Superhero comics, as we know, are just big soap operas. And there is nothing that soap operas love more than a wedding. In fact, we’ve had two weddings (from both Marvel and DC) in recent weeks that have, well, had their complications: Marvel’s wedding between Kitty Pryde and Piotr Rasputin and DC’s wedding between Batman and Catwoman (warning: spoilers!).
But these are just the latest in weddings from the big soap opera factories that are Marvel and DC. Let’s look at some other weddings did or didn’t turn out as expected.
Here is another wedding that got pretty damn complicated, all things considered. In 1985, John Byrne took over writing duties on The Incredible Hulk from Bill Mantlo and, even though Byrne’s run wouldn’t go on for very long, he did two things that would have a very sudden impact: he separated Bruce and the Hulk and then he had Bruce propose to his long-time off-and-on girlfriend, Betty Ross.
The wedding took place in Incredible Hulk #319 and it didn’t go off without a hitch. Specifically, the hitch that was Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, Betty’s father, who had recently been dishonorably discharged, showed up to stop the wedding and ended up shooting Rick Jones. Betty, finally having had enough of her father, told him to stop and the couple ended up getting married, even with Rick injured (Rick insisted they tie the knot before he go to the hospital).
Of course, things wouldn’t quite work out well for the couple: Bruce and the Hulk would have to re-merge (or else each would die) in Incredible Hulk #323, Betty would later get gamma radiation poisoning from the Leader and have to be frozen (and Bruce would be convinced she was dead), and then when she was revived (and turned into the Red She-Hulk), their marriage was already dissolved. Whoops.
Ah, yes, the infamous Spider-Marriage. Spurred on by fans who wanted to see them get married, it was eventually decided by Jim Shooter (the Editor-in-Chief at the time) and Stan Lee (you know who he is) that Peter and MJ would finally tie the knot...in both the comic book and the comic strip at the same time. Which was, basically, a coordination disaster.
Still, Marvel promoted the hell out of it, getting an actual wedding dress designer to design MJ’s dress, making commemorative pins and invitations. The actual story, however, turned out to be heavy on the angst: even though it was Peter who proposed, he begins having doubts, especially when he remembers his love for Gwen Stacy. Still, he ends up going through with the marriage and Peter and MJ end up having one of the best (if slightly tumultuous) marriages in the Marvel Universe...until, of course, he ended up selling it to Mephisto in exchange for Aunt May’s life. Whoops.
(Of course, the real reason he sold his marriage was because a huge number of Marvel writers hated the Spider-Marriage from the beginning and had been trying to get rid of it since the start. Stan Lee and David Michelinie — the writer of the wedding issue — may have loved the idea, but writers such as John Byrne and Christopher Priest hated the idea, seeing it as removing the “everyman” aspect of Peter Parker.)
The first super-couple. In 1978, DC was coming up on the 40th anniversary of Action Comics #1 and wanted to do something big. So they married Clark Kent and Lois Lane.
Of course, this wasn’t the Clark Kent and Lois Lane that readers were normally reading about — no, this was the Clark Kent and Lois Lane of Earth-2, the Golden Age Earth. This was the original Superman and Lois Lane, the ones who had worked on the Daily Star, who had battled against red-haired Lex Luthor, and so on.
The plot of Action Comics #484 was simple (or as simple as a Silver Age comic could be): an supervillain named the Wizard is hired to “remove Superman from the face of the Earth” and does so...but doesn’t realize that leaves Clark Kent without the memories of being Superman. Without the burden of being Superman, however, Clark becomes more assertive, going out on risky reporting assignments, and then asks Lois on a real date. In fact, they date for over a year before Clark asks her to marry him. Lois, meanwhile, realizes she loves Clark...but still wonders what happened to Superman and what made him vanish. After their wedding, Lois tries to cut Clark’s hair and realizes that he is Superman...and realizes that the world needs Superman more than she needs a husband, so gets the Wizard to give him back his memories.
Unlike all those Silver Age stories were everything is reversed at the end, however, Superman realizes that he, too, loves Lois and decides that, well, they are already married, so why not get married again, this time as Superman? So they have a Kryptonian wedding, too and, bam, now Superman and Lois are really, truly married.
In fact, the wedded Superman and Lois went on to have plenty of adventures in Superman Family as “Mr. and Mrs. Superman” before Earth-2 was destroyed due to Crisis on Infinite Earths. Still, they both survived that crossover in Alexander Luthor Jr’s paradise dimension, even if they didn’t survive Infinite Crisis (Lois ended up dying of old age, while Superman went out defeating the Superboy-Prime with the Superman of Earth-1).
It took one issue for the Earth-2 Clark and Lois to get married. For the regular Earth-1 Clark and Lois, it took five years. In fact, DC Comics had penciled in Lois and Clark’s wedding ever since Clark revealed his secret identity to her in Action Comics #662, which was in 1991. However, the TV show Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman was about to be launched and DC wanted the wedding of Lois and Clark to coincide with their wedding on the TV show.
Did I forget to mention that this TV show had just launched? And that the TV Lois and Clark weren’t even dating yet? So, insistent that Lois and Clark not be married (yet), the writers stalled the only way they knew how: they killed him. This led to a years-long story-arc that saw Superman replaced with four Superman-alikes, resurrected with new powers, split into Superman Red and Superman Blue, and then, finally, depowered due to the loss of sun in Final Night.
Oh, right, the comic writers were trying to follow the show, which, at this point, had finally married Lois and Clark in an episode called, I’m not kidding, “Swear to God, This Time We’re Not Kidding.” The writers of the comic then had to scramble to marry Lois and Clark in an issue they made specifically called The Wedding Album. Still, there is a huge, important moment: Clark finally gets his mullet chopped off and returns to his regular hairstyle. Hoorah!
Finally, after years and years, Lois and Clark get married. And, thankfully, after the New 52 rebooted things, the marriage still managed to survive thanks to Convergence and DC Rebirth. (It helps that a lot of the writers were behind the marriage, especially Dan Jurgens, who wrote both The Wedding Album and the Rebirth Action Comics.)
The Flash was another character who had a dedicated love interest since the Silver Age and went on to marry her. The circumstances of their marriage were...slightly more tragic, however:
Barry Allen and Iris West actually got married in 1966, one of the earliest superhero weddings (only pre-dated by the wedding of Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Girl a year earlier) in The Flash #165. Of course, the issue was about how Silver Age hijinks interrupted the wedding — more specifically, how Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash, took Barry Allen’s place and almost married Iris in his stead.
Of course, Barry escapes and stops the wedding and then marries Iris himself...without actually telling her he’s the Flash. (Hey, it was the Silver Age — two issues later, Mopee the Heavenly Help-Mate was explaining how he gave the Flash his powers.) In any case, Iris did find out (apparently, Barry talks in his sleep, so she learned he was the Flash on their honeymoon) and everything was okay...until she learned that Eobard Thawne actually was in love with her and if he couldn’t have her, nobody could. Yes, in The Flash #275, after thirteen years of being married, Iris West-Allen died by Thawne’s hands. I’m not really sure why the writers decided to kill her off, but she remained dead until it was finally revealed that her original parents in the 30th century drew her life-force and placed it in a new body that looked identical to her old one. (Yes, really.) By that point, Barry had been tried and convicted of killing Thawne, was drawn into the 30th century to be with Iris again, and then back to the 20th century to be in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, where he died fighting the Anti-Monitor. Whew.
If you think this is all confusing, try untangling the West-Allen-Thawne family tree. Thankfully, due to the New 52 and DC Rebirth, Iris West is back to being a normal reporter for Central City...although hopefully, if Barry and Iris do get married again, it will turn out much better than last time. (Oh and if you read the current Flash Rebirth title and know about this backstory — when Iris gets revenge against Eobard Thawne, it feels so satisfying.)
Here’s something new for this list: a couple who were already dating when they first appeared, who not only didn’t care about secret identities, but weren’t burdened with them or the angst involved in them, and when they finally got married, that marriage was never retconned, removed, or erased.
Goddamn, that feels good to write. Still, the wedding of Sue and Reed didn’t exactly go off without a hitch: when Doctor Doom hears of the wedding, he decides to send every supervillain he can to stop it out of pure spite. Of course, they fail, but, you know, nice going, Doom, you couldn’t let your enemies just have one day for themselves? Really?
In any case, the wedding also had a ton of cameos, including Nick Fury, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, the X-Men, the Avengers, and, of course, Patsy Walker and Hedy Wolfe (star of the teen-oriented comic Patsy and Hedy).
Reed and Sue went on to have two children (only one of them with godlike powers) and save the universe a bunch of times with the rest of the Fantastic Four. Honestly, I’m just glad that the phrase “and then their marriage was erased” or “and then one of them died” never appears in this part.
Scott Summers and Jean Grey were the X-couple. The ups and downs of their relationship could fill (and have) several books. Heavy books. Door-stopping books.
They started dating in the ‘60s. Then Jean became the Phoenix and she died. Then Scott found a woman who looked identical to Jean and got married. Then Jean was resurrected and Scott left his wife to see her again. Then it turned out his wife was a clone of Jean (who would have guessed) and tried to kill their baby son (oh right) and then their baby son turned out to be a time traveler from the future with big guns and lots of pouches.
Finally, in the early ‘90s, after thirty years of ups and downs, Scott and Jean were finally allowed to get married in X-Men (vol 2) #30. And, for all the ups and downs of their actual relationship, their wedding ended up going off without a hitch. No supervillains attended (unless you count Sabretooth, whom the X-Men had already locked up in the mansion), nobody got cold feet, and everything ended up going really sweetly. Hell, Professor X got to stand up and dance with Jean (and then go roller-skating with Jubilee, because, hey, it’s still the ‘90s).
If wanted to, we could stop there, but, of course, the comics didn’t: Scott and Jean’s marriage lasted until the early 2000s, when Grant Morrison had Scott have an affair with Emma Frost and Jean died (again). Currently, Jean is back to being alive, while Scott is dead (although both Teen Scott and Teen Jean are alive in the present, too — it’s complicated), so these two really can’t catch a break.
I can’t explain this wedding any better than Al Ewing did in New Avengers #11, so here you go:
And yes, all of that is true.