Everyone knows that Superman's main squeeze is Lois Lane. Right since the very first couple of pages of Action Comics #1, it was pretty clear that she was going to be the primary love-interest for the Man of Steel. Sure, he had retroactive dalliances with Lana Lang, Lori Lemaris and even Wonder Woman, when the writers wanted to expand his libidous hijinks. But for the most part, he's been ball and chained to lovely Lois. And in fairness, that's beautful. Not many people can boast a 75-year romance.
Spider-Man has had slightly more girlfriends, what with Betty Brant, Gwen Stacy and buxom Mary Jane. Unfortunately for the Webbed Wonder, most of these romances ended badly at best, or tragically at worst. Betty fecked off with Ned Leeds (and then Flash Thompson), Gwen Stacy was murdered by the Green Goblin (sort of), and while Petey was married to Mary Jane for 30 years, the writers recently had Satan erase all history of their marriage in a faustian exchange for his dying Aunt May's life. Did I mention that the writers at DC did something similar to Superman's marriage to Lois Lane and that now he's depressingly single again?
Wow, this really isn't much of a feel-good Valentine's Day post. Without meandering anymore, I'm going to skip right to the point. The one world-famous superhero has been famously lacking a prominent love-interest (or one who's lasted more than a few measly issues), is the Dark Knight himself. Bruce has never managed to hold down an Other Half for very long, because really, when you get past his dashing good looks, kajillions of dollars, extremely muscular physique, massively interesting life and (probably) his REALLY BIG...coin that he has in the Batcave...he's really too busy being a crimefighter to hold down a relationship.
The result of this is that the Caped Crusader has had more mots than you can shake a grappling gun at. You could actually fill up Copperface Jack's (or the Gotham City equivalent; Clayface Matt's?) with the amount of wetsers with whom Batman has been associated. Let's take a look at some of the most memorable, as well some of my personal favourites.
Vicki was one of the earlier attempts at bringing a Lois Lane-type character into the Batman books, except instead of being a copy reporter, she was a photojournalist. She never really did much other than take photos and get in the way and rarely actually appeared as much of a love interest in the comics. In the movies however, it was a different story. In the (frightfully under-rated) 1949 movie serial 'Batman and Robin' Vicki pretty much did the same thing as she did in the comics, all for the sake of her work at the wonderfully named "Picture Magazine". A couple of times she succeeded in helping out Batman and Robin, including in the finale, where she managed to obtain a photo of the villain, unmasked.
In Tim Burton's 1989 movie 'Batman', Vicki was played by Kim Basinger and provided an effective foil for Michael Keaton's Batman. At certain points in the film, it seemed apparent that Bruce was considering letting her in on The Secret, but then he wussed out and instead let her get wooed by the Joker instead. While Basinger had really good chemistry with Keaton, she was a bit too much of a scream queen in the film and wasn't particularly developed over the course of the movie.
And in a lot of ways, the movie has you rooting for Robert Wuhl's character Alexander Knox, who treats Vicki a whole lot better than Bruce does. Seeing as how Vale and Knox didn't appear in any of the other films, I like to think that there's a romantic comedy sequel out there where she does indeed end up with Allie and they live happily ever after in Central City, or Metropolis, or somewhere that doesn't look like Hell crawled out of Earth.
Silver St. Cloud
Silver was one of Bruce's Babes from the 70s and her hair matched her name. I think she was an events coordinator and in one issue, she designed a convention of giant art props, which gave Batman an excuse to have a fight with Deadshot on a giant typewriter.
Things got complicated when she learned Batman's secret identity (sense a pattern here?) and decided it was too much pressure to continue canoodling with him. She bailed and was never seen again
I REPEAT: SHE WAS NEVER SEEN AGAIN.
Catwoman is probably the closest thing Batman has had to an enduring romance, and even then they've never really gotten their act together. The reason the romance works so effectively is similar to why Batman and the Joker work so well as enemies. Catwoman is similar to Batman (adventurous, skilled in martial arts, keen to dressing up as an animal in a slightly fetishistic outfit) but often decides to use her talents for crime and social anarchy, instead of for the kind of clean-cut justice Batman subscribes to.
Catwoman has been played by a bunch of people, so I'm not going to go into too much detail. Julie Newmar is unquestionably the hottest, and the most hilarious as she once asked Adam West's Batman to let her kill Robin so that they could be together. Everybody knows about Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman and frankly, like Danny DeVito as the Penguin, while I think she performed extremely well in the film, she wasn't really what I imagine Catwoman to be. To be honest, I don't even get why people think she's so appealing in that film...I think Burton's emphasis on making her look pale and death-like, as well as all of the scenes of her licking herself...and the overall 're-animated cat-zombie woman' thing (remember that from the comics?!), makes her seem kind of repulsive. Anne Hathaway is playing her in the new movie and hasn't yet shown me that makes me excited about her performance. I'm sure she'll be decent enough, but I'm not sold yet. I like her costume, though.
A lot of people forget that Batman Forever isn't as bad as the other Batman film Joel Schumacher made. In fact, I believe it's a good deal more entertaining and faithful to the source material than the stupid Tim Burton masturbation that is Batman Returns. Appropriately enough, the love interest they envisioned for 'Forever' was probably the best love interest of the original four films. Played by a young, nubile Nicole Kidman, Chase was a well-written, complex individual who sometimes seemed to be as psychologically troubled as Bruce himself. She was able to help him confront the truth about why he had ever embarked on his dark mission in the first place, and he was able to help her understand why she only seemed to be attracted to sexy badboys. She's also the only love interest Batman has ever had that has hijacked the bat-signal, just so she could seduce him.
As usual, by the end of the film, Chase finds out that Bruce is actually Batman, and while things appear better than ever for Bruce's love life, she is never heard of again after the end of the film.
Talia Al Ghul
Talia is the long-suffering daughter of Ra's Al Ghul, the Demon's Head. Of all Batman's loves, for some reason he is more smitten with Talia than any others. She's also the only babe (in the comics, anyway) that Batman has actually had sex with (and there is a 1970s love scene, with topless, hairy Batman, keeping his mask on).
Their union eventually resulted in Damian Wayne, the newest, most ruthless Robin and Batman's biological son. Personally, I never really got the appeal of Talia. She doesn't really have much of a personality and is kind of creepy, given that she's a centuries-old zombie who's more interested in world-domination than she is in fancy restaurants and trendy bars. She doesn't really seems like she'd be a particularly fun girlfriend to have.
Now we're getting somewhere. Andrea Beaumont was an original character created for "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" (the best Batman movie that nobody has seen). Bruce meets her shortly after returning to Gotham in his early twenties after a lifetime of training. In an interesting twist, Bruce becomes so smitten with her, that he considers changing his plan for a citywide crusade of face-punching justice, and being happy in love, instead. This causes all kinds of internal conflict in our broody young hero and this excellent scene happens.
Bruce relents and decides that rather than a life of sturm and batarangs, a life of matrimonial bliss would be more fulfilling, and he proposes to a delighted Andrea. Unfortunately her father's connections with the mob forces her to leave Bruce, which results in the best Batman scene of all time.
That's right folks, if Bruce Wayne hadn't been dumped by his girlfriend, he wouldn't be Batman. Andrea is a wonderful, sensible foil for Bruce and it's a shame that she was never integrated into the core DCU continuity of the comic books. Mask of the Phantasm is an absolutely amazing Batman movie and everyone should buy the DVD, which is available pretty much anywhere, at a really reasonable price. Andrea was voiced by Dana Delany who went on to voice Lois Lane in Superman: The Animated Series.
Rachel was created for Batman Begins by David Goyer and serves as Bruce's rock; while he's going through his very dark feelings of revenge and angst, Rachel reminds him of the importance of justice versus the hunger for revenge. If not for Rachel, Bruce would probably have gone down a darker road of vengeance. As a love interest though, Rachel always seemed a bit forced; it never really made much sense for Bruce to be in love with her. In a way, the character's strength comes in realising that the man she loved (the 'real' Bruce Wayne) died the day he became Batman and that she can never truly love him again the way she once did. Her death (sorry guys, but the movie came out four years ago) catalyses Batman into realising he's never going to have a normal life. In that way, she's kind of an amalgamation of Andrea and Chase Meridian, with a more tragic twist.
Julie Madison was introduced as Bruce's fiancee in the very early stories of the 1940s. Their romance was given absolutely no background and nobody really cared when they broke up. She appeared in "Batman: Dark Moon Rising" by Matt Wagner, which was an entertaining update of two classic Bob Kane/Bill Finger stories from the 1940s, where once again they broke up at the end of the story.
The only reason she's made this list at all, is because she was in Batman & Robin, played by Elle MacPherson.
And that's all I have to say about that.
That's right. In Justice League Unlimited, it was hinted a couple of times that Batman and Wonder Woman had the hots for each other. It never amounted to much more than a Daphne/Fred type relationship, where they always seemed to team up with one another and they occasionally flirted with each other, but they were never actually shown acting on their feelings. This makes sense really, as Batman and Wonder Woman are both far too focused on their careers as crimefighters. But the possible match made for some very interesting fan-fiction stories and videos across the internet (WHAT AN INTERESTING PLACE THE FUTURE IS!!).
Sadly, it was also hinted in the Animated Series that Batman and Babs got it on for a little while. Nobody really likes this idea, as Batman is at least fifteen years older than Barbara and met her when she wasn't even street-legal. Luckily, this was never more than an implied romance. Luckily.
Again though...fan-fiction has made this union a semi-reality.
And that ties up the Top Ten List. It's strange that I'm even able to compile a list as long as this for a comic character, when you'd struggle thinking of more than one love interest for most other comic characters (didn't Wolverine have a wife?). We haven't even scraped the tip of the iceberg in terms of Batman's girlfriends with this list, Furious Followers. I'm omitting the likes of Linda Page, Jezebel Jet, Shondra Kinsolving, Lorna Shore, Sasha Bordeaux...the man's been around. The only true love he's ever managed to commit to is his love of punching criminals, and perhaps the streets of Gotham are better off as a result.