At some point, someone pointed out that this is technically Anniversary X, and it was a pretty slippery slope from there.
We are aware that our favorite romance has its share of detractors. We don’t care. (Art by David Wynne.)
Actual photograph of Rachel and Miles at their 8th-grade graduation dance. (X-Men #32)
This is literally as explicit a conversation they have about it for… pretty much the entire Silver Age. (X-Men #32)
Proposal #1. Unfortunately, Jean is a) actually the Phoenix Force, and b) about to die on the moon. (Uncanny X-Men #136)
Not directly pertinent, but it’s one of our favorite moments. (Uncanny X-Men #137)
Scott saying goodbye to Jean immediately before marrying Madelyne Pryor. That really, really didn’t work out, but we like the sentiment–that “true love” doesn’t always have to mean “one true love.” (Uncanny X-Men #175)
Scott doesn’t actually work out that Madelyne and Jean are identical until X-Factor #14. Headcanon: Hella prosopagnosia.
Scott and Jean are reunited in a panel that appears to have fled from Apartment 3-G to X-Factor #1.
Jean gets Madelyne and Phoenix’s memories–and her own telepathy–back. (X-Factor #38)
Proposal #2. (X-Factor #53)
Jean’s response. (X-Factor #53)
“Fatal Attractions” was a rough time for everyone, but probably worst for Wolverine. (X-Men vol. 2 #75)
In which Rachel and Miles celebrate an anniversary with a retrospective of one of the great romances of the Marvel universe; the Summers/Grey family tree is more of a transdimensional strawberry patch; the X-Men play some football; Professor Xavier is not a jerk; and Scott Summers and Jean Grey are the power couple of existentialism.
Scott and Jean
The worst date ever
Uncanny X-Men #308
That one panel that gets us every time
X-Men vol. 2 #30
Some really excellent wedding vows
The best kiss in X-Men
Why “One” is actually a pretty decent first dance
Existential ramifications of fictional romance
Next week: Rachel and Miles take a much-needed vacation.
Week after next: The New Mutants!
You can find a visual companion to the episode – and links to recommended reading – on our blog.
I don’t usually talk about personal stuff here. But today is special.
In this week’s episode–the one that goes up at Comics Alliance today, and here on Sunday the 7th, Miles and I talk about Scott and Jean and how they are kind of our couple, and I want to write a little bit more about that.
We talk on the podcast about having known each other since forever. For context, that’s well over half our lives: we’re in our early 30s now, and we met when we were 11 or 12, and became friends when we were 13.
I’m not–look, how much I identify with Cyclops should be a pretty good indicator of how socially inclined I’m not. I didn’t have a lot of friends in middle school. I was the kid who sat in the back of a class, hiding a book under my desk and hoping that no one would notice me–because if they did, it never, ever went well.
In eighth grade English, I sat in my usual far back corner. Miles was in the row in front of me, and at some point, he decided–out of nowhere–that we should probably be friends. He initially expressed this mostly by whipping around dramatically when no one was looking and whispering bad puns at me during vocab review. It was slightly terrifying and absolutely delightful.
At some point, Miles started asking me about books. We’d both grown up on the Dark Is Rising sequence and the Chronicles of Prydain; he lent me Bored of the Rings and the big collected Hitchhiker’s Guide that had the then-nearly-impossible-to-find “Young Zaphod Plays It Safe”; I lent him More Than Human and The Hero and the Crown. There was an end-of-the-year eighth-grade graduation dance and we danced together once, awkwardly, at arms’ length; and each of us was pretty sure the other was just doing it to be polite.
We dated briefly and awkwardly our freshman year of high school, and then we didn’t really talk for a while, and then we were friends again, and then we were friends who slept together and were looking at colleges together and still staunchly refused to put a label on what we were doing because we did not buy in to that nonsense, even after we moved in together two months into our first semester of college. We spent years aggressively reinventing the wheel, because even if we didn’t entirely know what we were or where we were taking it, we knew it was ours.
So, when we talk about how Scott and Jean are kind of our couple, we’re not just talking about the awkward teenage romance thing. Editorial mandates aside, every step of their relationship was a “fuck you” to fate, a conscious choice to not even find but make their own meaning. They’re not together in most of the Multiverse, and when they are, it’s usually something they have to fight for.
Even without supervillains and cosmic forces, being and staying with someone you’ve known since you were a teenager isn’t always easy. Everyone has hard-wired buttons; when you’re with someone you’ve known for that long, there’s a pretty good chance that they–or at least who they were when you were kids–wired some of them. It’s difficult and painful to grow and figure out who you are and who you’re becoming when you’re with someone who still responds to–and probably always will respond to, to some extent–who you were at sixteen.
And Scott and Jean are our couple for that reason, too: because it’s not always easy, but it never stops being worth it–every day, but especially today, because ten years ago* today, I married the best person I’ve ever met: my partner in crime, my best and truest friend; who still finds me when I’m lost, and coaxes me out when I get stuck in my own head, and holds me so that I can let go.
I love you, Miles Stokes.
And every day for the rest of my life.
*According to Miss Manners, the tenth anniversary is–for obvious reasons–the X-Men anniversary.