9 Best Comic Book Insults Ever –
Superhero Comics, working with far less than film or animation, have always had to rely solely on their artwork and dialogue to sell a story or character. The moving image has flexible cinematography as well as a soundtrack and layers of sound design to aid the image and dialogue, but comic books have always been a matter of the art in the panel, and the dialogue in the bubbles.
These limitations in character building have, as you would expect, led to comic books producing hundreds-upon-hundreds of one-liners and quips – the likes of which have been lifted to infamous standing for their ridiculousness.
For an industry that has built some of the most iconic fictional characters in history off of the back of their burns, zingers and dress-downs, every comic fan (no matter how devoted or casual) has their personal favourite insult that has uttered over the last eighty years worth of funny books.
9. Aquaman’s Interview: “How’s It Feel…”
Poor Aquaman. Poor, poor Aquaman.
Despite DC’s recent Aquaman books being fixated on making the King of Atlantis as badass as possible, his cartoonish turn in the Super Friends cartoon of the 1970s has seemingly doomed him to an existence of being ‘that guy who talks to fish.’
A summary that has evolved into a running gag with the character, Aquaman’s public identity as a laughable, useless superhero has followed him from Family Guy spoofs to his own big-screen debut, which is perhaps why this thinly veiled insult of Aquaman’s popularity both in-universe and on a more meta level just feels so, so scathing.
A low blow concerning Aquaman’s long-standing ridicule, a blogger simply asking “how’s it feel to be nobody’s favourite super-hero?” was as hilarious to comic readers as it was apparently infuriating to Aquaman himself.
8. Nick Fury: “That Keg O’ Horse Apples!”
The Golden, Silver and Bronze ages of comics were rife with lingo and slang that has, at least to readers of the modern day, aged about as well as an egg mayo sandwich. (The Joker’s “Boner” tirade, anyone?)
While some dialogue and writing of that era can seem, to modern eyes, as insensitive or crass, a whole lot of it has developed an ironic charm that just puts a smile on the face of any reader. Nobody better encapsulated this kind of silly dialogue more than Marvel’s resident Super Spy, Nick Fury.
A man who seems to have been around as long as comic books themselves, Fury has been an A-List Marvel hero for 60 years now, and that kind of mileage comes with it’s bronze age dialogue by the bucket load.
Nick Fury bellowing out, in what must be one of the most bizarre insults ever printed in a comic book, “Don’t gimme that old keg o’ horse apples, ya lop-eared yahoo!” is a perfect fossil of years gone by. A warm, nostalgic time for comic books where calling someone a ‘Lop-eared yahoo’ was the very pinnacle of rugged tough-guy talk.
7. Batman And Superman: “The Last Time You Really Inspired Anyone…”
Batman and Superman, perhaps the most famous superheroes ever created, have shared a long-standing friendship and alliance that has formed (alongside Wonder Woman, of course) the cornerstone of DC Comics.
Like chalk and cheese, hot and cold or (in this case, quite literally) day and night, Batman and Superman are polar opposites of one another. One is inspiring and hopeful, the other is brutal and fear-instilling. One is a near-godlike being of immense power, the other is a normal man who trained himself from nothing. Batman and Superman will always share their differences, as seen over their 75+ years of sharing the page.
Which is why, despite all the brutality and violence readers know Batman is capable of, telling Supes that the last time he inspired anyone “was when you were dead” felt especially venomous.
Referencing Superman’s infamous death at the hands of Doomsday, this insult served to show just how opposed the world’s most famous superheroes can be when the chips are down, and how Superman’s ever-worsening public image as an overpowered boy scout simply doesn’t inspire people like it used to in the trying times of the modern day.
Speaking of Batman and Superman…
6. Deadpool And Spider-Man: “None Of That Made Sense…”
It doesn’t take a film expert to tell you that Marvel and DC haven’t exactly been on equal footing in terms of their recent cinematic endeavours. While Marvel’s cinematic universe has seemingly been dominating the Box Office for 10 years now, DC’s equivalent ‘DCEU’ has only been competing for half that time. While Marvel has had its off moments in theatres, the majority of their cinematic ventures have received praise from critics and audiences alike.
The same cannot be said, however, for Warner Bros. DCEU.
While the franchise does have its fans, it has struggled to match the critical and audience acclaim that Marvel has since 2008.
Seeing Deadpool and Spider-Man in the pages of Marvel Comics hurl criticism at a not-so-subtle stand in for Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice could simply be Deadpool being his usual fourth wall breaking self – or it’s Marvel very clearly taking a jab at DC’s shoddy critical track record of Blockbusters.
Either way, it’s a sharp, pointed insult to DC from it’s main competitor – a display of superiority that may not be the classiest, but is certainly entertaining.
5. Nick Fury And Rocket Raccoon: “What Does It Look Like?”
Nick Fury, as discussed earlier in this list, has a habit of dropping bizarre, unusual and outright hilarious one-liners and insults as seen in his 60+ years of publication. A firm rival for the crown of ‘sharp tongued, rugged badass’, thanks to his fan-favourite portrayal in the MCU’s Guardians Of The Galaxy films, is Rocket Raccoon.
The cranky, foul-mouthed munitions expert of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket has long been delivering insults and one-liners at villains and heroes alike for decades now. Put him in a heated exchange with a connoisseur of the more outlandish insults in Marvel’s history and you get the gem shown above.
An insult far more out-of-the-blue than it is particularly spiteful or hilarious, Nick Fury’s eloquent description of Rocket blindsided readers of a usually more tame Marvel Comics with a one-liner that neatly summarised the similarities between Marvel’s premiere foul-mouthed hard-asses.
4. Ultimate Captain America And Ant-Man: “Now Change Size…”
In one of the darker panels in Marvel history, Ant-Man, under the influence and stress of his new ‘Yellowjacket’ persona, struck his wife Janet (A.K.A The Wasp) to the floor. A moment that has haunted Pym even in his most recent comic outings.
The Ultimate universe, as it did with most of its heroes, went on to alter and re-write this key moment of Ant-Man history. Ultimate Hank Pym not only physically abused Janet, but went as far as forcibly shrinking her down and letting her be savaged by an army of ants. Steve Rogers, learning of this monstrous abuse, set out to teach Pym a lesson.
Dragging the weedy scientist out of a bar, Rogers wasn’t content with just pummelling an abusive man, he wanted to pummel an abusive giant. Delivering one of the most badass insults in Marvel history, Steve pins Pym against a wall and commands him to change size to “Give [him] something to hit.”
A satisfying moment of justice for a monstrous man, Captain America verbally abusing Pym into becoming a few stories tall for the sake of fairness will go down as one of the more awe-inspiring insults ever seen in comic books.
3. Alfred And Batman: “Or What, Master Bruce?”
Batman, for all his fear-tactics and brutal vigilante justice, is really only ever spoken down to by the man who raised him for most of his life, Alfred Pennyworth.
A father-figure and crime-fighting accomplice rolled into one, Alfred has begrudgingly come to accept and aid Bruce Wayne’s campaign against the crime ridden underbelly of Gotham City. However, he’s never one to suppress his disdain for Bruce’s reckless lack of personal safety and the sheer ridiculousness of his Bat-themed capers.
Alfred, in one of many sharp-tongued dress downs of Bruce, bluntly mocks Batman’s origin story and crusade against evil. Not only poking fun at a usually intimidating and brooding character, Alfred’s sarcasm pokes a hole through the thin veneer of absurdity that comes standard with every superhero comic ever written, no matter how serious it wants you to think it is.
2. Captain America And Iron Man: “You Low Rent Mercenary!”
Much like the previously dissected relationship between DC’s Superman and Batman, Marvel’s black-and-white pairing of Iron Man and Captain America has been the cause for many a conflict across the characters’ joint comic book history.
Every fan, avid or casual, can tell you about the monumental clash between the Golden Avenger and the Star Spangled Man as seen in Civil War. However, long before a battle of this scale, Iron Man and Captain America have come to blows both verbal and physical many times before.
In what is one of their first clashes, Iron Man arrives late to an Avengers rescue mission due to his insistence that Avengers are entitled to ‘their privacy’, a remark that leads Cap to slug Iron Man in the (most likely hard-as-hell) jaw. Declaring Stark nothing more than a “low rent mercenary”, Thor and Scarlett Witch wade in to break up the arguing pair.
Far less a singular insult than it was indicative of many more fights to come, Captain America labelling Iron Man just a common mercenary was the first sign of stress in an ever-rocky allegiance that would eventually evolve into a war, and change the course of the Marvel universe forever.
1. Ultimate Spider-Man And Kingpin: Every Single Fight
A comic book hero synonymous with quips and one-liners, Spider-Man has repeatedly cemented himself as the tried-and-true king of the mid-battle insult.
In what is a self-admitted coping mechanism with fear and stress, Peter Parker has been hurling out jabs and jests since his very first appearance in 1962. A character trait to be expected with a Superhero who had his first life-or-death super-powered battles at the mere age of 15.
The Ultimate Universe rendition of everybody’s favourite wall-crawler was no slouch in the jokes department either, and nowhere is this better seen that in every occasion that Peter finds himself up against Wilson Fisk, AKA The Kingpin. From offhand remarks to a hand-written lists prepared beforehand, Ultimate Peter Parker has fired off more cutting insults to Fisk than he has webs from his shooters.
There have been dozens upon dozens of immature, crude insults hurled at Kingpin by Spidey over the years, far more than I could possibly quote, but flick to the pages of any Ultimate Spider-Man comic involving Kingpin and you’re sure to see the most hilarious superhero ever written at his very best.