The plan was simple, I would get DC’s Young Romance Valentine’s Day Special and give my thoughts on it. I mean with six different stories focusing on Batman/Catwoman, Aquaman/Mera, Batgirl, Apollo/Midnighter, Nightwing, and lastly Superman/Wonder Woman – there must be at least one story that resonates right? Nope, nothing, nada, a total of zero of my heart strings were tugged. Instead, all of the stories ended with a shrug, and when I finished it I wished I had my eight dollars back. I don’t need every comic I read to hit me in the feels but this entire special felt like fluff. There was nothing wrong with the stories themselves but it lacked character. I understand that four of the six stories are lead in’s to the monthly books, but with love and romance being such a rich topic, each story felt flat. The collection of stories as a whole does a good job of capturing relationships at their different points, whether it’s starting out, ending, blossoming, or even re-affirming. The different styles and tone for each story make each situation feel fresh but freshness only goes so far.
Quick note for Nicole, please don’t choke and die on your perceived cheesiness of what comes next. Although I do have to ask what’s so cheesy about love? Also, spoilers follow, but seriously go read Spider-Man: Blue. You won’t regret it, unless you’re Nicole.
After reading the Special three or four times, and no spark lit my heart up, I remembered that I had the perfect love story in comic book form already. I haven’t read all stories about love in comics obviously, but I bet it would be hard to top Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s Spider-Man: Blue. Before, I dive into my favourite Spider-Man story, you should know this about me: I love stories centered around love. In my opinion, when done right there is nothing better. Sure, there are more epic tales of good versus evil, and the stake of the universe at hand. For me, love stories can take that weight and distill it into everyday life, most of us probably will never have to save the universe but most of us will feel love. It’s such a rich topic, that never gets old because a love is unique to the people who share it, no two are the same. Not to mention it’s very definition is different for everyone, the line between good and evil can be blurred but there’s a line. With love it’s a free for all. It is one of my favourite topics to write about, I’ve written two short stories (here and here), a poem and a two part play (here and here) about love the past two years.
Spider-Man is my third favourite comic book character behind Batman and Superman. That being said I have rarely read any Spider-Man comics, I’m a DC boy at heart. However, I always appreciated him as a character and what he brings to the table that Batman and Superman cannot. Yes, all three fight to make the world a better place, however, when Batman and Superman hang up their cape for the day, Batman is billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne and Superman is the most powerful being in the universe. Spider-Man has neither of these luxuries, he’s your everyday college student who happens to fight crime in his spare time. He has to worry about homework, how to pay the bills, and just what the hell he’s doing with his life like the rest of us. Spider-Man: Blue like the other “colour collaborations” Loeb and Sale have done for Marvel takes a look back at Spidey’s earlier days. The story starts out on Valentine’s Day, with Spidey talking into an old tape recorder to his dead love Gwen Stacey. The story goes through their budding relationship while it runs Spidey through his gauntlet of villains. By doing so, the story captures the momentum of life perfectly. It shows us what happens when we get caught up in the rush and fail to slow down. In this case it’s Peter trying to figure out why a girl like Gwen would be interested in him. While also rushing off to fight the Rhino.
The story begins with Peter addressing this fact, “This is the story of how we fell in love. Or, more appropriately, how we almost didn’t fall in love.” You know how sometimes there’s something involving you and someone which is painstakingly obvious to everyone else except you? This is Peter’s story in a nutshell but as only Peter could say, “Just because I had “Spider” sense didn’t mean I had common sense.” I know the story of Gwen and Peter has been explored before in other stories, but this one is being told by Peter himself, it’s his version. It feels as if you stumbled upon this old tape recorder and pressed play. It has an intimacy the other stories can’t have. Yes, the story runs Peter through his rogues gallery but each fight wasn’t the focus it was always Gwen and the time he loses with her every time he swings off into battle. His supporting cast from Aunt May, Harry Osborn, Mary Jane Watson, and even Uncle Ben, all play an important part to Peter’s life but he uses Gwen as a tether for all of them.
The ending still gets me every time, it’s three pages of perfection. Peter explains to Gwen that there has to be some good to come out of her death, and it’s in the form of his wife: Mary Jane. Without Gwen and sadly her death, there would be no Peter and MJ. In fact, Mary Jane overhears Peter talking to Gwen and instead of being angry with Peter she asks him to say “Hello” to Gwen for her and that she misses her too. That’s the thing about the momentum of life, it can swoop you up and never let you go but it also can bring in amazing people into your life that you wouldn’t have met otherwise. And the things those amazing people teach you, those lessons never leave, no matter how fast life moves. Do I wish one day I will have my own love story as powerful as the one between Gwen Stacey and Peter Parker? Naturally but until then I’ll always have Spider-Man: Blue.
It’s Like I Have ESPN or Something – Nicole
Irving warned me, so I was well equipped with reading supplies prior to tackling this article.
I had to stop at ” [a love story] never gets old because a love is unique to the people who share it, no two are the same” and refill. Twice. I also checked to make sure we weren’t writing for the Hallmark blog, because if that’s the case, I am out of here. Remind me to never read the Hallmark blog.
I’m not heartless. I’m not bitter. I don’t hate love. I don’t kick puppies in the street. I’m just not into this business. I find overt expressions of love exhausting. They are personal and special and I think they should stay quiet. It’s not that I dislike them – I just don’t want them smacking me in the face. I want them to be precious to you. And only you.
And don’t even get me started on PDA. I will leave the room.
Obviously, this will be the only Valentines Day post on our blog. Enjoy, my cheeseball friends. I love you, even though I don’t understand you.