I had already decided I wasn’t going to comment on the topic of the Superman/Wonder Woman hook-up, because frankly I’m not all that invested in the outcome one way or another. This rather odd storyline will in no way impact the way I feel about Superman or Lois Lane no matter how long or short lived it is. As far as I’m concerned. I still have the “products” I already love to rewatch and reread and what they’re doing just doesn’t involve the characters I love but some other people I don’t know.
Is that short-sighted? Maybe. But, you know, fans and consumers have that lee-way. They can pick and choose.
In reading some of the comments over the last couple of days, though, I realized that my perspective as a romance reader gives me a very different insight into this situation. Granted it even took me a day or so to figure out what was niggling at the back of my brain because, honestly, what was annoying me wasn’t anything about the storyline itself and it wasn’t even the rip-off of the original Superman/Lois image. It was something else that I “saw” as a romance reader. Do you know what I’m reminded of when I look at that Justice League cover of Superman and Wonder Woman kissing in midair?
A really bad romance novel clinch cover in all it’s glory.
I only said reminded me, though, because it is a rip-off of another well-known image of two people already husband and wife and known to be deeply in love – Clark Kent as Superman and Lois Lane. My mind keeps going back to something said yesterday on the DC reveals that Superman and Wonder Woman Will Be A Couple post. Mary229 made this comment:
Yup. And the original Supes/Lois embrace wasn’t out of nowhere. It had build-up. It was the culmination of the two of them finding each other again after being apart for a long time.
It was preceded by a famous speech:
I love her. I love. She makes me…human? No. I can’t be that. But she does make me a man. A man who can fly. But it’s this woman that sweeps me off my feet.
I’m HOME in the only arms strong enough to hold me. Her breath smells like a prayer on my lips. Her taste? Peaches…consumes me. And she looks like? God…how she looks.”
They were husband and wife. They’d been together for a long time by the time the issue was published. They embraced in the sky and the made love repeatedly as a committed, married couple.
Here’s the thing, as a longtime romance reader, heck, as just as reader of popular fiction, even if I wasn’t already well-versed in Superman lore, I think I would’ve immediately, instinctively recognized the depth of back story from that image of Superman and Lois. It doesn’t have to be on the cover of a book for it to tell its own story, which would’ve actually have made it a good cover. Yeah? Okay, whatever.
Which brings us to the Superman/Wonder Woman cover. What story is it telling us?
Well, as a romance reader, if I have no back story to go on and I’m just picking the book up, then all I’m left with is thinking they suddenly decided to kiss or have sex in midair. With Wonder Woman’s rope around Superman to, um, enforce the idea.
O-kay. I think. Maybe. A little kinky. But, whatever.
No seriously. I mean, kinky level stuff ahead.
I mean, it’s not exactly a playful looking cover. It could go either way. Really.
Which was definitely not the message conveyed in the image with Lois Lane. The wife and long time love. In that, they look like they’d just survived another disaster, par for the course in their life as most people know, and were ready to celebrate with a little love, joy and laughter.
Should tell you a lot right there.
And, just out of curiosity because I can’t help wondering, what does having clinch covers like this reveal about the direction comics are going to the ones who actually read them regularly? For all the talk of this storyline in particular being about fanboy fantasies come to life, having clinch covers on superhero comics has just gotta get on a lot of people’s last nerve. I can’t even imagine what Batman is thinking of doing right now… for a lot of different reasons.