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 story.

male protagonist
Our male protagonist is introduced.

As is our female.

gives up
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.

Much later...
much later

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 different situation.

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 adults.

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 for."

Legion Superheroes

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.

Brainiac 5 & Andromeda
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.

Secret Six
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.

Catman & Huntress
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.