What makes a great superhero? Is it the costume, is it a tragic backstory? Sometimes, it’s because of an awesome catchphrase. Catchphrases have been around since the earliest days of comics. While it can be fun to make a joke out of a catchphrase, many of them have resonance. Marvel has plenty of characters with iconic catchphrases, and here are five of the most famous.
It’s Clobberin’ Time! The Thing
Ben Grimm, AKA The Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing has a history of charging head first into a fight. This is demonstrated whenever he says his famous cry, ‘It’s Clobberin’ Time!’ The Thing first used his catchphrase in 1964’s Fantastic Four #22 when he was fighting Mole Man and his Moloids. The catchphrase stuck and it’s become one of the most well-known sentences in comics.
Former WWE wrestler, CM Punk used to shout the Thing’s catchphrase during his entrance. It’s the kind of catchphrase that gets you pumped up and ready to take on the whole world.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility, Uncle Ben
With great power comes great responsibility is the motto that Spider-Man lives his life by and it’s associated with his uncle Ben. The catchphrase first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15, but it wasn’t spoken by any character. In the entire comic, Ben only had two lines. The original version of the phrase appeared in a narrative caption of the comic’s last panel. It read “with great power there must also come – great responsibility!”
Later, the catchphrase was given to Ben in flashbacks to show how it shaped Peter Parker’s life. The origin of the phrase can be traced back to 1817, when William Lamb, a member of British parliament said “the possession of great power necessarily implies great responsibility.”
The catchphrase is a reminder that we all have a responsibility to do the right thing with whatever power we have at our disposal.
Hulk Smash! The Hulk
Hulk Smash Is the perfect catchphrase for a character that’s pure rage. Hulk had been using the word ‘smash’ from his earliest appearance, but the phrase ‘Hulk Smash’ didn’t appear until Marvel Team- Up #18 in 1974. The simplicity of the catchphrase works with the character and describes how he wants to destroy everything that makes him angry.
Imperius Rex! Namor
Namor The Sub-Mariner is one of Marvel’s oldest characters and the king of Atlantis. Whenever he goes into a fight, he shouts his battle cry Imperius Rex. The catchphrase reflects his noble heritage while also sounding arrogant. The phrase is based on Latin, with ‘Rex’ meaning ‘king’ and ‘Imperius’ being associated with royalty.
I’m the best there is at what I do. But what I do isn’t very nice, Wolverine
Often misquoted as ‘I’m the best there is at what I do, and what I do isn’t very nice,’ this catchphrase belongs to Wolverine. It was created by Chris Claremont during his critically acclaimed Wolverine run in 1982. The catchphrase has a grim, tough quality to it that matches Logan’s gruffness.
He’s acknowledging that he’s a killer and that will always be what he’s best at. There’s also self-awareness in the catchphrase because although Wolverine recognises that what he does may be violent, his skills serve a purpose.
What’s your favourite superhero catchphrase? Check back soon for famous catchphrases from DC characters!