One of the most interesting things to note in all of the reboots that have taken place in that few years is the re-bachelorization of pretty much every superhero. Lois Lane is no longer Superman’s girlfriend, The Flash is no longer married, and Spider-man no longer loves Mary Jane. All of this, of course, is done with the idea that marriage ages a character and makes him or her less relatable.
Now, while this does have a decent point, I don’t think it’s actually an accurate statement. It also says something fairly disturbing about how the (mostly male) writers view marriage and women, as well as their audience.
In a recent issue of Superman, he quits the Daily Planet pretty much because he uses his X-Ray vision to read a text message from Lois Lane’s new man about them moving in together. Now, this version of Supes has been crazy for Lois forever but never done anything about it, and then gets mad that she’s with someone else. Now, I’ve been on the internet/in high school enough to get the concept of “The Friend Zone”, but as someone who is no longer fourteen I don’t want Superman acting like he is.
Yes, you might make a character more relatable to one group of people, but what about the rest of us? As more and more superhero comics are made to be relatable to fourteen year-old boys and people with the mentality of same, people who aren’t are just going to stop reading them.
I’ve had a really hard time trying to get back into the New 52 because of a lot of those choices. I hate that the Flash is unmarried and that there isn’t a “Flash Family” anymore because that dynamic made the character. Superman is kind of a prat without Lois Lane, and whenever he shacks up with Wonder Woman (as he’s done recently), he gets all moody.
I talk a lot about how comics should be for everybody, and no comic should be more inclusive than Superman simply based on what he represents. Seeing him being your friend from high school who pined after a girl but never did anything and then got mad when she started seeing someone else is just shameful. Nobody wants to watch the world’s greatest hero act like he’s fourteen. We have enough culture already geared towards teenage boys and man-children.
So, the solution? Honestly, we need more female writers and creators who will target a different audience. We need new voices to characters, not just new backstories. Having actual women writing will hopefully thin out the creepy stuff as well as some of the frankly misogynistic mentalities that comics have been coming out with.
One final note: Eventually all these heroes will get remarried so what is the point of all this? Seriously. Heed my prophecies, kids.