Soap operas wrap emotion around scandal and plotlines and at the very core of these are families. Mention a soap and usually a family name is the center of its gravitational pull. For years Days of Our Lives couldn’t have a storyline that didn’t revolve around a Brady. The two brothers, Roman and Bo were like the main members of a superhero team. Adding an extra feminine emotional level to their dimensions were their sisters, Kimberly and Kayla. With the romantic tension and suspense that follows them around and the near immortality of this particular soap, the Brady family can only just continue to grow for generations.
Although it suffered cancellation a few years ago, One Life to Live also had anchor families. The focus shifted from the Lord family as Viki married into the Buchanans. Once this regime changed, it seemed like the Buchanans were connected to everything. Once again, like a superhero team, this family is filled with men, from the patriarch, Asa, to his headstrong sons, Clint and Bo. (Another Bo? Really?) These men dominate.
In dramatic fashion, these families take over their respective soaps and continue to grow in surprising ways. Siblings show up, sometimes from out of time, sometimes by the results of a clarifying paternity test. Family members coming out of the woodwork happen so often in soap operas, I can’t pick a particular instance.
Comic books aren’t restricted by aging actors having to continue the genetic legacy to subsequent generations. These fictional characters are truly timeless.
(Sometimes. Yes, I know. Marvel killed off Wolverine and now his cloned daughter X-23 has taken on his namesake and matching costume. But really? These are comic books. How long do you think he’s going to stay dead.)
Comic book family names can carry the same strength as soap opera families. Look at the Flash, for instance. Readers could see the inevitability of Barry Allen and Iris West getting married for years. Now it seems that anyone with the last name Allen or West has had more than their fair share of exposure to the Speed Force. Even Bruce Wayne was surprised with a son named Damien whom he later took as his latest Robin. (But like Jason Todd, Damien also died. Robins are so hard to keep.) (Yes, I know! Jason Todd didn’t really die! He came back like everybody else does and probably so will Damien.)
In Marvel, the X-men have the Summers family, Scott (aka Cyclops) and his brother Alex (aka Havok) and Scott’s various romantic dalliances. With the tragic Madelyne Pryor (I’ve told her story before in this blog) he fathered the boy who would later return from the future as the mutant hero Cable. In an alternate future with Jean Grey, he had a daughter named Rachel (shown above), who like her brother, also came from the future and took on her mother’s mantle of Phoenix and then Marvel Girl. In this alternate future, Rachel had loved Franklin Richards, the son of Reed and Sue Richards of the Fantastic Four. Imagine, if not for the apocalyptic nature of this future, they could have made one hell of a family dynasty.
The X-men tried to make another powerful mutant family with Sam Guthrie (aka Cannonball) and his sister, Paige (aka Husk), but no matter how well written their characters were, the Guthries just didn’t have the staying power of the Summers.
When next I talk about soaps and comics, I will talk about marriage and infidelity, the making a breaking of family.
Next week, I’m going to feature new romance writer Dana Provo and we’re going to talk about her new book Bleeding Hearts and why you should read it when it comes out August 27th. Take a look at the festivities she has planned : https://www.facebook.com/events/1233414473358329/