DC’s Funniest Marvel References

DC and Marvel have been rivals for nearly sixty years now. It’s not surprising to see both companies taking friendly shots at one another, or even creating clones of the other companies’ characters to use in their own universe. However, some of the best references are often hilarious references that fans have either long forgotten, or never noticed.



In DC’s case, they’ve had decades of dealing with Marvel Comics. A company that’s never been afraid to rely on parody, it’s not surprising that DC has been poking fun at their rivals dating back to the beginning of Marvel working on superhero comics.


10 Booster Gold Thinks Superheroes Have To Be In Great Health

Issue

Formerly Known As The Justice League #3

Creators

Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Kevin Maguire, Jo Rubenstein, Bob Lappan, and Lee Loughridge

Booster Gold and Blue Beetle discuss Blue Beetle's heart condition

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Bearing a strong resemblance to DC creations, Marvel characters like Hyperion, Nova, and Black Cat toe the line between inspiration and overt copying.

The Justice League International experienced a semi-revival in the miniseries Formerly Known As The Justice League. This miniseries cranked up the comedy for the second run, resulting in some hilarious misadventures. In one issue, the team gets kidnapped and placed into separate cages. While there, Blue Beetle mentions his nervousness about his “heart condition”, while his best friend blows it off. When Booster explains superheroes don’t get heart conditions, Blue Beetle references “that guy in the armor”.

Of course, this is a reference to Silver Age Iron Man, where Tony Stark is known to struggle with a heart condition as much as he does the villains. Booster points out the Armored Avenger is just “a comic book character”, which is hilarious considering it implies Booster thinks only healthy people can become heroes.

9 Peter Parker Appears To Take Some Photos Of Queen Bee’s Punishment

Issue

The Brave And The Bold #64

Creators

Bob Haney, Win Mortimer, and Stan Starkman

Batman Paddling Queen Bee While Peter Parker Takes A Photo

The 1960s were a different time. A few years after Peter Parker had become one of Marvel’s most popular heroes in The Amazing Spider-Man, creators were already finding ways to poke fun of him. In an issue of The Brave and the Bold, Batman gets pulled into an adventure involving Eclipso and the Silver Age Queen Bee. This Queen Bee, Maria Monroe, was really a rich heiress who had a habit of endangering her life with silly stunts.

After one such stunt where she climbed the top of a bridge, Batman pulled her down and gave her a paddling as discipline. At the same time, a photographer that looks suspiciously like classic Peter Parker was around to take a few snapshots, which wound up in “The Daily Blade” the next day. It’s the kind of thing that wouldn’t fly today but was hilariously common in the ’60s.

8 The Inferior Five Beat Up The Fantastic Four And Spider-Man

Issue

Inferior Five (Vol.1) #10

Creators

E. Nelson Bridwell, Win Mortimer, Tex Blaisdell, and Ray Holloway

Even as early as the ’60s, there were creators doing some great superhero parodies. The Inferior Five were a group of incompetent heroes who kept narrowly surviving their superhero “adventures” through the power of gag humor. Near the end of their original run, the team attempted to take on an alien invasion with disastrous results.

Though the Inferior Five arrived to fight, they were joined by some familiar heroes with unfamiliar names: the Cobweb Kid, the Sub-Moron, and the Kookie Quartet. Of course, these heroes represented some of Marvel’s biggest characters at the time: Spider-Man, Namor, and The Fantastic Four. These heroes were bad enough at their job, but the Inferior Five made it even worse with their misguided attempts at teamwork.

7 Batman Reveals He’s Jealous Of A Certain “Peter-Come-Lately”

Issue

The Brave And The Bold #74

Creators

Bob Haney, Ross Andru, Mike Esposito, and Stan Starkman

Batman Traveling Through The Skies By Pole Swinging

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The Brave and the Bold really seemed to have a problem with Spider-Man. At the start of an adventure with the Metal Men, The Brave and the Bold Vol 1 #74 opens with Batman traversing the Gotham City streets. The Dark Knight is doing a mix of exercising and showing off, but in the middle he does a spin off a pole before bounding off to the next building. However, in the middle of the spin, he notes it’s a move he was doing “before anybody, including a certain web-spinning Peter-Come-Lately”.

It’s frankly hilarious to believe that rather than spending his nights looking for crime, Batman is instead focused on how he was doing midair acrobatics before Spider-Man. Worse, he’s apparently aware of Spider-Man’s secret identity as Peter Parker.

6 Chameleon Boy Points Out Web Usage Is Not Copyrighted

Issue

Adventure Comics (Vol. 1) #350

Creators

E. Nelson bridwell, Curt Swan, George Klein, and Milt Snapinn

Chameleon Boy Transforms And Webs Up An Enemy

DC in general seemed to love poking fun at the biggest hero in Marvel Comics. In Adventure Comics #350, most of the story is about Superman and Supergirl being forced to abandon the 30th century and their friends in the Legion of Super-Heroes because a Kryptonite cloud has come to Earth in the future. While they’re stuck in the past, the Legion is challenged by a new set of foes who successfully take Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl out of action.

However, a later rematch proves the Legion of Super-Heroes are the superior fighters. During Chameleon Boy’s fight, he decides to transform and use the webbing of a spider to stop his opponent from moving. As if they were terrified of Spider-Man fans sending them letters, Chameleon Boy quickly points out he’s been around longer than a certain “web-headed character”.

5 Scarlet Skier And Mister Nebula Decorate The Stars

Issue

Justice League Quarterly #2

Creators

Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Tom Artis, Randy Elliott, Bruce D. Patterson, Gene D’Angelo, and Bob Pinaha

Justice League Quarterly (1991) #2 By Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Tom Artis, Randy Elliott, Bruce D. Patterson, Gene D’Angelo, Bob Pinaha

Keith Giffen lovingly poked fun at many of the most popular elements of DC Comics. However, he wasn’t afraid of messing about with Marvel either, as shown in Justice League Quarterly #2. The issue centers around the arrival of Mister Nebula to planet Earth, on the search for his herald, the Scarlet Skier. Marvel fans might notice Mister Nebula bears no small resemblance to Fantastic Four villain Galactus. Likewise, Scarlet Skier as his “herald” isn’t very far from one of Marvel’s strongest characters, the Silver Surfer.

In this universe though, rather than consuming planets, Mister Nebula isn’t satisfied until he’s given them garish makeovers. Meanwhile, the Scarlet Skier is asked to find planets suitable for Mister Nebula’s unique sense of fashion. In Justice League Quarterly #2, Nebula almost decides to make over the Earth, but J’onn tricks him into abandoning the mission by showing him a place that already has Nebula’s tastes: Las Vegas.

4 Bart Reminds Everyone He’s A Comic Book Fan

Issue

Young Justice #7

Creators

Brian Michael Bendis, John Timms, Dan Hipp, David Lafuente, Gabe Eltaeb, and Wes Abbott

Bart mentions the Infinity Gauntlet while trying to avoid being hit by the Multiverse Mallet

In their 2019 ongoing, Young Justice was re-introduced to the DC Universe canon. However, along with their happy reunion they were sent all across the multiverse, landing on multiple alternate Earths. Eventually they visit Earth-26, the home of Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew. Asking the cartoon super-team for help, one of the Zoo Crew fetches the Multiverse Mallet to send them away.

As Tim Drake wondered about the logic of using a giant hammer to be transported across the multiverse, Bart had another idea in mind. He suggested the Zoo Crew find a “big, orange glove with jewels on it”, referencing Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet and the Infinity Gems. It’s a subtle reminder that Bart was always a comic book fan, though the gems never seemed to be able to send people to other universes.

3 Robin Refuses To Be Treated Like Peter Parker

Issue

Batman (Vol. 1) #229

Creators

Robert Kanigher, Irv Norick, Frank Giacoia, Mike Friedrich, and John Constanze

Robin walking away from an editor while poking fun at Peter Parker's day job

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Nightwing has flourished well outside of Batman’s shadow, and these are some of the best DC comics starring the former Robin, Dick Grayson.

Apparently, the very idea of working as a newspaper photographer was just too good not to poke fun at. By the early ’70s, Batman’s side-kick Robin got his own solo comic as a back-up in the Batman comic. Dick Grayson spent most of his time attending college at Hudson University, becoming Robin when necessary. In Batman #229, Robin goes looking for the people responsible for a smear campaign on a political candidate.

After finding the people responsible, Robin brings photographic proof to a newspaper. Before he leaves, the paper’s editor suggests Robin could easily make money by taking photos of himself and his cases. Realizing how close this sounds to Spider-Man’s job, Robin suggests the J. Jonah Jameson knock-off bark up Peter Parker’s tree instead of his own.

2 Slade Wilson Learns His Anti-Matter Alternate Self Is More Wacky

Issue

Superman/Batman Annual #1

Creators

Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, Ryan Ottley, Carlo Barbieri, Dexter Vines, Cliff Rathburn, Sean Murphy, Don Hillsman, Bob Petrecca, Andy Owens, Rodney Ramos, Guy Major, Rob Leigh

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With characters like Sideways and Gangbuster, it’s obvious that DC has copied Marvel multiple times.

During the Post-Crisis era, the multiverse was out, so the only way to have doppelgänger stories involved the Anti-Matter universe. In the Anti-Matter universe, everything good was evil…and many things that were evil were…wacky? At least, that’s how Superman/Batman Annual #1 turned out. The story begins with Slade Wilson attempting to carry out a hit on Bruce Wayne, only to be interrupted by the appearance of a group of characters from the Anti-Matter Universe.

Though Ultraman, Owlman, and Superwoman make an appearance, they don’t come alone. Anti-Matter Deathstroke appears, wearing a costume that suspiciously resembles a certain Merc with a Mouth. Like Deadpool, this version of Slade is seemingly unkillable, which the annual uses to comical effect. Maintaining Deadpool’s usual sense of humor, he manages to enrage the real Slade with his antics in only a few panels.

1 Mr. Mxyzptlk Reveals He’s Also A Fantastic Four Villain

Issue

Superman (Vol. 2) #50

Creators

Jerry Ordway, Dan Jurgens, Brett Breeding, Kerry Gammill, Dennis Janke, Curt Swan, John Byrne, Glenn Whitemore, and John Constanza

The Impossible Man Transforms Into Mr. Mxyzptlk and crosses from Marvel to DC

The best Marvel reference in DC Comics comes from Superman vol. 2 #50. It comes at the end of the “Krysis of Krimson Kryptonite” story arc, where Mr. Mxyzptlk gave Lex Luthor a way to “make Lex equal to Superman” by taking Superman’s powers. Mxyzptlk built in one way for Superman to get his powers back: Lex explaining to Superman who took his powers in the first place.

When Lex arrogantly explains to Clark Kent what happened, Mxyzptlk immediately realizes Lex’s mistake. However, at the time he’s off playing in the Marvel Universe as The Fantastic Four villain, the Impossible Man. Mxy’s shown transforming between both forms and serving as a pain to both Superman and the FF in the middle and near the end of the comic, making this the closest thing to a Superman/Fantastic Four crossover as fans are going to get.

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