Fri
Jul 12 2013 8:30am

Super Best Bros Forever: The Best Bromances of Comics

Hulkling and Wiccan, Avengers: The Children's Crusade #9There is something special about a superhero romance. The heroes are often times defined just as much by their significant others as they are by their powers. Who is Superman with his Louis Lane? Where is the joy of a befuddled Spider-Man without Mary Jane laying the web-slinginger low with a well delivered, “Sure thing, Tiger”?  In fact you could make a pretty awesome case for converting some comics into straight up Romances. But, then again, some comic romances don't need that much converting.

But what about the BRO-mances? That special bond between two men, some have even referred to it as “Guy Love” (Thank you Scrubs). The point where an alliance of convienice becomes a storied friendship that lasts throughout time. I've covered before one of the most popular bromances between two archenemies, but there are always others.

Hulkling and Wiccan

Ok, so this is a less a bromance and more a actual Romance. But it is worth the mention if only because of what it means to mainstream comics.  The two are members of the Young Avengers and Secret Avengers teams in the Marvel universe.  Hulkling was initially the teenage equivalent of The Hulk. He possesses super-human strength as well as the ability to shapeshift due to his alien heritage. (Hulkling is a Skree/Skrull hybrid). Wiccan, also called Asgardian at one time or another, is the Young Avenger's answer to Scarlet Witch and Thor as the team's magical might.

Together the two worked along side the Young Avengers and faced the whole rogues gallery that Marvel throws at folks save for only the heaviest of hitters. For a long time Marvel never came out and said that the two where an item, instead, they elected to just dance around the subject through dialogue and insinuation. However eventually they began dealing with the couple in an overt way. And recently, in order to pull Wiccan out of a depression, Hulkling proposed to his longtime boyfriend and the two shared their first on-panel kiss.

Why they're best bros: Hulkling and Wiccan work because we need them to. Comics desperatly need more than just hyper macho men and busty women. They need diversity, and honestly you don't get much more than with an shapeshifting alien and a sorcerer that was imagined into existence by his mother (long story). They also work because of how normal their relationship is. In a world of superheroes dating super models and spouse dying or getting wiped from existence by demons, they bring normality to everything. Much the way that DC's Green Arrow and Canary do.

Batman and Robin, the Dynamic DuoBatman and Robin (Dick Grayson)

If ever there was a paragon of the ward-waif relationship in comics, it is Bruce Wayne and his many, many sidekicks. Seriously, the man attracts wayward boys and girls from broken or non-existent homes. The first such ward, and probably the fan-favorite, was Dick Grayson.

Originally a member of The Flying Graysons, Dick was the only surviving member after his family was murdered. He was taken in by Bruce Wayne and the pair eventually became the Dynamic Duo. The two were inseparable as a crime fighting duo and Batman's disregard for child safety allowed the pair to take down murders, jewel thieves, ninjas, and even a Clown Prince of Crime or two in their heyday.

However, theirs was a bromance not meant to last. No matter how old Robin got, he was always treated as the sidekick. He was never trusted to handle things on his own, never allowed to leave the shadow of The Bat. Eventually he was able to build his own team of teen superheroes called the Teen Titans, and eventually retired the Robin identity all together, becoming Nightwing. But, despite getting a clean break from Bruce, and Bruce unsuccessfully trying to replace Dick (Jason Todd, Robin #2, was so unpopular he was voted to be blown up by the Joker by fans), the two couldn't ever really quite each other. Whenever Bruce went missing or was somehow transported through time, it was always Dick that took up the cowl and defended Gotham in the millionaire's stead.

Why they're best bros: Batman and Robin work, because, well, they are freaking Batman and Robin. You can't have one without the other. It's like trying to eat a jelly sandwhich. Sure you could do it, but why would you want to?

Just look at that happy smile...Iron Man and Captain America

Ah Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, the billionaire playboy philanthropist and the man out of time. Theirs is a special relationship. Now in last year's Avengers you see a little bit of their relationship but in lieu of the mutual respect the pair have you see not so much a friendship but a begrudged respect of abilities. Instead, the movie shows us the Science Bros, the budding friendship between the team's two scientist, Bruce Banner and Tony Stark. But, Iron Man and Captain America's bro-ship is legendary.

Both serve as leaders of The Avengers. Tony being the brains and technical side and Cap taking over when the bullets start flying.  The two have a long history of friendship, with Tony being known to hang pictures of Steve throughout his home, which is only a little odd. Despite the occasional bump in their relationship, their friendship has stood the test of time, and has launched an untold number of fan-fiction stories.

Why they're best bros: Cap and Iron Man work because they balance one another out. Tony Stark is a self-proclaimed futurist. He lives in tomorrow. In fact, he is so busy living in tomorrow, that he can't be bothered with today, let alone yesterday. That is where Steve Rogers comes in. The super soldier is very literarlly a man out of time. He was part of the Greatest Generation. A generation that lived the mantra “make do or do without”. He brings a level-headedness to the table that Tony has only ever found in the ones closest to him, be they Pepper Potts, Happy Hogan, or Rhodey.

Do you have a comic or superhero bromance? Membership in the Black Dagger Brotherhood is, of course equal, to Avengers membership. *cough* Butch/Vishous *cough*


Christopher Morgan works for CriminalElement.com and HeroesandHeartbreakers.com. You can find him on twitter as c_morgs65 and Google+.

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5 comments
Heather Waters (redline_)
1. redline_
As much as I love Tony/Pepper in the MCU, I can totally see Tony's chemistry with both Steve and Bruce.
Copper
2. Copper
Been a while since I've taken a turn in comics, and it's difficult not to mention one of my favorite *romances* (Shatterstar and Rictor), but I have to say that one of my favorite BROmances in comics is Wolverine and Nightcrawler back in the early days of the X-Men. Maybe it was Kurt's swashbuckling attitude vs. Logan's stoicism, but the two had that great friendship chemistry and I think it's best displayed in Classic X-Men #4, the second story, "The Big Dare." You see it through the books, but this one focuses solely on the two, so it's really in the spotlight.

All I can think of at the moment, but I might pop back around if something else strikes a chord of memory.
Candice Burnett
3. SleepyVamp
Although I can buy a batman/Robin bromance, it was always too skeevy for me because I viewed it as a parent/child relationship first, then Robin got older and there was room for something else. I always liked the Batman/Superman bromance from the original justice league comix, parodied beautifully on HISHE.com's superhero cafe anime on YouTube. Awesome.
Christopher Morgan
4. cmorgan
@Copper, I was desperate to get Wolves on this list. I was tempted to go the love to hate relationship with Scott. I should have thought about Nightcrawler, he was my favorite growing up.

@SleepyVamp, see I recently reread Miller's Dark Knight Returns, so that was the frame of mind I was in for Supes/Batman. Not fair I know, but there it is.

I also debated whether or not I wanted to include a Cable/Deadpool section, but I feared that it would get a little...complicated.
Copper
5. Copper
Glad to have given a good example, then! I'm a longtime X-men fangirl (mostly the older stuff.) but I'll admit that there weren't too many obvious bromances going on. Maybe Cannonball and Sunspot (or Warpath), which is another that comes to mind.

And it's hard not to love Nightcrawler. He's just so awesome. And blue and fuzzy!
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