The Perfect Kiss Panel

The Perfect Kiss Panel

Dec 15

xmen

To me, there’s nothing more sublime than a perfect kiss panel.

Yeah, yeah, I know — I’m a big, mushy girl with big, mushy feelings about big, mushy romantic things. In my adult years, I have finally accepted this distinctly uncool, ‘shippy part of my geek profile. (For so long, I concealed it within the classic armor of a cynic/closet romantic, carefully avoiding the topic of Riker/Troi’s latest near-dalliance in public discussion while secretly sending away for whatever marginally dirty fanfic I could get my hands on.)

Anyway, executing the perfect kiss in storytelling — the one that takes place at the exact right moment between the right people, the one that provides an emotional center to whatever tale you’re trying to tell — is one of those things that always thrills me, maybe even provokes a “squee” or two. (Two’s the limit, though, totally — I’ve accepted my hopeless romantic ‘shippiness, but I still try to stay away from shrieking like a spazoid stereotype. Try.)

I love this moment in all mediums, but there’s something particularly satisfying about seeing it in comics — maybe because I can stare at that one perfect panel for as long as I want, no need to rewind the loud, bloopy DVR (the telltale Tivo!) over and over again and risk the jeers of my less ‘shippy viewing companions. Or maybe it’s because, when done right, the combination of panels and words and images gives that moment time to really breathe.

Recently, I spent…more minutes than I am comfortable admitting gazing lovingly at this page from Kathryn Immonen and Sara Pichelli’s amazing take on Runaways:

runaways
(click for BIGGER)

Gorgeous, no? Surprising, romantic (the hands in the last panel — wow)…and given where both of these characters are at this point, a little bit fucked-up. I’ve never been a Chase-Nico ‘shipper, but this invests me in a way that not a lot of things could. (Why is this series “on hiatus” again? Whywhywhy*irrationalfanwhine.*)

It reminded me of another perfect kiss panel that stopped me dead in my tracks the first time I saw it, and still has the power to do so when I’m on a re-reading kick.

xmen
(click for BIGGER)

The complete vulnerability of Scott sans visor gets me every time — especially when Jean says, sweetly and simply, “You have a good face.” They’re both fully-clothed (well, Jean has kind of a grandma swimsuit on, but still), yet that kiss panel is, like…painfully intimate. Reading it in context — because we all know what happens next — guts me. One hundred percent.

What I love about both these moments is they just go for it: balls-out emotion, no holding back. Perfect panels that get my big, mushy girl feelings going full-force. Sigh, squee, etc.

My desire to discuss and share more big, mushy girl feelings with my fellow comic book fans has given me the idea for a little giveaway. I have two copies of my own big, mushy romance book, One Con Glory, to give away — just in time for the mini-sequel, which you can read in Grok #5!

Here’s what you do: leave a comment here or @ me on Twitter and tell me either 1) your favorite comic book kiss or 2) your favorite comic book coupling and why. If you do both, I’ll give you an extra entry. Not limited to superheroes — any comic book people will do! Let’s all get our big, mushy LOVE on.

You have ’til 12/22, midnight, Pacific time to enter.

EDIT: If you already have the book but still want to play, please do! I will send you a special book-related prize if you win!

425 comments

  1. You know the thing I like the most about that Scott & Jean panel? His awkward, surprised other hand. Just matches the thought bubble and the moment perfectly.

    Anyways – contest time! Hoo, boy. This is not an easy question. I’m tempted to just say “anything from Blankets by Craig Thompson” but that feels like cheating. Okay, here goes nothing:

    1) Favorite comic book kiss would have to be this one between Spidey and MJ. It’s sweet and just one of thousands of cute moments between the two but I like to think this particular comic book kiss inspired the iconic movie smooch.

    2) My favorite Comic Book Couple? That is a tough one. I even did a still-not-yet-completed blog post on my top 14, which should tell you something. Given one of your two choices for “best comic book kiss,” I hope this doesn’t lose me the contest but . . . I’d have to say Scott Summers and Emma Frost.

    Unlike so many other older, more iconic superhero couples (your Lois & Clark or Batman & Catwoman), they’re in a relationship that’s solid but still prickly and evolving. I like that. I like seeing a superhero couple that’s growing and getting used to each other day by day, pleasantly surprising one another in little ways. It feels real, for lack of a better word. Scott clearly brings out the best in Emma and she brings out strength, humanity and surprises in him that we’ve never seen before. Their relationship, in-your-face and weird as it can be, was the heart of Morrison’s X-Men and led to some truly wonderful moments in Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men and elsewhere. And best of all? It almost always makes me smile.

    Anyways, thanks for this post! Even if I don’t win, the old softy in me looks forward to reading other people’s choices. 🙂

  2. This will go against every preconception you have about me (well, maybe only a few of them), but if I can’t pick that Scott/Jean panel, I have to go with the Jean/Logan mountaintop kiss in the early part of Morrison’s ‘New X-Men’.

    If they hadn’t killed Scans_daily, I could link you a link!
    (I, uhh, already have your book, so this isn’t really an entry, I just had to share).

  3. BookGnome

    Confession: when I first read “comic book coupling” I thought you meant IRL couple. Luckily, that is not what you meant because having to choose between Stuart & Kathryn Immonen, Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti, or Jeff & Vijaya Smith would be too difficult.

    Anyhoo….. My favorite comic book kiss is at the end of Camelot 3000 between Tristan & Isolde/Claire. I just wasn’t sure if their relationship was going to end in typical lesbian tragedy or not and read with bated breath. Then to have it shown it such romantical terms as a big bed & flowers everywhere…. . Also, the clothes & hairstyles were pretty darn rad.

    (keeping fingers crossed for lady luck’s help in having the winning entry.)

  4. My favorite kiss is Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon in Nightwing 39, during the No Man’s Land story. I remember when it first came out and I flailed like crazy. (Seriously, first OTP, even if I don’t ship them as much anymore.) It was just perfectly written, and there’s so much history to those characters, and just… guh. Love.

  5. Rick Hansen

    I vote for the kiss between The Hulk and Betty Banner during his post-Pantheon days. The Hulk was trapped in Banner’s weak form when he lost his temper and didn’t regain his powerful green body until he calmed down. Betty was distraught and needed her husband, but the skinny Hulk was just interested in being angry. The power of love overcame his rage as she kissed him and forced him to put her needs before his own. Afterwards, you saw that he had calmed down and returned to his super-powered form, but you know that both sides of his split-personality, Banner AND Hulk, had been there for her in her time of need. The look on weak-Hulk’s face as he is kissed while in mid-tantrum is priceless.

  6. I’ve got to say, Jean and Scott are my favorite comic book couple hands down, especially the years circa The Phoenix Saga. That panel of them on the bluff where Jean holds back Scott’s powers set my (unrealistic) expectations for what it was supposed to be like to be kissed well and thoroughly when I first read it in junior high (and was as yet to be kissed, thoroughly or otherwise). It is my hands-down favorite, so you have good taste. 😉 Watching them fall in love still gives me butterflies in my stomach.

    My 2nd favorite panel of them is this one:
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/302419/jeanscott.jpg

    The banter…the snowball fight…the kiss…his hand in her hair…gah!! It makes me all misty-eyed. I think I can blame Marvel for my romantic streak.

  7. So, i am a huge dork, which i guess goes without saying. but when i saw this cover:

    http://www.comicbox.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/secretinvasion.jpg

    I thought YES. And then i made my Heroclix of Tony and Jess stand beside one another on my shelf.
    Then of course there was all the drama and misdirection and stuff, but i would like to see Tony and Jess together. They are both messed up, but i like them.

    Secondly, there is no contest for the best couple:

    http://fc00.deviantart.net/fs28/f/2008/138/f/2/secret_invasion_inhumans_cover_by_nebezial.jpg

    Her understanding of him is so wonderful. I lust adore these two together.

    Also nomination for best real life couple, Colleen Coover and Paul Tobin 😛

  8. I so have a best kiss panel!! TA-DA:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v221/nvsblegrl/wanda/witch-caplove.png

    It’s Captain America and the Falcon #6, part of Avengers Disassembled. Steve and Wanda are my Marvelverse OTP. It is SO screwed up but I absolutely love every screwed up minute.

  9. Erm, I don’t even dare answer the favorite real-life comics couple one. :grins:

    Favorite couple? It’s either Agent Brand and hank McCoy in the Marvel Universe, or Casey and, umm, anyone, from Strangers in Paradise.

    Favorite kiss? I have trouble distinguishing between ones that occurred in canon and the ones I’ve written on read in fanfic. Umm, that time Jessica Jones and Carol Danvers — oh, wait, nope. What about Emma Frost and Rachel Grey? Oh, nope, that was only IMPLIED in the hot-tub fight scene, there was never any actual kissing. How about Barbara Gordon and Dinah? Oh wait, that was only INCREDIBLY STRONGLY IMPLIED in the Birds of Prey crossover with Nightwing. Umm.

  10. Favorite coupling is hands down: Nightwing and Oracle.

    Just looking at the cover of Birds of Prey #8 gets me all swoony and I get crossed eyed thinking about that issue. The story deals with trust (between Babs and Dick) and in Bab’s own issues with dealing with her handicap. AND you never see them kiss — the lead up is all in silhouette.

    It’s no wonder that #8 goes for up $40 for a nice mint copy on eBay and I haven’t seen that issue reprinted in trades.

  11. My favorite comic book pairing, by far, is Scott and Jean, but since you used that wonderful kiss as your example I don’t feel the need to include it.

    Therefore, my favorite kiss panel — the panel that made me gasp and flail and dance around with glee — was the kiss between Rictor and Shatterstar in X-Factor 45. Not only was it a great kiss, full of emotion, the first good thing to happen to Rictor in YEARS (since before he lost his powers), it was also the unexpected, long-hoped for confirmation of a relationship fans have been speculating about since the early 90s. That the relationship finally got confirmed, and with a full-panel open-mouthed kiss no less, was extremely significant as a step forward for gay representation in comics.

    It made my heart sing.

  12. I am in Caroline’s camp on this one. It is the best Wolverenix kiss there is. My personal favorite one of those is still that one from Inferno – you know, the giant full-page panel, the first time they’d seen each other after each believing the other dead…. it’s good stuff.

  13. Jeff- I like that one too! Contrary to any OTPish reputation I may have, I am pretty much in favor of Jean Grey making out with anyone. I even liked the psychic Jean/Wolvie kiss in X-Men Forever, though that quickly went off the rails!

  14. My fav comic book couple. Rogue and Gambit. The sorrow of not being able to touch…the angst of their sorta relationship…it gets me every time.

  15. Bella F.

    Answer/Question#2- your favorite comic book coupling & why:

    My favorite comic book couple is Rogue & Gambit. I always did go for the unrequited love stories; plus, they just look so good together. Gambit’s hawt, lol!

    Answer/Question #1- your favorite comic book kiss:

    Ultimate X-Men Annual #1 where Rogue & Gambit fight Juggernaut. Gambit sacrifices himself to save Rogue, and she kisses him as he dies at his request.

  16. Thank you all for playing! I love every single response — quite the variety going on here and there were some great ones on Twitter a well. I appreciate y’all indulging your super-romantic sides with me.

    (Oracle and Nightwing! *swoon*)

    The winners (chosen by random drawing, cause there’s no way I can possibly “judge” when everyone is this awesome) are…

    Comment #6: Jess
    Comment #16: Bella F.

    You’ll be receiving an email from me shortly!

  17. martens580

    This entry is late, but I wanted to add Cloak & Dagger #3 (v2?) drawn by Rick Leonardi.

    Spider-Man talks to Dagger about her wanting to have a normal life and attend her prom. They dance. She pulls off his mask and they kiss, sending Cloak over the edge.

    It was touching and heartbreaking. One of my favorite comic pages of all time.

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