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Fan Preferred Couple / Comic Books

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  • A lot of people forget or are unaware that Archie and Veronica were the original Official Couple of Archie Comics; it's only because of readers viewing Betty as being a Better Than Canon match for him that Betty and Veronica even became a question. The newspaper comic version does a much better job of emphasizing Archie/Veronica, but this still just doesn't help at all. During the last couple of decades, the writers have tried to make the triangle more even; Betty gets about as many dates with Archie, and Veronica has several other (one-shot) boyfriends.
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  • Lenore and Ragamuffin from Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl and how. To the point where most fanart and fanfiction involve the two of them. It doesn't help that they have a bucket filled with No Yay and Relationship Writing Fumble, especially in the original comics.
  • Spider-Man/Mary Jane Watson. Mary Jane's relationship with Peter was mostly written out of the books following One More Day, and different love interests have been brought in to be Peter's romantic partner since (like Deb Whitman or Carlie Cooper). However, Mary Jane is still popular with many fans and from the very start of their relationship, many fans have preferred Peter to be with MJ. The duo remain a couple in some places, however, such as the Spider-Man newspaper strip and the alternate universe Renew Your Vows. The main universe version of Peter and MJ eventually got back together when Nick Spencer took over the writing of Amazing Spider-Man in 2018.
    • Back when Gwen Stacy was still Peter's official love interest, Mary Jane Watson's unexpectedly huge popularity with the readers was a serious problem for Stan Lee and John Romita. They tried a lot of things to tone MJ down and make Gwen more "exciting", which in some respects only lampshaded their problem as it made Gwen more and more resemble MJ, most notably by changing her original hairstyle into a variant of Mary Jane's. Stan Lee ended up writing later that even he slowly began to find Gwen less interesting than MJ.
    • Gerry Conway who succeeded Lee was a fan who ended up Running the Asylum (he was 19 when he wrote Spider-Man). He like the majority of older fans preferred MJ to Gwen, and so he wrote The Night Gwen Stacy Died which was all about getting rid of Peter's bland Designated Love Interest for as Conway put it, "the most interesting female character in comics at the time" and Peter and MJ under his pen became the Official Couple, which later went into adaptations where MJ often has Adaptational Early Appearance and is set up as Peter's number 1 girl right from the start. It should be noted that one of the more well-liked Spider-Man animated adaptations, The Spectacular Spider-Man, would have had Peter and MJ as the Official Couple but for most of the first two seasons played with the Love Dodecahedron of the comics.
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  • In The Mighty Thor, the mightiest pairing is easily the Foe Yay/Ho Yay/Not Blood Siblings-Yay of Thor/Loki. This is most likely because they're the two most established characters in the series, and have a few really heartwarming moments that the shippers run with. Plus, on the het side, the Thor/Jane (or Don/Jane, it's gotten confusing) Thor/Sif, and Thor/Amora shippers are too busy fighting with each other to deal with Thor/Loki shippers. Even though it's canon, most people regard Doctor DoomxLoki as a joke.
  • Many fans prefer Invisible Woman to be paired off with Namor rather than her own husband. Considering the playing-up of Mr. Fantastic's neglectful side AND having Sue and Reed be on opposite sides of the Civil War, it seemed like a distinct possibility. (And, not surprisingly, it didn't happen. But they did tease us with it a bit.) Note that since meeting Susan, Namor has been married and widowed twice, and has had several "serious" relationships. Yet even modern canon stories depicted him as still smitten with Susan, the one that got away. A comic book depicted Franklin Richards explaining that he is used to Namor looking longingly at his mother.
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  • An interesting situation occurs in the Knights of the Old Republic comic since many fans wanted Zayne to hook up with Jarael instead of his more obvious love interest, Shel. The reason this is an interesting situation is because Zayne and Jarael become a couple in the last issue, thus making this a rare example of the Fan-Preferred Couple turning into the Official Couple.
  • X-Men:
    • For a long time Wolverine/Jean Grey was a lot more popular than the well-established, long-term Cyclops/Jean Grey. The love triangle was popular enough to persist in most adaptations of the characters, but once Cyclops hooked up with Emma Frost, and Jean Grey stayed dead for a longer time than she stayed alive, the ball was thrown back up into the air as to what was preferred. In 2010s stories, Marvel eventually killed off both Wolverine and Cyclops, meaning that all three members of the triangle were dead. In late 2017/early 2018, Marvel announced surprise resurrections for both Jean and Wolverine, with Scott eventually being resurrected in 2019 as well.
    • Like many other comic book examples, Rogue and Gambit used to be an item, and after the writers split them up in the '00s they continued to be preferred by the fans. Usually one of the first questions a new writer for one of these characters gets is "Are you going to hook them back up yet?" In this case, Gambit and Rogue have had an on-again-off-again since the early 1990s, and are considered one of the most memorable couples in the entire franchise. A number fans prefer Rogue's Mentor Ship relationship with Magneto but everybody else were less eager to accept the idea of Rogue choosing an aged tyrant over a sexy thief. One memorable depiction was "X-Men" (2nd series) vol. #41 (February 1995). Earth-616 is dying (it got better) and its characters are erased. While expecting certain death, Gambit and Rogue spend their last moments kissing and embracing each other.
      • Marvel finally gave into the shippers and hitched Gambit and Rogue in X-Men Gold #30, making them X-Men's longest enduring couple since the 90s.
    • While subject to almost as much Ship-to-Ship Combat as her daddy, the majority of fans of X-23 still resent Marjorie Liu splitting up X and Hellion during the Baby Sitting arc of her solo series, and mentioning that arc is certain to cause much gnashing of teeth. Especially after Brian Michael Bendis hamfistedly tossed her together with O5!Angel, despite them having had no prior interaction before he hooked them up.
  • Many Teen Titans fans were thrilled when Beast Boy and Raven got together. Then came 2006's One Year Later, during which they broke up. The fans were less than thrilled. Then the fandom rejoiced when the two finally grew up and reunited in the 100th issue of 2000s Teen Titans run in 2011... which ended up being the final issue of that run due to the New 52 reboot that same year. Shoot.
  • Spider-Girl has May and Wes and before the Ship Sinking, May/Normie.
  • Hawkeye and Mockingbird, even after breaking up, are vastly preferred to the pairing of Hawkeye and Spider-Woman. Hawkeye and Mockingbird were married to each other for most of the 1980s and the early 1990s, before her apparent death in battle. She has been Hawkeye's longest-lasting relationship, even though their marriage explored their ideological differences and had plenty of conflict.
  • Owing to a series of continuity reboots, Superman has zigzagged all over with Fan-Preferred Couple status. When the New 52 launched, for the first time in the decades-long history of the characters, Lois Lane and Superman were the Fan Preferred Couple, as he was paired with with Wonder Woman instead of his classic love interest. Wonder Woman/Superman had a staunch foundation of supporters, and furthermore had been teased as a pairing for many years, besides being an Official Couple in various Elseworlds stories. This departure from classic Superman—among others—proved ultimately to be more unpopular than not, so DC brought back the original Superman and Lois into the New 52 Universe for DC Rebirth, which saw the seeming death of New 52 Superman and Lois, only for Superman Reborn to reveal that they were still alive, that Superman and Lois were split into their pre-Flashpoint and New 52 selves, and upon the halves of both Clark and Lois remerging, and history being altered closer to the pre-Flashpoint one (including the Superman/Wonder Woman being Retgoned.
    • Outside New 52 and Rebirth (mostly), Wonder Woman is frequently shipped with Batman as a good number of fans prefer the Goddess and mortal man dynamic over the God and Goddess status with Supes and Diana, especially since Batman isn't usually put in the same situation as Steve Trevor in the comics. The clash between a godly heroine who has no qualms about killing and a dark Anti-Hero who refuses to kill makes for good chemistry, it's also helped by Bruce and Diana's relationship in the Justice League cartoon which was one of the best parts of the show. Interestingly Batman and Wonder Woman's Earth 3 counterparts Owlman and Superwoman are an item so even their evil Alternate Universe opposites get the hint. A few comics pull the Mayfly–December Romance and have the agless Diana look after a dying Bruce which is quite the Tear Jerker.
  • The Batman franchise has numerous couples that fans prefer.
    • Almost all fans love Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon together (excepting the Dick/Starfire fanbase, that is). They've gone back and forth between being canon or not, but usually the two are incredibly close. While both had new love interests for a long while in the New 52 there was always tons of Ship Tease whenever the two interacted, and it seemed the writers for everything the two appeared in very much wanted the two together but just weren't allowed or something. The only love interest who got even a slight degree of support was Helena Bertinelli, who was in a relationship with Dick Pre-Flashpoint, and even then it was considered nice for a temporary romance, and as part of the Fish out of Water nature of Dick's series.
    • Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown is by far the most favorite pairing for these two characters. Even Cassandra Cain can't keep up with that. The fans had decided about this very early in Tim's own series and any attempt to get different pairings was doomed to failure. The writers are clearly aware of this, otherwise the ship tease during their very first meeting in the New-52 wouldn't be there.
    • Speaking of Cassandra, her most popular pairing aside from Cassandra/Stephanie (whose following, in itself, surpasses any of her canon love interests put together) would probably be with Jason Todd. In this case, it's pretty much Pair the Spares, combined with the potential intrigue of them having basically opposite personalities and both mostly operating on the edge of the Bat-family.
    • Bruce himself has had many girlfriends over time, yet the woman most fans want to see him with is Selina Kyle, Catwoman. Notably, the Golden Age versions of them were together and even had a daughter, Helena Wayne (the original Huntress), who has endured in the mainstream comics in spite of anything else that happens. Over recent years, Selina being presented as Batman's one true love has received a major boost in mainstream works—from the Dark Knight trilogy, to the Arkham video games, to the Gotham TV series, and finally to the comics themselves, this couple has received the same kind of fundamentally important treatment as other comic couple standbys like Lois/Clark or Barry/Iris. So it was particularity egregious for Bruce/Selina fans that after announcing that Batman and Catwoman would get married Tom King the writer back paddled in Batman #50 with Selina being the Runaway Bride, with the crappy justification of "Batman can't be Batman if he's Happily Married" aka Status Quo Is God.
  • In Convergence, many of these pairings that aren't in the New 52 were revisited, including Clark Kent and Lois Lane, Wally West and Linda Park, and Dick Grayson with Barbara Gordon and Starfire (in separate universes). Stephanie Brown and Tim Drake share some Belligerent Sexual Tension as well.
  • Due his relationship with Daisy being rather rocky at best, Donald Duck has a few of these, the most notable being the one with Reginella, queen of the planet Pacificus, who he first encountered in the 1972 story "Donald Duck in the Underwater Adventure". She is considered a preferred option due her sweet nature, her tragic character, and being the one who actually has a chance (and would have already won four times had something not always forced their separation), and is still popular enough to have a song dedicated to her and to receive new stories once every few years. The fact Scrooge approves certainly helps.
  • Wally West has had several love interests in the past, both the comics and out of them, but fans of the character pretty much unanimously ship him with his long-time wife, Linda Park. So much so that them being apart in the DC Rebirth era caused a lot of controversy and is generally seen as a big example of how DC messed up his return by refusing to let the two reunite. They were such a well-regarded couple that the TV Series' versions of the characters are shipped together despite never interacting and the fact Linda was a Romantic False Lead for Barry instead is seen as a huge They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character by fans of the comics.

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