7 Comics to Read on Valentine’s Day
One of the keys to the success of comics like the X-Men, the Fantastic Four or Daredevil, to name a few, is the relatability these characters awake in readers. Even though we are not superheroes (yet), we have more in common with them than meets the eye.
Comic book heroes are ordinary people living in extraordinary situations. They are flawed like us, struggle as we do, face hard choices, and love like us. This in-depth exploration of the characters' personalities and motivations, led by legendary author Stan Lee, opened the path to more complex comics, and allowed us, the readers, to develop a strong connection with our heroes and make us feel we are not alone in our difficulties: Are you socially timid? So is Peter Parker. Are you been bullied? So are the X-Men. Do you feel like you don't belong? So does Clark Kent.
Another way we can relate to fictional characters is by seeing them participate in some of our traditions and celebrations. Last Christmas, we listed some comics to read around the holidays to share the spirit of the season with our heroes. This time, with Valentine's Day around the corner, we are going to explore romance-themed comics from DC, Marvel, and Oni Press. In these stories, some heroes will find love. Some will reconnect with past lovers. Some will wish they had a date for Valentines' Day. Plus, there will be a few weddings. Love is in the air for heroes and readers alike.
The following comics are listed at random, not in any order of relevance or merit.
Rogue and Gambit: Ring of Fire
Written by: Kelly Thompson
Pencils by: Pere Perez
Anna Marie and Remy LeBeau, best known as Rogue and Gambit, are the perfect example of an on-again-off-again relationship. Since their first interaction in X-Men #1 (1991), the spark between these two mutants has been undeniable. They like each other as much as they drive each other nuts.
In this 5-issue miniseries, writer Kelly Thompson (The Girl Who Would Be King, Jem and the Holograms) takes the reader on a journey through the couple's history and revisits their most significant, exciting and heartbreaking moments.
When Anna and Remy seemed estranged for good, X-Men leader Kitty Pride sends them on an undercover mission to Paraiso Island, home to a shady therapy center for mutant couples. Can you imagine going on a romantic retreat with your ex? As their investigation moves forward, Rogue and Gambit will have to put all cards on the table and leave their differences aside to complete their mission.
Will their love blossom again? You'll have to read the book to find out, chéri.
Mysteries of Love in Space
Written by: James Tynion IV, Kyle Higgins, Saladin Ahmed, Cecil Castellucci, Aaron Gillespie, Andrea Shea, Jeff Loveness, and Gardner Fox.
Pencils by: Jesus Merino, Cian Tormey, Max Dumbar, Elena Casagrande, Max Raynor, Amancay Nahuelpan, Tom Grummett, and Mike Sekowsky.
Publisher: DC Comics
In a book that has something for everyone, DC comics celebrates love with an 80-page giant issue featuring Superman, Lois Lane, Kilowog, Hawkgirl, Adam Strange, and even Bizarro. What makes this book outstanding is the wide range of love stories presented. Writer James Tynion IV and artist Jesus Merino created a story that takes place in a planet known for everything but love: Apokolips, home of the tyrant Darkseid and the relentless -don't let her name fool you-Granny Goodness. Only the strongest of passions can flourish in such a hellish place.
On top of that, Writer Saladin Ahmed and artist Max Dunbar bring us one of the most heartwarming stories of this comic: Backward Heart. In this tale, Bizarro, the misunderstood villain who speaks saying the exact opposite of what he means, will find love and come out a better person for it.
Another story that deserves a special mention is Galentine's Day by Cecil Castellucci and Elena Casagrande, a comic dedicated to all the singles out there. On February 14th, Hawkgirl -recently single- is alone on monitor duty at the Hall of Justice while the rest of the Justice League members have romantic plans for the evening. Fortunately for her, the life of a hero is never quiet, and she will swiftly find herself on a new adventure that will keep her too busy to even think about dating.
Punisher: Bloody Valentine
Written by: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Pencils by: Paul Gulacy
How does the Punisher spend Valentine's Day? Well, his evening doesn't include flowers and chocolate candies. In this comic, Frank Castle's plans for the night make a turn when lethal assassin and former lover Suspiria comes back into his life. Together, they will go on a mission to rescue missing children, and they will do it the only way they know: Killing everyone who stands in their way.
The beautiful landscapes of Italy will dye red in this story; One appealing to those who find Valentine's Day too cloying. So, if instead of romantic dinners and walks by the beach, you and your partner prefer thrilling action, this is the book for you. After all, couples who fight crime together stay together. Right?
The Amazing Spider-Man #1
Written by: Nick Spencer
Pencils by: Ryan Ottley
If balancing work with social life is hard, imagine adding superheroic activities to the mix, only then you'll have an idea of how hard it is to be Spider-Man. When he is not struggling to make ends meet, he is protecting the hectic city of New York, traveling to other dimensions and maybe, just maybe, finding the time to date.
In this new series by Nick Spencer (Secret Empire, Superior Foes of Spider-Man) and Ryan Ottley (Invincible), Peter Parker is in hot water when he faces plagiarism allegations. These allegations resulted in the loss of his job and put him in a downhill spiral both personally and professionally. When his life seems to rock bottom, the support of the woman he loves is the only thing that might keep him afloat. Maybe love is indeed all you need.
Fantastic Four Annual #3
Written by: Stan Lee
Pencils by: Jack Kirby
All weddings are lovely, but none is nearly as fantastic as this one: the marriage of Sue Storm and Reed Richards, core members of the Fantastic Four.
Created in 1961 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, this supergroup captivated the hearts of readers all over the globe and opened the path to complex stories aimed at a more mature audience, something ground-breaking at the time.
In this 1965 king-size issue, Sue and Reed are ready to tie the knot. The only problem is, such a public event caught the attention of some bad guys. It seems villains love crashing at weddings. The bride and the groom will have to defeat several foes minutes before the ceremony. Lucky for them, among the guests are Captain America, the X-Men, Daredevil and many other heroes. This book is a must-read for fans of the Silver Age of Comics.
Scott Pilgrim Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life
Written and penciled by Bryan Lee O'Malley.
Publisher: Oni Press
This black and white series follows Scott Pilgrim, a 23-year-old Canadian guy who plays bass in an amateur rock band. He is "between jobs" without haste to get one, shares a lousy apartment with his roommate Wallace, and dates a cute high school girl. However, Scott’s quiet life turns upside down the moment he meets delivery girl Ramona Flowers.
Ramona is as breath-taking as mysterious, and Scott falls madly for her. There is only one small inconvenient: Scott has to fight her seven evil ex-boyfriends if he wants to date her. With marvellous dialogues and out-of-this-world action scenes, this book is a hilarious take on friendship, relationships and the crazy things one does for love. The success of this comics inspired the 2010 feature film Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, starring Michael Cera on the role of Scott Pilgrim.
In 2012, the series was re-published as a beautiful hard-cover color edition with the work of award-winning colorist Nathan Fairbairn. Sounds like a perfect gift to your nerdy crush, doesn’t it?
Superman: The Wedding Album
Written by: Dan Jurgens, Karl Kesel, David Michelinie, Louise Simonson, and Roger Stern.
Artists: John Byrne, Terry Austin, Kerry Gammill, Murphy Anderson, Gil Kane, Bob McLeod, Stuart Immonen, Jose Marzan Jr., Paul Ryan, Brett Breeding, Jon Bogdanove, Dennis Janke, Dick Giordano, Jerry Ordway, George Perez, and more.
Publisher: DC Comics
Superman and Lois Lane are one of the most iconic couples in comics, and readers waited decades to see them get married. With a cluster of writers and artists known for their work on the man of steel, this 1996 comic celebrates the beautiful, exciting, and one-of-a-kind love story of Clark Kent and Lois Lane.
The Wedding Album shows the couple as they prepare for the big day. Lois celebrates her bachelorette party, Clark searches for the perfect tuxedo, Jimmy Olsen offers to be the event’s photographer, and Batman surprises his good friend Superman with a thoughtful wedding gift.
Months before taking the big step, the couple needed some time to work on personal issues and find themselves, but when they did, they found out that they will always be stronger together. Marriage doesn’t always work out fine for superheroes, but Superman and Lois seem to have found the secret to a love that conquers all adversity.
Share your thoughts. Who are your favorite comic book couples and how do you think they celebrate Valentine’s Day?
© 2019 Daiana Gauna