marvel Comics’ two most prominent Black characters?

Might as well have had Silver Samurai marry Jubilee. They met once! They’re both Asian! It’s true love!
Well, during Acts of Vengeage the Mandarin considered adding Jubilee and Pstlocke to his harem and the overall logic was "They are Asian and have powers" :|
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Shock
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Re: Modern Comics & Relationships Between Heroes

Post by Shock » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:15 pm

Woodclaw wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:41 pm
Batgirl III wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:05 pm
Did anyone — anyone at all — really believe that T’Challa and Ororo became a couple for any reason other than being Marvel Comics’ two most prominent Black characters?

Might as well have had Silver Samurai marry Jubilee. They met once! They’re both Asian! It’s true love!
Well, during Acts of Vengeage the Mandarin considered adding Jubilee and Pstlocke to his harem and the overall logic was "They are Asian and have powers" :|
In his defense, they're fine additions to pretty much any harem

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Re: Modern Comics & Relationships Between Heroes

Post by M4C8 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:46 pm

Batgirl III wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:05 pm
Did anyone — anyone at all — really believe that T’Challa and Ororo became a couple for any reason other than being Marvel Comics’ two most prominent Black characters?

Might as well have had Silver Samurai marry Jubilee. They met once! They’re both Asian! It’s true love!
The shocking thing was some of the comments I saw after BP and Storm broke up, stating that it was further proof that Marvel readers were racist because they didn't want their ideal version of a black woman (light skin, eyes, hair and non African features) to be in a relationship with a black man.

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Batgirl III
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Re: Modern Comics & Relationships Between Heroes

Post by Batgirl III » Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:36 am

Woodclaw wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:41 pm
Well, during Acts of Vengeage the Mandarin considered adding Jubilee and Pstlocke to his harem and the overall logic was "They are Asian and have powers" :|
Well, it’s not like the Mandarin’s interest in them was being presented as a case of true love. Horny old man has a thing for superpowered Asian women... it was meant to be creepy. Understandable, sure, but creepy.

I wouldn’t have minded the Ororo / T’Challa relationship. They have complimentary personalities, similar motivations and goals... But in close to forty years, I don’t think that Storm and Black Panther ever met. Maybe in the occasional “every hero ever” splash panel during some Crisis Crossover here and there.

But them both on the Avengers. Give it sixteen to twenty issues. Build it organically... It felt way too much like a crappy sitcom that pairs off the Lead White Guy’s Black Buddy with the Lead White Girl’s Sassy Black Girlfriend in the finale. Sure they’ve said six words to each other over four seasons, but we gotta wrap up the love triangles and pair off the leads. Get the brown people together.
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Ares
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Re: Modern Comics & Relationships Between Heroes

Post by Ares » Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:47 am

I'm of the mind that there are a lot of people in comics who aren't in healthy relationships, or who have been in a healthy relationship. Thus they don't know how to write a healthy relationship, or anything more than a superficial relationship.

Another part of the issue is that too often, modern comic writers really aren't interested in the work of the writers that came before them. They aren't fans who have been following the book, they come in with their own ideas, their own supporting cast they want to insert, etc. They don't care about trying to adapt their own stories to whatever the previous writers might have set up, they just scrap things and quickly set things up to the point where they can start doing their own work. It no longer feels like a flowing continuity, it feels like a series of breaks in reality. Because of course, THEY have the perfect girlfriend for Spider-Man, and Mary Jane being his devoted wife gets in the way of that.

And like Jab has mentioned, comic writers seem unable to capitalize on something sitcom writers have known for years, that married life has much of its own dramas that are every bit as compelling as those of dating life.

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Re: Modern Comics & Relationships Between Heroes

Post by MacynSnow » Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:06 am

Ah,but that would require modern comic book writers to use the rarest commodity in the world today:COMMON SENSE.It's like that old adage that goes; If it Ain't Broken,Don't Try To Fix It.....

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Woodclaw
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Re: Modern Comics & Relationships Between Heroes

Post by Woodclaw » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:05 am

Batgirl III wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:36 am
Woodclaw wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:41 pm
Well, during Acts of Vengeage the Mandarin considered adding Jubilee and Pstlocke to his harem and the overall logic was "They are Asian and have powers" :|
Well, it’s not like the Mandarin’s interest in them was being presented as a case of true love. Horny old man has a thing for superpowered Asian women... it was meant to be creepy. Understandable, sure, but creepy.

I wouldn’t have minded the Ororo / T’Challa relationship. They have complimentary personalities, similar motivations and goals... But in close to forty years, I don’t think that Storm and Black Panther ever met. Maybe in the occasional “every hero ever” splash panel during some Crisis Crossover here and there.

But them both on the Avengers. Give it sixteen to twenty issues. Build it organically... It felt way too much like a crappy sitcom that pairs off the Lead White Guy’s Black Buddy with the Lead White Girl’s Sassy Black Girlfriend in the finale. Sure they’ve said six words to each other over four seasons, but we gotta wrap up the love triangles and pair off the leads. Get the brown people together.
Pretty much that's my thinking as well. As I said above it has been established that they knew each other and they actually had a brief relationship when Ororo has left Cairo and was wandering across central Africa. Considering that T'Challa had not come to the U.S.A. yet, they were probably both in their teens, but that was the long and short of it.
Ares wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:47 am
I'm of the mind that there are a lot of people in comics who aren't in healthy relationships, or who have been in a healthy relationship. Thus they don't know how to write a healthy relationship, or anything more than a superficial relationship.
This is kind of funny to read because one of the accusations that several authors (including Roy Thomas at one time) leveled against Stan Lee is that all of his female leads and/or hero girlfriends were more or less clones of Joan. Considering that Stan proposed Joan like two weeks after they met, while Joan was still married to her first husband and that they married soon thereafter, this put a lot of things into perspective. :P
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Jabroniville
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Re: Modern Comics & Relationships Between Heroes

Post by Jabroniville » Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:11 am

Woodclaw wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:30 am
Well, to be honest Johnny Storm had been at this kind of relationship since forever. He pretty much decided that Crystal was the love of his life after 4 panels and ... [drumrolls, please] she actually reciprocated! I think that the reason why today this kind of on-demand relationship are miore noticeable is that authors tend to have a much shorter tenure on many books, making the back and forth much more noticeable.

Going by the TVtropes page we got a crapton of past examples:
  • The aforementioned Johnny/Crystal romance from way back in the day.
  • Hawkeye and Mockingbird, who actually acknowledged in-universe how crazy that was ("Gotta be a record mr. Barton... From stranger to married in nine days flat.")
  • Colossus and Zsaji from Battleworld (granted, explained in-universe as a consequence of Zsaji's healing powers).
  • Cyclops and Emma Frost.
  • Black Panther and Storm.
Oh wow, that's a heck of a list. I was drawing a blank on other cases, as it's something I've largely just kind of noticed lately.

Cyclops & Emma at least got some build up, and was kept going for a time. I mean, say what you will, but they stuck with it for a long time by comparison to many of these other couples.

Spidey's relationships for sure, though. Carlie Cooper was a big failure, but then he's suddenly with MOCKINGBIRD? Very weird.

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