6 Fandom Memes that Became Part of the Story

If you have a decent-sized fandom of a story, odds are there’s going to be a meme for it. I talked about the sheer amount of memes there are out there associated with anime in my article “17 Awesome Anime Memes”, but anime fandom is far from the only one full of memes. There are lots of sci-fi and fantasy works that have their own viral fandom in-jokes.

And among this swarm of memes, the cream of the crop will rise to glory. Yes, some fandom memes end up being referenced in the work from which they sprang. Whether through a comic, cartoon or movie, there are plenty of examples of fandom in-jokes being referenced. So let’s dig into a few of them! And if you have more fandom memes to add on, be sure to tell us in the comments section!

  1. Superdickery in Batman: The Brave and the Bold

    In the 1950’s-60’s era of comics (referred to as “The Silver Age”), it was an incredibly popular practice to have a picture of Superman doing something evil on the cover of a comic, so the reader would be motivated to pick it up and figure out why, only to discover he had been brainwashed or whatever. Of course, Superman did plenty of terrible stuff without outside influence inside the comics such as hitting on his fifteen year old cousin or getting a robot to spank Lois for being “nosy”, but...

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    In order to collect all these bizarre covers and panels from that era, a website called Superdickery was created. Just like it sounds, it was basically a bunch of pictures of Superman being a dick, mostly from the Silver Age.

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    An episode of the Batman: The Brave and Bold cartoonseries called “Clash of the Superheroes” was chock full of Silver Age references and had a red-Kryptonite poisoned Superman acting out many of his most popular jerk-tastic moments that were made famous by the Superdickery website. There was even part where Jimmy said “Superman’s turning into a real di-” only to have Lois interrupt “-different person!” Gotta keep it clean for the kids.

  2. 503 and Greedling in Fullmetal Alchemist

    The Fullmetal Alchemist manga was fairly obvious about the fact the protagonist, scrappy alchemist Edward Elric, was going to end up with his mechanic and childhood friend, Winry Rockbell. When two nerds call each other “alchemy freak” and “crazy gearhead”, you just kinda know they’re gonna hook up. Many fans eagerly supported the growing relationship, giving the pairing the usual name-combo type label- “Edwin”.

    Of course, in addition to being a combination of the character’s names, Edwin is an actual name. So it shouldn’t be too surprising there was a company called Edwin. They produced a brand of jeans numbered “503” and so fans took to calling the ship “503” as well.  Some chapters into the manga, Ed and Winry are staying at a hotel and Winry came to visit Ed at his hotel room, the number of which was- you guessed it- 503.

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    The manga made yet another reference to a popular fandom name later on. Midway through the manga, a character named Ling was /possessed by a homunculus (artificial human) named Greed. Fans took to calling the combined character “Greedling”. Much, much later in the manga, Ed himself yells for Ling, only to have him respond that Greed is in control right now and Ed replies that this is getting too confusing and he’s just going to call him “Greedling” from now on. Fandom names sure are convenient! 

  3. I'm the Juggernaut for the X-Men

    In 2005, Randy Hayes and Xavier Nazario of My Way Entertainment made a parody dub of an episode of the original X-Men Animated series. You can see the video here, but fair warning that it’s not safe for work as there are approximately ten swear words a minute. The video opens with the Juggernaut declaring “Don’t you know who I am? I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” The video quickly went viral and many macros were made.

    And, lo and behold, in the movie X-3: The Last Stand, the Juggernaut says this very line before going after Kitty Pryde. Not only that, but a kid-friendly variation of the phrase was recently featured in the Black Panther Animated Series- “I’m the Juggernaut, punk!”

  4. Batman Can Breathe In Space for Lego Batman 3

    The popular webcomic Shortpacked!did a comic making fun of a Batman toy not having a helmet despite fighting in space, coining a catchphrase.

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     That catchphrase was "I'm Batman...and I can breathe in space." This joke  gained incredibly popularity, even becoming a trope on TV Tropes. And then, in the third Lego Batman video game, Robin wonders why Batman needs a spacesuit, because he can breathe in space!

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    In a true example of cyclical referencing, Shortpacked! responded by with a comic where the characters watched a commercial for the game and were freaked out that their joke had been stolen.

  5. Pairing names for RWBY

    As noted with Fullmetal Alchemist, fandom pairing names can often be referenced in the work itself. A particularly extreme example of this is the web cartoon RWBY, which stars a four girl hero team. As you can imagine, fandom often ships these girls with each other. During a battle scene in season 2, the group did some two-girl combo attacks and each attack was a popular fandom name for the character's ship. Weiss and Yang’s attack was named “Freezerburn” just like their ship, Ruby and Blake’s attack was called “Ladybug” and so on. Despite this, none of these pairings have actually become canon. 

  6. That's Terrible for Superman Comics

    The Superdictionary was a book from the 1978 that was intended to teach children new words through visual examples featuring their favorite superheroes from DC Comics. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, the book's examples were often hilarious. An example would be the plight of poor Robin:

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    The Superdictionary became very popular among internet comics communities, particularly scans_daily, for its humor value. Particularly popular was “When no one was looking Lex Luthor took forty cakes. He took 40 cakes. That’s as many as four tens. And that’s terrible.”

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    The complete silliness of the whole thing as well as the deadpan way the example ended made it an incredibly popular joke to repeat.

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    So popular, in fact, that it ended up being referenced in Superman #709. Superman flashbacks to the time he first met young Lex Luthor as a kid and recalls that he was in trouble for stealing forty cakes. And that's- well, you know.

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