Love, sex and romance in the superhero comics
From Alita, Battle Angel volume 5, issues 1 to 7. Originally presented
in Japan in 1991, translated in 1995 by Viz Select Comics and brought
to the US. In many ways, this is a pretty typical superhero romance
Our male protagonist is introduced.
As is our female.
Figure Four despairs as he realizes that, not only are he and his buddy
Yolg bound to the train that they're protecting, but the train is about
to blow up.
Alita recognizes the problem and demonstrates her mad cyborg skilz (Her
brain is human, the rest of her is all metal and plastic) as she
rescues Figure and Yolg from being bound to the train.
Figure gets very tired of Alita's superior attitude and challenges her
to a fight (Whuuh? Doesn't every good romance feature at least
one fight scene between the two protagonists?)
Alita reveals to the readers that she's in continual communication with
headquarters. By the way, Alita's outfit, being very tight and shiny,
is pretty typical for a female superhero.
Poor Figure does not fare well in the fight at all.
And still later...
And of course they get interrupted...
After that scene and lengthy, thirsty wanderings in the desert, it
looks like our two heroes are on their last legs and pretty much ready
to give it up.
So yeah, this is pretty typical. Alita and Figure start off rough, but
after lots of back and forth, end up clearly caring for each other and
almost get all the way to the point of actually kissing, but never
quite get that far. There's certainly nothing preventing them from
having an affair except for their personaliy conflicts and there's no
reason they can't get together afterwards (Obviously, Alita would have
to find a way to cut off her communications with headquarters first) as
this volume then ends there and volume 6 begins with Alita in a completely
A Facebook buddy of mine posted this.
And I'm pleased to say I think the Alita story comes off pretty good
here. Yes, there's a panel where Alita is in a sexy outfit and she
continues to wear that throughout the story, but when Figure first sees
her, she's a musician, playing a harmonica atop the train and wearing
loose, flowing robes. He then sees her acting as a formidable and
competent warrior and then as an awesome cyborg. It's not until after
she rescues him yet again and he challenges her that he and the readers
see her in a sexy outfit. Even then, she doesn't undress in order to
seduce him, she just takes a few items off to get ready to fight.
As to the cartoon itself, yes, sexiness has its place. For an adult, a sexy
outfit is fine. Not so much for kids and not even in all cases for
Spoke to a fellow at my comics shop about all this and he pointed out
that there are indeed plenty of comics where the protagonists have a
lot of sex, but that how much you find "depends on what you're looking
I remembered that the Legion of Superheroes was one of my favorite
series during the late 1990s and that there was very, very little sex
between anybody. Again, as between Alita and Figure, everybody was
healthy, fit and interested in sex, they just never got any.
Probably the most memorable non-affair was that between Andromeda and
her love-struck admirer-from-afar Brainiac 5. Andromeda never learned
of Brainiac 5's affections for her and she later went off to become the
30th Century's equivalent of a nun.
Of all the grous that I can immediately recall, the Secret Six
(Officially villains, they kept running into situations where they said
"Aw, now, we can't let THAT happen!") was probably the most energetic
in terms of frequent, casual sex.
But when it came to the Secret Six member Catman trying to carry on an
affair with Huntress, a member of the superhero group Birds of Prey,
they cared and even lusted for each other, but their affair never got
past the point of a bit of kissing.