2001-06-15

Just met.Congratulations to surly correspondent Professor Xtos, who was married last week. He and Madame Xtos are honeymooning in Cancun–no doubt he’ll return with a full report on the state of Mexican comics.

The Professor and his bride knew each other for about 18 months before they tied the knot. All I can say is: good thing they aren’t comic characters! If they were, much more time would have elapsed between their first meeting and their marriage. A review of the literature illustrates the point.

First, Peter “Spider-Man” Parker and Mary Jane Watson. The two met in 1966 in issue #42 of Amazing Spider-Man. They went on a few dates, then Peter hooked up with Gwen Stacy, who was killed by the Green Goblin in issue #121. Ol’ Pete got over that and went back to dating Mary Jane (what a guy). They were married in the 1987 issue of Amazing Spider-Man Annual.

That’s 21 years from “meet” to “marry.” You might think that’s a long courtship, even minus the Gwen Stacy years. But not by comic book standards! Just look at the original power couple, Lois and Clark.

The two met in 1938 in issue #1 of Action Comics. Things didn’t go smoothly, however. Right from the start, Lois dug Superman but thought Clark was a wimp. Comic book writers milked that wacky love triangle for decade after decade after decade, occasionally detouring to parallel Earths to show alternate versions of the couple in blissful matrimony. Back home, Clark sometimes stepped out with Lana Lang, and Lois even dated Lex Luthor for a bit. But eventually, their dysfunctional relationship jelled. They married in 1996 in a graphic novel called Superman: The Wedding Album. Time elapsed from meet to marry: 58 years.

Can anybody top that? Why yes. Mr. and Mrs. Superman must step aside in favor of a bulbous-chinned sailor and his anorexic mate.

He debuted in E.C. Segar’s newspaper comic strip, Thimble Theatre, back in 1929. He had been hired by Castor Oyl to take a group to Dice Island, where Castor planned to win at gambling with the help of a magic hen. But it wasn’t long before Popeye was making time with Castor’s sister, Olive Oyl.

I’m not going to try to synopsize the ups and downs of their long, long, relationship. Suffice to say that Popeye finally made Olive an honest woman in 1999 in a graphic novel called The Wedding of Popeye and Olive. Time elapsed from meet to marry: 70 years! We can only guess how much spinach Popeye needed to get through the honeymoon.

So, here’s a salute to newlyweds everywhere. Be strong to the finish, and eat your spinach.

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