At one time, deaths of superheroes were a huge deal in comic books. When Jean Grey died during the Dark Phoenix Saga in the pages of X-Men comics, it was a monumental moment in comic book history. The Death of Captain Marvel graphic novel revolutionized a new form of storytelling. The Death of Superman was one of the most-popular and well-known stories in the history of the medium. These are all moments that long-time fans of comics look back on and remember clearly from their time reading and collecting. However, something changed over the years when it comes to death in comic books.
Superman was dead for a very short time. Batman died and returned from the dead quickly a few times. The second Robin, Jason Todd, died after a fan vote but returned years later. Jean Grey died and came back again, and again, and again. Even Captain America died (but not really) and quickly returned. After a while, the running joke was that the only characters in comics that really died, and stayed dead, were Uncle Ben, Bucky Barnes and Gwen Stacy. That list is now down to just Uncle Ben. With death no longer lasting, here are some of the best memes roasting the heck out of superhero deaths.
15. BATMAN HATES CHRISTMAS
One of the most popular DC Comics memes ever made was one of Batman slapping Robin in the face with often funny and awkward quotes added to the word bubbles. The original comic book panel was from World’s Finest #153 in an alternate world story where Batman believed that Superman and Superboy were responsible for his parent’s death. Robin wanted Batman to stop his obsession, and Batman didn’t take it well.
Some of the memes dealt with the same topic – the death of Batman’s parents – while others just went off the rails with other jokes, from the ridiculous to the hilarious. In this specific Batman meme, the topic of the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne remained, but the addition was Robin asking what Batman was getting from them for Christmas. It’s proof that Robin is kind of a jerk.
14. SUPERMAN VS GOKU
Debates about who could beat who in a fight have always remained popular with comic book fans, and when video games or anime join in, that makes the arguments even more intense. One of the fiercest debates between fans involves who would win a fight between Superman and anime hero, Goku. Successful videos on YouTube show Superman winning most of the battles, much to the chagrin of Dragon Ball fans worldwide.
While the videos remain very popular, both for debate purposes and a way to troll fans of one character or the other, memes started to pop up as well. This specific meme was clearly created by a fan of Goku and Dragon Ball. It features the famous comic panel showing Lois Lane holding a dead Superman in her arms during the Death of Superman storyline. In this case, the perpetrator was not Doomsday but Goku.
13. BAD JOKE AMON TROLLS JASON TODD
Amon is a character from Avatar: The Legend of Korra and there was a scene in Book One: Air, episode three, where Amon is hosting an underground event. He gives a huge speech where he talks about his motivations for creating the equalists in response to the death of his parents. This caused a lot of people to create memes where Amon becomes a comedian, many of them based on inside jokes in the Avatar world, but taken to ridiculous levels.
However, as this meme proves, Bad Joke Amon didn’t always target the world of Avatar. In this case, Amon focused on DC Comics and the world of Batman’s sidekick Robin. Of course, the reference in this meme is Jason Todd and his death at the hands of The Joker in the Death in the Family storyline, using a simple play on words.
12. STAN LEE TROLLS BATMAN AND SPIDER-MAN
It seems that the world of comics has a habit of killing a heroes parents as a motivation for the mourning children to become superheroes. It works the same both in DC Comics and Marvel Comics, as creators see it as an easy way to create origin stories surrounding the death of loved ones. Whether looking at Batman, Superman, Spider-Man or Blade, the heroes start their journey when they lose a parental figure.
This meme has a double-take on the joke. The big joke is that Stan Lee is admonishing a fighting Spider-Man and Batman by threatening to call their parents, although all four are dead. The meta-joke is that Stan Lee was the man who “killed” Spider-Man’s parents. The only problem is that Spider-Man’s parents were killed in his backstory and it was actually the death of his Uncle Ben that fans witnessed. Still, this was harsh, Stan.
11. UNCLE BEN IS TIRED OF DYING
A popular joke when it comes to DC Comics movies is how Warner Bros. will show Thomas and Martha Wayne murdered in every reboot, as the couple died in Batman, Batman Begins and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Luckily for Uncle Ben, he only had to die twice, once in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (plus a flashback later on) and another time in Amazing Spider-Man. When Marvel got the character, enough was enough and Spider-Man came pre-made for that movie — no origin story required.
In this Spider-Man meme, Cliff Robertson, who portrayed Uncle Ben in Raimi’s Spider-Man, is dying after taking a bullet, and faces Spider-Man. This is a newer meme as the Spider-Man is from Captain America: Civil War, and Uncle Ben demands that this be the last reboot because he is tired of dying. While Spidey says “no promises,” Uncle Ben escaped his third death on screen thanks to Marvel.
10. JEAN GREY WILL BE RIGHT BACK
There are few people in comics that have died and returned from the dead as many times as Jean Grey, and it appears that it is happening again at the time of this list’s writing. When Jean first died in the Dark Phoenix Saga, it was one of the most shocking and memorable moments in Marvel history, something no one thought could happen at the time. That remains a landmark comic moment even though the years have proven it is no longer unique or special.
Marvel created the character of Madelyne Pryor to replace Jean Grey, but that only lasted until Jean returned from the grave the first time. The total times that Jean Grey has lived and died is up for debate, with some moments retconned and others questionable due to the reasons for her return from the dead, but needless to say, Jean dying now has little meaning. That makes this meme, with her tombstone saying BRB (be right back), a completely accurate response.
9. QUICKSILVER CAN STOP BULLETS
Movie fans who know nothing about comic books were likely confused when two different versions of Quicksilver showed up at the same time, one in Avengers: Age of Ultron and the second in X-Men: Days of Future Past. It was even more confusing for fans of Kick-Ass since the actors who played the two different Quicksilvers also played best friends in the Mark Millar comic book movie. However, this superhero death meme took a different take on the joke.
Out of the two versions, it was the X-Men version that fans seemed to love more, and who was way more powerful. As a fun version of Quicksilver, it really wasn’t an accurate portrayal of the Marvel superhero, but it was a hugely entertaining character for the X-Men movies, with his super speed acts of heroism a highlight of the film. On the other hand, the Marvel version couldn’t even outrun bullets, much less anything else.
8. SUICIDE SQUAD: 2017
When DC Comics brought Suicide Squad to the big screen, the idea was that the U.S. government wanted to use supervillains to complete dangerous tasks and threatened to kill them if they failed or tried to betray their holders. Only one member of the team died via the suicide gimmick though, making the idea just a threat that was only lip service for the rest of the movie.
This meme took the plot from 2017 comic book movies and dubbed it with the suicide theme, as three significant characters sacrificed their own lives, ultimately trumping the DC movie. Those were Yondu, who allowed himself to die to save Peter Quill; Steve Trevor, who took a plane on a suicide mission to save the world; and Wolverine, who died to save young mutants on the run.
7. BANE AND HIS INHALER
The Bad Luck Brian meme takes the school photo of a teenage boy in a red plaid vest and braces and then adds the caption of something embarrassing or humiliating that happens after attempting something basic and routine. The very first Bad Luck Brian meme said “takes driving test … gets first DUI.” Since then, hundreds of memes were made using the photo with similar jokes.
This version replaces Brian with Bane from The Dark Knight Rises, keeping the same sweater vest and replacing the head with a masked Bane. The joke centers on what some consider one of the worst deaths in comic book movie history. Bane broke Batman’s back and was one of his most lethal foes. In the movie, Batman cuts his inhalation device as revenge, causing him great pain and weakening him, before Catwoman finishes him off.
6. AGENT COULSON: TO BE CONTINUED
While death in comics is something that no one takes seriously anymore, the same was not true for movies. Outside of rebooting a franchise, when a hero or villain died they remained dead because the films took a more realistic approach to heroes and villains when it came to mortality. That made it surprising when one significant death in the Marvel Cinematic Universe ended up retconned after the fact. If a human such as Agent Phil Coulson doesn’t stay dead, that means anyone can return from the dead.
Of course, the death happened in The Avengers and was, as Nick Fury told Maria Hill, a way for him to get the squabbling Avengers to shut up and work together to take down Loki, stop an alien invasion, and save the world. While he never said Coulson lived, when he returned in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel proved his death was nothing more than a dramatic moment in the movie.
5. ROBIN IS A JERK
Many Batman memes show Robin being a jerk when it comes to being sensitive about his mentor losing both parents as a child. In the case of Dick Grayson, this makes no sense because he also lost his parents and Batman took him in. However, all the Batman and Robin memes with Batman’s parent’s deaths are much funnier when a person imagines that it is Damian Wayne that trolls his father when it comes to the tragedy that created the Bat.
This meme features the character from the old animated cartoons and shows a sad Batman talking to Robin in the corner after he opens a present that has a “World’s Deadest Parents” coffee mug. Honestly, this sounds like something that Damien would do, being the inconsiderate little snot that he mostly is in the comics and animated movies. The idea of sad Batman is also a nice touch, a perfect addition to this meme.
4. ROBIN WISHES HE WAS BUCKY
The most popular sidekick in DC Comics history is easily Batman’s little buddy Robin. The most popular sidekick in Marvel Comics is arguably Bucky Barnes, the original partner of World War II-era Captain America. While the original Robin grew up to be a fine upstanding young man in Nightwing, the second Robin, Jason Todd, had a fate similar to Bucky. Both sidekicks died as their mentors watched helplessly.
This meme touches on how the two heroes died. Bucky died horrifically, trying to help Captain America stop a rocket and then dying when it exploded. On the other hand, The Joker beat Robin to death with a crowbar. While both heroes ended up returning from the dead, Bucky surviving the explosion and Robin resurrected, clearly one’s fate remains much more brutal than the other.
3. BATMAN SEEMS DISTRACTED
In 1992, DC Comics had the most significant storyline in company history when it killed Superman. The story was The Death of Superman, and while he didn’t remain dead, it was one of the best-selling comics of all time. The death came at the hands of Doomsday and DC followed this up with a special one-issue Funeral for a Friend comic where heroes and friends from all over the world paid their respects to the Man of Steel following his death.
This meme takes the idea of Superman dying and touches on one part of the photo that seems out-of-place. As Jonathan and Martha Kent are in tears, Jimmy Olsen and Supergirl are sad, Lois Lane is in tears, and even Robin looks very depressed, there is Batman, standing stoic and staring off into space. It is easy to see him wondering if he might have left the oven on before heading to the funeral.
2. SUPERMAN JUST KILLED … MY JOB
There are a lot of senseless and tragic deaths in the Injustice: Gods Among Us comic book series. The comics served as a prequel to the video game and focused on an alternate world Superman, who lost grips on his sanity after Joker tricked him into killing a pregnant Lois Lane. After this happened, Superman decided to implement law and order at all costs and started out by murdering The Joker.
This Injustice meme shows the exact moment Superman kills The Joker as Batman stands in the background and looks on in shock. The second photo is the closeup of Batman’s shocked expression with the funny comment that Superman just killed his job by killing his main enemy. Of course, Batman found another job: messing with Superman’s plans every step of the way for the next few years, both in the game and the comics.
1. BATMAN V SUPERMAN: NEVER MIND
Both Marvel Comics and DC Comics had a series of seemingly never-ending memes concerning the companies’ two movies where heroes battle one another. Those were, of course, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War. Those memes also played out the exact same way, showing either Captain America and Iron Man or Batman and Superman having a silly disagreement that led to their battle.
In this Batman V Superman meme, it took two jokes and added them together for maximum effect. The first joke was the entire idea of what leads to the war between the world’s two greatest heroes, with the twist here that they decided not to fight at all. The reason is the second joke, a twist on the much-derided “Martha” moment where the two realize they are orphans and therefore have no reason to fight.
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