When most people in the U.S. think of comic books, "romance" isn't the first thing that comes to mind. When you say "comic books," most people think "superheroes." But from the 1940s to the early 1960s, romance comics in the United States such as "Young Romance" were extremely popular. However, a comic book doesn't have to be specifically about romance to showcase love in its pages. There have been a lot of great relationships in comics, including couples that are constantly kept apart and ones that have been together and married for decades. Even superheroes like Spider-Man and Superman often fall for a special someone.
In "Avengers: Age of Ultron," there were hints of a romance building between Scarlet Witch and the Vision. That reminded us of their complex relationship in the comics, and a few other famous couples from different series. Here's CBR's list of the twenty best couples in comic books.
20 Black Bolt and Medusa
The Inhumans are an offshoot race of humans who were created in prehistoric times by the alien Kree. They've been using superpowers since before humans left the caves, living in a secret location known as Attilan. Their leaders are Black Bolt and Medusa, and the two have been together for a very long time.
Black Bolt's voice is so powerful that it could destroy everything around him, forcing him to remain mute unless he's in combat. His distant cousin Medusa learned to communicate with him as children and the two fell in love. When Black Bolt became the leader of the Inhumans, he married Medusa, and they became the king and queen of Attilan. Medusa serves as an interpreter for Black Bolt, his voice and his confidante. The two have fought off many attempts to seize control of the Inhumans, and even had to fight to save their child from other Inhumans who feared it would be too powerful.
Since their first appearance in "Fantastic Four" #36 and #44 in 1965, Medusa and Black Bolt have been a beautiful and powerful couple. Their incredible power and royalty, as well as their obvious love for each other, have always made them a great pair to watch.
19 Alana and Marko
Beginning in 2012, the comic series "Saga" tells a bold and epic story of conflict between two alien races in the distant future. But really, it's about two aliens who fall in love.
The aliens, Alana and Marko, are from two different worlds that are at war. Alana is from the largest and most technologically advanced planet in the galaxy, Landfall. Marko is from a race of magic-wielders on a moon of Landfall's called Wreath. Alana actually met Marko while guarding him as a prisoner of war, but they escaped together just hours later.
The two fell in love, but faced prejudice and hardship from their own people. They're seen as traitors to their races for being together and fugitives for breaking away from their respective armies in order to pursue their love. On the run, they have a daughter together and race across the universe to avoid their captors. It's basically "Romeo and Juliet" meets "Star Wars." Their love literally threatens the galaxy and that's amazing.
18 Reed Richards and Sue Storm
He's a super-genius who can stretch his body into a near infinite number of shapes. She can turn herself and other objects invisible. They're Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, and they're awesome together.
When Reed Richards and Sue Storm first appeared in "The Fantastic Four" #1 in 1961, they were considered revolutionary. Until their appearance, couples in comic books tended to be bland and unrealistic. But "The Fantastic Four" broke new ground in relationships as well as storytelling, because they weren't perfect. Richards and Storm would argue, fight, and even break up. Despite these problems, they always managed to come back together.
They gained their powers together, fought together in the Fantastic Four, and eventually married in "Fantastic Four Annual" #3 (1965). Over the decades, they've had two children together and Sue has gone from the Invisible Girl to become the more powerful Invisible Woman. They've left the Fantastic Four and returned, faced death countless times, and seemingly have left the Marvel Universe altogether in 2016's "Secret Wars." We're sure we'll see them in each other's arms again eventually, though, because their greatest power is staying together.
17 Elongated Man and Sue Dibny
Ralph Dibny was introduced as the Elongated Man in "The Flash" #112 (1960), where his stretching powers made him a great ally to the speedster. Throughout his Flash appearances, he married Sue Dearborn, and the couple became one of the most stable and loving relationships in comic history.
Ralph and Sue Dibny have been around for decades, thanks to a backup feature in "Detective Comics," where they were globe-trotting detectives, teaming up with other superheroes like Batman, Green Lantern, and Zatanna. In 1973, the Elongated Man became a member of the Justice League of America, giving us a new excuse to see them together. Through it all, the two stuck together and supported each other. Their relationship was one of the most understated romances, rare in the fact that it wasn't about chaos or conflict or breaking up and reuniting. They just loved each other.
That's why Sue's death during "Identity Crisis" was so heart-wrenchingly tragic. Ralph was so devastated that he later tried to resurrect her, which ended in disaster and him sacrificing himself so he could both stop the villainous Neron and join her in the afterlife. That's true love.
16 Black Panther and Storm
Black Panther (T'Challa) is the ruler of the technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda. Storm is the mutant African princess with power over weather. Both are members of royalty and are two of the most powerful people on Earth, but it took decades before the two finally got together.
In 2006's "Storm" #1, it was revealed that T'Challa met and fell in love with Storm when she was an orphaned teenage girl. T'Challa then had to go through a rite of passage and went on to become the leader of Wakanda, but never forgot her. The relationship was rekindled in "Black Panther" #14, and they married in "Black Panther" #18 (2006). The two were partners in leading Wakanda, and also fought side by side through many battles.
Sadly, when Namor destroyed Wakanda with a tidal wave in Avengers vs. X-Men, Black Panther resented the fact that Storm didn't stay with him, and annulled their marriage. However, he remains deeply in love with her, and she with him.
15 Daredevil and Elektra
Elektra Natchios first appeared in "Daredevil" #168 in 1981. As an assassin for the ninja clan known as The Hand, she tried to kill Daredevil for the Kingpin and later moved on to trying to kill Foggy Nelson. However, it turned out that she and Daredevil's secret identity (Matt Murdock) had been dating in college. Their lives had taken different paths, one to good and the other to evil. The two of them danced between enemies and lovers until she was killed by the rival assassin Bullseye. When Elektra died, Daredevil was torn apart. Even when she was resurrected by the Hand, Daredevil was never the same. Losing her plunged his life into darkness. Elektra has returned in later issues, sometimes an enemy, sometimes an ally.
Their love for each other literally went beyond the grave.
14 Archie and Veronica and Betty
Archie Andrews has a complicated love life. That's why we're highlighting his relationship with Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge as one of the best couples in comics.
That's right. Both of them. We're not talking about some sort of polygamous thing here. It's just that the love-triangle relationship between Betty and Archie and Veronica has always been intertwined.
Betty Cooper made her debut in "Pep Comics" #22 in 1941, where she became Archie's neighbor. But then in "Pep Comics" #26, the wealthy Veronica Lodge entered Archie's life and things would never be the same. The rivalry between Veronica and Betty is the central theme of Archie's story. For as long as there's been Archie, Betty and Veronica have been fighting for his affections. Over the the years, the two have worked both together and against each other to win his heart.
It's really hard to choose between one or the other. Should Archie be with the sweet and loyal Betty or the seductive and sultry Veronica? Archie's never been able to choose, and neither can we.
13 Scarlet Witch and the Vision
Of all the couples on this list, the Scarlet Witch and the Vision have had the most complicated and troubled relationship. However, it's also one of the most memorable.
Scarlet Witch first appeared in "X-Men" #4 in 1964 as a supervillain in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, able to alter probability to make anything happen. Then in 1965, she joined the Avengers in "Avengers" #16 and became a hero. In 1968's "Avengers" #57, the evil Ultron created a synthetic android called the Vision and unleashed it against the Avengers. The Vision reformed and joined the Avengers, instead.
Vision and Scarlet Witch fell in love and were married in "Giant-Size Avengers" #4 in 1975. They had twin boys, thanks to Scarlet Witch's hex powers, and seemed happy. But things fell apart when the Vision had to be rebuilt without his personality, and Scarlet Witch's power that gave her their children also took them away. Her journey to recover the twins almost destroyed the universe. While she and Vision are no longer married, we can't forget how Scarlet Witch altered reality itself to bring them back together.
12 Bruce Banner and Betty Ross
For as long as Bruce Banner has been the rampaging Hulk, he's been in love with Betty Ross. Ross first appeared in "The Incredible Hulk" #1 in 1962, where she first met Banner before the experiment that infused him with gamma radiation transformed him into the Hulk. As Banner struggled to control his new power, Ross fell in love with his gentle and intelligent soul.
But their relationship hasn't always been smooth. At first, Banner struggled to keep his secret from her, alienating her. When his secret was exposed, he had to go on the run from her own father, Thunderbolt Ross. She stood by him, even as he went on the run for his life. But Ross has been more than just his long-suffering girlfriend. She's often broke up with Banner over his failed attempts to control the Hulk. Over time, she's even become his enemy as she was transformed into the supervillain Harpy, and later became the powerful Red She-Hulk. Through all their transformations and conflicts, their love for each other has remained and continues to drive them.
11 Usagi Yojimbo and Tomoe Ame
In 1984, the series "Usagi Yojimbo" first hit the shelves. Set in feudal Japan and populated by anthropomorphic animals, the series tells the story of Usagi Yojimbo, a rabbit ronin who wanders the countryside. The comic draws heavily from Japanese cinema, including the movies from Akira Kurosawa, and has become famous for its deep storylines and references to Japanese life and art.
One of Usagi's longtime companions is Tomoe Ame, a samurai cat. First appearing in "Book 1: The Ronin" (1984), Tomoe is the personal bodyguard and adviser of Lord Noriyuki, who she was protecting from an assassin. Tomoe is an expert swordsman, and has earned Usagi's respect and admiration many times over. Usagi saved her life by rescuing her from drowning in a river, and she later returned the favor. Throughout Usagi's journey, they've become close friends and fought side-by-side. While it's only hinted that they have deeper feelings for each other, even as friends, the two remain inseparable.
10 Suzie and Jon
What if you could stop time? And what if you could only do it after sex?
In the acclaimed comic book series "Sex Criminals," Suzie and Jon discover they have the same power: whenever they climax, they freeze time. The two become lovers, and use their unique powers to begin a career as criminals. Sex criminals.
Though the series is about their crime spree, it's also about their deep feelings for each other. Their relationship isn't idealized or mundane. As they set out to rob banks, the comic becomes a meditation on sexual identity and discovery. Suzie and Jon struggle with the same things everyone does in exploring each other, such as finding out about their past, dealing with their dawning feelings of love, and uncertainty about their future. "Sex Criminals" is a surprisingly rich story for its outrageous premise, and the romance is at the heart of it. It's also really funny.
9 Batman and Catwoman
The relationship between Batman and Catwoman is complex, because Catwoman is complex. Sometimes, Catwoman is a hero. Other times, Catwoman is a villain. Batman is always caught between wanting to arrest her and wanting to make love to her.
First appearing in "Batman" #1 in 1940 as "the Cat," Selina Kyle has evolved into one of his most formidable villains. Catwoman engages Batman in a chess game, with him trying to reform her while she uses him to pursue her own interests. Although she's supposed to be an enemy of Batman, Catwoman has her own moral code that's even led her to team up with Batman. She's a gray area in Batman's usually strict moral code by being a combination of good and evil. He's attracted to her because she's a female version of himself: a dark creature that prowls the night, straddling the line between right and wrong.
While we're always rooting for Batman to find love, we know it's more important for him to fight crime, which is why we love watching him pursue Catwoman and fight villains at the same time.
8 Apollo and Midnighter
They started as a reference to one of the most infamous rumors in comics, that Superman and Batman are gay. But the Midnighter and Apollo evolved into one of the best romances in the comic book industry.
First appearing in "Stormwatch" #4 (1998), the Midnighter and Apollo were bound together by their experiences. Thanks to being experimented on, Apollo is a solar-powered hero with extraordinary flight and power, while the Midnighter is strong, fast and cunning. Of the original seven-member Stormwatch team, only Apollo and Midnighter survived. The two escaped and spent five years together on the run. They moved on to "The Authority" in 1999, where their relationship deepened as they became one of the most powerful teams in comics. They also became one of the most prominent and openly gay couples in comics, getting married and adopting Jenny Quantum. Their love story is one of the most unique and groundbreaking ones in an industry that's growing more inclusive.
7 Snow White and Bigby Wolf
Once upon a time, there was a gigantic wolf called the Big Bad Wolf…
In the comic book "Fables," first published in 2002, fairytale characters have been driven from their worlds into ours. The magical creatures settled in a secret ghetto in New York known as Fabletown. Snow White was the deputy mayor of Fabletown, while the Big Bad Wolf (calling himself Bigby), having taken on human form, was the sheriff.
Bigby and Snow White were always attracted to each other, but fought as all great couples do. When Bigby finally admitted his feelings for her, she rejected him, but he continued to pursue her. The two of them had a lot of ups and downs, even after they had a litter of seven children together. They broke up and came back together, but their love was a bond that carried throughout the series. When they finally had their "happily ever after," it was a sweet and satisfying journey that made "Fables" an even more wonderful series.
6 Scott Summers and Jean Grey
As Cyclops and Marvel Girl, Scott Summers and Jean Grey both first appeared in "The X-Men" #1 in 1963, where they were students for Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, along with Beast, Angel, and Iceman. Over time, Cyclops and Grey fell in love. But when Wolverine joined the team in "Giant-Sized X-Men" #1 in 1975, Grey's heart was torn as she found herself attracted to Logan instead. The rivalry between Wolverine and Cyclops over Grey's affections threatened to tear the team apart.
The biggest twist in their relationship came when Jean Grey sacrificed herself to pilot a crashing space shuttle. Cyclops was devastated, but she miraculously returned as the Phoenix in "Uncanny X-Men" #125 (1979). Alas, her god-like powers and possession by the Phoenix Force forced her (well, her duplicate) to commit suicide in "Uncanny X-Men" #137 (1980). Grey returned in a stunning twist, and her rocky relationship with Cyclops and Wolverine continued with Cyclops even marrying her in "X-Men" #30 (1994) before later dying again. It seems like death always comes between them.
5 Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner
"American Splendor" is an autobiographical comic about the life of the author, Harvey Pekar. First published in 1976, and illustrated by Robert Crumb, it broke the mould of comic books by telling a story about people instead of superheroes or funny animals. The series focuses on true events in Pekar's life. It covered his mundane job as a file clerk at the Veteran's Administration, and his relationships with family and friends. But much of the comic is about his relationship with his wife, Joyce Brabner.
The comic chronicled how Pekar met Grabner after her store ran out of copies of "American Splendor," and she wrote him for a copy. The two began to correspond, started a relationship by phone, and eventually met in real life. By their third date, the two decided to get married. The comic has chronicled their quirky but heartfelt relationship ever since. Unlike most comic book romances, "American Splendor" doesn't varnished over their problems, but presents an honest and endearing look at their relationship.
4 Thing and Alicia Masters
The Thing from Fantastic Four has a serious self-image problem. That's what happens when you look like a pile of rocks in human form, which truly makes him one of the most monstrous superheroes in the Marvel Universe, next to maybe Nightcrawler. At least the Thing gets super-strength out of it. Unfortunately, his appearance makes him feel self-conscious and unloved.
That is, until in 1962 when the Thing first met Alicia Masters. Masters is a blind sculptor who relies on her sense of touch to make exquisite statues. Her stepfather is the supervillain the Puppet Master, but the Thing doesn't hold that against her. While she can't see his appearance, she does know what he looks like from having touched his face. Most importantly, she doesn't care what he looks like. She's a pure and tender soul who the Thing falls deeply for, becoming his girlfriend and confidante. She makes him feel human and she loves his kind heart. Though the two of them have broken up multiple times, and Masters was even briefly involved with his teammate, Johnny Storm (the Human Torch), as well as the Silver Surfer, she remains the only woman the Thing truly loves.
3 Luke Cage and Jessica Jones
When Luke Cage was created in 1976's "Hero for Hire" #1, he was just a super-strong blacksploitation hero, and Jessica Jones didn't exist. But thanks to retroactive continuity, she became a part of Cage's life. But what started as a brief fling turned into one of the most enduring romances in comic book history.
The relationship between superheroes Luke Cage and Jessica Jones has been rocky from the very beginning when they had a one-night stand in "Alias" #1. There was an attraction since both had powers and had some trauma to deal with, but neither one of them wanted to pursue a long-term relationship. However, the two troubled souls bonded when Jones became pregnant. At the birth of their daughter Danielle in "The Pulse" #13 (2006), Cage proposed. It took a while for her to accept, but ever since that moment, the two have found peace and happiness in each other. Their romance is still going strong, as well as taken on a new dimension since being portrayed in Netflix's "Jessica Jones" and "Luke Cage."
2 Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson
Of all the couples in comics, the relationship between Peter Parker (Spider-Man) and Mary Jane Watson seems to be one of the most popular. Unlike most superheroes whose relationship are on the sidelines, the romance between Parker and Watson is often the focus of the webslinger's stories.
Watson was first mentioned in 1964's "The Amazing Spider-Man" #15, where it became a running joke that Aunt May was trying to set Parker up with her. Parker constantly found ways to avoid her, and the reader never got to see her face until "The Amazing Spider-Man" #42. In that iconic moment, MJ turns and says, "Face it, tiger...you hit the jackpot!" Parker falls deeply for her, and so did the readers.
The two had a turbulent but deeply passionate romance. In 1987, "The Amazing Spider-Man Annual" #21 highlighted the wedding of Parker and Watson. Their marriage turned into one of the few bright spots in Spider-Man's life. No matter how bad things got, he could always come home to her. That's why it caused an uproar when the marriage was erased from history in 2007's "One More Day." We're still hoping Marvel comes around and brings these two back together.
1 Superman and Lois Lane
By far, the most popular couple in comic book history is Superman and Lois Lane. She's been an important part of the Superman mythos since their first appearances in "Action Comics" #1 in 1938. In work, Clark and Lois were rivals at the "Daily Planet," but as Superman, he became Lane's protector, always ready to leap in and rescue her.
The love triangle of Clark, Lois, and Superman has been a complex and ironic one. Over the years, she became increasingly attracted to Superman, ironically while sneering at the nerdy Clark Kent. The back and forth between the two has been a delight to fans for decades, even becoming the focus of the 1990s TV show, "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman."
In the comics continuity, Lane eventually learned Superman's secret identity. In "Superman" #50 (1990), Clark officially proposed and revealed himself as Superman. Despite Superman's death in 1992, he came back to life and the two were officially married in 1996's "Superman: The Wedding Album." Their love story is part of what makes Superman great. She brings humanity to Superman, and he takes her places she's never dreamed of.
What's your favorite couple? What other couples do you love from the comics? Tell us about them in the comments!