“With this ring, I thee — web?”

17 Memorable and/or Heartwarming Comic-Book Wedding Covers

1. Aquaman #18 (11-12/64)
Fun fact: This month, I’m celebrating 10 years of marital bliss (love you, babe!), so I thought I’d devote a few upcoming lists to weddings and marriage in the comics. Today: the unforgettable wedding covers, starting with the ceremony uniting Aquaman and Mera all the way back in 1964. No surprise that their nuptials would take place underwater; what is surprising (aside from someone inviting Robin to the event, who looks none too pleased to be under the sea in his short shorts, not that you can blame him) is that Mera is not, in fact, a resident of Atlantis. No, she is queen of the “Dimension Aqua,” an other-dimensional realm of water, and she first appeared in Aquaman’s life only seven issues prior to this one. Our hero, it seems, likes to work fast, unlike…

2. Superman: The Wedding Album (12/96)
… some franchise characters we could name who took their time when it came to settling down. Lois Lane was there as the object of Clark’s ardor right from the beginning (in Action Comics #1), and she spent several decades rebuffing Clark’s modest  advances while scheming to ensnare Superman in marriage… never realizing, of course, they were the same person. (Those were strange times, gender politics-wise.) Clark finally popped the question in a 1990 issue of Superman, but DC was forced to postpone the wedding after ABC Television picked up Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman for its 1993 fall season. The reason: the suits upstairs didn’t want a Superman/Lois wedding in the comics to steal the thunder of a possible television wedding, and so DC strung out the engagement by giving Lois cold feet and then spent a year killing off Superman and bringing him back. Problem… er, solved?

3. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 (1987)
How can you tell that Spider-Man’s fans may be a little less, um, grounded to reality than Superman’s? Consider this: Peter Parker married Mary Jane back in 1987, and to this day there are still raging online debates about whether this was a good idea. (Of course, it doesn’t help when Marvel fuels the flames by publishing stories officially proclaiming their marriage as “never happened” in the most ridiculously contrived way possible.) MJ moved to centre-square status in Peter’s love life after his first love, Gwen Stacy, died in a suitably angst-producing way. Back then, the editors killed her off because they didn’t know where else to go with the Peter/Gwen relationship, and they figured Spidey fans weren’t ready for a happily married web-slinger. Times changed, though, and by the mid-’80s Marvel saw the PR appeal of marrying off its flagship character in a special issue. As part of the fun, actors playing the characters got “married”  during a Mets game at New York’s Shea Stadium, and real-life fashion designer Willi Smith was commissioned to design the dress MJ is shown wearing in this great design by the great John Romita.

4. Tales of the Teen Titans #50 (02/85)
You know it’s a special superhero wedding when a fight doesn’t break out during the ceremony. In “We are Gathered Here Today,” Marv Wolfman and George Pèrez take a break from the usual superhero action and soap operatics to bring together almost everyone who ever appeared in a Teen Titans story to celebrate the union of Donna “Wonder Girl” Troy and her college professor beau, Terry Long. Or was he an ex-college professor at this point? Honestly, it really doesn’t matter; while the issue boasts a typically lush Pèrez cover and some great cameo moments inside, this particular story marked the beginning of the end for a lot of Titans fans, many of whom harbored Scrappy Doo-level amounts of hatred for Terry, a leering slacker whose only stroke of luck was living in a universe where someone like him could snag an actual demi-goddess. Still, even he didn’t deserve the convenient car accident that later left Donna an unfettered woman.

5. Incredible Hulk #418 (06/94)
Aww, the big guy is crying! And who could blame him, really — that silly ponytail notwithstanding, they do make a cute couple. Peter David’s tenure on Hulk produced a number of fun storylines and interesting characters, but none were as striking as Marlo Chandler, the statuesque beauty and ex-mob moll who first met the Hulk during his Mr. Fixit days and later found love with perennial sidekick Rick Jones. The story itself is a hoot, but I’m having a hard time getting past the cover to properly enjoy it. So, Tony Stark showed up for the party… in his Iron Man suit? And Captain America wore a tux over his costume? And the nation’s top spy can just drop by and enjoy a stogie in the back while the couple recite their wedding vows? Okay, then.

6. New Avengers Annual #1 (06/2006)
Jessica Jones is a relatively new Marvel superhero, having only debuted in 2001’s Alias series; Luke Cage, of course, is the original “hero for hire” who’s been kicking around the Marvel universe since the 1970s. Their wedding took place shortly after the birth of their daughter and was presided over by a priest with an uncanny resemblance to one Mr. Stan Lee (who had the good sense to stay off this beautifully rendered cover by artists Olivier Coipel, Mark Morales and Jose Villarrubia). Given Cage’s prominence in The New Avengers and their status as one of the very few biracial couples in mainstream comics, both of them have enjoyed a high profile in recent years, not least during Marvel’s Civil War crossover in 2006, which saw Jessica escape to Canada with their child while Cage led an underground revolt against superhero registration. That’s right, Canada: the real land of the free.

7. X-Men (Vol. 2) #30 (03/94)
Is there any other pair of superheroes that even comes close to these two for the title of “Most Star-Crossed and Effed-Up Romantic Couple?” Detailing every twist and turn of their relationship would probably take up more memory than WordPress allows, so let’s just say Scott “Cyclops” Summers and Jean “Jean Grey” Grey have earned this rare moment of matrimonial bliss, captured here by X-Men artist Andy Kubert. A nice touch inside was Jean sharing a dance with Xavier by using her telekinetic powers to hold his paralyzed form upright, but after the bouquets were tossed and the happy couple set off for their new life together, it was back to business as usual, with time-travelling homicidal mutants and telepathic temptresses the least of  their marital troubles.

8. Green Arrow and Black Canary Wedding Special #1 (11/2007)
To the delight of DC’s marketing department, the events leading up to the long-anticipated wedding of the titular couple were spread out over a number of titles starring both characters, including Justice League, Countdown, Birds of Prey, and even a separate Justice League Wedding Special issue (because, apparently, one “wedding special” wasn’t enough to contain their love). This issue featured the main event… or so readers thought, because at one point during the honeymoon Green Arrow goes berserk and tries to kill Black Canary, who stabs him in the neck in self-defence. More stuff happens after that, but for now let’s focus on the more immediate topic of discussion, such as Canary’s choice of wedding raiment — a very, er, unconventional choice for a wedding ceremony. Nice to know where Ollie stands on the Great Black Canary Fishnet Stockings Debate.

9. All-American Comics #91 (11/47)
Lest you think that comic-book marriages are a recent innovation conceived to appease the corporate marketers, check out this cover depicting the “marriage” of the Golden Age Green Lantern to Harlequin, a less-homicidal Harley Quinn predecessor who took up costumed crime to attract Green Lantern’s eye. The irony of this cover is that, while they didn’t really get married in this issue, a 1980s storyline saw the former adversaries find love in each other’s arms after the death of Green Lantern’s first wife (who was also a reformed super-villainess; clearly, the man has an eye for the naughty girls). Their time together was complicated by the fact that the source of his power kept him young while she continued to age… but, as they say in the comic books, that’s nothing a quick trip to the devil or the closest satanic equivalent can’t cure.

10. Fables #50 (08/2006)
How talented is Bill Willingham? Let’s just say it’s the rare writer that could believably bring the actual Snow White and the actual Big Bad Wolf together in a story that is literally a fairy-tale wedding. Aptly titled “Happily Ever After,” this issue finds Bigby (what BBW calls himself in human form) returning home to a hero’s welcome after successfully completing a dangerous mission behind enemy lines. His return means he can finally be reunited with Snow and their children (they were separated for some time prior to that; it’s a long story), and their wedding, presided over by Old King Cole and witnessed by all the denizens of Fabletown, provides a momentary respite from the scheming and sabre-rattling of the evil Adversary and his minions.

11. Adventure Comics #337 (10/65)
“The LEGIONNAIRE DROPOUTS!” blares the cover, and for good reason: how dare those four Legionnaires put true love ahead of their pledges to protect the universe from sun-eaters and space pirates? Actually, as readers would eventually find out, the double wedding was just a ruse; aware of a plot to infiltrate the Legion, the team stages a double wedding as a pretext for holding a membership drive, since Legion rules state that members who marry must resign from the team. The secret agents, disguised as new Legion members, learn the jig is up when the four LSH members — Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Phantom Girl and Ultra Boy, if you must know — reveal they were never really married. So yes, it was all a big fakeout, but can you honestly blame the agents for being fooled? After all, the Legion held a big ceremony, with flowers and headdresses and miniature dolls of themselves on sticks and everything!

12. Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #2 (1983)
While those weddings may have been a ruse, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl did eventually hook up and settle down, as did a few other LSH couples who found love amid the slugfests. One of the more tragic pairings was that of Princess Projectra and Val Armorr, better known as the Karate Kid. She was an illusion-casting member of the royal family on a medieval-style planet; he was an orphaned boy who mastered every form of 30th-century martial arts. They joined the Legion at the same time and grew to love each other despite their vastly different backgrounds; after they married, she assumed the throne on her home planet and they became reserve LSH members. Their time together was cut short when a team of super-villains invaded their home and one of their numbers killed Karate Kid; Projectra then killed the villain in revenge, even though it violated the Legion code against that kind of thing. Invoking the “my planet, my rules” clause, Projectra kicked them all off her planet and used technology to move it to another dimension away from all 30th-century threats to her people… but not, one suspects, far enough away from her broken heart.

13-14. Archie #601 (11/2009); Archie #604 (02/2010)
Once you get past the changing hemlines and occasional nods to pop culture, you start to realize that pretty much every Archie story is the same: Archie chases girls, Jughead chases hamburgers, Moose chases anyone who looks at his girlfriend. This predictability may help to explain the Riverdale crowd’s longevity on the cultural radar, especially in these fickle times. One huge exception to the “nothing ever changes” rule happened in 2009, when Archie Comics announced a “story of the century” that would see Archie marry (gasp!) Veronica Lodge. Many fans were outraged, as they couldn’t believe Archie would ever choose the spoiled socialite over Betty, the purehearted girl-next-door who doggedly pursued Archie’s affections for nearly 60 years. It was later revealed that the Archie/Veronica wedding was actually part of a what-if dream sequence in which Archie imagines his life in the future; the first half of the six-issue storyline focused on his life with Veronica while the second half looked at how his life would change if he married Betty instead. If the goal was to reignite interest in the Archie franchise, then mission accomplished; sales of direct-sale issues (i.e., those sold just through comic shops and not through newsstands or supermarkets) increased 20-fold, and Archie Comics is reportedly using the publicity to introduce new titles in international markets and pursue film and television deals. Here’s hoping they don’t end up remaking To Riverdale and Back Again, a 1990 made-for-TV movie that, among other travesties, saw a grown-up Jughead perform a rap song to regain his bratty son’s affection.

15. Amazing Spider-Man #131 (04/74)
OK, right off the bat: I’d like to know who Aunt May thinks she’s fooling with the white wedding dress (rumor has it she’s quite the tart down at the retirement home). This improbable scene actually happened in official Spider-Man continuity, and before you ask yourself what a youngish, not entirely unattractive mad scientist type would see in a blushing bride who looks old enough to keel over from the strain of the bouquet toss — well, clearly you have never witnessed the arresting power of a truly wonderful personality. Nah, I’m just messing with you — it was all part of a scheme Doc Ock had to get his hands on some uranium. Or maybe that was just his cover story — a man can get awfully lonely locked away in his prison cell, after all.

16. Wonder Woman #155 (07/65)
Speaking of hideous unions. Incredibly, a quick scan of 40 years’ worth of Wonder Woman covers reveals very few covers in which the Amazing Amazon is shown marching down the aisle; this is a superheroine, after all, who has been romantically pursued by damn near everyone from Batman to The Glop (don’t ask… for the love of God, just don’t). Dedicated Wonder Woman fans may wonder how it is that Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot were able to attend this ceremony, given that they were introduced as younger versions of Wonder Woman during her formative years. For my money, the real question is: why isn’t someone taking Diana aside and telling her the truth? We have someone in the audience saying “Great Hera! Wonder Woman still doesn’t realize she’s marrying a monster!” and yet no one seems inclined to point this out to her. Is this the kind of thing someone doesn’t do in polite Amazon society, like how people in our culture try not to stare too hard at oddly shaped growths on a person’s neck?

17. Blackhawk #155 (12/60)
“It’s hard to believe — Blackhawk’s really getting married to Lady Blackhawk! It’s the end of our team!” Aw, poor Chuck. Imagine going through life never aware of the concept of a “beard.”

 

 

 

 

 

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