While the DCEU is the cornerstone of DC Comics today, its animated universe might well be the true crown jewel. From 1992 to 2006, the DC Animated Universe (DCAU) was the original shared universe and part of every comic book-lover’s life. Not only was the actual animation fantastic, but the richness in storytelling was unrivaled and ahead of its time, too. In fact, you’ll still find many of these shows constantly listed as the top animated series of all time – and with the Justice League voice cast recently saying they’d be up for a reunion, it might not be the last we’ve seen of the fabled Timmverse.
As a beloved part of animated history, it should come as no surprise that the internet has turned to the characters and settings for meme inspiration. Heck, even some of the dialogue on the shows could be deemed meme-worthy – but we didn’t cheat here. No, we went out and spent countless hours searching for the best of the best in the darkest corners of the web. Take a seat because it’s about to get dank-erous with these 15 side-splitting DCAU memes.
15. THE LION KING RISES
“Look, Simba, everything the light touches is our kingdom.”
“Everything the light touches… What about that shadowy place?”
“That’s Gotham. You must never go there, Simba.”
In many ways Simba and Bruce Wayne’s lives are parallels: they lost parents (although, Simba still had his mother, Sarabi) and left their respective homes only to return and claim their rightful place as “king.” From their tragedies, their strength of character was born and they became protectors of their people.
It’s not hard to imagine Simba and Bruce forging a friendship and sharing their sullen stories. We’d like to say Simba could become Batman’s Robin, but since lions age faster than humans, it might make his lifespan as the Lion Wonder problematic. Maybe he could become Nightmane or something?
It’s safe to say that Ryan Reynolds doesn’t have many good things to say about 2011’s Green Lantern. What was meant to be the start of the DCEU quickly became one of the most derided superhero films of all time. Since then, Reynolds hasn’t been shy of taking the odd potshot or two at the film, even throwing shade at the green CGI suit in Deadpool.
In all fairness, Reynolds was born to play Wade Wilson. There’s no one better for the part and it’s undoubtedly one of the best castings we’ve ever seen. Still, he made a pretty good Hal Jordan and we think he would’ve done well in future DCEU movies. In a parallel universe somewhere, Reynolds might’ve starred in last year’s Justice League.
13. SUPER FACEPALM
Superman is one of the most powerful beings on the planet, but even he doesn’t have the ability to save people from their own stupidity. Like the person who thought it would be a good idea to digitally remove a mustache from Henry Cavill’s upper lip and subsequently turn him into Shrek. How was that even approved by a multibillion dollar company we still don’t know…
Undoubtedly, the person who must annoy Supes the most is Mr. Mxyzptlk. While he’s not exactly the worst of the worst in terms of supervillains, the imp has done more damage to the Man of Steel’s chi than anyone else by being a gnat-like nuisance. That said, Batman must also be high up on the list of people who make Clark’s blood pressure soar.
12. MY NAME IS TERRY MCGINNIS
In theory, the Batman Beyond concept should’ve failed, because who would want to watch someone else play Batman except for Bruce Wayne? Well, it didn’t. The show was a roaring success for DC and the characters eventually became a part of official canon. In fact, we can’t imagine a world without Terry McGinnis and the cyberpunk Neo Gotham.
One of the best parts about the series was its opening sequence, which featured a futuristic, dark electronica-meets-rock theme song. Composer Kristopher Carter revealed to The Audio Spotlight how the producers of the show also fell in love with the music. “All [the songs] were heavy, rocking and thematic, and the producers were really enthusiastic to have us work on the show. They gravitated to one in particular – jokingly named ‘Smells Like Creamed Spinach’ – to be the theme song.”
11. RIDDLE ME THIS
Sure, the Riddler might be one of Batman’s most famous foes and the one who gives his brain the biggest workout, but he’s also the stupidest of the lot. If you’re a criminal, the first thing they teach you in Crime 101 is to keep quiet about your deed. And two, don’t let anyone know you’re involved in it.
Yet, Mr. Nigma just needs to give the Dark Knight a chance at defeating his game. He can’t keep his trap shut and let the Bat’s noggin do all the thinking. Instead, he throws in all these little clues and questions that have definitive answers. Are you surprised that he’s been unsuccessful to date? Mind you, if the Riddler was a millennial, he’d likely demand that the game be multiple choice as well.
10. THE BOY BLUNDER
In Batman: The Animated Series, we got to see quite a bit of Dick Grayson as Robin and then later as Nightwing. Still, Batman worked mostly alone, even if he had the Boy Wonder as his partner. Unfortunately, the Dark Knight struggles to play nice with others and prefers to tackle issues on his lonesome.
The series introduced us to the two sides of Grayson: the playful, lighthearted teenager and the young man who’s as emotionally damaged as Bruce Wayne. Who could ever forget the two-part “Robin’s Reckoning,” where we saw the apprentice in training finally become a hero? It’s one of the best arcs of the series and shows us that Bruce Wayne was right in what he saw in Dick Grayson. He was always meant to be better than Batman.
9. JEALOUS DISNEY
While Disney has a leg up over Warner Bros. with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it still hasn’t produced an animated series to rival the success of Batman: The Animated Series. After all, it was a four-time Emmy-winning show, and is constantly cited as one of the best cartoons of all time. In addition to this, it’s a franchise in itself, with multiple spin-offs and inspirations coming from the show.
The success and critical acclaim wouldn’t be lost on Disney, either. With most of the Marvel properties now back “home”, the company will undoubtedly try to replicate what B:TAS did with another series. Is it possible? Sure, but it’ll take a lot to dethrone the show. All the stars aligned for WB in the ’90s and there’s a reason it’s remembered as fondly as it is today.
8. SAD BATMAN
Man, Batman is such a sad chap. You just want to buy the guy a Happy Meal as he constantly looks like he’s carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Yeah, his parents were murdered in front of him when he was a child, but you’d think years of therapy would help him drown out the demons by now.
Unfortunately, he remains glum and seeing him crack a smile is rare (although, not impossible). It certainly wouldn’t be surprising to find out that his favorite song is The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes.” Or would the Dark Knight prefer the Limp Bizkit version of the song? Oh, who are we kidding here, Batman would likely pulverize Fred Durst for his fashion crimes against humanity.
7. HATERS GONNA HATE
If there’s one thing that we can all learn from the Joker, it’s that it’s important to be yourself. No matter what the doubters say, you be you – even if you’re exceptionally strange and eccentric. At the end of the day, none of us are getting out of this thing called life alive, so why not go all out and reject conformity?!
In the DCAU, the Joker did just that. From his bizarre outfits to insane sense of humor, he lived his life to the fullest. He didn’t care what the haters thought about him or his style choices, because he was having a whale of a time. While Batman brooded on top of a gargoyle, Mr. J had a party and ensured that he was the guy whom you’d want to hang with in real life.
6. BROKEN ARROW
The Green Arrow had to wait a long time to make his DCAU appearance, finally making his bow in Justice League Unlimited. Fortunately, the writers nailed his character perfectly and he was the type of mouthy, self-centered douche whom we’d come to know in the comic books. Seriously, the writing was on point and pitch-perfect for him.
With Arrow constantly ripping off Batman in every way possible, the question has often been posed: who would win a fight between the two heroes? Honestly, if you have to even ask this, you’re in the wrong place. The Dark Knight would beat the snark out of him and shove his arrows where Felicity Smoak belongs. It’s a no-brainer here – the Caped Crusader has no time for Oliver Queen’s monologues and nonsense.
5. TROLL FACE
When we get old, we should all aspire to be like Old Man Wayne. He isn’t a “get off my lawn” type of senior citizen; he’s more like a “I’ll knock out your teeth if you ever come near my house again” guy – and he would. His grumpiness and overall sneering were so much more endearing in Batman Beyond as he cemented himself as the grandfather we all wish we had.
Nonetheless, he never missed an opportunity to smirk at someone’s misfortune or Terry’s bad jokes. Choosing to be a seasoned troll, he ignored what was shway and found the bright side of crime-fighting. If Warner Bros. was smart, it’d get a Batman Beyond live-action film into production as soon as possible and get Michael Keaton to return as Wayne, because the actor has the perfect troll face.
4. BECAUSE BATMAN
Considering DC Comics possesses a variety of superpowered (and even overpowered) individuals, it’s kind of funny how everyone would still choose to be Batman instead. Look, that Wayne fortune does look rather nice and no one would want Clark Kent’s Daily Planet salary, but wouldn’t you want legitimate superpowers rather than money?
Nah. It’s much more fun to tell everyone your reasoning is “because I’m Batman”. That alone makes any conversation worth it. Also, cruising around in the Batmobile turns you into an instant baller. Seeing that black beauty rolling around a corner is enough to make panties drop, and make everyone green with envy. Actually, it all makes sense now. If you want to stick it to those who’ve doubted you in life, you become Batman.
3. THE ULTIMATE FANGIRL
There’s nothing healthy about Harley Quinn’s obsession with the Joker. He’s violent, abusive, and couldn’t care less if she were torn to pieces by their pet hyenas. Actually, that sums up most fangirl and celebrity relationships. If we’ve learned anything with this wave of celebrity abuse stories, it’s that it’s time for people to take the power back and not condone certain behavior.
To be fair, DC Comics has written the Harley character as a stronger, independent female in recent years. She’s no longer obsessed with Mr. J and forged her own path in the comic books. Hopefully, we’ll see the live-action version of this relationship follow suit. No one needs to see that type of “romance” prosper or become a relationship goal for other people.
The success of a show can be measured by how well someone recognizes its acronym. In the case of Batman: The Animated Series, nearly every single Dark Knight fan knows what B:TAS stands for. Funny enough, if you rearrange the letters, it spells out B-A-T-S, which is rather apt and great.
What isn’t great is that we haven’t had a solo Batman animated series since Beware the Batman in 2014. Since the show’s cancellation (with no official reason provided), Batman fans have been eager and clamoring for something to replace it. Sure, we can get our Caped Crusader fix with Justice League Action (and he is a big part of the program), but we need another Bat-centric show. In fact, what would you say to a B:TAS revival?
1. THE MAN OF STEAL
You gotta feel for Superman. After Man of Steel, you’d expect his sequel to be all about him, but no, it became the damn Batman show in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Bar Clark’s sacrifice at the end (oh yeah, spoiler alert), he mostly remained on the periphery of the theatrical cut of the film.
With Man of Steel 2‘s future in question after Justice League‘s underperformance at the box office, it’s an uncertain time for Supes. He’d just found his mojo in DC films, but the studio execs are more interested in Suicide Squad 2 and letting Jared Leto’s Juggalo Joker run amok on the set. While Superman might be a big fan of justice, sometimes there’s simply none of it in this world.
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