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Hilarious In Hindsight / The DCU

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The DCU

  • The 1992 miniseries Lobo: Infanticide has a extended parody of Archie Comics (drawn by Archie Comics house artist Dan DeCarlo) with a teen-age Lobo dating a crazed, shaved-headed... Britney Spears.
  • Anyone in the old "Who's Who in DC" series. Really, pick a character who's still around, and Hilarity Ensues as you see how terribly different the DC Universe is some 20 years later.
  • From Amazing World of DC Comics, July 1976, describing the Great Disaster at DC Comics:
    The pivotal time will be October, 1986 ... and in that month, the future of the world will be decided. Either the path of the Great Disaster will be taken, and civilization will fall, or the path of sanity will prevail and the Legion of Super-Heroes will emerge triumphant a thousand years later.
    • That's just I Want My Jetpack, right? Well, not quite. 1986 was the turning point for The Dark Age of Comic Books. And DC comics from October 1986 include Man of Steel #1, which began the modern revamping of Superman, and Batman #400, which was the last pre-revamp Batman. Depending on whether you think the Dark Age was a great disaster, this may be amusingly prophetic...
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    • And don't forget Crisis on Infinite Earths, which destroyed the DC Multiverse, concluded in 1986 as well.
  • Grant Morrison's JLA:
    • A 1997 story had the JLA take on a mad scientist who had created a "luck machine" that altered probability in his favor, letting him win the lottery, the Nobel Prize, and become President of the USA in short order. The JLA confront him in the Oval Office and destroy his device, but when reality reorders itself, the President who thanks the team isn't the right President either, and the team realizes that reality is still broken. What's so funny about this? The "wrong" President looks just like Sarah Palin.
    • Issue five featured Superman attending the funeral of Metamorpho (again...), and was the only one there. When he questioned the priest about it, he was told that since Superman came back, everyone expected superheroes not to stay dead, so they'd lost interest in memorial services. The service took place in a park dedicated to fallen superheroes, and in an obvious bid to make the point that this wasn't always the case, that sometimes dead heroes stayed dead, the artist had four memorial statues in the scene: Ice, Oliver Queen (Green Arrow), Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and Barry Allen (the Flash). The issue was also the debut and death of Tomorrow Woman. All of them, Rex and Tomorrow Woman included, have since come back from the dead—with Ollie being the only one whose return predated Rex's. Granted, the statues also included the members of the Justice Society who were killed by Extant during Zero Hour: Crisis in Time!, most of whom stayed dead — expect for Hourman, who also cheated death.
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    • The first arc would feature the Hyperclan, during their time posing as heroes, execute several people, including what was very clearly supposed to be Wolverine and Doctor Doom. During his brief time at Marvel, Grant Morrison wrote New X-Men and Fantastic Four 1234. Guess which X-Man was a key member of Morrison's X-Men team and who the Big Bad of 1234 was.
  • On the back cover of the Batman: A Death in the Family trade paperback, in which Jason Todd, the then-current Robin, was killed off, then-Batman editor Denny O'Neil jokingly said, "It would take a sleazy stunt to bring (Jason) back", though he did admit that he voted for Jason to live. In 2005, Jason was brought Back from the Dead.
    • Similar Word of God tripping-up occurs in the afterword to The Return of Barry Allen, a storyline in which Barry Allen does not actually return (yet). Mark Waid hyperbolically describes being driven up a bell tower with a rifle out of sheer exasperation at people asking him to bring back Barry.
    "What is it with you people?" I screamed. "Barry is Dead! Gone! Hearsed! Why can't you let him rest honorably, in peace?"
  • The Green Lantern story arc, Sinestro Corps War, features a rooftop fight with the sound effect "eepaa". The sound effect's origin? A one off gag in The Simpsons Movie.
    Comic Book Guy: I believe that's the sound the Green Lantern made when Sinestro threw him into a vat of acid. Eepaa!
    • Sadly, no vats of acid were involved.
  • Geoff Johns' Teen Titans run featured a fight between the Titans and the Justice League, with Green Lantern (John Stewart) sarcastically proclaiming "And people ask why there's no 'Teen Lantern.'" A Teen Lantern would eventually be introduced in the 2019 relaunch of Young Justice.
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  • The New Teen Titans at one point were forced to sell out for cash, with one of the licensed properties created from this being a 'Teeny Titans' Spinoff Babies show. The Titans recoil in horror upon seeing this slapstick comedy show with their faces on it. The concept would be revisited in serious fashion twice, first with Tiny Titans and then with the cartoon show Teen Titans Go!, the latter of which is still a Contested Sequel to this day. One wonders if the Titans would react to it in the same manner they did with Teeny Titans...
  • This panel from Justice League America #33. At the time, it was meant as a dig at Barbara Gordon's fate in The Killing Joke, but with the events of Countdown to Infinite Crisis (Max actually does shoot Blue Beetle in the head) it becomes hilariously prophetic. (Perhaps justified in that Booster was from the future. Was he trying to subtly warn his friend without disrupting the space-time continuum?)
  • This Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos panel states a Chuck Norris fact 20 years early.
  • In the 1970s Batman story "The Man Who Falls", which chronicles young Bruce Wayne's training to become Batman, Bruce meets with an FBI agent who says "we don't pull our piece much. We leave that to Efrem Zimbalist, Junior", in reference to the TV show F.B.I. which starred Efrem Zimbalist Jr.. Efrem Zimbalist Jr. would later be the voice actor for Alfred Pennyworth on Batman: The Animated Series.
  • Issue 3 of JLA: Year One (written in March 1998) has a moment that seems to be intended as an in-universe Funny Aneurysm Moment, due to being set in the past; The Flash (Barry Allen) and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) have a heart-to-heart conversation about the life expectancies of superheroes, which ends with Hal assuring Barry that "I predict we'll both live to a ripe old age". At that point in continuity, both Hal and Barry were dead. However, these days that moment has reversed into Hilarious (and Heartwarming) in Hindsight due to both having been brought back from the dead throughout the 2000's.
  • In the "World's Finest" where Robin (Tim Drake) and Superboy (Kon-El) first meet, Superboy wisecracks that even with the costume, he knew it wasn't one of the legendary Flying Graysons. Guess which Robin was made into a contemporary of Superboy in Young Justice cartoon?
    • Speaking of Tim and costumes, DC once released a book about Bruce Wayne's costume designs for him and his team (Knight Gallery). Tim's section 2 entries stating "yeah, cape-wings are stupid". Cue the New 52 reboot, and just guess what Tim is now wearing (and everyone is making fun of)...
  • Y: The Last Man features a Gender Bender FTM in later issues who bears a striking resemblance to Chris Crocker.
  • This rejected Robin design from the camptastic Batman & Robin looks very similar to the New 52 Reboot's Nightwing suit, minus the belt and the nipples.
  • In Messner-Loebs's run on The Flash, there were several references to T. O. Morrow being stricken with depression after seeing something unspecified and horrible in the future. 15-20 years of canon developments and potential things for a reader to dislike later...
  • Back when Two-Face was still known as Harvey Kent, the editors decided to give him a happy ending, and his face was restored by a doctor. And the doctor's name? Ekhart. In The Dark Knight, Aaron Eckhart would play Harvey Dent.
  • Some older comics contain fan letters from one Geoffrey Johns, who had suggestions like "What if Superboy's DNA was half Lex Luthor?" and "Could you do another story with [dead at the time] Professor Zoom?" He got responses like "Sorry, in the time since you sent your letter the other half's been revealed as Paul Westfield" and "Sorry, Professor Zoom's dead and we're cutting back on time travel stories." Then he grew up and made his dreams come true.
  • The second issue of Grant Morrison's Animal Man run has a scene where Buddy runs into a teenager in LA named "Jaime", who collects autographs from famous superheroes. When he opens up his autograph book to try to get Buddy to sign it, the first visible page reads, "To my good friend Jaime - The Blue Beetle". That issue came out about 18 years before a teenager named Jaime Reyes officially became the third Blue Beetle in Infinite Crisis.
  • The Marvel Comics character Black Cat is often called a rip-off of Catwoman. At one point, Anne Hathaway was set to play a heavily modified version of Black Cat in the fourth Spider-Man movie, but the film was never made. The big superhero movie role Hathaway did end up playing years later? Catwoman, a.k.a. Selina Kyle, in The Dark Knight Rises.
  • In the Deathstroke the Terminator tie-in with the Titans $ellout $pecial, a toy company is producing a Deathstroke action figure set, including "Wintergreen: Friend from Down Under!" When one of the execs points out Wintergreen's British, they're told that Australia is cooler. In Arrow, not only is Wintergreen an Australian, so is Slade himself!
  • In a JLA issue from 2002, Plastic Man compared himself to Beyoncé (who was still a member of Destiny's Child at the time, and had yet to release her first solo album) by claiming they were both "worthless" on their own. Beyoncé would go on to become an iconic global superstar who is still releasing hit records over a decade after Destiny's Child broke up, which makes Plastic Man's joke read like an example of the sarcastic It Will Never Catch On trope in retrospect.
  • In an old issue of Justice League International, Booster Gold and Blue Beetle tried to recruit new members for the JLI, but met with failure at every turn. Eventually, the two suggested that they get Congorilla to join the League in a very derisive "We're really scraping the bottom of the barrel" way. Decades later, Congorilla did actually join the team in the Justice League: Cry for Justice series.
  • In the MAD parody of the 1966 Batman (1966) TV show, the villain who's been trying to kill Batman turns out to be Robin in disguise. Fast-forward 35 years to Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Strikes Again, where the maniac posing as the new The Joker, who's been taking out heroes left and right turns out to be...Dick Grayson.
  • Batman and Captain America have met up more than a few times, which makes it somewhat amusing now that they've also happened to recently share the same voice actor in respective works.
    • During the JLA/Avengers crossover, Captain America sees the Jason Todd costume hanging in the Batcave and is reminded of the death of Bucky. Both Bucky and Jason Todd would be resurrected in the exact same year.
  • In the Batman arc "Shaman", Batman ambushes a group of thugs in a drug deal and interrogates the last one, saying "So if you don't tell me every little thing I might want to know, you'll be going to jail in a baggie. Believe it." "Believe it" would go on to become the catchphrase of the title character of Naruto, establishing an amusing connection.
  • In the second season of The Big O, Alan Opperheimer voiced Norman Burg, an Expy of Alfred; In The Super Hero Squad Show, Travis Willingham voiced the Squadron Supreme's resident Superman expy Hyperion; and in Ben 10, Steve Blum voiced Vilgax, an expy of Darkseid. Guess who got to voice the characters said expies were based on in, respectively, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, and Justice League: War.
  • In an issue of Justice League Task Force, Maxima expresses confusion at the idea of same-sex relationships. The New 52 Supergirl reimagined Maxima as a lesbian.
  • Superman:
  • Supergirl:
    • In Action Comics #270 (1960), Superman dreams he has travelled to the future, and Linda Lee works as a reporter in the Daily Planet. Linda never was a reporter in the comics, but in 2016 she became one in her live-action show.
    • Linda Danvers worked for San Francisco news station KSF-TV in the 1971-1972 period. Some years later a real life San Francisco TV station with call letters similar to the one in the Supergirl comics was started. The station is KTSF-TV, channel 26. It is an independent station broadcasting mostly in Chinese, serving the Chinese community there.
    • In Supergirl (1982) 2 #17, Linda thinks about adding glasses to her disguise but discards the idea. Flash-forward several years and her disguises usually include glasses.
    • Seanbaby joked about rainbow Kryptonite that turns Superman gay. Later on, Many Happy Returns would introduce pink Kryptonite, which reverses nearby Kryptonians' sexual orientations.
  • DeviantArt user CrimsonHorror made a gag comic about Batman trying to adopt a dozen or so Robins at once. Cue Robin War.
  • Batwoman was introduced as a love interest of Batman as a way of combating accusations of him being gay. The character would eventually be reinvented as a lesbian, with the express purpose of creating an Affirmative Action Legacy.
  • "National Comics #18" depicted Freedom Fighters Uncle Sam defending Pearl Harbor from an air assault. It was released a month before the real attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • The first arc of Batman: Shadow of the Bat, "The Last Arkham", features the debut of Arkham Asylum director Jeremiah Arkham and the title presumably refers to him. Come 2018 and we learn he isn't the last Arkham as the DC Rebirth version of the Arkham Knight is revealed to be Jeremiah's daughter, Astrid.
  • In The Multiversity, one of the Earths described in The Multiversity Guidebook was Earth-44, which is home to composites of the Metal Men and the Justice League. Created by Doc Tornado (Doc Magnus plus Red Tornado), the team consists of Gold Superman, Iron Batman, Platinum Wonder Woman, Lead Green Arrow, Mercury Flash, Tin Elongated Man, and Nth Metal Hawkman. In 2019, a twelve-issue Metal Man maxi-series was announced, featuring a new Metal Man made of Nth metal.
  • Rag Morales admitted in the collected edition of Identity Crisis to model Elongated Man on Danny Kaye. Come the revival of Young Justice, in addition to replacing Miguel Ferrer as Vandal Savage, another D. Kaye would voice Ralph.
  • Superman/Batman:
    • In the "With a Vengeance Arc", Batman and Superman take on the Maximums, a team of alternate-reality superheroes who are all obviously based on Marvel's The Ultimates. Not long afterwards, Loeb actually ended up writing for The Ultimates (though given both the fact that The Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum were the start of a Dork Age for Ultimate Marvel and it being due to Loeb's Creator Breakdown after his son's passing, this might be a case of Harsher in Hindsight for some).
    • During Supergirl's debut, Superman, annoyed by Batman and Wonder Woman's hesitance to go after Kara, unintentionally offended them by bringing up Jason Todd and Donna Troy, both of whom were dead at the time. A year later, as part of the lead-up to Infinite Crisis, Jason and Donna came back.
  • Here is James Rolfe's "Angry Batman" comic, which was created in the early 2000s. Not too far off from what Frank Miller would give us years later.
  • Later on, James Rolfe & Mike Matei themselves would appear in an issue of the TMNT/Batman crossover comic book series on a panel in which Michaelangelo runs into a pizza shop screaming, "Everybody run! There's a crazy guy in a bat suit trying to kill us!". We've come full circle.
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