Superhero movies show no sign of slowing down -- and for some of us, that's a problem. Now, even women love them, which is no fun for those regular, non-super-powered guys among us. It's hard enough competing with normal guys who have slightly bigger biceps, without having to look good next to a super-athletic, heroic, dashing, philanthropic, millionaire genius like Batman.
At first glance, being a superhero's girlfriend seems like an attractive prospect. You get an awesome boyfriend, he can keep secrets, and for some reason, your chance of winning an Oscar goes through the roof. (None of the actors who play Marvel superheroes have yet won an Oscar. But their on-screen girlfriends -- Gwyneth Paltrow, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Connelly -- have done better. Ditto Batman girls Kim Basinger, Nicole Kidman and Anne Hathaway.)
But girls (and boys too -- because some superheroes are gay, and many are women), before you make the commitment, there are a few things to keep in mind...
In one of the most inspired <em>Superman</em> comic-book stories ever written, published back in 1942, Clark Kent and Lois Lane go to the movies to watch a Superman cartoon. Clark distracts Lois in numerous ways, so that she misses out whenever there’s a scene that reveals that he is Superman. So he’s happy if everyone else in the cinema knows, but not the woman he loves. In fact, many stories over the decades concerned the creative and clever ways that he kept this secret from her. Spider-Man and Daredevil would engage in similar dishonesty with their loved ones. This is the level of trust you can expect from a man in this line of work.
Popeye finally married Olive Oyl in 1999, a good 70 years after they started their romance. Superman took 52 years to propose to Lois, and another six before they were finally wed. Admittedly, they all looked surprisingly young... but are you willing to wait so long?
When Superman and Lois finally tied the knot in 1996, both in the comics and the popular TV series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, it was a disaster. Comic book sales fell. The TV show lost viewers and was cancelled within a year. For some reason, nobody wants to see a happily married Superman.
Divorce is rare in comic books, but superhero marriages can end in ways that just don’t happen with regular guys. After waiting all that time, Superman and Lois’s marriage was relatively brief. Then the Flash went back in time and changed history, so that (among other things) not only were they not married, but they didn’t even have any happy memories. Spider-Man and Mary Jane’s marriage was over when (are you sitting down?) <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jan/16/books.filmnews" target="_hplink">he made a deal with the devil</a>, who changed history so that they were never married. Spider-Man, you bastard! <em>Pic: Reeve Carney and Jennifer Damiano are shown in a scene from the hit Broadway musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark". It'll never last. (AP Photo/The O&M Co., Jacob Cohl)</em>
Macho superheroes are not known for their affirmative action. In 1965, when Mr Fantastic announced his engagement, the lucky lady gushed like a precious damsel. “Your fiancée! Oh Reed… my heart skips a beat whenever you say that.” As if such dialogue isn’t bad enough, this princess wasn’t just some girl he met at a party, but a fellow superhero, the Invisible Girl (finally renamed the Invisible <em>Woman</em> some 20 years later). While Mr Fantastic’s main power was to stretch his body like silly putty, the Invisible Girl was super-powerful. Yet she still sounded like a schoolgirl infatuated with a pop star.
This is easily the worst part of it. Everyone has some old school rival or guy from work who still annoys them, but superheroes’ enemies are simply evil. Literally. And they take it out on girlfriends. Now I obviously haven’t seen <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1872181/?ref_=sr_1" target="_hplink">The Amazing Spider-Man 2</a></em> yet, but from what Emma Stone has said in interviews (and other news), I’m not about to spoil anything. All I can say is that, in the comics, the Green Goblin murdered her character, Spidey's girlfriend Gwen Stacy, back in 1972. She’s not the only one. Bullseye, the psychotic marksman, killed Daredevil’s girlfriend Karen Page. The Joker, if you remember <em>The Dark Knight</em>, killed Rachel Dawes. Which brings us to my final point…
Being a superhero's girlfriend is the most dangerous job in comics, which will guarantee you a violent death. Captain America lost Sharon Carter (though sure, she came back to life). The Flash lost his wife Iris (ditto). The Hulk lost Jarella and Betty Ross (though Betty came back as well). Thor lost Jane Foster (but she came back). OK, maybe this argument isn’t working. But you get the point, right? <em><strong>PIc</strong>: If you live on an alternate world - like the world of Ultimate Spider-Man - he might be more expendable... so chances are you'll be the one crying. (AP Photo/Marvel Comics)</em>
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