Marvel Heartbreakers: The Power of Love

Four of comics' most loving writers offer up advice for affairs of the heart House of Ideas style in MARVEL HEARTBREAKERS!

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MARVEL HEARTBREAKERS preview art by David Lopez
By Jim Beard

Anger, greed, despair, jealousy; all emotions found regularly amid the Marvel Universe-but what about love?

This February 3, just in time for Valentine's Day, four of Marvel's finest writers crack open the Book of Love in MARVEL HEARTBREAKERS. Taking time out from their hectic lives, some of your favorite characters will feel that oh-so-special sting of Cupid's arrows in this heartfelt one-shot.

"Remember how much it hurt when you got dumped for the very first time?" asks editor Michael Horwitz. "How immediately afterwards you sat down with a tub of cookie dough ice cream and ate the whole darn thing? And how that empty tub of ice cream seemed to make everything ok? This book is like that tub of ice cream: comfort food to make you forget your trampled romantic dreams. Only it's zero calories and stars the most fabulous, eclectic supergals in the Marvel Universe."

As each story begins, the state of romance in the lives of Dazzler, Gwen Stacy, Mary Jane Watson, Snowbird and the girls of Nextwave will become quite apparent, and its not always a pretty sight.

"My story takes place just after the ending of Dazzler's ongoing series, which ended with [her] and Beast faking her death," says Jim McCann. "So, Dazzler's not really in a place to think about romance. She's trying to figure out what the next step in her life is.  This is unfortunate for

MARVEL HEARTBREAKERS preview art by Lara West
Beast, who at this time, still has feelings for her. This story resolves both of those issues, how to keep going, and being alone."

Kathryn Immonen's tale begins with Gwen Stacy offering to help Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, with his calculus homework. Hilarity then ensues. Kind of.

"I decided to write the story where he takes her up on it," she explains. "Except he doesn't remember doing so. It was at a time, too, when Peter was still trying to decide between Gwen and MJ-as if the decision was solely his-and, you know, I'd like to feel sorry for the guy, except that I don't. Whatta maroon. And then things explode, metaphorically and literally."

And that frosty creature, Snowbird? What weight does love hold in her heart these days?

"Zero, zip, zilch and nada," answers Karl Bollers. "Snowbird has no romantic ties. She's quite the lonely, shape-shifting demigoddess; but she longs for more than just her mission. Thwart a would-be world conqueror here, slay a Great Beast there-gets kinda tedious. What about someone to give her flowers and a backrub?"

"Elsa Bloodstone is a monster hunter which has led to most of her past boyfriends being, well, monsters," notes Spears of one of the Nextwave girls. "The story opens with Elsa and her girlfriend Boom Boom hunting down Elsa's latest dating mistake with a bear trap!"

MARVEL HEARTBREAKERS preview art by James Callahan
Each of these lovely ladies-and dashing men-may get more than they bargained for-including bear traps-before these writers finish pondering their ideas of the perfect date in MARVEL HEARTBREAKERS.

"Beast would most likely want to catch an exhibit at the Museum of Natural History and a nice dinner," says McCann. "Dazzler, depending on when we are talking, would probably prefer something out of the spotlight and paparazzi, but something that was more romantic and sentimental than flashy."

Spears zeroes in on Ms. Bloodstone's straight-forward approach to dating:

"Elsa likes to keep it simple. For her the perfect date is a night of libation and laughter down at the pub with her man and her mates."

"Snowbird's perfect date would probably involve a certain amount of animal magnetism," Bollers notes. "Get it? It's a joke. Because she's a shape-shifter...and can...never mind."

"One on which he gets smooched and snuggled-by his date-but not slapped, splashed, tripped up, banged up, freaked out-by his date-caught with his Spider pants down and having to do his own laundry," Immonen

MARVEL HEARTBREAKERS preview art by Harvey Tolibao
muses on Peter Parker's perfect evening. "All of which happens in my story.

"Which, now that I think about it, is kind of perfect and it didn't cost him one thin dime. Also perfect."

 

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      Comments

      4 comments
      RazorLight
      RazorLight

      [quote@Elflore And then there's this gem from Kathryn Immonen:[quote] "It was at a time, too, when Peter was still trying to decide between Gwen and MJ-as if the decision was solely his-and, you know, I'd like to feel sorry for the guy, except that I don't. Whatta maroon. And then things explode, metaphorically and literally.[/quote] I'm not sure how she could have described that situation in a way that is any more insulting to each of the characters. She implies that Peter's trying to pick a girlfriend much like he'd pick an ice cream flavor, but with a wink and a nod to say that the power isn't his anyway, so isn't it funny that he views women as objectives, ha ha! Even worse is the suggestion that it's the girls who will fight over him, because teenage girls must always compete for a boy's attention. In Immonen's view, Peter's a cad and the girls are catty. If the writer has no sympathy, she can't even begin to make them sympathetic characters. [/quote] When Kathryn Immonen says, "It was at a time, too, when Peter was still trying to decide between Gwen and MJ," she is decribing the way the old comics were written. Her insert of "-as if the decision was solely his-" is her acknowledgement of the simplicity and simple-mindedness of the "Peter picks" scenario, stating her view that Gwen and MJ certainly have a say in the matter. Immonen is showing a great deal of sympathy and understanding for the two women, and considering Immonen's writing history, there is no reason to believe she wouldn't make these characters sympathetic and real. She doesn't feel sorry for Peter because this "burden of choice" objectification of women in fiction is unrealistic and demeaning, as you feel it is. As a woman, Immonen sees the folly of the old comics and is calling the old boys out on it, but it is also a scenario that is ripe for comedy and "heartbreak," and she is going to have some fun with it. You've completely misread her when you should be agreeing with her.[quote] I'm not even going to talk about the overwhelming heteronormative bias, because of course this is Marvel, and of course the majority of your characters and readers must be straight. Yawn.[/quote] The lack of a homosexual/bisexual story in Heartbreakers is a missed opportunity, but your characterization of Marvel is a gross exaggeration. The number of LGBT characters created or outed during the last decade shows Marvel's increasing understanding that there is an LGBT readership and a greater acceptance of such characters by the general readership. Marvel still has a long way to go, but they are hardly viewing the world through a "straight" lens. Here is a good mix of LGBT Marvel characters old and new:http://www.gayleague.com/wordpress/tag/marvel/I highly recommend [url=http://www.marvel.com/catalog/x-factor/]X-Factor[/url] if you aren't already reading it. Peter David knows how to write female and LGBT characters with respect and realism.

      heroineaddict
      heroineaddict

      The artwork for Dazzler and the Beast look great. I just hope both chacters come out of it without the other looking like a creep. Especially Dazz since the poor kid's always seemed to get the short end of the stick creatively.

      LETHAL_JUSTICE
      LETHAL_JUSTICE

      some of these stories are old digital exclusives -_- and i was excited for a new boom boom story =/oh well, i havent read that story anyway

      Elflore
      Elflore

      Note: This comment was written by elflore's wife. Yes, a woman. I like comics. I don't like when men write comics for women and get it wrong. I especially don't like when women write comics for women and get it wrong. I'll explain.First of all, Michael Horowitz, who the heck are you talking to with your little ice cream scenario? I'm assuming you're giving women the starring role in this post-break-up passion play of yours, and as such, you've got it all wrong. Indulging in caloric therapy is called processing, also known as wallowing, and it's healthy. Really, it is. Ask any mental health professional. The empty tub of ice cream doesn't "make everything ok," it's a sign that the time for wallowing is done, and now you get up and move on with your life, because being dumped does not mean that your "romantic dreams" have been "trampled." It means that some jerk wasn't good enough for you, and there's a whole lot more to life than jerks like that. Anyone over the age of 15 who doesn't know that should probably be working on their social skills instead of reading comics.And then there's this gem from Kathryn Immonen:[quote] "It was at a time, too, when Peter was still trying to decide between Gwen and MJ-as if the decision was solely his-and, you know, I'd like to feel sorry for the guy, except that I don't. Whatta maroon. And then things explode, metaphorically and literally.[/quote] I'm not sure how she could have described that situation in a way that is any more insulting to each of the characters. She implies that Peter's trying to pick a girlfriend much like he'd pick an ice cream flavor, but with a wink and a nod to say that the power isn't his anyway, so isn't it funny that he views women as objectives, ha ha! Even worse is the suggestion that it's the girls who will fight over him, because teenage girls must always compete for a boy's attention. In Immonen's view, Peter's a cad and the girls are catty. If the writer has no sympathy, she can't even begin to make them sympathetic characters. I like comics. I read comics. I would read a lot more comics, except a lot of them are full of misogyny and, well, they suck. I read Ultimate Spider-Man, Hercules, New Avengers, Runaways, and some others. And yet, I'd read a lot more if there was any hope that the women in the stories actually acted like women with thoughts and feelings independent of their relationships with men. I'm a woman, and I have those thoughts and feelings. I also have money to spend. Why doesn't Marvel want to give me worthy books in exchange for my money? And why are their attempts at writing books for women (Models Inc., Marvel Divas) so ridiculous that even the men who love comics, like my husband, are angry?I'm not even going to talk about the overwhelming heteronormative bias, because of course this is Marvel, and of course the majority of your characters and readers must be straight. Yawn.