⚖️ DC Debate: Romance in Comics? ⚖️

DC is full of passionate fans and we know that you have strong opinions to share! So, we’re opening the floor to a DC Debate. As Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, this will be a love-themed question: Does romance make comics better? Or is it a distraction from the action?

Take your position and debate it below!

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Sometimes! It really depends on the story! a romance angle can enhance, or it can detract. A hard rule across the board either way would make all comics suffer.

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It depends on the genre of the comic. If it’s a romance comic, it would be quite strange for there to be no romances. :laughing: Romance works very well in all genres though, as long as it’s well-developed. The last thing readers want is hastily-strung, barely-believable romances. If a writer is gonna make two characters fall in love, then there should be proper set-up and build-up toward that moment, just like in the real world.

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I would say I don’t need/ want romance in my comics. However, I would’ve never seen Grayson swinging on the trapeze with Babs tightly wrapped in his reassuring arms. That’s the 1st image I had when I read romance & DC. I think it has to be mixed in at the right amounts. Like Tang. Too much it gets clumpy & undrinkable, not enough & it’s watered down & tasteless. Like Goldilocks’ inherited porridge, it’s gotta be just right.

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I think something that romance does very well with these stories is humanizes these characters. We’ll probably never know what it’s like to be strong enough to lift mountains, or have missions to protect our city from malicious madmen, but most if not all of us know what it’s like to fall in love. It allows us to see these god like characters feel vulnerable and can give them moments of levity that would be sorely needed for the thankless missions they’ve committed to.

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I like the old marriages very much

Barry and Iris
Aquaman and Mera
Katar and Shayera
Sue and Ralph
Bruce and Selina on Earth 2

Now only

Lois and Clark are back

The rest are gone

Why
Because Didio say so

A somg on.the subject

Superhero Story as a Romance

Four-Color Love Story
by The Metasciences.

Another day at work is nearly
Over
You must’ve seen the whole
thing on T.V.

Seventeen more city blocks
and I can almost smell you
Waiting at the windowsill for me

It’s our 41st anniversary
But we don’t look a day over 23

Not in this life
Not in this universe

And we were still in high school
when I met you
If you believe the continuity.

I rescued you from robots and
untied you from the tracks
And you pretended not to know
that it was me

We didn’t even kiss until issue
26
And this world still feels like
1963

I love this life
I love this universel

And you’ll keep my identity a
secret
And you will know the touch
beneath my glove.

And I may go out every night
and risk my life for strangers
But you’re the only girl I’ll ever
love.

And Gwen Stacy isn’t dead,
she’s only sleeping
And Elektra isn’t evil or insane
And those bastards in the
pentagon can’t really kill Sue
Dibney
No more than they could kill off
Lois Lane

And I swear to god there’ll be
hell to pay
If anybody tries to take you
away.

Forget this life
Forget this universe
You’re everything I need.

You are my life
You are my universe
And they’ll have to go through
me

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Well, Sue and Ralph aren’t really anywhere right now, so that’s a moot point. I haven’t read any of the most recent Hawkman series so I can’t really argue. But both Barry/Iris and Aquaman/Mera are together, and Bruce/Selina have the rings on, but they decided they don’t need to have an official wedding to prove their love together.

I guess the question is, does a couple have to be married in order to really have their love matter?

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No they don’t have to be married

Like Spidey and Mary Jane for years

But they have to be part of the life of the main character

I dont really feel much romance between Iris and Barry. She isnt in most issues

Arthur and Mera cant be together because Mera is Queen and Atlantis doesn’t want Arthur anywhere near the Throne.

Actually Ralph and Sue were part of Detective 1000 in one panel as part of the Detectives club. Before that they were in the last Secret Six by Gail Simone. A very strange take on both characters.

In the latest Hawkman, Shayera is trying very hard not to kill Carter but that is as far as it goes.

Even in early Brndis Lois was written out to go a space trip with son Jon and Crazy Father in Law Jor el. When she comr back she does even contact Clark. A far stretch from Superman 2016.

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But she is having Aquaman’s kid…

Weird storytelling, sure, but I don’t see how that makes them less of a couple. And really, outside of the first arc, Lois really had nothing to do with the '16 run either.

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I think I would say that the question is not whether love should exist in a superhero universe. That’s like asking whether comics should, by and large, feature people in them.

So as I see it, the more troublesome issue is how much total page space does actual romantic drama deserve? It is heavily dependent on the book, of course. I think more powerful characters are often made more interesting by having someone very human to connect to. Wally and Linda come to mind. Mark Waid’s excellent Flash run is really mostly about their relationship.

But on the other hand, some characters have enough problems to worry about just doing what they do. Batman can (or at least should be able to) draw enough tension and complexity out of a normal mystery or super-fight that we don’t really need a hundred issues of will-they-or-won’t-they nonsense. It becomes clutter.

That’s not to say those characters shouldn’t have relationships. Some of my favorite comic romances are ones that are stable, healthy, and serve as a point of consistency and familiarity amid other drama. Nobody ever has to stop and worry whether Scott and Barda are going to break up. Of course they aren’t. Heck, even Wally and Linda don’t have much conflict between them. It’s more them vs. the rest of the world.

tl;dr: It depends.

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Personally I actually love romance in comics. But only for certain characters. And I especially like it when its between two super characters you wouldn’t expect. But I dont like when it seems forced for the character development.

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Relationships are vitally important to get readers emotionally invested in comics. That can be the brother/sisterhood of a team or the mentor relationship. Romantic relationships in particular can help you empathize, root for and feel the emotional pain of the characters in a way that just fights against the big bad don’t.

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The chase of romance is a great force for plot that can take the main character to interesting places and meet interesting people.

A stable static functioning relationship is more of a force for non-plot. Pages wasted to show that all is still good and great in the X+Y household could have been used to say something more interesting.

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I’m fine with it. It it fit the story it can even make it better.

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There are some really great positions in this thread so far! :smiley: It’s really interesting to see how everyone approaches the idea of romance. Truth be told, I find myself siding a bit with you, @msgtv, among others in this thread, that romance is a way to invest readers in a story.

Your perspective is particularly interesting, @Coville, because I’ve never had a problem feeling invested in stable and healthy relationships. I think that they can be a great balancing force against the high-drama and tension of action scenes. Personally, I also find it really entertaining to see heroes and villains in a more natural environment, where we can get to know them as a person, rather than a mask. Because relationships tend to imply more vulnerability than friendships, a peek into a healthy relationship is a way to feel intimately connected with these characters when their guards aren’t up.

At least, that’s how I view it.

I’d love to hear more opinions - especially if you disagree! :slight_smile:

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I don’t mind stable romantic relationships, it can be a nice thing in a comic.

The issue is that modern comics with splash pages and gorgeous art delivers very little content per month as they are. This makes it so important to manage the meager page estate that is delivered.

Maintaining a relationship in these few monthly panels is a little too expensive if it doesn’t add any plot value.

If you don’t add the relationship maintainance, you are going to start wondering if the relationship doesn’t exist anymore which isn’t great either.

So it comes down to a question of upkeep cost in a limited panel economy of modern comics.

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A good writer will be able to show relationship maintenance and plot furtherance at the same time. For example, the hero can be talking to his wife about a new mystery villain that’s appeared, and in the conversation she offers her support and helps him deduce a clue from their encounter that leads the hero to discovering the villain’s identity. In this example, the “relationship maintenance” is happening in service of the plot, not in separation of it. The writer’s showing that the relationship’s healthy AND he’s showing the hero discovering the next step to take against the villain, both at the same time, thus economizing page count.

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Much better if written right!

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I tend to like it.

As others have said, it’s a way to connect with the characters and see these ‘super’ beings in another light, often letting their guards down, voicing their fears, receiving advice/comfort/support/etc. as well as sometimes a counter point of view from someone who can’t be really be dismissed or ignored (if it’s an actual relationship).

That being said, I’ve read/seen plenty of stories that handle romance and relationships poorly, which definitely can hurt the story and the characters involved… sometimes beyond repair (at least for certain readers). Relationships (and perhaps romantic ones especially) really should be handled with care. Readers can get very attached! :slight_smile:

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