Thursday, October 18, 2012

Boy--True Love is a lot of work!

Okay, I realize that in real life, a good husband puts a lot of honest and hard work into a marriage. He’s got to treat his wife with unfailing respect and kindness and faithfulness and make awesome efforts to keep the marriage relationship healthy. That does indeed take work. I know I’m a life-long bachelor, but I get that. I really do.

But by golly, fictional heroes really have it tough. Because they don’t just have to remember anniversaries and make googily eyes at his wife from time to time. He’s got to rescue her from horrible death on a regular basis.

And THAT takes work. And determination.

Take Prince Valiant, for example. It was in 1945—about nine years into the strip—that writer/artist Hal Foster finally got around to telling us how Valiant met Aleta, Queen of the Misty Isles and fell in love with her.

It was an interesting process. Valiant actually spends quite a long time convinced Aleta is a evil sorceress and murderess, holding her prisoner while he traveled across a nearly lifeless desert. But a blow to the head and a bout with malaria does wonders, allowing Val to realize he loves Aleta. They seemed destined to live happily ever after.

Until a local despot named Donardo has his men attack Val, take his famous “Singing Sword,” and toss him over a cliff. Donardo then takes Aleta as a captive back to his city.

So Val—unarmed except for a makeshift spear—must pursue Donardo on foot.  This amuses the evil king, so he sends one of his men back to kill Val with his own sword.

This doesn’t work out.

Well, Donardo’s not worried. He’ll just send two men this time. There’s no way Val can survive that.

This doesn’t work out.

Okay, Donardo really means business now. He’ll send four men back to take out Val. There’s no possible way in heaven or on earth that Prince Valiant can possibly live through the day now.

This doesn’t work out.

Donardo, now a bit unhappy, reaches his city. At least he now has his pretty prisoner safe behind heavily guarded walls. Valiant may be hard to kill, but there’s nothing he can do to rescue Aleta.

Nothing, that is, except raise an army, besiege the city, breach the walls, kill Donardo in single combat and reunite himself with his one true love.

So I know that in real life relationships are hard. But, for gosh sakes, at least all you real life husbands don’t have to fight duels to the death and raze entire cities to the ground.

So all you married guys should consider yourselves very lucky.

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