Comic readers usually focus on the conflict between the hero and villains, instead of love stories. Indeed, almost every time, writers tend to avoid making a love story the center of the story.
But at the same time, relationships often are one of the few good things that give the hero some happiness. So if they’re well written, although still being side-elements, fans start considering the love story (whether it is an ordinary or non ordinary one) a significant part of the comic.
WARNING: “Iconic” is not synonymous with healthy, so if any dysfunctional couples you dislike show up, just skip those parts.
Here's a few examples of the most iconic couples:
Batman and Catwoman have always had an interesting dynamic that used to be a tease, a “cat and mouse” game, which fans used to love. Tension, but at the same time connection, between the two characters. Everytime they're in a room together, you can sense they care and want to help each other.
Their relationship has been evolving in recent comics, which are the issues of Batman Rebirth written by Tom King. Now their relationship has finally moved forward. Both of them matured and decided to make it more than a game. Indeed they're going to get married in the next issue (if somebody doesn't ruin things first).
SPIDERMAN & MARY JANE
This is one of the most iconic comic book couples. It might look like a simple love story, the one of a guy falling in love with the girl next door. But Peter has to balance the two sides of his life -the one of the hero and the one of a normal person- and when it comes to his normal life, Mary Jane is the one who makes him happiest. They've gone through a lot in comics, in different storylines and continuity they even were divorced- but their romance still doesn't fail to make fans fall in love with the couple even though their story together is so long and diverse.
GREEN ARROW & BLACK CANARY
The two are meant to be. They’re a beloved couple. Writers -or at least most of them- love to portray them as the toughest couple. They’ve had their ups and downs, like all of the other relationships, but they always are ready to help each other out. They're at their best when they work together and, since both of them are more than simple love interests and both are heroes, their romance makes their stories more compelling to comic readers.
AQUAMAN & MERA
They've been together loyally for a very long time. They have been through a lot together, and they have not always been happy.
Indeed, when Mera met Arthur for the first time, she was planning to assassinate him. But, by getting to know each other, they started understanding each other, to eventually fall in love. Being a royal couple isn't easy, but the two of them still support each other in the darkest time. They now have a quite stable relationship; the King and Queen rule together, side by side, while still protecting each other, even after all the hard times they went through.
And this year fans will get to see them on the big screen!
MEDUSA & BLACK BOLT
A deeply fascinating dynamic. It’s a known fact that Black Bolt cannot talk, because that’d bring destruction around him.
But that didn’t ruin his relationship with the woman he’s in love with. Indeed, Black Bolt and Medusa have found their own way of communicating. Since they've been young, they didn't need words to get along. They found a way to be happy together, both as King and Queen and as lovers. It's therefore obvious that Medusa literally is the only person who understands him, making it hard to picture him with another person.
MIDNIGHTER & APOLLO
They are probably two of the first characters in comics to be openly gay, and after their mini-series they received a lot of love. Midnighter and Apollo are like Batman and Superman, but obviously, more than friends. They've been married in the past and have even adopted a kid, and in recent comics, although not married, their love is a very sweet one. Midnighter is a tough, intimidating guy, but at the same time he hides a loving side which becomes evident every time he's around Apollo. Apollo “reminds” the readers that Midnighter is capable of loving, of being sweet and caring. They're always there for each other, and they work well together.
SUPERMAN & LOIS
Lois is, after his parents, one of the first humans to truly love Clark Kent for what he truly is unconditionally. They bring the best out of each other, especially Lois, who's always ready to help and support Clark even in the darkest times -- helping him to choose the right path. She made him feel human and he has always made sure of her safety. In different ways, they always have taken care of one another. There's an unspoken tenderness between the two of them and a connection that keeps them together.
ELEKTRA & DAREDEVIL
Perhaps they’ll never be able to be together in the end, but that doesn't make fans love them less. Their dynamic sometimes looks like a tease, but there's more to it than that: there are real feelings between the two of them that just cannot be enjoyed.
That’s because they’re completely different since he is a hero and she is a mercenary. They have different morals, different principles. Their lives as vigilante and mercenary are too much in contrast for them to have an actual relationship, but at the same time there’s this connection that makes them an exciting couple.
And although they aren’t in a relationship, every time they’re together, you can still get the sense that they do deeply care for one another but simply know it’d never work.
JOKER & HARLEY
They definitely are not a good example of how a couple should be, nor are they a happy one. They're like one of the old greek tragedies: beautiful and heartbreaking.
But they are indeed popular and iconic in spite of all the abuse. Besides the Suicide Squad (2016) movie, which romanticized them, there are plenty of old fans who love the old version of them.
Joker and Harley have a quite interesting, although toxic, dynamic. Harley, herself, was created to be the example of what you should not do, thus what makes the couple fascinating is how --differently than the previous couples we've talked about -- instead of bringing the best out of one another, they bring out the worst and even enjoy it.
They tried to kill each other, hit each other, and stalked or manipulated each other. And yet none of it matters to them. They're psychotic, so it’s nothing too weird to them.
The few good moments they had like in Batman: Harley Quinn (1999) or the graphic novel The Joker keep Harley hoping that Joker does love her deep down.
On the other hand, as shown in the comics mentioned before, Joker knows that Harley is the only one mad enough to actually fall in love with him even though she was meant to be a toy he’d spend time with while locked up in Arkham. She's the only one who isn't scared of him and who loves him for who he is, and, deep down, he knows that.
Definitely a twisted greek tragedy that will give you so many emotions! Check out my entire article about their relationship here.
Comics lover & writer.