A 1917 book cover shows John Carter and Dejah Thoris. Their love story began in 1912 with the pulp magazine serialization of Edgar Rice Burroughs' first novel about Carter's adventures on Mars. Theirs is a love in which death is only a temporary impediment. (Cover art by Frank E. Schoonover)Link
Disney's 2012 film "John Carter" came out 100 years after the Carter character bowed. Lynn Collins played Dejah Thoris and Taylor Kitsch was John Carter. (Disney)Link
Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohan are Glenn and Maggie, who manage to find love among the zombies on AMC's "The Walking Dead." (Tina Rowden / AMC/MCT)Link
Mary Jane Watson and Peter Parker: "Face it tiger ... you just hit the jackpot." Has any comic book character ever arrived on the scene with a better opening line than Mary Jane Watson? It was November 1966 when readers of "Amazing Spider-Man" first set eyes on the face of the girl we all know as MJ and the build-up was a big one. For months Peter Parker had been pestered by his Aunt May to meet "that nice Watson girl next door" (it was a running gag for a year in the comic, in fact), and he finally relented when he found a willowy red-haired beauty waiting on his doorstep. Spidey fans are divided between MJ and Gwen Stacy (and maybe even Black Cat?) as the hero’s true soul mate, but give MJ the nod for two reasons: It was a landmark Marvel moment in 1987 when Peter and MJ got married in the comics, and then 15 years later, they took their upside-down romance to the silver screen for three "Spider-Man" films. (Marvel; Zade Rosenthal / Columbia Pictures)Link
Princess Buttercup and Westley (also known as the Dread Pirate Roberts): The farmboy and his fair maid prove that "wuv, twoo wuv" can conquer all, including an evil prince, Rodents of Unusual Size, poisoned cups, torture machines and even death. Perhaps their magic comes from Westley's simple philosophy when it comes to relationship bliss -- "As you wish." (20th Century Fox)Link
Marge and Homer Simpson: What's the true definition of love? We have no idea. But we do know that Homer and Marge Simpson have been together longer than any other television couple -- 499 episodes to date, spread over 23 seasons, not to mention a feature film. As Homer once said, "Love isn't hopeless. Look, maybe I'm no expert on the subject, but there was one time I got it right." Yes, you did. (Matt Groening / 20th Century Fox)Link
Jane and Tarzan: Tarzan and Jane don’t get a lot of attention these days in pop culture, but they were together in 10 novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs and then swung a vine across every other imaginable medium. Jane Porter is from Baltimore and Tarzan was raised by apes -- feel free to come up with your own jokes as we go along here -- and the signature version of their romance is in the six films costarring Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan. He was the champion Olympic swimmer born in Austria-Hungary (now Romania); she was an Irish-born actress who walked away from Hollywood at the peak of her career to be with her family (which included daughter Mia Farrow). Jungle trivia: Tarzana, Calif., was named after Tarzan. Seriously. (File photo)Link
Katniss Everdeen and ...: In the third book in Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games" series, District 12 tribute Katniss Everdeen finally picks between the two men in her life: Gale Hawthorne, her hunting partner, and Peeta Mellark, her fellow tribute. We won't spoil it for you, but we think she definitely made the right choice. (Murray Close / Lionsgate)Link
Uhura and Spock: Here's a romance that has only just started but has the potential to become cosmic. The J.J. Abrams "Star Trek" reboot is writing a new alternate history for the crew of the USS Enterprise and one of the more intriguing differences is the surprise romance between Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Lt. Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana), which was revealed in compelling fashion during the explosive events of the 2009 film. The sequel is on the way, and we love how these two represent cold logic and hot emotion just the way Spock and Kirk used to. Hey, wait a minute, was that a romance too? (Paramount Pictures)Link
Catherine and Vincent: TV fantasy fans know George R.R. Martin as the author behind "Game of Thrones,” but he got an earlier taste of TV success with "Beauty and the Beast," the acclaimed live-action series (1987-1990) that won Ron Perlman a Golden Globe and helped cement Linda Hamilton as the Hollywood queen of challenged fanboy romance. As Sarah Connor in "Terminator," she didn’t get a whole lot of quality time with time-traveler Kyle Reese, and her real-life marriage to director James Cameron lasted two years and ended in a $50-million divorce. (File photo)Link
Jean Grey and Scott Summers: Scott Summers (Cyclops) was blessed, or cursed, with powerful blasts that pulverized anything he looked at. Jean Grey's (Phoenix) powers, telekinesis and telepathy, were more subtle but no less powerful. The duo clicked as students at Professor Charles Xavier's school and as X-Men. Maybe it was her ability to "see" him, into his mind, that caused the initial connection, but through numerous battles and training, a love blossomed that followed them into death and beyond. Jean Grey as Phoenix and Dark Phoenix was often unstable, but Cyclops was always the rock who stood by her … until the end. (Marvel; Kerry Hayes / 20th Century Fox)Link
Tony Stark and Tony Stark: What’s the greatest romance in the big Marvel Studios films? The less-than-cosmic chemistry between Thor and Jane Foster left us a bit cold, and that chaste romance in "Captain America: The First Avenger" was a little too Norman Rockwell. So we’ll take an unexpected route: Nobody loves anybody more (or better) than Tony Stark loves Tony Stark -- and Robert Downey Jr . is more interesting by himself than most on-screen couples. Buy yourself a box of chocolates, shellhead. (Zade Rosenthal / Marvel)Link
The Bride and the Monster: It was an electric relationship, even if it wasn't a long one. Boris Karloff was all the rage as Frankenstein's monster in the 1931 classic "Frankenstein," and then in 1935 he lurched his way into another landmark film (and one that actually tops the first movie) with "Bride of Frankenstein," with Elsa Lanchester as the startling title character. Things didn't go as planned ("She hate me! Like others!") but, man, those posters sure looked cool. (Universal Pictures)Link
Buffy and Angel... err, Spike: Buffy may be the one girl in all the world who wields the strength to fight the forces of darkness, but there are two vampires who fight for her heart. Both have souls. Both are champions. Both use a significant amount of hair product. Angel, Buffy's boyfriend while she was in high school, seems the obvious match-up in this top couples list, but pages of Spike-and-Buffy fan-fiction can't be ignored. (File photo; James Sorenson / WB Network; Justin Lubin / 20th Century Fox)Link
Zoe and "Wash": Hoban "Wash" Washburne (Alan Tudyk) and Zoe Alleyne (Gina Torres) have to be the coolest married couple in the 'Verse. In the short-lived TV series "Firefly," Wash plays with toy dinosaurs and pilots the ship Serenity like a leaf on the wind. Zoe's a deadly warrior woman whose battlefield experience makes her an excellent second-in-command to Capt. Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion). Although Wash is sometimes jealous of Zoe's relationship with fellow war veteran Mal, she proves her loyalty to her husband, and their relationship makes browncoats go "Awww." (Sidney Baldwin / Universal)Link
Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley: In their first year at Hogwarts, Ron called Hermione a nightmare. In their fifth year, Hermione told Ron he had the emotional range of a teaspoon. But by the time they left Hogwarts to hunt down horcruxes, they had an inkling of their feelings and Hermione was practically part of the Weasley family. After Ron overcame his jealousy over their mutual best pal Harry, the three of them took down Voldemort together and Ron and Hermione shared a long-awaited kiss. (Warner Bros.)Link
The TARDIS and the Doctor: The Doctor travels with many companions throughout TV's longest-running sci-fi serial, and falls in love with a handful of women who cross his time-stream, resulting in many heartbreaking farewells. But the one character always at the Doctor's side is his TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space), a.k.a. "sexy." The little blue box (bigger on the inside) carries him through space and time, and in an episode written by Neil Gaiman, finally expresses her love for her pilot and passenger. (BBC America)Link
Arwen and Aragorn: A mortal man and an immortal Elvish princess. Despite their passion and love for each other, their time was destined to be cut short by split duties to the world of man and adherence to the rules of magic. But even destiny parts ways for the heart, and Arwen discovers that an immortal life may not be worth living without your true love. (Pierre Vinet / New Line Cinema)Link
Lois Lane and Superman: Faster than a speeding bullet? Yep, that's Lois Lane when it comes to deadline reporting, and if you think a locomotive sounds powerful, try standing in the way of this savvy, relentlessly focused woman. Superman and Lois Lane have been sharing Metropolis since Day 1 -- which happens to be Action Comics No. 1 in the summer of 1938. While we think of their personas as set in stone, they have actually changed continuously through the decades and across media. One thing that stays consistent: Lois is always the hero's equal, even if she can't fly or juggle armored cars, and that connects the last son of Krypton to his adopted world. Lois had her own comic book for 16 years and, next year, she will be played by Amy Adams on the big screen. (DC; Warner Bros. Entertainment; Andrew Eccles / ABC; Marcel Williams / The CW)Link
Princess Leia and Han Solo: She has daddy issues. He has Wookiee issues. He killed Greedo. She kissed her brother. But when Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) shared a passionate kiss with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) on the forest moon of Endor, "Star Wars" fans swooned. The bossy princess and the roguish scoundrel prove that the couple that fights the Galactic Empire together, stays together. (Lucasfilm)Link
Swamp Thing and Abby: One of the most beautiful, touching and tragic relationships ever depicted in comics is the one between Swamp Thing and Abby Holland. Once it was the story of a man-turned-monster and the bride that he could no longer connect with on a human level. But in the hands of Alan Moore metaphysical layers and twists were added, calling into question the true nature of Swamp Thing -- what never changed was their soulful love and devotion.Link
John and Dejah, Mary Jane and Peter, Catherine and Vincent, Jean and Scott. On Valentine’s Day, we turn to our favorite examples of superhero love and pop culture affection.
Some of the couples on our list truly love each other — Spider-Man and MJ for instance, Marge and Homer Simpson, Princess Buttercup and her sweet Westley. Some of them truly love their things, like the Doctor and his trusty TARDIS. And some of them just love themselves. Tony Stark, anyone?
Genre entertainment has taught us that love can even flourish in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. As Steven Yuen told the Los Angeles Times, his zombie-fighting character Glenn on “The Walking Dead,” who’s Maggie’s guy, is learning a lot about true love.
“It’s not just about living for yourself,” he said, “it’s also about living for the people you love, and when you love somebody, that really opens you up.”
And if you have to interrupt the romance to kill a walker, your lady love should understand.
–Amy Hubbard and Deborah Netburn