Super heroes are just like us. They bleed, they die, they eat nachos, and yes, they even get married, usually to each other. If Mr. Incredible and Elastigrl taught us anything, it's that super hero marriages are complicated, particularly when you bring super-powered children into the mix. Still, love marches on, and you'd be hard-pressed to stop someone who can shoot lasers from their eyes from getting married.
Over the years, there have been numerous weddings within the pages of Marvel comic books that have either been between extremely popular characters or marked watershed moments in marriage equality, mirroring our own reality. Off the top of our heads you've got Susan Storm and Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, Scott Summers and Jean Grey, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, and Northstar and Kyle. Hell, even Deadpool tied the knot with Shiklah!
Yet again, Marvel is asking you to dust the moth balls off your tuxes and ball gowns for a major wedding on June 20, 2018. The announcement came from the company's main Twitter account yesterday, in the form of a "Save the Date!" invitation.
While it's too early to put down whether you'll be having the chicken or fish, we can speculate endlessly on who will be pledging themselves to one another until death do them part... unless it's like Wolverine or something, in which case it's more like "until the sun fizzles out do us part."
Marvel Comics has had a great tradition going back to the 1960s of holding nuptials for some of its most beloved heroes, turning them into events so big, that they're practically real. So why not treat them as real for the purpose of examining how the depictions of them changed over the decades? The concepts of marriage and love in America have transformed so rapidly since the early days of Marvel that we wanted to see how it was expressed within the pages of the publisher's comics.
The more "traditional" wedding (Fantastic Four Annual #3, 1965)
Look, we could go in cirlces settling on a definition of "traditional," but for the sake of this section, the wedding between Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman can be seen as old school. It took place a mere four years after the team's introduction in 1961, and two of the team's members were already madly in love.
A good chunk of our grandparents got married in the 1960s, a time when people still used terms like "swell" and "gee." It was also a time of more, shall we say, backwards gender expectations, with men expected to be the breadwinners, and women expected to wait at home for them, making martinis. We're not saying we like it, but 1965 was the tipping point before Vietnam, the rise of counterculture and Women's Lib. As such, Sue was depicted as Reed's girlfriend through much of the Fantastic Four's early stories while she waited for him to commit. Moreover, she was also the butt of several of his sexist, womanizing Don Draper-esque jokes.
When they finally do get married, Reed is in his blue skin-tight suit while Sue is in a conservative wedding dress, complete with the veil and pill box hat in vogue at the time. Iron Man, Nick Fury, and Thor were among the attendees.
The "trippy" wedding (Giant-Size Avengers Vol 1 #4, 1975)
If you saw Avengers: Age of Ultron, you'll know that Scarlet Witch and Vision have a special relationship, almost like that of brother and sister. However, were you aware that they got married in the 1970s? He proposes at the Avengers Mansion right after defeating Dormammu and Umar in the Dark Dimension. Nothing says romance more than an otherworldy entity hell-bent on taking over earth. They're married off in Vietnam by Immortus in a dual ceremony with Mantins and Swordsman after Kang crashes the first ceremony. Dude's got no class.
Nevertheless, it was a nice wedding outside with the heroes foregoing the usual suits, ties, and dresses. Taking place 10 years after the Richards' wedding, this one is more a reflection of the hippie culture and "free love" concept that had become popular in the intervening years. The "natural" nuptials outside (and in 'Nam no less; '75 was the same year the last U.S. forces left the country) amongst Marvel's more psychedelic characters is fitting. Thor, Iron, Man and Hawkeye were among the more notable guests.
The wedding "you've all been waiting for" (Amazing Spider-Man Annual Vol 1 #21, 1987)
Peter Parker's wedding to MJ in the late '80s, also known as "The Wedding!" storyline, is very much a reflection of the times. In a decade so famous for its drama-filled romance stories, it stands to reason that the knot-tying of these two iconic characters would be infused with the themes of classic '80s heartache: young love, temptation-slinging ex-boyfriends, and runaways brides. In addition, MJ's dress was created by real-life fashion designer Willi Smith, who designed the costumes for Spike Lee's School Daze and the suits for Edwin Schlossberg and his groomsmen for his wedding to Caroline Kennedy in 1986.
The "mutual mutant" wedding (X-Men Vol 2 #30, 1994)
The X-Men comics of the 1990s are well-known for the animated series and trading cards they inspired. However, they were also the place where Scott Summers (Cyclops) married Jean Grey (Phoenix), whose wedding (fun fact!) also inspired their own cards and a "Wedding Album" comic. This is nearly the world as we know it. A BIG wedding event with lots and lots of merchandising! How can you tell their wedding takes place in the '90s? Scott and Jean dance to U2's "One" for the first time as man and wife. Professor X, Storm, Beast, and Sabretooth were all in attendance.
The "21st century" weddings (New Avengers Annual Vol 1 #1, 2006 / Astonishing X-Men Vol 3 #51, 2012)
The weddings of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones and that of Northstar and Kyle Jinadu are indicative of how far we've come as a society. First, you've got an interracial couple with Cage and Jones, with Jessica opting to keep her maiden name. Not only was Marvel breaking down racial barriers, they were presenting a fine example of a strong, empowered woman in the 21st century. Their marriage has been great ever since, with Jessica giving birth to a daughter, Danielle.
Then there's the first gay wedding in Marvel Comics between Northstar and Kyle, after gay marriage became legal in the state of New York. Since Northstar is an X-Man who often fights against prejudice shown toward his kind, it was a no-brainer for this event to happen; hatred toward mutants could be seen as an obvious parallel to homophobia just as much as it can stand for racism or intolerance in general. With Kyle being a normal dude with no powers, Marvel breaks the hero-marrying-hero mold. Plus, the cover is just so darned pretty to look at!