True Bromance: 11 Great Man-Crushes In Comics
This week sees the release of Marvel’s “Super Hero Team-Up“ trade paperback, and while it’s sure to have some fun team-up action, we think it’s a shame that it’s being released without its original title, “Marvel Bromance.”
Spider-Man and Wolverine‘s friendship got off to a pretty rough start when everyone’s favorite X-Man tricked Spidey into punching his ex-girlfriend to death in Germany (it’s a long story, but suffice to say she was committing suicide by super-hero), but they later patched things up as members of the New Avengers. They even had a drink on Wolverine’s birthday. Well, several drinks. And they were all Wolverine’s.
The lasting friendship between Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes is something we can all identify with, because who hasn’t had their sword-brother get framed by Zartan for the murder of a ninja master, join a comically inept global terrorist organization, defect back to the military, use the Arashikage Death Trance to turn you into a remorseless killing machine to help you get over your relationship problems, and then get brainwashed back into working for the terrorists again? C’mon guys, we’ve all been there.
One of the greatest friendships in the DC Universe, Team Blue and Gold became best buds based pretty much on a recognition of mutual lameness and endured until Blue Beetle was shot in the head and — thanks to some time travel trickery — even past it. But their crowning bromantic moment had to be the time they decided to use the Justice League’s money to open a tropical resort together, which, coincidentally, is also the story that roughly 90% of Justice League slash fiction is based on.
In today’s Post-Frank-Miller DC Universe, the World’s Finest Superheroes have a pretty adversarial relationship that thrives on the fact that people will never, ever get tired of a guy who can move at the speed of light and shoot death rays from his eyes standing around like an idiot while Batman punches him in the face with Lex Luthor’s class ring. Back in the Silver Age, though, Superman and Batman were far more friendly, and even spent a night together at the Fortress of Solitude that was so amazingly homoerotic that it makes “Top Gun” look like “True Grit.”
It’s been completely abandoned in recent years, but the same logic of the Silver Age that said Superman’s best pal should have his own adventures and an International fan-club of fawning hangers-on also dictated that if Superman and Batman were friends, then gosh darn it, their kid sidekicks oughtta be friends too. And they were, even going so far as to set up their own headquarters in a disused observatory and engaging in the most popular pastime of the 1960s DC Universe: Faking your death to make your friends cry.
During their tenure on the Avengers, Beast and Wonder Man formed one of Marvel’s most lasting friendships the old fashioned way: With “a glass of dry wine, a jigger of brandy, a gallon of Muscatel” and a fight with Red Ronin, the ten-story robot designed to out-kaiju Godzilla himself.
Bromance met social relevance in 1970, when the liberal Green Arrow and his kickass beard took the conservative and clean-shaven Hal Jordan on a road trip across America to explain why maybe automatically assuming black people were criminals was a bad idea. Black Canary joined them for a bit, but in true Bromance fashion, the color-coordinated pals spent most of their time on the road alone, doing manly stuff like archery and ring-polishing and running across the most obvious Christ images comics have ever produced.
Luke Cage and Danny Rand first met as enemies when Luke was blackmailed into kidnapping Danny’s girlfriend, Misty Knight (an act that led Iron Fist to punch Luke so hard that he went through not one, but two apartment buildings), but they quickly became friends, with a partnership that made their book more successful than they ever were as solo heroes. Who would’ve thought that Kung Fu and Blaxploitation would go so well together? Other than Jim Kelly, Rudy Ray Moore, and the producers of “Black Dynamite,” I mean.
If there’s anything in comics that proves friendship can conquer all, it’s Captain America and the Falcon, who overcame their differences to form a partnership based on a mutual love of justice, punching Nazis, and Country Music, which they were hip enough to refer to as “C.M.”
Okay, well, they only did that in one issue, but it still cracks us up every time.
It’s been said — mostly on teenagers’ MySpace profiles, the font of all modern wisdom — that a good friend will bail you out of jail, but a great friend will be right there in the cell with you. But as Stan Lee and Jack Kirby have shown us, the best friends of all will let you fly their untested rocket into space where radiation will turn you into a monster, and then spend the next forty years failing to cure you.
Stan and Jack had pretty weird ideas about friendship.
The Punisher‘s grudging respect of Daredevil — which first came about under Frank Miller’s run on DD and was then defined during Garth Ennis’s landmark eight years with Big Pun — isn’t exactly what you’d call a friendship, but it’s probably the closest thing that Frank Castle has. Still, considering that they only get together to trade punches and swap philosophy on whether or not Frank should be going around shooting people in the head, it’s less of a bromance and more of the vigilante equivalent of a booty call.
Who are your favorite bromance and buddy teams in comics? Let us know in the comments!