Antagonistic Romance

Some of us were having a discussion recently as what exactly constitutes a villain in fiction (in this case comic books.)  The case which was brought up (by me) as to whether a character such as J. Jonah Jameson makes the cut as a villain.  Granted I am not as well read in Spider-Man stories, and I guess he has in fact done some definitely villain like things over the years, which would make him at the very least an accomplice to being a villain.  In certain cases though a character can be both heroic and serve as an antagonist.  This is especially true as certain characters are so popular that more than their superheroics are examined but also their private lives.  Thus one of the most obvious sources of antagonistic heroes are the girlfriends of comic book characters.  In some cases the heroes have very little trouble with their romantic interest, but in others it is a lot more obvious.  In fact the two most famous romantic interests in comics - Lois Lane and Mary Jane Watson - proved exceptionally hard to get up until being married and then in some cases even after so.  As an interesting side note in the rare instance that I know of with a female character having a romantic interest (Wonder Woman with Steve Trevor), there was no antagonistic hard-to-get chase involved rather other issues such as wanting to fulfill life goals before settling down (Diana) or getting kidnapped and getting amnesia in what seemed like every second issue (Steve).  Back to the male heroes though, their romantic counterparts have shown up in comics almost twice as often as any given villain, so while they don't pose much of a threat, they are a much more present antagonist than the villains are.  

10 Comments
10 Comments
Posted by victoriancuckoo

I wonder what it says that super powered Women (your example being Wonder Woman) seem to have a lot less trouble integrating their love life with their responsibilities. Perhaps it speaks to the ideal that men must be in pursuit of women and with Spiderman and Superman their goals are necessarily split by their responsibilities.

Posted by RazzaTazz
@victoriancuckoo: I was thinking the same thing myself, kind of like there is an added element to being a male hero.  
Posted by victoriancuckoo
@RazzaTazz it also suggests the whole myth of the Modern Woman as having to excel in every area of life, home, work, etc. But it's cool that there's not the suggestion that her strength makes Wonder Woman a less likely love interest.
Posted by RazzaTazz
@victoriancuckoo: I would say that it owes more to the fans of the medium doesn't it?
Posted by victoriancuckoo
@RazzaTazz what do you mean?
Posted by RazzaTazz
@victoriancuckoo: I mean the character is a lot more interesting single to male fans is she not?
Posted by victoriancuckoo
@RazzaTazz In general I would think male fans would prefer to see her with someone they could identify with in some way. I don’t know for sure, but I would imagine they wouldn’t be as concerned with her being single or not.
Posted by RazzaTazz
@victoriancuckoo: Maybe not, but could be some vicarious interest, just as chasing a girl is for the male heroes
Posted by azza04

Half the excitement is always in the chase :D

Posted by Daveyo520

All my relationships are antagonistic.