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Anime And Manga
- Exploited in an Archie comic. One day Archie and Jughead went to the landfill and picked up a bent iron pipe. The two of them took it to a road construction site where similar pipes were waiting to be installed. Then, when arch-rival Reggie walked by, Archie grabbed the bent pipe while Jughead yelled that the construction crew would "...be mad if you keep messing up their pipe like that." This freaked Reggie out big time.
- In another Archie, Moose is trying to keep his temper rather than behaving as the Crazy Jealous Guy he usually is when any other boy talks to his girlfriend Midge. He's standing in front of an iron fence with his hands behind his back thinking to himself "gotta keep muh temper...gotta keep muh temper." The Reveal comes as he steps away from the fence, showing the iron bars twisted into pretzels where he had been bending them behind his back.
- Used in PS238 to demonstrate that Argonaut has regained his powers. He hasn't; the beam he uses was gimmicked beforehand.
- An early Lucky Luke comic has a boxer try to intimidate the other by putting a horseshoe around his arm and then bending it by flexing his muscles. He gives it to the other boxer "as a lucky charm", only for the other boxer to give it back to him with a knot in the middle, saying he isn't superstitious.
- In the Doom film, during the fight of Reaper and the infected Sarge. Reaper takes a detached railing and uses it to stab Sarge's hand. Sarge bends the beam around his hand to make improvised brass knuckles.
- Short Circuit 2 has the robotic Johnny Five pull off the pretzel variant when attacked by thieves trying to get him off their tail. Being an Actual Pacifist turned Technical Pacifist, he discards the bent beam and uses his metal-bending strength to contain one thief by rolling him up in a mesh fence.
- Suburban Commando has the alien bounty hunters show off their strength to Shep by bending a metal bar. The first one bends it into a V shape, the second one straightens it out again. Shep one-ups them by bending it into the shape of a bunny.
- Some Norse folklore recounted in the American Gods novella "Monarch of the Glen" makes use of this trope. There is a seductive forest creature called the Huldra/Hulder, which looks like a beautiful woman with a cow's tail. Sometimes men will win their love and will marry them, causing them to lose their tail. If a human husband mistreats the Huldra, she will remind him of her strength by bending barehanded a horseshoe or fireplace poker (sometimes a red hot one at that).
- Animorphs: When the Venber are first encountered, one of them is seen bending rebar like spaghetti in arctic conditions.
- In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, when Hagrid appears Uncle Vernon threatens him with a rifle. Hagrid yanks the gun out of his hands, ties the barrel in a knot, and chucks it in the corner.
- The Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Speckled Band has Dr. Roylott threaten Holmes by bending an iron poker in half. After he leaves, the totally unfazed Holmes straightens it back.
- In one of The Dresden Files novels, Thomas helps Harry intimidate some of Marcone's thugs by twisting a couple of barbells together.
- In the second Alex Rider book, The Dragon bends a crowbar with her bare hands to prove a point (and that was before she knew who Alex really was).
- In one Man-Kzin War anthology, a human telepath sneaks aboard a kzinti ship disguised as a kzin. He ends up in a duel with a kzin, preceded by a Barehanded Bar Bending contest to determine the handicap. He ends up selecting a bar one grade thicker than his opponent's, and projecting an illusion bending the bar and then straightening it again, relying on the kzinti lack of curiosity to keep his deception undiscovered.
Live Action TV
- The Adventures of Superman
- Superman regularly bends the villains' guns after they get done Shooting Superman; when the guns are rifles or shotguns Superman often twists them into knots.
- In one episode a pawnshop specializes in items Superman has previously bent, but it turns out they're counterfeit: the store owner uses a bench vise to artificially bend the merchandise.
- Star Trek: The Original Series
- When Kirk confronts Khan in the Enterprise engine room in "Space Seed," Khan grabs Kirk's phaser away from him and bends/crushes it in his bare hands. During the ensuing fight he boasts that he has five times Kirk's strength.
- In the short-lived 70s' superhero teamup show Legends of the Superheroes, Giganta makes an appearance. Since the show had an extremely limited budget, special effects to display her growth power were out of the question, so her super-strength is demonstrated by her bending a prop metal bar instead.
- The Incredible Hulk did it often.
- In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21), Sam tries to loosen one of the spokes from the steel tractor wheels by repeatedly banging on it with the fireplace poker. Jake simply grabs the spoke with his bare-hand and pulls it off the wheel.
- In Crash Team Racing, in the Adventure Mode's character selection, Tiny Tiger is effortlessly juggling a barbell around. If you select him, he'll bend the barbell into right angles.
- In Batman: Arkham City and Batman: Arkham Origins, Batman does this when he uses his disarm and destroy technique on pipe-armed henchmen. The intimidation aspect is subverted when the henchmen continue attacking.
- One episode of Batman Beyond had Maxine in pursuit with a genetically altered human-dinosaur hybrid. She tries to fight him off with a metal bar she finds, only for the dinosaur man to bend it.
- In Futurama there's a class of robots who have this as their sole purpose: they bend girders. The main character Bender is one of them. When the Planet Express crew attend robot Olympics, this trope is shown when several brawny robot competitors in a bending competition twist several extremely large girders labelled "unbendable" into very intricate knots. This impresses Bender, knowing that he would never be able to keep up with that kind of strength.
- Looney Tunes:
- While not depicted as being super strong, Bugs Bunny will on occasion bend Elmer's shotgun, even tying it into a knot.
- In the short "Muscle Tough", Daffy Duck gets into a strength contest with a bodybuilder, who ties a pipe around a pole. Daffy tries it with a fishing pole, but only manages to tie himself into a knot.
- When the scientists of 1939 Griffin Rock find the Rescue Bots have entered their time portal, they run the bots through a battery of tests, including ordering Heatwave to bend a large metal beam.