Love is timeless, and there’s proof in comic books. Comics have explored almost all the romantic themes from star-crossed lovers to teenage romance. There are more books with great love stories than we have room to recount but below are some of the most enduring as well as modern classics in the making we can’t live without.
Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers (Scott Pilgrim Various Volumes by Bryan O’Malley)
Through the cute manga inspired art, characters, 8-bit nods, and rock music, Bryan O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series will help you remember that feeling of fighting for that first great love. In a quest for love and happiness seven evil exes stand between Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers. If only everyone had a Power of Love sword to vanquish those ghosts of relationships past.
Alana and Marco from Saga (Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples)
Romeo and Juliet meets Star Wars. What’s not to love? There’s an undeniable realism and depth to the star-crossed love story in Brian K. Vaughn’s Saga. Alana and Marco have a chemistry that makes you forget you’re reading a story set in space. Two militias war to tear the two apart and steal their new-born daughter but no amount of cosmic forces can keep these two apart. Moral of the story, love conquers all.
Spider-Man/Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson (From Spider-Man, see Spider-Man: One More Day by J. Michael Stracynski et al and Brand New Day by Dan Slott et al)
There’s a proven formula to what Stan Lee created in the relationship of Peter Parker/Spider-Man and the girl next door, Mary Jane Watson. There were so many things to love about Spidey but one dream every nerd could relate to was having the beautiful girl next door fall in love with you. Their relationship is one plagued by missed opportunities, rival love interests (Gwen Stacy amongst others), and a marriage mind wipe but at the end of the day, the audience is always left rooting for them. For Peter and MJ, it’s the never-ending struggle of wrong place, wrong time, with the wrong bad guys.
In the X-Men universe the enduring love triangle is that of the girl and her pull between the safe good guy and the rebel bad boy. Jean Grey’s relationship starts with Scott Summers (Cyclops) but as soon as Logan (Wolverine) joins the team she starts to secretly develop feelings for the rebellious mutant. What makes this love triangle so enduring? Jean never really gets to live a life with either men. Her death in the Dark Phoenix Saga haunts both men for decades through multiple storylines and Jean Grey is the girl that got away for both of them. (For fun, see Brian Michael Bendis’ current run on All-New X-Men to see what happens when Jean and the original X-Men team time travel from the past to see what has happened to the X-Men.)
Superman/Clark Kent and Lois Lane (From Superman and Action Comics, see All Star Superman)
Superman and Lois Lane are to comic books what Snow White and Prince Charming are to fairy tales. For 75 years the relationship between Clark and Lois has evolved so much it’s almost unrecognizable when you pick up those old Golden Age issues where whiny and sometimes silly Lois Lane is doing everything she can to prove that Clark Kent really is Superman. Yet the germ of an idea was there, the dual personalities of Clark and Superman, both equally present in Lois’ life but Superman is the one swooping in every time to rescue her from some new danger while Clark desperately watches as she pines over his true self. Perhaps the greatest love story between them comes from Grant Morrison’s All Star Superman. What would you do if you knew you were dying? Superman spends his last days on Earth with Lois Lane. The most powerful being on the planet would do anything for the woman he loves. That ladies and gentlemen is why their love has lasted.