Candy hearts, chocolates, heart-shaped cakes and pizzas, and an open bag of Doritos on the floor next to your bed, this could only mean one thing, it’s Tuesday! But it’s not just Tuesday, no sir or ma’am! It’s more than Tuesday! While it is in fact true that it’s Tuesday, it’s also Valentine’s Day!
Valentine’s Day can mean a variety of things depending on the person. But whether you’re single, you really enjoy Valentine’s Day, or if you just feel like you’ve gotta buy your significant other something, we here at Geeks of Doom have put together a little list of comic books to get you through this day filled with love, chocolate, and corporate interest to make you spend money on an item to prove something that you should be proving every day! And isn’t that what it’s all about, love and stuff? Sure is! So, without further ado, here are five of my favorite romantic stories in comics in what I consider Comics’ Finest Love Stories. Admittedly, I don’t read a lot of love stories in comics, so this list may get really weird, really quick. Anyway, here it goes!
Blankets (Craig Thompson): At its heart, Blankets is an autobiographical graphic novel about a boy growing into manhood. It has several honest, momentous accounts of Thompson’s voyage, but the one moment that rings true throughout anyone reading the story is with the relationship of his first love Raina. The book focuses the majority of its time on the two week romance between the two, and while it’s completely romantic with the two sneaking as much time together as possible, stealing kisses at any moment, and seeing the world through rose-colored shades, reality dawns on the young couple as they know that their time together is fleeting because nothing can last forever. It’s incredibly sad in that aspect, but more than that, it’s honest. Thompson doesn’t paint an unrealistic picture with their relationship, he exposes it for what it is. A young man head over heels in love with a young woman who is not of the same mold as he. He observes this woman as a goddess, as a divine creation that is simply the most beautiful creature to ever grace the earth. This is an experience that many can relate to, both on the male and female sides of the audience, but as any young lover soon realizes, this is not something that is true. People are flawed. Blankets explores the relationship between the two and provides this two week love affair as the catalyst for Thompson’s growth into an adult. It’s sad and moving, and if you’re yearning to have your heart ripped out on Valentine’s Day, this book’s for you.
All Star Superman (Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely): When All Star Superman was written, Grant Morrison was basically give creative reign over all eras of Superman’s history. He didn’t have to meet any criteria set in by continuity, and he didn’t have to do anything by the book as far as the character of Superman goes. Readers didn’t know what to expect, other than the fact that Grant Morrison, a polarizing, mostly genius comic scribe was taking the reins of a character many fans had thought become boring. Grant Morrison has been known to tell continuity drenched stories that liken themselves to bad acid trips, as well as good acid trips, but instead of Morrison’s usually storytelling format, the writer gave readers a look into Superman’s last days and how he would spend those days. And it just so happens that how he spends his last few days on Earth is some of the most romantic material that any superhero comics (outside of that moment of Birds of Prey between Black Canary and Oracle) have ever seen. Superman uses his dying days to expose his secret identity to the love of his life Lois Lane, while also giving her super powers for her birthday as he shows her all the wonderful things about life on Earth that he experiences like sitting on the moon and flying over the oceans. It’s these quiet moments of sharing his life with the woman he loves that makes this not only one of the best Lois Lane/Superman stories of all time, but also one of the greatest love stories of all time. And how could we forget the words that Superman says to Lois with his final words on Earth, “I love you Lois Lane. Until the end of time.” Chills, ladies and gentlemen. Chills.
30 Days of Night (Steve Niles, Ben Templesmith): I know, I know. “A vampire story set in Alaska that’s incredibly brutal? How does that make it into a list of love stories?” Well, as I’ve previously stated, I don’t read a lot of love stories, so you’re going to have to take what you get here. But hear me out on this one, at the beginning of the comic, the local sheriff of this small Alaskan town stands by his wife to see the sun go down for the last time for the next month. It’s a long-standing tradition for the couple that when the sun goes down for 30 nights, the romantic couple always watches the sun set and rise together after the month long night. Within the book, things get crazy (the worst way to describe details regarding 30 Days of Night) and the sheriff becomes a vampire to fight the Alpha Vamp and ultimately succeeds in taking him down, but as a result must die when sunlight approaches. The sunrise scene between the sheriff and his wife, their final moments together, is a genuinely sweet, heart warming, and heartbreaking moment that takes a shot in the heart of anyone who has ever been in love with another person before. And while those moments are certainly touching, this sets up the next two comics within the franchise that show his wife seeking revenge and trying to bring her husband back to life, but he returns in his vampiric form and kills her. Yes, another heart breaking moment, but don’t fear! Because they actually are reunited as vampires and vow to protect their hometown for the rest of their after-lives. AWWWW! Now if that’s not love, I don’t know what is… I completely accept that I might not actually know what love is.
Kill Your Boyfriend (Grant Morrison, Philip Bond): Ah, young love. Isn’t it great? We’ve all had this sort of relationship right? You meet a guy or girl as a teenager that totally steals your heart and makes you do several things that you might regret. Granted, most of us haven’t probably killed people in the name of a twisted love, and most likely we haven’t done so with what could be our brother or sister, but nonetheless, this Grant Morrison book captures the mentality of that young teen who has his or her feet swept out from under them when you completely lose yourself in the thrill of that charismatic youngster who has stolen your heart. The comic tells the story of a young girl who meets a boy, they fall in love, then go on a killing spree. Yeah, it’s kind of like Natural Born Killers, if that’s what you’re thinking. I mean, sure it may not be the kind of love that we’re all used to in the traditional definition of the word. But how can one truly categorize the feeling? You may not think killing off as many people as possible is a romantic thing that young lovers would actually do, but y’know, even weird, screwed up murderous love is still love, right? I mean, that’s the way it works, right? Guys?
Black Hole (Charles Burns): Now, some might question the legitimacy of this list around this time, especially with the inclusion of Black Hole, and I certainly wouldn’t blame you. Like I said, I don’t really read a lot of love stories. And if you’re familiar with this comic, you may have read it differently than I did, or maybe we totally agree, so you may not see what I see in this comic. What I see in this comic is a tragic and hopeful tale of high school aged kids that are doing whatever they can to find a place to fit in. Now, there’s some weird stuff going on here for sure, including a sexually transmitted disease that physically deforms those who sleep with someone who already has the disease, but that’s irrelevant to my point. My point is that there are several moments of chasing the dream girl or guy and finding yourself caught up in an entirely different situation. And when you find yourself in this situation that you never imagined was possible, you ultimately find what you always wanted in love. Whether it be a girl with a tail, or a dude with an extra mouth in his neck, Black Hole is ultimately, in my opinion, about finding who you are supposed to be with, not necessarily who you think you’re looking for.
I realize that there are probably at the very least 10,000 more love stories that could be added to the list (I hear there are some great stories about Peter Parker and Mary Jane, even a Cyclops/Jean Grey/Wolverine love triangle out there somewhere!), but these are just a few of the comics that appealed to my obviously deranged and twisted sense of romance. I’m sure we all have different, varying opinions of the word “love,” and isn’t that what it’s all about? For each of us, there is someone else that shares the same definition of the word.