July 14, 2009By Mala Bhattacharjee Posted: Jul 14, 2009
I've said it before, but I'm a sucker for a slow-burning love story, and that's part of why I'm such a fan of gay-themed storylines on soaps. By virtue of daytime treading carefully with the issue, stories like OLTL's Kyle and Fish are being told at a snail's pace compared to the whirlwind courtships and weddings of straight characters. I mean, I miss the days of waiting years for a couple to get together.
Case in point? I'm a huge fan of Marvel Comics' Rogue and Gambit.
Their on-and-off courtship has lasted almost 20 years! They just finally got back together — sort of — in X-Men: Legacy issue #224. And that's after a kazillion break-ups, relationships with other people, her stranding him in Antarctica, him working for a supervillain, etc. And let's not discount the X-Men movies. As a hardcore G/R fan, I had to put up with a bunch of people thinking Rogue should hook up with Wolverine! The horror! But you know what? I still hung in there. And I always will. I love that the Marvel Universe has kept this love alive all these years.
In fact, love stories are what I'm into comics for! (Somewhere, a legion of fanboys just expired from apoplexy.) Just like soaps, comic books have a major emotional throughline. Just look at Superman and Lois Lane or Peter Parker and Mary Jane. People who don't even read comic books know those pairs. And in the hands of a good writer and a talented artist, a relationship can really come to life. And here's where I have to give a shout-out to Peter David and his run of X-Factor (an X-Men spinoff). David is a writer who inspires, shall we say, "passionate" emotions in comic book readers. You know how soap fans react to GH's Robert Guza or Y&R's Hogan Sheffer and Maria Arena Bell? Those kinds of debates? Yeah, comic books have them, too. For me, David's arc has been incredibly compelling. Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man, is a character from previous X-titles that he dusted off and breathed new life into — and then he gave Jamie the perfect partner in Layla Miller. Introduced as a weird, vaguely annoying nymphet who "knows stuff," Layla got my attention when she flat out told Jamie that they were going to be married some day. Mind you, she was, like, 12 at the time. And I was like, "Wait, how is David going to pull this off?" This summer, he did it. The cover of X-Factor #43 pretty much says it all — it's Jamie and Layla in a passionate liplock. Let's just say that she got SORAS-ed. LOL. But it's awesome. I was rooting for Jamie and Layla almost from the get-go, knowing that even if it took 20 years, I'd wait for them. Thankfully, it didn't! David also pulled off a major coup in this month's issue, XF #45: he had longtime "are they/aren't they" duo Rictor and Shatterstar kiss! Again, this is a pair fans have been invested in for decades. The catch? They're both guys. Imagine waiting over 15 years for a couple's first kiss?
That's what I want out of soaps. That pull, that devotion, that "oh my God, when?!" That's why watching OLTL's Kyle gaze wistfully at his battered photo of him and Fish made my heart go pitter-pat. That's why I enjoyed GL's Olivia and Natalia taking a year to realize their friendship had turned to love. That's why I love ATWT's Carly and Jack even when they're not together and am constantly on the search for a pair to root for on GH. The anticipation. The build. The inevitability.
Come on daytime, do I have to draw you a picture...?