All’s Fair In Love & Comics: Star-Crossed Lovers

I’m a sucker for love. From the classic Young Romance comics to in-game trysts, I believe romantic relationships can be a part of any good story.

afilac01-01But it’s not just any romance that makes a story better. It’s the kind that enhances the characters, puts them in a new light, and puts them out of their comfort zones. And that’s why I think the romance between Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord) and Kitty Pryde (formerly Shadowcat) is a really stellar addition to the current continuity of the Marvel Universe.

Their romance is unique to comics right now: it’s light-hearted, fun, and inventive, and obviously not taken too seriously. Introduced at the tail end of the Brian Michael Bendis written All New X-Men/Guardians of the Galaxy crossover, the Trial of Jean Grey, Kitty falls for another Peter (in a long line of Peters). But this time is different from the others; the relationship is a long-distance one, and is moving very slowly, and I think that’s an asset. The low-key pace allows for some pretty drastic character growth: Quill is (slowly) quitting his playboy ways in favor of what is honestly a very chaste, capital-R Relationship. Kitty is coming out of her shell and opening up to someone who doesn’t know every detail of her life (unlike Iceman, Colossus, or even Pete Wisdom). It also opens Kitty up to the chance of moving out of the X-world and into the rest of the Marvel Universe; while I doubt she’ll be joining the Guardians of the Galaxy anytime soon, it bodes well for team-ups (and maybe, one day, she’ll follow in the footsteps of Beast and become an Avenger).

afilac01-03While Bendis started the relationship (and continues it throughout the pages of All New X-Men, primarily), it really shines in the hands of Legendary Star-Lord writer Sam Humphries. Humphries has great comedic timing, and a very good grasp of the voices of both characters. Only three issues in, he’s establishing them as hesitant and smitten, but also goofy–they clearly connect. Paco Medina’s strongly-lined art adds to the humor and fun of the book. And while the relationship distances the comics from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they make small nods to the little details that fans of the film Guardians of the Galaxy will love–Peter’s Awesome Mix, Blue Swede’s Hooked on a Feeling, Rocket’s sassy nicknames for his friends…

afilac01-04The relationship also addresses deeper subjects, like Kitty’s space bullet-based PTSD and Quill’s racism against the Badoon and suspicion of the Phoenix, and both of their fears of commitment.

This romance may not be one that lasts—although I wouldn’t mind it sticking around—but I think it’s a superb example of how romance should be handled and written in comics. It isn’t about lust, or fast-paced hook-ups (although that can be interesting); it’s about characters finding common ground and bonding on a deeper level. It’s light and fun and feels realistically flirtatious for a pair of people who spend most of their day in spandex.

afilac01-06Star-Lord editor Xander Jarowey definitely sums it up best: “You know, if a girl braved space to save my butt despite some serious traumatic history with space-bullets I’d probably fall for her too. Especially if she had some good mixtapes. I can feel the love tonight, can you?”

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IMAGINE IF: Guardians of the Galaxy, Release Date 1981

Imagine if Hollywood had released tent-pole comic-book movies starring their iconic characters around the time of the source material’s release date. For the purposes of this experiment, we will say that a movie would be released 5 years after the introduction of the character, and only movies that have been made would be made.

There are several conceits with this Imagine If:

First, the current incarnation of the Guardians didn’t exist until recently, although by 1976 all the characters had been introduced, so for the sake of this experiment we are imagining the team was formed.

Similar to the current title being an oddball choice, and very goofy in nature, producers decided to do the same with this film, hoping to strike gold, with Martin Brest as the director.

hays110Star-Lord-Eddie Murphy

In the first of many off-the-wall casting choices, producers saw a box office star in the young comedian, fresh off his success after his first season on SNL.

 

pesciRocket-Voiced by Joe Pesci

If anyone could convey the anger and aggression of the pint-sized Raccoon with the very big guns, producers believed in Pesci, hot off his Oscar nomination for Raging Bull.

 

 

 

superstar-billy-GrahmDrax-Superstar Billy Graham

He’s big, he’s bald, this wrestling icon was ready for the big time!

 

 

 

 

IK 1986-03 CovGamorra-Cynthia Rothrock

A karate world champion, producers wanted someone who could appear deadly on-screen, this would be her film debut!

 

 

 

mr-tGroot-Voiced by Mr. T

Because of their good relationship with Sly Stallone, he suggested the unknown Mr. T who he was looking at for a role in Rocky III. His distinctive growl would be one of the most talked about parts of the movie.

51KbKj3MKYL._SY445_Thanos-Robert Duvall

If ever there was an actor with range, who could be sublimely subtle and menacing, Duvall is that guy, from Boo Radley to Tom Hagen to The Great Santini.