While I agree banning marriage outright in comics is inherently stupid, how many comic book marriages have actually been done well? Or not been subject to intentional sabotage?
Lois Lane and Superman? DC did everything in their power to stop the marriage from happening, including giving Lois a sleazy ex-boyfriend to hook up with during and after "The Death of Superman" (the oh-so-disgusting Jeb Friedman), had her dump Superman upon Jeb's death, made her emotionally abusive to Clark and unaccepting of his life as Superman, had her repeatedly try to walk out on Clark during their marriage for selfish and stupid reasons (this isn't even counting the time the Parasite impersonated her), and had her being irrationally jealous and hateful toward Clark's female peers. There were also numerous story pitches to "One More Day" the marriage out of existence (including an infamous pitch by Mark Waid, Grant Morrrison, Mark Millar, and Tom Peyer), constant complaints from the writers about how the marriage was inherently horrible and how the Love Triangle was inherently superior, and endless whining about how WB interfered with DC's grand plans by expecting DC to honor their original deal to marry them off in tandem with LOIS & CLARK (a show developed at DC, no less!). I remember fans calling Lois "Superb****" for the way she treated Superman and creators like Gail Simone calling Lois out for her behavior, but DC insisted tooth and nail that Lois was being a strong female role model and the complaints were unwarranted.
Spider-Man? Even before he sold out MJ and Mayday to Mephisto, the Clone Saga was intended to destroy his marriage from the off. Failing that, they tried killing MJ off in a plane crash (it didn't stick). Unlike Superman, Spider-Man actually had a strong, solid marriage with actual staying power. It still didn't stop Marvel from wanting it snuffed.
Green Arrow and Black Canary? Sabotaged from day one. There was never any intention to making that work, which was a total shame.
Reed and Sue Richards? Well, there's always Namor chasing after her. Can we really say with any credibility that smashing that couple up isn't something Marvel's wanted to do on and off over the years?
Aquaman and Mera were broken up for a long stretch prior to the 2000s. Heck, they even killed off Aquaman's son for no good reason.
The less said about Ralph and Sue Dibny and Ray Palmer and Jean Loring, the better.
Let's face it, the insane hatred of marriage at DC and Marvel has been going on for a long, long time now. Can we really be so shocked that it's now being enforced as official policy?
In fairness to Stern, by the time they actually married Lois and Clark (forced by WB since DC broke the original agreement), he was only writing Superman once every three months at best. He had barely any say in the direction DC wanted. Even Dan Jurgens, the senior writer at that point, had little say on the matter (he talked about not liking his colleagues' tendency toward making Lois unsavory in a podcast interview once). And Ron Frenz gave me an earful of anger over the Lois/Jeb/Superman triangle when I met him at Motor City Con years ago. The people who really believed that a Lois/Superman marriage was valid either had no power or weren't in positions of influence at that point. So I can't and won't blame them for what went down, especially since the anti-marriage mentality continued well after they left.
I will give the Spider-Man writers you mentioned all the credit in the world for making Spidey's marriage worthwhile. In spite of what Marvel kept trying, they did make Spider-Man's marriage everything a superhero marriage should be, which makes "One More Day" that much more of a betrayal. Also, I won't blame JMS for "One More Day." It wasn't his call, the final story wasn't even really his, and he trashed it mercilessly in THOR almost immediately afterward.
However, I have to say that all the efforts to break up couples actually don't make me want to see love triangles for two or will-they-won't-they gags. Far from it. They tend to make me hate the characters in question. I absolutely despise Lois Lane at this point; the character's been permanently poisoned for me and I don't ever want to see her with Superman again. Green Arrow and Black Canary both came out of the CRY FOR JUSTICE/RISE OF ARSENAL looking like selfish, immature jerks, and I don't care whether or not they ever try it again. And I LOATHE Peter Parker after "One More Day/Brand New Day"; there's just no redemption for that character after what he did, and I don't want MJ to go back with him under any circumstances. You can't do that much damage to the characters and still expect me to root for them. I don't want Superman married to someone who doesn't care about him or respect him. I don't want MJ to be married to someone who, after years of what should have been unshakeable loyalty, threw it all away in an act of self-admitted selfishness. I don't want to see a couple that SHOULD be together break up because they're both too stupid and infantile to conduct themselves like adults. I'm not the stunted, nihilistic moron DC and Marvel want as their readership. I don't want stupid, contrived soap opera or endless misery for the heroes. And if that's all they want to put out, I'm not interested.
I'll be totally honest, the SUPERMAN & WONDER WOMAN book DC's putting out? I have zero hopes for it. I like Clark and Diana as a couple, I think there's a ton of potential there, but why should I trust DC to not sabotage this the way they did to his relationship with Lois? What reason do I have to believe they won't screw this up and make both characters look bad? There's something to be said for the erosion of trust, especially given what they've pulled in the past.
I know that at least on DC's end, the whole thing behind breaking up the Superman/Lois marriage and the Barry Allen/Iris West marriage was because they wanted to get new readers for the comics.
I think it's because they fear married characters can't be the source of good stories.
I agree, it is lazy.
I think it's also they fear that marriage ages a character too much. Same with having children. It's why they retconned Lian Harper out of existence. I think DC believed that young readers wouldn't see Roy Harper as awesome if he had a child.
Personally, I thought Roy was awesome for being a man and raising his daughter. It made him unique.
Well, Harper isn't a well-known character, true. but he did develop a bit of a fanbase. And I grew fond of the guy because well, he managed to be a superhero, an ex-government agent, beat a heroin addiction, and raised a healthy, happy young daughter. He was an awesome character.
"Arsenal" wasn't a recent codename for him. He used it for a while way back in the 1990s, and then became "Red Arrow" when he joined the Justice League. (The Red Arrow thing was an ad-lib to keep his real name from being dropped accidentally. He also went by that name in the Elseworlds story Kingdom Come.)
Yeah, it seems in their obsession with getting "New Readers", DC is forgetting what gave them their fans in the first place.