Its Valentine’s Day again, and love is in the air (for better or worse). We decided to get into the spirit by highlighting five of the best couples in comics, the relationships we love to read about and can’t help but root for. There are plenty of great relationships in comics to choose from, so if we missed one of your favorites, feel free to tell us about it in the comments.
Colossus and Kitty Pryde
Colossus and Kitty’s relationship goes way back to the early 1980s, when Chris Claremont and John Byrne first created the character. At the time, her “relationship” with Piotr felt more like a schoolgirl crush than anything else, and it remained mostly flirtatious, with an innocent mistletoe kiss at Christmas every now and then (which is probably for the best since, you know, it would have been pretty statutory otherwise).
The two split up eventually, after Colossus cheated on Kitty with a space nurse during the Secret Wars crossover. Then Kitty joined her Excalibur and developed significantly lower standards, dating Pete Wisdom for a while. Then Colossus died to cure the Legacy virus, and everyone was sad.
But then he came back, in the hands of Joss Whedon and John Cassaday in Astonishing X-Men. Kitty Pryde finds Piotr and their romance is rekindled in a much more legally consensual way. Whedon handles the dialog very well and nails the hesitation and then, ultimately, the joy of finally coming together after so many years. Cassaday draws their scenes with a perfect sense of intimacy, and then, of course, there is the final tragic ending.
Sure the whole thing is awfully similar to the relationship dynamics of Whedon’s Buffy and Angel, but why not? The X-Men have many great relationships, but this one stands out in our minds. The two characters feel forever tied together, and their relationship casts a shadow on all others that they enter into, be it Kitty dating Iceman, or Colossus shacking up with Domino.
Alana and Marko
Many of literature’s best relationships are between star-crossed lovers. Not only do Alana and Marko come from opposite sides of an interplanetary war that has been raging for generations, but now they’re physically crossing the stars to protect their daughter, Hazel, from those who would do her harm.
The wonderful thing about Marko and Alana’s relationship is its boundless passion. These too love the !@#$ out of each other, and Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples aren't afraid to put that all on the page. Their relationships is, at times, romantic, raunchy and full of parental responsibility.
Saga is a cross between Parenthood and Star Wars, and it works because it has such a strong, driving force in the protagonists’ powerful relationship.
Francine and Katchoo (and David)
Francine and Katchoo have one of the most unique relationships in comics, and not just because they’re a same-sex couple – that’s becoming more common in comics all the time. Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise is a classic from the 1990’s self-published comics movement, and the freedom that Moore had from editorial mandate allowed him to craft the most earnestly messy relationship in all of comics, especially when David – the religious, straight male who is hopelessly in love with Katchoo – gets involved.
Strangers in Paradise ends up being one of the most honest examinations of how confusing, frustrating, tragic and, ultimately, uplifting love can be, and how there aren't always clear lines or any kind of guidebook for how love is supposed to work, all told through two (or three) of the most memorable non-superhero characters ever seen in the medium.
Green Arrow and Black Canary
Superhero comics are best known for their idyllic, everlasting couples like Spider-Man and Mary Jane or Superman and Lois Lane (well, everlasting as long as one them doesn't make some kind of deal with the devil, and the universe doesn't decide to suddenly remake itself, but how often does that kind of thing happen?). That’s what makes Green Arrow and Black Canary really stand out. Since losing his fortune way back when, Oliver Queen was turned into a blue collar kind of superhero, and his relationship with Black Canary is a blue collar kind of love.
They’re both strong-willed and sometimes stubborn, they’re both opinionated, and all of those things make them perfect for each other, but also leads to plenty of arguments, breakups, and makeups. The things that make them work are the same things that sometimes keep them part, and that kind of relationship rings much more truly than the perfect relationships of so many other heroes.
Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers
Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series of graphic novels is one of the most epic love stories to be created in some time. Scott Pilgrim falls for Ramona Flowers, a mysterious American girl working as a delivery girl for Amazon.ca, and then must fight and defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends in order for them to be together. It’s a tale as old as time.
There’s a lot of reason to love the Scott Pilgrim series, but the theme to take home on Valentine’s Day is that a relationship isn't just about loving another person. Everybody brings their own personal baggage into relationship, and Scott’s battles with Ramona’s evil ex’s is a metaphor for them dealing with her baggage, just as Scott eventually learns that he has his own demons to grapple with. Of course, usually dealing with these kinds of feelings doesn't take on the form of a video game battle with flaming swords and robots and demon-winged groupies, but seeing Scott and Ramona’s personal issues turned into a surreal video game style gauntlet is part of what makes their relationship so endearing and fun to read about.