Marvel and DC Comics' books are action-packed, but it's the personal dramas that keep readers coming back for more. Few things are more dramatic than being in a relationship with a superhero, forcing couples to endure the most outrageous events imaginable. Nevertheless, two women have stuck with their superpowered significant others for decades: Mary Jane Watson and Lois Lane.
Spider-Man and Mary Jane quickly became Marvel's most iconic couple when the pair met in 1966, while DC's Superman and Lois' relationship blossomed into one of the most recognizable in pop-culture. Looking at each couple's turbulent history, let's find out whether it's Peter and MJ or Lois and Clark who put the "power" in power couple.
10 Love At First Sight: Spider-Man & Mary Jane
While it's hard to imagine, neither couple had a smooth start. Aunt May tried to set Peter up with MJ as early as The Amazing Spider-Man #15, but he had no interest in going on a blind date. However, when MJ finally showed up on Peter's doorstep in #42 uttering her trademark catchphrase, readers instantly knew they were destined for each other.
When Clark Kent arrived on Earth in Action Comics #1, he quickly fell for Lois Lane. Unfortunately, Lois was in love with Superman. Clark's bespectacled disguise worked too well, and he found himself in a peculiar love triangle with Lois and... himself. It would take more than 50 years for Lois to discover that Clark and Superman were one and the same, allowing the pair to finally pursue a relationship.
9 Couple Goals: Superman & Lois Lane
Both couples are instantly recognizable outside of comics. Their romances have been referenced in song by countless musicians, from Childish Gambino to the Stereophonics, and have been portrayed onscreen, too. Spidey and MJ's romance is prominent in Sam Raimi's Spider-trilogy, with that iconic kiss still being parodied, and the MCU recently reaffirmed the couple's popularity after Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man focused on Gwen Stacy.
It's Superman and Lois who win when it comes to iconic pop-culture couples, though. Depicted onscreen together since the 1940s cartoons, they've been inseparable ever since. The hit '90s series Lois & Clark centered around their relationship. While Clark's relationship with Lana Lang in Smallville threatened Clark and Lois' coupling-up, it was the gradual unraveling of their inevitable relationship that won the hearts of viewers.
8 Only Have Eyes For You: Tie
Before meeting Peter, MJ dated Harry Osborne, while Black Cat has succeeded in stealing Peter's heart countless times over the years. However, Gwen Stacy — Peter's first love — would long haunt him. Initially choosing Gwen over MJ, her untimely death at the hands of Green Goblin affected Peter for a long time, which must have been a hurtful reminder to MJ that she was originally second best.
Things haven't been easy for Superman and Lois, either. While both have had other love interests, Superman has a recurring relationship with Wonder Woman which spans across multiple universes. In Justice League: Act of God, Superman even left Lois to move in with Wonder Woman and start a family together. Ouch.
7 Behind The Mask: Superman & Lois Lane
It's important to really know your partner. In their civilian lives, Peter and MJ are an odd pairing. He's an introverted science nerd while she's an ambitious, outgoing model. Still, hey, opposites attract. What really sticks out is MJ's inability to recognize intruders when they don the Spider-costume. MJ had no clue that Doc Ock was in Peter's body in The Superior Spider-Man, with readers questioning just how well they really know each other.
Lois, on the other hand, can easily spot an imposter. Following The Death of Superman, she saw through the four new Supermen who arrived in Metropolis, instantly knowing they weren't Clark. She accepts Clark completely, from rural charm to super-alien, and he fully respects Lois as a journalist intent on exposing injustices, allowing them to develop a deeper connection.
6 Marriage: Superman & Lois Lane
MJ took a bit of convincing to marry Peter, turning down his first proposal. They finally married in 1987, but their happily-ever-after was ruined in the controversial One More Day, with Mephisto offering to save Aunt May in exchange for the couple erasing their marriage from history. Fans were outraged, and while Peter and MJ have continued to find their way back together since, they've never remarried.
Clark and Lois may have taken over 50 years to wed, but their marriage has lasted. Tying the knot in 1996's Superman: The Wedding Album, their relationship has survived countless reboots, making theirs the longest-lasting marriage in comics.
5 Staying Grounded: Tie
Spider-Man and Superman both send a lot of time saving the world. It's their romantic partners, armed with sharp minds and quick wit, who keep their feet on the ground.
Both women are incredibly driven, with MJ pursuing a modeling career and establishing her own nightclub chain, and Lois earning a Pulitzer-prize for journalism. While they may not have superpowers, they put their skills to good use. Using her interest in fashion, MJ has often mended Peter's costumes and her curious mind has helped in a crisis. Likewise, Lois' brilliance for seeking the truth has allowed her to act as the brains behind Superman's brawn.
4 Till Death Do Us Part: Superman & Lois Lane
People die in comics ... a lot. Being in a steady relationship only enhances that risk. In The Amazing Spider-Man #13, MJ was kidnapped by a mutant who staged a plane explosion to prevent anyone from searching for her. Peter believed MJ was dead for over a year. Traumatized by the ordeal, when MJ finally returned, she decided to keep away from Peter.
Death devastated Clark and Lois' relationship too. The couple was originally engaged to be married in 1990. However, Doomsday brought their happiness to a shuddering halt in the infamous story, The Death of Superman (with DC Comics postponing their wedding to coincide with Lois & Clark's wedding episode). Returning from the dead, Superman immediately reunited with Lois, taking her on a romantic trip to Paris.
3 Alternate Reality Happiness: Spider-Man & Mary Jane
Superheroes have the chance to find happiness across multiple universes. With Peter and MJ separated after the events of One More Day, distraught fans were given hope in 2016's Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows. Set in an alternate reality where Peter and MJ remained married, the pair had a daughter and fought crime together as a super Spider-Family. It's an idyllic universe and one which provides a glimpse of what could have been on Earth-616.
Alternate universes also often show a happy Lois and Clark (when he isn't loved-up with Wonder Woman). More often than not, Superman has retired from heroics in these timelines, living an ordinary domestic life. While we're happy to see the pair stay together in many different universes, Spidey gets the best of both worlds, with a loving family and super-career.
2 Parenthood: Superman & Lois Lane
With parenting comes great responsibility, as our heroes have learned. Unfortunately, outside of their blissful alternate realities, Peter and MJ have had bad luck with parenting on Earth-616. In the midst of the bizarre Clone Saga, MJ fell pregnant but lost the child after being exposed to one of Green Goblin's poisons.
Family life has come naturally to Clark and Lois. In 2006, they adopted a Kryptonian boy, only to lose him to the Phantom Zone in a heartbreaking turn of events. They'd later have their own biological son, Jonathan, who took up the Superboy mantle and quickly became a fan-favorite character in his own right.
1 Stand By Your (Super)Man: Superman & Lois Lane
As we've already learned, these couples have endured a lot. But it's Superman and Lois who stick together no matter what. While Peter and MJ deeply love each other, constantly being put in danger has repeatedly proven to be too much for MJ. They've been separated for a long time now, but recent issues of The Amazing Spider-Man suggest they may well find their way back together again...
Clark and Lois have never let the dangers of Superman's adventures drive a wedge between them. While superheroic responsibility is Spider-Man's top priority, often distancing himself from MJ, Lois' happiness comes first for Superman, explaining why so many future-focused stories show them embracing a "normal" life away from danger. Overall, it would seem that Superman and Lois Lane win this contest, but Marvel fans will surely have something to say about that!