Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Comic Book Marriages

Very few comic book characters get married. Even fewer stay married.

Probably one reason for this is the conviction that comic book readers are too young to relate to someone married. This may have been true in the 1950s and 1960s when the average reader was still young enough to think that girls had cooties. During this period, women were a distraction. Supposedly Superman cared for Lois Lane but his relationship with her largely consisted of him hiding his identity as Clark Kent from her. On Lois's part, it was obvious that she only cared about Clark if he was really Superman.

There were a few exceptions. The biggest one was Reed Richards and Sue Storm. They actually got engaged, married, and had a kid. That last part is probably what kept their marriage together. They have had problems. Sue left Reed for a while in the early 1970s. In the 1980s, Reed was accused of child molestation but eventually proved innocent. He "died" at one point and it was months before he came back. At another point Sue seemed to marry Doctor Doom but it turned out that this was Reed in Doom's body.

There have been several high-profile marriages. Superman and Lois Lane, Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson, Cyclops and Jean Grey, The Hulk and Betty Ross all come to mind. None of those lasted.

Superman's marriage was wiped out of existence in one of DC's many reboots.

Marvel tried for years to undo Spider-Man's marriage. First they decided to bring back a clone who had appeared in one issue in the 1970s (in a plot that most people hate). The idea was that it would turn out that the Peter Parker we knew was the real clone. He would lose his powers and go off to a happy ending with Mary Jane. That idea was scuttled in internal politics but they were already committed to the clone story arc. So, for several months, the clone took over the books but no one's heart was in it. It was obvious that they were just marking time until Peter was brought back as the real Spider-Man.

After that, Mary Jane left Peter and for a while was assumed dead. They had a reconciliation only to have their entire marriage erased by a deal with the devil that Peter made in order to save Aunt May.

Cyclops married both Jean and her clone Maddie (not at the same time) but they later broke up and Jean ascended to a higher plane or something.

The Hulk's alter-ego married Betty in the 1980s and they stayed married for a long time until her sudden death. She was resurrected but maintained that her death and his subsequent marriage amounted to an annulment.

Most other comic book marriages have ended badly.

The Sub-Mariner's bride, Dorma was killed at their wedding.

Henry Pym (Giant Man/Ant Man/Yellowjacket/ etc) had his first wife killed by communists during the cold war. He eventually married the Wasp (who looked like his first wife). They split up for several years and reconciled before she was killed.

The Human Torch married the Thing's long-time girl-friend Alicia. It turned out that she was an alien Skrull.

The Vision married the Scarlet Witch and had twin boys. They later broke up after it turned out that their children never really existed and after the Vision's artificial brain was rebooted.

The Black Panther married Storm but later had the marriage annulled.

Supporting characters Ned Leeds and Betty Brant were married for several years but Ned was killed.

Prior to marrying the Hulk, Betty Ross married Glen Talbot but Glen was killed.

Things are not any better at DC.

Barry Allen/ the Flash's wife was killed. He was killed later.

The Elongated Man's wife was killed. He was killed later.

Wonder Girl married her boyfriend. They later broke up. Later, her continuity was changed and that version of Wonder Girl never existed.

Both the Golden Age and Silver Age versions of Hawkman and Hawkgirl/Hawkwoman were married. This was written out of the continuity.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Oscars - the animated movies

The nominees for best animated feature film this year are: "Brave", "Frankenweenie", "ParaNorman", "The Pirates! Band of Misfits", and "Wreck-It Ralph".

I haven't seen Wreck-It Ralph. I have seen the others. All are worthy of the nomination and reminiscent of the days when the live action Best Picture Oscar nominations went to entertaining movies instead of depressing art house releases.

There were five animated nominees instead of three. It looks like animation is here to stay. Only two are full CGI movies. The other three were mainly stop-motion animated with some CGI added.

Of the ones I have seen, ParaNorman stands out. Frankenweenie was good and the funniest of the group but it had a slow start. Because Tim Burton directed it, it is the most likely to become a cult classic.

There was nothing wrong with Brave but it didn't stand out as much as a Pixar movie usually does. It felt more like a Disney princess movie than a Pixar one. It would make a great double feature with Tangled (which was one of Disney's best).

Pirates was fun but it took a while before the plot really got off the ground.

I still think that Arthur Christmas and TinTin were robbed last year. Watching Arthur Christmas again this December confirmed this. It should have won the Oscar and it didn't even get nominated.