Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Marriage Vows Of Steel!


There's a line in Thornton Wilder's Out Town about how people are "made to live two by two". That sure seems to be the impulse behind many an Imaginary comic story since they frequently marry off some of the characters to follow their paths in this completely other lifestyle.

The first of these is the Lois Lane series "Mr.and Mrs. Clark (Superman) Kent". Not much to really say here, save that Lois and Clark wed and settle down in an upper middle class suburb community and while Clark/Superman is often away chasing down scoops and rescuing kittens and swatting meteors, Lois is left to be a housewife and she quickly gets annoyed at the way others dismiss her husband  and by association herself because of the relative success they have in their careers and suchlike while Clark is a lowly reporter. While the notion of the-trick-is-on-you thing seems only to make Superman chuckle it really makes Lois do a slow burn. Not much here really but perhaps it was a novel read at the time.


More fun is the story "Jimmy Olsen Marries Supergirl" which goes to amazing lengths to throw the two characters together, first as Jimmy and Linda Danvers and later as Jimmy and Supergirl. Supergirl gets amnesia and all sorts of stuff like, a perfect condition to choose a spouse. Jimmy throws over all his old girlfriends for a chance to wed the mousy Linda and she likewise seems devoted to the spunky reporter. It's not a match really which makes much sense, but when Jimmy feels financial pressures now that he's a husband, the real reason these stories might not have taken off comes through. Getting these fantasy heroes married makes reality come through and the whimsical nature of the doings becomes weirdly grounded in the domestic humdrum. You almost get the sense the creators are not happy in their marriages perhaps.


And if that were not the case before it sure is when you read "The Three Wives of Superman" featuring some snazzy Kurt Scaffenberger artwork. In this one a singularly dickish Superman serially weds first Lois Lane, then Lana Lang, and finally Lori Lemaris. And in each instance they die and in each instance Superman is mostly responsible. To protect Lois he cooks up a formula to give her superpowers but it's flawed and poisons her instead. She goes to great lengths to keep this secret but after her demise he learns the truth and then Lana attracts him, as possibly on the rebound he marries her, literally stealing her from a reformed Lex Luthor at the altar. He promptly un-reforms and later chances upon Lana in space and she kills her self to save Superman. Then Supes finds Lori and cries on her shoulder since she too had just lost her spouse and they get married. But the Phantom Zone villains spook her into an early grave leaving Superman to pine away for the three women he help usher into an early grave. This one is weird, really weird.

While marriage can be done with some class in comics (loved the Barry and Iris Allen relationship) often as not it seems to be a condition akin to death. Once you link up your heroes they seem to lose their intensity. This is stupid, but that's how it appears to work.


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