Added new quote -  FEB. 2017

Great Comic Book Quotables
- quotes, quotations, and bon mots

"To be or not to be...", "It was the best of times...", "This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want...", "The problems of three people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world..." and so on. When people quote books, movies and TV, it's a form of legitimization. If it's worth repeating, it must be worth knowing in the first place. But what of comics?

To consider the respectability, and value, of comics, let's delve whole heartedly into that epitomy of pop intellectualism...the quote (or quotes).

Is there wisdom that can be milked from comics, that most maligned of mediums? Well, I'm reminded of this line uttered by Lex Luthor in (appropriately enough) Superman, The Movie (1978): "Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it's a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe."

I first posted this a few years ago (adding to it over time) and have looked over similiar pages and message boards where others compiled their own favourite four colour sayings. But often these were the "cool" lines, or the witty quip, and sometimes lines which, I'll confess, seemed to have little resonance if you didn't know the character and the scene to begin with. I've certainly included some of those myself here, but what I was more interested in was the powerful quote, the provocative musing, the thoughtful insight.

I've broken the list up into categories, just to make it more digestible. But, let's face it, the placing can be pretty arbitrary in some cases (I've moved quotes from one section to another -- and back -- unsure where it best belonged).

So, without further ado, may I present Great Quotations of Western Thought -- the Funnybooks Version:



_______Super Heroes and Comics (just to kick things off)

"It seems to me that a story without a message, however subliminal, is like a man without a soul.." and "None of us lives in a vacuum -- none of us is untouched by the everyday events about us -- events which shape our stories just as they shape our lives. Sure our tales can be called escapist -- but just because something's for fun, doesn't mean we have to blanket our brains while we read it!" (comics legend Stan Lee addressing criticism of "moralising" in super hero comics -- this quote, and the entire passage, has been circulating around the internet a bit recently; I think it was originally posted in the March, 1970 Bullpen Bulletins page included in most Marvel Comics -- but I'm not 100% sure)

"I seek inspiration in my heroes, not validation: I have no need to have my own darker impulses justified by the characters I read about. But I do have a need to see more people doing good than doing bad (of course, my versions of "good" and "bad" may differ from everyone else's). I want to be reminded by my fictional, costume-wearing super-powered heroes that goodness and decency are possible and desirable traits worth celebrating." (artist/writer Phil Jimenez, quoted in the non-fiction book War, Politics and Superheroes (2011) by Marc DiPaolo -- and I think worth repeating!)



_______Responsibility

With great power there must also come -- great responsibility! (perhaps the most famous phrase of the Silver Age of comics, and, arguably, it redefined the narrative focus of the entire genre...or, as actor Nicholas Cage said, when presenting Stan Lee with a lifetime achievement award, it's a phrase that can raise an ordinary man up to the level of a hero...or bring a hero down to the level of an ordinary man.  It was first expressed in a narrative caption (not by his uncle as it was in the movie) in Spider-Man's debut in Amazing Fantasy #15, Stan Lee)

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art by Don Newton, inks by Alfredo Alcala
"We are responsible for each other. That's part of being human -- isn't it?" (Robin re-iterating a similar "brother's keeper" theme, though on a more personal level, after Batman denies responsibility for Catwoman's nervous breakdown -- a sentiment Batman would come to recognize by issue's end -- "Never Scratch a Cat" Batman #355, Gerry Conway)

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"You've been so full of vindictive, self-righteous wrath that you've forgotten one little thing; you killed this man's wife and child! If Fate is insane, if "Sunshine" is dead -- it's your fault!" (Super hero Devil Slayer was a reformed mob hit man, but when Fate, a man whose wife and child Devil-Slayer had inadvertently killed, comes after him for revenge, it's the people around Devil-Slayer who suffer -- including a junkie Devil Slayer had been trying to rehabilitate named "Sunshine". It took guest star Wonder Man, in the above dialogue, to remind Devil-Slayer that culpability doesn't end just 'cause we want it to -- "Yesterday Never Dies!" The Defenders, 1st series, #104, J.M. DeMatteis)



________War & Consequences
 

"Wars are never won, regardless of who might be the victor. The very act of war is itself a horrible defeat." (a Guardian of the Universe to Hal Jordan after Hal asks if "we've won?" as they survey the grim aftermath of a conflict between the Green Lantern Corps and the Weaponers of Qward -- "Battleground: Oa!" Green Lantern, 1st Silver Age series, #127, Denny O'Neil)

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"No good has ever come of a Holy War, and never will!" (Superman chastising some Christian and Jewish kids fighting over religious differences -- though the kids make up by agreeing to all go off and watch A Christmas Carol together, suggesting the writer may've missed the nuances of the conflict himself! -- "The War for Peace", Action Comics #517, Gerry Conway)

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"A thousand men died to take this atoll and now nobody wants it!" (Robotman reflecting on the irony of a now-deserted island that had once been a major battlefield...a surprisingly provocative commentary for a 1964 super hero comic! -- "Robotman Fights Alone" The Doom Patrol, 1st series, #87, Arnold Drake)

art by Sal Buscema
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"I got a look at some of our Japanese-American relocation centers, back during the Big One. Saw what they do to men -- on both sides of the barbed wire." (Nick Fury explaining why he allowed traitor-by-association, the alien Captain Marvel, to escape -- "All Things Must End!" Avengers, 1st series, #92, Roy Thomas)
 
 

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"We didn't mean it! We never mean it! But what good does that do..." (Vietnam veteran Flash Thompson, having second thoughts about the war in Southeast Asia and its impact on the Vietnemese, and perhaps reflecting on "gunboat imperialism" and sometimes even ostensible good intentions do damage -- "Enter: Dr. Strange!" Amazing Spider-Man, 1st series, #109, Stan Lee)

*****

"I'll never forget the Death Star...but I'll never forget the day after it, either." (Luke Skywalker battles a storm trooper in the aftermath of the destruction of the Death Star, only to discover that, beneath the impersonal mask, lies a boy no older than himself.  Not a radical scene, but it spoke more about  the reality of war in a single comicbook than in any of George Lucas' multi-billion dollar grossing motion pictures -- "The Day After the Death Star" Star Wars, Marvel Illustrated Book, vol. 1, Archie Goodwin)
 
 



________Right & Wrong

"In this world, there is right and there is wrong, and that distinction is not difficult to make." (Superman making, arguably, an oversimplification...but, damn!, it makes sense -- Kingdom Come #3, Mark Waid, but paraphrasing a phrase written by Elliot S! Maggin in the novel Superman, The Last Son of Krypton...and maybe elsewhere)

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"Not even in the face of Armageddon. Never compromise." (Rorschach summing up his philosophy -- "A Stronger Loving World" The Watchmen #12, Alan Moore)

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"May God protect us -- from guys who do the right thing." (Hulk side kick Jim Wilson after being reassured his betrayal of the Hulk was the "right thing" to do -- "A Titan Stalks the Tenements!" The Hulk, 2nd series, #131, Roy Thomas)

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"What you say is reasonable, logical, justifiable. But does that make it right?" (Nightcrawler's pointed response to Wolverine's justification of lethal force...and you can bet Marvel doesn't O.K. such critiques of their feral cash cow these days -- "Rage" Uncanny X-Men #140, 1st series, Chris Claremont)

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"You wield your 'morality' like a club! A bully is what you are! You're no different from the Kingpin. You're just another kind of bully -- a moral bully!" (Glorianna O'Breen chastising Daredevil/Matt Murdock and making the point righteousness itself can be misused. "Blindspots", Daredevil (1st series) #256, Ann Nocenti, 1988)

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"..for values to retain worth they must not only be preached, but lived...regardless of preference -- or, of pain..." (A text caption as Aquaman struggles with the realization that he must extend mercy to Black Manta -- the villain who murdered his son! "A Life for a Life", Aquaman (1st series) #57, David Michelinie, 1977)


________Truth
 

"(Truth) is a subjective concept, one to be accepted or rejected depending on the viewer's prejudices" (villain Thanos -- "How Strange My Destiny" Warlock, 1st series, #11, Jim Starlin)

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"..truth is a whore. She'll belong to any man for an hour if the price is right. When the time's done, you're back where you started -- alone." (A philosophical member of the conspiracy -- "A Little Dream of Me" The X-Files, Topps series, #3, Stefan Petrucha)

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"The news isn't there to tell you what happened. It's there to tell you what it wants you to hear, or what it thinks you want to hear. They already have their stories worked out. They just wait for events to fill in the blanks. When they don't fit, they get sidelined or twisted till they do." (Cyclops -- "Dangerous, Chap. 1" Astonishing X-Men #7, Joss Whedon)

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"It's how you get the mysteries of the Universe to fit on a bumper sticker." (Howard the Duck's definition of religious fundamentalism -- "Making the Band" Howard the Duck (2nd, MAX mini-series) #2, Steve Gerber)

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"Thing is, just because it's me saying it doesn't make it wrong." (An (amusing) moment of self-awareness on Green Arrow's part that sometimes his hot- headedness can distract people from the issues he's championing. "Like a Tombstone in the Sky", JLA: Incarnations #7, John Ostrander. DC, 2001)



________Prejudice

"Are arbitrary labels more important than the way we live our lives, what we're supposed to be more important than what we actually are?" (Cyclops in the graphic novel X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills, Chris Claremont)

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"We paid our fare just like anyone else!" (mutant Cyclops again, responding to the dirty looks the X-Men are receiving from fellow, human, commuters on a subway; it's the very mundanity of the scene that makes it as chillingly pointed as any of the high end, hysterical "mutant prejudice" scenes the X-Men face these days -- "Trapped: One X-Man!" X-Men, 1st series, #5, Stan Lee)

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"I been readin' about you...how you work for the Blue Skins...and how on a planet someplace you helped out the Orange Skins...and you've done considerable for the Purple Skins! Only there's skins you never bothered with -- the Black Skins!" (An elderly African-American confronting Green Lantern, as DC Comics tried to grown up with the times...and maybe acknowledge that sometimes "metaphors" like orange skinned aliens have to give way to literal issues -- "No Evil Shall Escape My Sight!", Green Lantern, 1st Silver Age series, #76, Denny O'Neil)
 



________Philosophy in a Nut Shell

"Do you suppose they finally understood...that a man who can inspire laughter...and joy...is the holiest man of all?" (guest star Ayla, in what could be an eulogy for entertainers everywhere; actually I could literally quote almost the entire issue, it's that good -- "And Then I Died" Man-Thing, 1stt series, #6, Steve Gerber)

"Insanity is defined by its cultural milieu." (told ya I could quote more from that issue -- Man-Thing #6, again!)

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"A man without hope is a man without fear" (mobster, the Kingpin, too late realizing he might've created an even more implacable enemy in Daredevil, after stripping him of everything he holds dear -- "Pariah", Daredevil, 1st series, #229, Frank Miller)

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"..nobody's got so many friends that he can afford to start losin' 'em." (The Falcon, explaing his search for a missing old friend -- "The Summons of Psyklop" The Avengers (1st series) #88, Roy Thomas)

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Childhood is the interval between nothingness and disillusionment. An interval of innocence. (A text caption from "Suffer the Children" The Question #3, Dennis O'Neil)

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"Vengeance is but the last resort of the unthinking!" (Vashti trying, in vain, to calm the raging Prince Namor, The Sub-Mariner -- "When a Monarch Goes Mad!", Tales too Astonish #81, Stan Lee)

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"Every time a man raises his hand against his neighbour in the name of his faith, he renounces his faith!" (Superman, same scene as the earlier quote in the War & Consequences category -- "The War for Peace" Action Comics #517, Gerry Conway)

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"The real proof of a man is not how he treats his friends...but his enemies!"  (Kid Flash -- "Less Than Human!?", Teen Titans (1st series) #33, Bob Haney, 1972)

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"But, surely this is better than celebrating the season of life by killing a tree?" (Mr. Fantastic explaining the moral virtues of an artificial Christmas Tree -- "Terrax the Untamed", The Fantastic Four, 1st series, #242, John Byrne)

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"..once you find an excuse for killing, you will never lack one." (The Phantom Stranger cautioning that some lines, once crossed, can't be un-crossed -- "Images of the Dead" The Phantom Stranger, 2nd series, #37, Paul Levitz)

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"People are like cattle. Give them just enough comfort to satisfy them and anything that threatens them or they think threatens them...they attack!" (villain Black Hand explaining his cynical view of humanity...and how easy it is to manipulate the masses (even if he is mixing his analogies -- I mean: attacking cattle?) -- "Peril in Plastic", Green Lantern (1st Silver Age series) #84, Denny O'Neil)
 

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"We'll do our part, dear sister, and let our maker do his! ...It'll work out." (Canadian super hero Captain Canuck expressing a phlegmatic philosophy -- sure, the religious aspect was proably meant literally but, in a way, it's a good attitude for everyone: you can't do more than you can do, so why sweat the rest? -- "Behind the Mask!", Captain Canuck (vol. 1) #4, Richard Comely)

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"Stop identifying yourself with flag and country, Cap! Anytime anybody at the top does that -- this nation's in trouble." (World War II-era super hero, The Patriot, while battling Captain America after Cap accused him of having "stolen" Cap's patriotic motif -- Cap's hubris a result of being hypnotically controlled by the evil Red Skull at the time, naturally. -- "Hey, Ma! They're Blitzin' the Bronx!",, Marvel Premiere #30, Roy Thomas)

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"A man who attains such age contains the universe in his mind! Kill him -- and you kill worlds!" (Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter, coming to the aid of an old man beset by muggers -- and sounding a tad more philosophical in this Batman team up story than he did in the issues of his own comic I've read! -- "Batman -- Dragon Slayer??", The Brave and the Bold #132, Bob Haney)

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"Television isn't the real world. It's an attempt to impose order on it. To civilize it." (Meggan, arguably defining the role of the storyteller in any medium -- "The Harrowing of Hell",  Captain Britain and MI 13 Annual #1, Paul Cornell)

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"Nothing turns my stomach more than a "man" who tries to prove he is one...by striking a woman!" (Batman, 'nuff said -- "Angel -- or Devil?", Batman #216, Frank Robbins)

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"What's wrong with the way Gar looks? Why do kids have to be stamped out of a machine, like so many sausages?" (Rita Farr, a.k.a. Elastic Girl, of the quintessential misfit team, The Doom Patrol, defending being different -- "Who Dares Challenge the Arsenal", Doom Patrol #113, Arnold Drake)

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"..there were real people behind the black and white masks -- real pain behind the easy symbolism!" <(the Black Panther's ex-girlfriend Monica Lynne reflecting on the reality behind conflict - "The Killing of Windeagle!", Marvel Premiere #51, Ed Hannigan)
 



________Sayings for All Seasons
 
 

"If rich guys like you can't be happy in this world -- what chance have the rest of us got?" (and yet again -- Man-Thing #6)

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pencils by John Byrne, inks by Pablo Marcos"Count Nefaria will be a nightmare that has ended -- another Hitler, scarring the pages of history!" (the Whizzer attacks the invincible, super-powered villain Count Nefaria the only way he can...psychologically, by pointing out his very mortality is his greatest weakness, and that even a Hitler ultimately becomes dust and irrelevant.  Actually, I just like the Whizzer's whole monologue (as reproduced to the right) -- "Hammer of Vengeance", Avengers, 1st series, #165, Jim Shooter)

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"..that is the decision all lovers must make -- whether their relationship will destroy...or heal the other. It's often the most difficult decision they'll have to make -- and, as love is not a constantly stable factor, it's one they'll have to make again and again." (The Black Panther reflecting on love and relationships -- "But Now the Spears Are Broken", Jungle Action #9, Don McGregor)

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"Oh, look at you. Look what they've done to you." (an understated Zot on seeing the angst and heartbreak Terry has endured suppressing her lesbianism - "Normal", Zot! #33, Scott McLeod)

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"You know how hard it is, being your friend?" (Night Owl pointing out to Rorscach that friendships can be hard work -- "Two Riders Were Approaching...", The Watchmen #10, Alan Moore)

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"If the few survivors like me do not remember, Mr. Wayne -- who will? Will you?" (Nazi hunteer Leon Weiner to Bruce (Batman) Wayne's question as to why he does what he does - "Dead Men Tell No Tales!", The Brave and the Bold #189, Robert Kanigher

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"Men live by their history -- it is the source of their identity. Deny a man his past, and you are denying his present. Men call me the Phantom Stranger, and wonder if I have a past. Not knowing, they doubt, and doubting my past -- they disbelieve, my very existence!" (The Phantom Stranger addressing the reader -- "Images of the Dead" The Phantom Stranger, 2nd series, #37, Paul Levitz)
 
 

art by George Perez, inks by Pablo Marcos

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"Why -- I never even considered the possibility of -- dying! But he's serious -- I know it! Thor's prepared to die! He expects to die tonight -- unless we win against a foe he's told me is invincible!" (Wonder Man expressing an emotion few heroes are allowed to express...fear, and contrasted with Thor's do or die determination.  The portrayal of Wonder Man during that era as super powerful, nigh invincible, but plagued by very human fears and insecurities, is one of the most intriguing -- most adult -- takes on a super hero I've ever read -- "The Bride of Ultron", Avengers, 1st series, #162, Jim Shooter)
 
 
 
 
 

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"If your life had little meaning...your death has none." (villain Nightmare contemptuously dismissing villain Cyrus Black's attempt to reclaim some dignity...through suicide -- "A Midsummer's Nightmare", Dr. Strange (2nd series) #34, Ralph Macchio)

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"Haven't you done enough with your stinking violence?" (a grief stricken Jimmy Martin rebuffing a confused Hulk, after trying to use the Hulk for his own purposes with tragedy resulting --  "One for my Baby...and One More for the Hulk", The Hulk (magazine) #27, (J.M.) Marc DeMatteis)

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"And give the streets a martyr? No, Black Lightning will die as he lived...a man without face or name...and soon to be forgotten. A word to the wise, my young informer." (mobster Tobias Whale explaining why he won't have Black Lightning unmasked before having him publicly executed -- and subtly reminding his masked informeer how tenuous his position can me -- "The Conscience of the Killer", Black Lightning (1st series) #7, Tony Isabella)

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"Maybe it was just you, all the time!" (I was never much impressed with this gritty story wherein the Joker attempts to prove anyone can be driven insane -- as he was -- by the right circumstances...and fails. But I liked Batman's line...which might be a good rejoinder to anyone who's too quick to assume their perceptions are universal -- like writers who insist their vision of life is more authentic than anyone else's -- Batman: The Killing Joke, Alan Moore)

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"My parents...taught me a different lesson -- lying on this street -- shaking in deep shock -- dying for no reason at all -- they showed me that the world only makes sense when you force it to..." (an aging, bitter Batman -- "The Dark Knight Falls" Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #4, Frank Miller)

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"Things: somehow we always manage -- to hold on to things -- while men sink, doomed, around us --!" (A melancholic Spidey -- "Vampire at Large!", Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #102, Roy Thomas, 1971)

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"If I perish here in this sunrise land,
This country where I was not born,
Who will bury me?
Who will sing my death-song?
The high-striding Thunder will bury me.
The rumbling storm clouds will stand over my grave
and sing."

(a chant attributed to the Quontauka, a fictional American Indian tribe -- "The Sword and the Serpent!", Arak, Son of Thunder #1, Roy Thomas, 1981)

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"No...no, it's not! But it's the only thing on earth he's got left!" (Superman responding to the question as to whether hate is all his foe -- and childhood friend -- Lex Luthor ever had? -- And I probably shouldn't include it as a comic book quote, since writer Elliot S! Maggin was borrowing it from the Star Trek television episode "Let That be Your Last Battlefield" by Oliver Crawford and Lee Cronin, but it's such a powerful observation I couldn't resist -- "The Luthor Nobody Knows!", Superman #292, Elliot S! Maggin)

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"Please...be kind...be gentle!" (Black Canary offering words to live by -- "Death Be My Destiny!", Green Lantern #81, 1st Silver Age series, Denny O'Neil)
 
 



_______Catch Phrases

"Oh my stars and garters!" - the Beast

"It's Clobberin' Time!" - the Thing

"What a revoltin' development this is." - the Thing

"Great Krypton!" - Superman

"Cheese and Crackers!" - Hellcat

"Flame on!" - The Human Torch

"Great Guardians!" - Green Lantern

"Holy Moly!" - the original Captain Marvel

"Shazam!" - the original Captain Marvel

"Hulk smash puny humans!" - the Hulk

"In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight; let those who worship evil's might beware my power - Green Lantern's light!" - Green Lantern

"Avengers Assemble!" - the Avengers

"Wahoo!" - the Howling Commandos
 
 



_______Just 'Cause it's Cool

"I like you Glorious Godfrey! You're a shallow, precious child -- the Revelationist -- happy with the sweeping sound of words! But I am the Revelation! The Tiger-Force at the core of things! When you cry out in your dreams -- it is Darkseid that you see!" (perennial DC villain Darkseid was never more menacing than when done by his creator, Jack Kirby, as demonstrated by Darkseid's own description of himself to sidekick villain Glorious Godfrey -- "Life vs. Anti-Life", The Forever People, 1st series, #3, Jack Kirby)

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"Your hypocrisy sickens even me, you poor excuse for a man." (gangster, Tobias Whale, evincing his contempt for the supposed principals of fellow villain Syonide who claims he won't "consent" to kill...even as he will capture people, knowing they will be killed by others -- "The Conscience of the Killer", Black Lightning, 1st series, #7, Tony Isabella)
 

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Only the sea, after all, is eternal. (the closing text caption from a melancholy ending to a quintessential 1970s Hulk tale -- "The Circus of Lost Souls!" The Incrredible Hulk, 1st series, #217, Len Wein)

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"You're a part of that world. And you love it. You let it hurt you and you love it all the more. I'm not that strong." (Elektra explaining to Matt Murdock (Daredevil) how tragedy can push them onto different life paths -- "Elektra", Daredevil (1st series) #168, Frank Miller)

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"..all my life...part of somebody else's gang...somebody else's orders...an' now I get offed...on the way to somebody else's funeral..." (dying words of  gunsel Joe Chill -- of an alternate earth -- after Chill has been shot by a hitman on the way to his main assignment -- "To Kill a Legend", Detective Comics #500, Alan Brennert)

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"This is your bike, huh? Kinky. You get scared by the Batmobile when you were a kid or something?" (a supporting character's assessment of Johnny Blaze's singular motorcycle -- "A Spectre Stalks the Soundstage", Ghost Rider, 1st super hero series, #14, Tony Isabella)

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"Sha-Shazam!" (okay, maybe it was more the context than the line itself...as we waited almost three 48 page issues for Billy Batson/Captain Marvel to utter his immortal magic word -- and it's even cooler in the audio-play adaptation! -- "Up in the Sky", Kingdom Come #3, Mark Waid)

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"The paths are less clear now, for a man whose chief pleasure -- is shattering mirrors!" (villainn Dr. Doom in a rare moment of emotional fraility while reflecting on his disfigurement -- "The Heroes and the Holocaust!", Superman and Spider-Man, their second teaming from Marvel Treasury Edition #28, Jim Shooter)

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"You just made the biggest mistake of your life. And the last" (Wolverine -- "Run for Your Life", Uncanny X-Men #131, Chris Claremont)

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"Super powers, a scintillating wit and the best body money can buy...and I still rate below a corpse." (a chagrined Emma Frost realizing that her lover Cyclops is still hung up on his dead girlfriend, Jean Grey - "Gifted, chp. 1", Astonishing X-Men #1, Joss Whedon)

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"I travelled through worlds...so big...so big...there...there aren't words--! We're like ants...just ants...ants!" (Johnny Storm, babbling and almost shell shocked, after experiencing the vastness of the universe -- "The Startling Saga of the Silver Surfer!", The Fantastic Four #50 (1st series), Stan Lee)

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"Your hunger for battle is a disease -- and the hammer of Thor shall supply the cure!" (Thor finally fed up with Hercules, who is trying to prolong their grudge-match that Thor isn't interested in -- "Whom the Gods Would Destroy!", The Mighty Thor, 1st series, #126,  Stan Lee)

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"Those guys figure that I was involved when Cain clobbered Abel!" (Hard-luck Spider-Man phlegmatically dismissing claims the police, yet again, suspect his involvement in a series of crimes -- "..And the Nightcrawler Came Prowling, Prowling", The Amazing Spider-Man #161, Len Wein, 1976)

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Once upon a time, there was a woman named Jean Grey, a man named Scott Summers. They were young. They were in love. They were heroes. Today, they will prove it -- beyond all shadow of a doubt. (the lead up to one of the most famous climaxes of the Bronze Age, as Jean Grey makes the ultimate sacrifice -- "The Fate of the Phoenix" The Uncanny X-Men, 1st series, #137, Chris Claremont)

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pencils by Neal Adams, inks by Dick Giordano
 
 
 

"Send me a bill." (Hal Jordan vents his rage on a pollution-spewing symbol of "progress", and delivers one of the best final lines in comics, summing up rage, bitterness and frustration at the callousness of the world -- trust me. -- "..and through him save a world" Green Lantern, 1st Silver Age series, #89, Denny O'Neil)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



_______If I Could Quote the Whole Blamed Thing, I Would...

"Life is cruel, Nick. It feeds on your ambitions and enthusiasms -- and uses them to destroy you." ((Scorpio, a very depressed super-villain, contemplating life's iniquities in a powerful, brilliant closing scene -- "Scorpio Must Die!" The Defenders, 1st series, #50, David Anthony Kraft)

..and...

"All my life, every time I've ever believed in anything, or had faith the future would get better for me, I've had that false hope knocked out of me...and found myself back on my knees in despair." (Scorpio again, same scene, same issue; a word to aspiring comic writers, or to pros who want to better themselves: read the final, two page scene of this issue. That's all I can say. Just read it. In fact, the whole Who Remembers Scorpio story line is discussed in my They Ain't Trade Paperbacks section -- The Defenders #50)

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art by Frank Robbins"The people who had custody of the American dream had abused both it and us. There was no way I could keep calling myself "Captain America", because the others who acted in America's name were every bit as bad...as...the...Red...Skull!" (Captain America deals with the Watergate Scandal (metaphorically) in his comic, renouncing his identity for a time, becoming "Nomad" instead: here he explains why -- "Nomad: No More" Captain America, 1st series, #183, Steve Englehart)

..and...

"Whatever the threat -- wherever it originates -- I won't be blind again!" (Captain America, same scene, same issue, realizing that evil must be confronted, even when it exists in places you'd rather not find it, like cherished institutions; Cap's entire closing monologue is worth reading, but it would take most of this article to repeat it -- Captain America #183, again)



______Life in Tights

"We are both, in our ways, outcasts of society...you just haven't realized it yet!" (villain Lex Luthor to hero Superman -- "Reach Out and Touch", Superman: The Secret Years #2, Bob Rozakis)

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"Then damn the Batman, Alfred, and damn the world that needs him!" (Bruce Wayne evincing some ambivalence toward his chosen career -- "This Way Lies Madness!" Batman #326, Len Wein)

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"Spider-Man? Lord, how I'm beginning to hate that name!" (Peter Parker expressing similar attitudes -- "The Spider vs. the Burglar" Amazing Spider-Man, 1st series, #200, Marv Wolfman)


So there you go, a very informal, highly selective, conspicuously biased sampling of quotes. So what've we learned? That underneath the hitting and smashing, a theme of super hero comics is responsibility, for your own actions, and to your fellow man (so pick up some canned goods next time you're grocery shopping and drop 'em off in the Food Bank bin). Wars may not always be avoidable, but they sure suck. Prejudice sucks, too.

I've omitted lots of great quotes and great writers but, hey, I've got deadlines. Still, any of the above worth studying in English class? Anything worth putting on a T-Shirt? Who knows?

D.K. Latta
 
 

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