Observance of the Superhero: The Sanctity of Marriage

[10 June 2010]

By Andy Smith

Putting aside any preconceived religious affiliations, fans have seen that superheroes are not above the concept and act of marriage. Marital double-sized issues and annuals have been a part of comic continuity for decades, dating back to the days of Kirby. The idea inspires fascination and a deserved question: Why get married? Despite the legal reasons and Sue Storm no longer wanting the silly alliteration to her name, one has to wonder what benefits may come for cosmically-powered beings who can destroy and shape worlds.

Of course, usually the wedding will be interrupted by some super-powered fiend (or several) who just couldn’t wait another day to obliterate humankind. Yet, heroes still brave the chances and decide to have not only a traditional wedding but one accompanied by your standard Catholic priest who ends up cowering from energy blasts. Sure, the ceremony represented in comic books is simply geared toward our own notions of what makes an America marriage. It makes sense to play to our sensibilities in such a way.

But as the wedding of Cyclops and Jean Grey, Superman and Lois Lane and the Silver Age nuptial exchange between Reed Richards and Ms. Storm inspire tears and joy, it almost trivializes the idea. Why should Superman care to get married? Why would any hero who can just as easily conquer a country submit to its legal unions?

It seems to imply that our own values as Americans, our own ideas of what a man and woman need to do when they love each other for long enough, will always be catered to even in media reaching as far out as the superhero comic book. For some heroes, they may truly respect and remain faithful to this holy union. As citizens, they may feel as though they should play the American life like any other Joe.

Maybe it’s just the gimmicky aspect of the Wedding Issue that trivializes it, or maybe just the idea of seeing Lockheed with a bow tie, but something about it trivializes marriage. Or perhaps even more, the sanctity of it.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/126781-observance-of-the-superhero-the-sanctity-of-marriage/