A couple of days ago, cracked.com released their list of The 6 Worst Comic Book Super-Husbands. As you can see, they’re all Marvel characters. That’s because Marvel loves to inject drama into their comic books by having their “heroes” be abusive or crazy or deal-with-the-devil-makers. DC, as a general rule, does not do that. Their heroes act like heroes. Here, then, are my humble picks for the 6 *Best* Comic Book Super-Husbands.
Honorable mentions, by the way, to Buddy “Animal Man” Baker and Adam Strange.
6. Clark Kent (Superman)
For a long time, Superman was hesitant to return the advances of reporter Lois Lane, but they finally got married in 1996. Since that time, he’s been as devoted to Lois as he always was to the citizens of the Earth. While crime fighting, he sometimes thinks up new romantic gestures for her, and he takes for an anniversary flight every year. Lois, as much as his parents or his upbringing in Smallville, keeps Clark human and down-to-Earth, and he knows how lucky he is.
5. Jay Garrick (The Flash I)
When Jay first got powers in 1940, he used them to win a football game and impress Joan Williams. It worked, and she’s been Mrs. Joan Garrick for over fifty years. They’ve had their ups and downs – she thought he was dead for six years, he brought home the hyperactive Bart Allen for several more – but well into their 80s, they’re still so in love that Jay can barely bring himself to stop talking about Joan, even at JSA meetings. They exchange glances that mean more than a thousand words between most comic book characters. Most of all, though, they depend on each other. It's possible to imagine one without the other.
The best picture I could find was John Watson’s terrific painting of Joan mending Jay’s boots, which is pretty much “Why the Garricks are great in a nutshell” and can be found here.
4. Jack Knight (Starman)
SPOILER Yes, for all of James Robinson’s 1990s Starman series, the title character is actually unmarried. But, at the end of the series, when his fiancé Sadie issues an ultimatum – super heroics or her – he chooses a happy life with Sadie in a heartbeat. He didn’t abandon his duty – he talked to other heroes to make sure his hometown of Opal City would be in good hands, and then he rode off to live an average, unexciting married life. He doesn’t whine about having responsibility. He gets his affairs in order and gives it up, all to marry the love for his life.
3. Wally West (The Flash III)
Much like Spider-Man, Wally West once made a deal with the devil. In his case, however, it was to save his wife Linda, not his elderly aunt who will probably die before too long anyway. And he outsmarted the devil and saved his marriage. That story was just one of the many times that writers have used Wally’s love for Linda as his driving force. He’s a man madly in love with his wife and, now, with his two children. Even more striking is the fact that he started his solo series (in 1987) as a care-free playboy. He started to mature after he met Linda, and developed into the upstanding icon we know today.
I gotta say, though, that I still think “Linda Park-West” sounds like an upscale neighborhood.
2. Scott Free (Mister Miracle)
Scott and his wife Big Barda are both fighters by nature – they both fought their way off of the Hell planet Apokolips, in fact – and they’ve been known to engage enemies together. He often expresses excitement and/or arousal at seeing his wife swing into battle. To me, though, Scott’s devotion to Barda was summed up perfectly in the late 1980s, when she decided she wanted to live a normal suburban life. They were clearly not suited for it, but Scott invested in the dream wholeheartedly, because making his wife happy was more important to him than anything else in the universe.
1. Ralph Dibny (The Elongated Man)
The world’s stretchiest detective didn’t work alone – he was always part of a team with his wife Sue – they investigated cases together, traveled the world together, even joined the Justice League together (they were credited as “Ralph ‘n Sue” on the covers for a little while in the early 80s). They bickered constantly, in the way only two people who know everything about each other can. Every year on his birthday, Sue would set up a mystery for Ralph to solve. More than any other guy on this list, Ralph’s wife was his entire world, and he was hers. When writer Brad Meltzer foolishly killed Sue in 2004’s Identity Crisis, the writers of 52 had no choice but to follow suit and kill Ralph off. They’re currently together again, working as ghost detectives somewhere in the afterlife. Not even death could tear their love apart.