Marriage in DC and Marvel: Lois and Clark, Peter and Mary Jane

Superman Wedding
Peter and Mary Jane
There are many changes coming to the DC Universe in September. Information on the “New 52” is being released and some previous suspicions are being confirmed. One in particular involves Superman and Lois Lane. Lois has been the love interest for Superman/Clark Kent since they all first appeared in 1938’s Action Comics #1. Their courtship lasted decades and finally they were married in 1996’s Superman: The Wedding Album. Now after fifteen years, the marriage will be over.

This is something quite popular in the comic world right now with the demise of Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s marriage in One More Day series by J. Michael Straczynski where they made a deal with the devil to dissolve their marriage. They did not even go the conventional way like divorce. At least that would be honest but they wanted to keep the chance they would still love each other so they used an elaborate story involving the Marvel version of the devil and the death of Aunt May to force the issue. Now they are doing the same to Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Clark and Lois have been a love interest for more than 70 years and now their marriage never existed because of the series Flashpoint and the DC re-write. In the new Superman Comic you can see Lois has a new boy friend.

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Why are the writers doing this? The interview with  J. Michael Straczynski in the previous blog shares some light on why this is happening. They want to be more responsive to readers today and more accessible as characters. At some point you can not do that by changing circumstances in the existing continuity so you must change the fundamental history and look at it in a new direction to bring a new fresh approach in writing. You may remember Straczynski writing Superman: Earth One which definitely does just that “new approach” to a 70 year old hero.

“We really want to inject new life in our characters and line,” DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio told USA Today. “This was a chance to start, not at the beginning, but at a point where our characters are younger and the stories are being told for today’s audience.”

I can understand why DC and Marvel think they must change things to get new readers and shake things up to make their characters less predictable. But why attack marriage between comic couples? It would make a reader think there is something wrong with marriage in the eyes of the comic creators. Maybe they are frustrated by sending their child support or alimony payments. Not knowing how many have broken marriages it is probably unfair of me to say that. Maybe they just want to keep the flame of romance alive to sell comics. For what ever the reason it seems like working out the problems of marriage is not what they want to write about.

The institute of marriage is wonderful and a blessing for the wife and husband when done right. Something that should last a life time. The affection between people should grow as they commit to each other and understand each other better. The divorce rate in America for first marriage is between 45% to 50%. That means that better than 50% of couples think it is worth it to stay together and have a family. Wow what a concept. Comics are a medium of youth and young adults. When they see a superhero have many partners it sends the wrong message, after all these people are heroes modeling how a person with great abilities should act. I am I off base here let me know. Let me know if you are happy with the change in marital stasis of so many in the comic world. Am I over reacting. You comment please on the current state of marriage in comics. Stay tuned comic faithful for more. 🙂 Walt