Immortal beloved

People approach me often and ask…

“Where do you get all of these crazy ideas for your Common Elements commissions? How does it enter into your brain to match Vixen and Comet, because they both share names with Santa’s reindeer? Or Deadman and the Huntress, because their first names are state capitals?”

I simply stare at such people with calm reserve and say to them, “Stay thirsty, my friends.”

Although I can’t explain my arcane thought processes, I do recall the genesis of the Common Elements concept featured in today’s Comic Art Friday artwork. I was surfing the cable box one evening a couple of years ago when I happened upon a showing of the 1994 film Immortal Beloved on one of the movie channels. In case you haven’t seen the film, it stars Gary Oldman as the legendary composer Ludwig van Beethoven (or “Lud,” as I like to call him). In the summer of 1812, Beethoven wrote a series of letters to an unidentified woman whom he addressed as “Immortal Beloved.” The movie portrays the investigation conducted by Beethoven’s secretary after the composer’s death, attempting to ferret out the secret identity of “Immortal Beloved.” (I’ll not spoil the picture for you, but suffice it to say that the mystery woman’s name does not turn out to be Rosebud.)

As I watched the movie, it occurred to me that there are at least two “immortal beloveds” in the comics pantheon — that is, immortal women who are the lovers of superheroes. Unlike Beethoven’s unknown paramour, there’s no secret about the identity of either of these. On the left is Sif — frequently referred to as The Lady Sif — the Asgardian warrior woman loved by the mighty Thor. On the right is Clea, apprentice and consort to the Marvelverse’s Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Strange.

Sif and Clea, pencils by comics artist Mitch Foust

I chose Mitch Foust, who specializes in drawings of impressively beautiful women, to craft this pairing of immortal beloveds. Mitch drew the piece at his booth during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. According to Mitch, the artwork engendered a considerable amount of fanboy discussion as to which of the two, Sif or Clea, would make the superior girlfriend, and which would make a better companion in battle.

From my perspective, this question — Sif or Clea? — is merely another variation on what I like to call the Eternal Question. You might be familiar with one or more of its other manifestations:

Ginger or Mary Ann?

Betty or Veronica?

Gwen or MJ?

Julie or Eartha?

Or, if you want to get all Biblical about the thing…

Leah or Rachel?

If you want my opinion — and of course you do, or you’d be reading some other blog right now — it’s Sif all the way. Oh, sure, there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about a woman who can do magic, like Clea here. But if you’ve ever seen, say, The Wizard of Oz or Sleeping Beauty, you know that those conjuring chicks can turn nasty on you in a heartbeat. Give me the broad with the sword (hah! pun!) every time. At least you can see her coming.

Also, if you’re keeping score, it’s Mary Ann, Betty, MJ, Julie — by a whisker, mostly because when I think of Eartha today, I think of her terrifying roles in Boomerang and The Emperor’s New Groove — and of course, Leah. (In the latter case, Jacob preferred Rachel for her beauty, while the homely Leah had greater domestic talents; i.e., fertility. As the late, great Flip Wilson once explained it: If you go for the homely girl, you know exactly what you’re getting. Besides, the pretty girl will get homely eventually anyway.)

Feel welcome to add your own answers to the Eternal Question in the comments section. Ladies’ perspectives (and alternative pairings) gladly welcomed — we’re all about gender equality here at SSTOL.

And that’s your Comic Art Friday.

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One Comment on “Immortal beloved”

  1. Leo Horishny Says:

    Sorry for the non sequitur, but I came by your posts from 3 years ago concerning a mutually admired character, Taarna the Tarakian and there’s not an easier way to add them there.

    I am a huge fan of the movie, Heavy Metal and like you and many others, found the final story a most enjoyable part of the movie. I came to your site while searching for entries about the tattoo that the Tarakians wore.
    I haven’t gotten one, but I always thought, since I first saw the movie in the theatres when it opened that that would be a design I’d like to have. (though not on the neck like she did) That and the cross from Blue Oyster Cult. There’s an echoing of design elements, to my eyes, between the two forms.

    Thanks for reading,
    Leo Horishny
    Sun Valley, NV


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