?Love. In the world of comics, that oft indescribable feeling usually brings bad news along with it. Most comic couples seem doomed to fall prey to age-old plot devices like murder or infidelity or deals with the devil that no rational person in their right mind would ever agree to. Even those couples that escape the typical comic clich?s sometimes run aground of the most dangerous possibility of all: becoming brain-meltingly boring to read. Take longtime Marvel couple Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman; a couple that exists as a couple because… well, we’re still not sure. Few writers have ever managed to give a plausible reason as to why they’re together to begin with, which is probably why Sue frequently lusts after a fish-man wearing a speedo.
But once in a blue moon — or on the moon, in one example — a comic couple comes along who with every interaction remind readers exactly why they belong together. Their dialogue is always engaging, they play off each other’s strengths, and their relationship always feels new and refreshing and never dull. Of course, “best couple” doesn’t always mean “best for each other,” which is why a few of them also appear on TR‘s Most Dysfunctional Couples list (you can also blame lengthy comic relationships, guided by different writers and different agendas — which is why Silver Age Superman and Lois are on the other list, and modern Supes and Lois are on here). But most importantly, the 10 couples on this list not only define the aforementioned criteria, but make us love that they’re in love.
10) Bigby Wolf and Snow White, Fables
?Before Twilight took the concept and crapped all over it, Bill Willingham’s Fables somehow made the concept of “you smell so good I love you” into something romantic. Although Snow initially refused his advances, once Bigby truly confessed his feelings for her — subsequently explaining his smoking habit and rather aloof nature (he does it because he loves!) — their captivating courtship began. The relationship certainly hit some bumps every now and then, but nothing ever effectively blew the house down (sorry), surprisingly not even when he knocked her up without her knowing.
9) Green Arrow and Black Canary
?Boy meets girl. Girl despises boy. Girl and boy fall in love and marry. Boy tries to murder girl with an arrow on their wedding night. Dinah Lance and Oliver Queen inarguably suffered their fair share of problems throughout the years. For example, while that last bit was actually a shape-shifter impersonating ol’ Ollie, the sharp-shooting archer can’t say the same about that one time when he cheated on the screaming siren… or the time after that. You’d think an archer knows when to keep his arrow in his quiver. Regardless, every hilarious exchange between the often-bickering couple hides within their undeniable love for each other. And ever since they cleared up that whole attempted murder nonsense, their every moment on page together showcases the more fun aspects of married life, like playfully teasing each other while side-kicking a ninja in the face.
8) Apollo and Midnighter, Authority
?As the first openly gay superhero couple in comics, these two belong on this list if not for solely showing the world that love knows no gender — and can also rip your head off and punch your heart through your chest cavity. In the gritty world of The Authority, Apollo and Midnighter’s relationship tends to follow the more stereotypical view of marriage, with the two constantly fighting and hardly ever making with the kissy face (although the latter occurred mostly due to the insane levels of censorship at the time). While the rocky road they travel definitely keeps the romance interesting, the super man and black-clad crusader really shine as a couple during their more intimate moments, like communicating via balloon when Apollo was stuck off planet. And if Midnighter brutally violating another man with a jackhammer to avenge his raped husband doesn’t spell love, what does?
7) Superman and Lois Lane
?For most of their longstanding relationship, Clark Kent and Lois Lane generally fell into the same category as Reed and Sue (i.e: boring), except for that time during the Silver Age when their relationship was a little more interesting, if by “interesting” we of course mean completely and utterly batshit insane and if by “relationship” we mean Lois’ obsessive plotting that ultimately always led to Superman needing to teach her a lesson because she’s “such a woman” (seriously, folks. That shit happened). And while Crisis wiped away all that Silver Age nonsense, Lois and Clark never really moved beyond the married couple that just was–until recently. A few examples appeared here and there previously, but starting with DC’s One Year Later storyline and thanks to writers such as Kurt Busiek, Geoff Johns and James Robinson, readers really began to see the sweeter side of comics’ oldest couple. Whether celebrating the anniversary of their first flight together or Lois revealing her understandable insecurities to Clark during breakfast or Clark using heat vision to cause the guy that hit on Lois to fall over in his chair, these little moments rocket the super-sweethearts away from the doom of dullness and up, up and away into the atmosphere of awesomeness.
6) Spider-Man and Kitty Pride, Ultimate Spider-Man
?This is the only Spider-Man-related relationship on the list, and before you grab the pitchforks and light the torches let’s go over some things. The most interesting aspect of Spidey and Gwen Stacy’s relationship was her death; the Black Cat loved only Spider-Man and not Peter Parker despite them being literally the same person; and Mary Jane, well, the problems and angst surrounding that marriage deserves a list all its own. Meanwhile, in the Ultimate U, the Peter and MJ pairing bordered on the downright obnoxious at times with their incessant declaration of undying love for each other, despite being barely 15 years of age. Then there was Kitty Pryde. Although Kitty and Peter only dated for a brief period, their pairing brought something completely new and original to the Spider-Man mythos. From their very first date together, it was immediately apparent how well their personalities complimented each other. Kitty kept up with Spidey in both the wit and crime-fighting department and during their all-too-short time together, they embodied the theory of cute and fun superhero couple. Also, their relationship allowed for a “Hello Kitty” joke, and really, what more could you ask for?
5) The Joker and Harley Quinn
?For whatever reason, the majority of comic book villains seem to completely lack the capacity for love, yet the Joker and Harley Quinn — two of the most mentally unstable characters in existence — have a far better and far more interesting relationship that most superhero couples. How’s that for a laugh? Harley’s slightly ditzy and adorably bubbly personality sharply contrasts the darker persona of the Joker, but the two go together like the perfect setup to the perfect punchline. They’re like a modern day Bonnie and Clyde except with more face paint, giant mallets and clinical insanity. In whatever circumstance, whether while scheming in their lair or in the midst of murdering a few people with pie, Joker and Harley feel strangely domestic. They legitimately seem to not only enjoy what they do, but enjoy doing it with each other. Without question, Harley cares about the Joker, but her lovable devotion actually made the normally heartless Clown Prince care about her, too, in his own sick, twisted, murderous way. You can’t help but smile at how insanely cute they are together — mostly due to the crap ton of Joker Gas they just blasted into your face.
4) Black Bolt and Medusa, Inhumans
?Open communication builds the foundation to a good relationship. That said, to this day Black Bolt has never spoken a single word to his wife Medusa (mostly because of the whole destroying everything in sight if he speaks thing), and still the royal couple know each other better than any other two people in entire Marvel galaxy. Black Bolt and Medusa spend practically every single moment by each other’s side with Medusa serving as her husband’s voice to the Inhuman people. Through eye movements, the subtleties of body language and just plain knowing him that goddamn well, Medusa not only knows exactly what her husband is thinking but precisely how to communicate it to everyone else in the exact way he intended. They never fight and almost never disagree. And not a single one of the two are even remotely telepathic. They just love each other that much. It looks as though true communication is never needing to say, “I love you”… or anything at all, apparently.
3) Hawkman and Hawkgirl
?Meet the poster children of eternal love, and then excuse them while they bash a villain in the face with their mace. Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s personalities and history make their love so uniquely strong that it almost makes you not even want to try because anything you experience will never even come close. First off, Hawkman is, to put it lightly, a very angry individual. This is a man who spends most of his day wondering which bad guy he gets to kick the crap out of next. And while Hawkgirl doesn’t exactly go around giving hugs, she brings a certain level of balance to Hawkman’s aggressive nature. These two genuinely love each other. They have for centuries. Their entire origin is, in fact, based on their love for each other — with them continuously being killed and reincarnated only to find true love with each other once again. Their commitment to each other literally never dies. Plus, the recent events of Blackest Night revealed that their undying love spawned and powers an entire Lantern Corps. What has your relationship done lately?
2) Cyclops and Emma Frost, X-Men
?When it comes to couples that absolutely belong together, look no further than Scott Summers and Emma Frost. Ever since they began dating shortly — okay, like, seconds — after the passing of Scott’s ex-wife the unlikely couple of mutant good boy and former-Hellfire Club bad girl defied all odds by quickly becoming one of the most fascinating superhero pairings in comic book history. There is something unquestionably romantic about the fact that although the White Queen usually spends her day insulting everyone in sight, her normally cold and callous nature immediately melts when she’s with Cyclops. Meanwhile, Scott managed to finally find someone that he deeply loves and cares about who makes him a stronger character and who won’t spontaneously become a godlike being at any given moment. These two characters work impossibly well together, whether fighting side-by-side on the battlefield, leading the entire mutant population or jokingly teasing each other with playful quips. Not to mention the telepathic bond that allows them to know exactly what the other person is thinking all the time. Considering what goes through the heads of most people in a relationship at any given moment, that sort of openness deserves a freaking medal much less the runner up spot on this list.
1) Beauty and Beast, Fables
?Despite their tale being as old as time, writer Bill Willingham still consistently manages to keep Beauty and Beast from the pages of Fables one of the most remarkably appealing relationships in all of comics. Comparatively, these two take up the least amount of page time than anyone else on this list. But their every appearance together, no matter how brief, brings with it either a tender, heartfelt moment or a hilarious look at the charming nuances of their longstanding marriage. The very first time you see them in the title, the normally human Beast finds himself sporting a pair of horns and oversized fangs because his infamous curse comes and goes depending on how upset Beauty is at him. That small gimmick alone (which brilliantly ties into their timeless backstory) brings a fantastically unique element to their relationship. But beyond their delightfully comedic squabbles, scenes like Beauty bringing Beast muffins in the morning or their yearly tradition of agreeing to take “one more circle around the sun together” reveal their deep and endless love and devotion to one another. After thousands of years of marriage with no end in sight, Beauty and Beast’s relationship makes us want to believe in happily ever after — and get ourselves hooked up with a bestial transformation curse, cause seriously, how awesome would that be?