Having a catchphrase is a good way of being remembered, especially if you’re a superhero. A catchphrase can empower a reader and make them think of a specific situation. For some characters, their catchphrase has become as memorable as their costume. Here are five DC superheroes with catchphrases that are an integral part of their history.
“I’m the Goddamn Batman!”
Why is Batman able to do the things he does? Because he’s Batman of course! That kind of logic is undeniable. The Dark Knight’s infamous catchphrase was coined during Frank Miller’s controversial All Star Batman and Robin series. Miller depicted Bruce as overly violent and abusive when it came to his interactions with characters like Dick Grayson.
The comic might have sucked, but at least it spawned one of the most memeable catchphrases in pop culture.
“Truth, Justice and the American Way”
Superman is meant to be the ultimate representation of hope, so of course he’d have a catchphrase to reflect his ideals. Interestingly, Superman’s catchphrase was created on a radio show rather than in the comics. In 1940, the ‘Adventures of Superman’ radio show was created and the ‘truth, justice and the American Way’ line appeared in 1942.
At the time, Superman was still a work in progress, so the radio show presented him as a hero that could inspire Americans fighting in the Second World War. It could be argued ‘Adventures of Superman’ is the reason behind The Man of Steel myth. Through the show, Clark Kent received many of the facets readers associate with him today.
“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!”
The oath of the Green Lanterns is essential to their backstory because it’s how they activate their rings. The most famous example is associated with Hal Jordan, who uses his catchphrase as a weapon to fight against evil.
Despite Hal being the Green Lantern that modern day readers connect with, the oath was first spoken in the 1940s by the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott. Developed by writer Alfred Bester, the catchphrase evolved into a personal mantra specific to each Lantern.
Try saying the Green Lantern oath out loud and see if you feel empowered. You might be surprised.
Another superhero that depends on his catchphrase for power is Shazam. Formerly known as Captain Marvel, the character was renamed to set him apart from other superheroes who use the name. When Billy Batson shouts his catchphrase, he gains the powers of various mythological figures.
S – The wisdom of Solomon
H – The strength of Hercules
A – The stamina of Atlas
Z – The power of Zeus
A – The courage of Achilles
M – The speed of Mercury
Etrigan The Demon
“Change! Change! O form of man!
Free the prince forever damned!
Free the might from fleshy mire!
Boil the blood in the heart for fire!
Gone! Gone! O form of man
And rise the demon Etrigan!”
Imagine having a catchphrase that is more of a curse than a blessing. It’s a reality for Jason Blood. Whenever Blood fights crime, he calls upon Etrigan with a rhyming oath. The Shakespearean dialect is a reference to the medieval time period that Blood grew up in.
Want to hear more catchphrases? Check out these iconic lines from five of Marvel’s most famous comic characters!