From: Batman, specifically The Killing Joke
Who said it?: The Joker
The story behind the quote: The quote comes from Alan Moore’s classic graphic novel, The Killing Joke. This comic drastically gives a different spin on the origins of The Clown Prince of Crime and turns it on its head. Basically, The Killing Joke tells the story of The Joker’s plan to kidnap Commissioner James Gordon and give him “one bad day” so he can go crazy like The Harlequin of Hate became after his stint as the Red Hood.
The quote comes near the end of the story. Batman managed to track down the Joker. The Joker attempts to escape and, all the while, goes on a tirade saying that he’s won (thinking that Gordon has gone as mad as he is). He also knows that something awful happened to him that made him become the Joker but he just can’t remember exactly what it was…
Geek wisdom: Our brains have this weird way of clouding our very memories. Sometimes, we can remember something so vividly, we’d bet our life on it, only to find out we remembered it wrong. Other times, we can have fond memories of the past. But, when we revisit the same thing, we find out that it’s not as good as we remembered.
This is not a bad, nor a good thing; it’s just a fact of life.
From: The Avengers
Who said it?: Virtually every member of the Avengers at one time or another
The story behind the quote: The quote comes from the super hero team known as the Avengers. The Avengers are “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” and are composed of a myriad of Marvel’s comic book heroes. The first issue of The Avengers tells the team’s original origin tale:
In a bid to defeat his half-brother Thor, Loki tricks The Hulk to go on a rampage. As The Hulk’s sidekick, Rick Jones, send a distress radio call to the Fantastic Four, Loki diverts it but is intercepted by Iron Man, Wasp and Ant-Man. The trio, as well as Thor and The Hulk manage to defeat Loki. Wasp then decides they five of them should join forces. And the Avengers were formed.
The roster has added and lost members as the years passed. Usually, the team is led into battle by Captain America. However, that doesn’t mean that he’s the only one that can summon the Avengers. In fact, any Avengers team member can summon the rest of the group using the quote.
Geek wisdom: There is no shame in asking for assistance when you need help. It’s a common misconception for a lot of individuals to even refuse help as they feel it makes them look weak. Actually, it’s the opposite; it is actually a sign of strength and maturity to know your shortcomings and request for the support of others.
Don’t be ashamed to request for the aid of others.
Who said it?: “Peppermint” Patty
The story behind the quote: The quote comes the very popular Peanuts comic strip. Created by Charles M. Schulz, Peanuts featured a huge cast of characters, but most of the time, it revolves around the down on his luck, Charlie Brown. While most of the kids appear to pick on him for various reasons, he does have a few friends and admirers. Two of them happen to be “Peppermint” Patty, a tomboyish girl who loves sports, and Marcie, “Peppermint” Patty’s bookish and “dorky” best friend/sidekick.
The quote has actually become a sort of catchphrase for “Peppermint” Patty as she has to keep on repeating it to Marcie, who can’t seem to help herself… even after Patty’s numerous requests to stop.
Geek wisdom: It’s okay to show your respect to people by using an honorific title, such as “sir” or “ma’am.” However, there are going to be people that don’t like this and prefer that you use their name. While it may seem impolite not to use “sir,” “ma’am,” or other honorific title, it’s more disrespectful to not honor their request.
Who said it?: Logan/Wolverine
The story behind the quote: The quote comes from Wolverine, everyone’s favorite yellow spandex wearing, cigar chomping Canadian mutant. He is probably the most popular and most recognizable X-Men character in the world today. Which is kind of astonishing since, originally, his first appearance was in Hulk #181 (as an opponent to both The Incredible Hulk and Wendigo). It wasn’t until much later that Logan joined a new group of X-Men to rescue the original members.
Logan pretty much acknowledges that he is a vicious killer and will do things that may seem unnecessarily violent. But he does recognize that his skills do serve a purpose as noted by his catchphase.
Geek wisdom: Everyone has his or her own special talent and, no matter what it is, it’s something that you should be proud of. There may be times when you feel your special gift should be hidden away or it should be something you should be ashamed of. But everything you’re good at has to be shared with everyone… because it deserves to be shared with others.
From: Marvel’s San Diego Comic-Con 2013 Panel
Genre: Comics and Internet
Who said it?: Tom Hiddleston/Loki
The story behind the quote: This is a bit of an odd quote since I’m not really sure who’s saying the quote. Also, it’s totally not canon but I just had to put it up since it is pretty fun to watch.
During this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego, Marvel held a panel in Hall H showing their plans for future film franchises. However, mere minutes into the panel, the host’s mic got cut and the lights went out. Loki, the villain from the Thor and Avengers films (played by Tom Hiddleston), appeared on stage. He then proceeded to berate the audience for attending Comic-Con. As the fans chanted his (Loki’s) name, he commended them to be quiet and bully the host to cowering in the corner. He then commands the audience to once again say his name.
Geek wisdom: Take ownership of everything that you do. Make sure whatever you do, you’ll be proud to put your name next to it. You have to ensure that your actions do not make you ashamed of what you’ve done in the future.
Even though Loki is a bad guy and tried to take over the world in The Avengers, fans became extremely enamored with him. This is why Tom Hiddleston got a big reaction when he reprised his role for the Comic-Con panel. He took on the role and totally owned it and, because of that, we loved Loki (even though we’re supposed to hate him since he is the villain).
Who said it?: Emma Frost
The story behind the quote: When Emma Frost first appeared in comics, she was a villain, fighting against the X-Men. However, after numerous battles with them, she eventually joined the X-Men and actually took over as headmistress of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning and she took her job of preparing the student of the school seriously.
During one of her speeches to the student body, Emma announced that they will be changing the way they will be taught but they will be educated on how to deal with a world that shuns mutants. During the end of her speech, she comments that the students who are complaining about the harsh teaching methods of Wolverine/Logan are wasting their breath. She then delivers the quote as she expects them to be ready for anything.
Geek wisdom: The worst things can happen at any time, especially when you least expect it. Rather than scramble and jump in to fix it, it’s always a good thing to be ready for it. Like Emma Frost said, the training that the students are doing may be difficult but it is actually for their own benefit as people are looking at them closely. If they’re going to slack off and not be able to control themselves during something that’s planned, it’s going to be much worse when real danger rears its ugly head.
From: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Who said it?: Scott Pilgrim
The story behind the quote: This quote comes from the film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The movie is based on a series of black and white comic books by Bryan Lee O’Malley. While a moderate hit, it never really hit mainstream success. Still, for those who knew about it, it was one of those cult-like things as it focused a lot on geek culture, especially video games, and irreverent humor.
In the film, Scott is depressed since he will have to defeat the Seven Evil Exes of the (literal) girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers, in order to be with her. His gay roommate, Wallace Wells, tells him that he has to “break out the L-word” if he’s really serious about Ramona. However, Scott believes that the “L-word” is “lesbians.”
Although he does eventually understand that the “L-word” is actually “love,” when Scott does try to express how he feels for Ramona, he accidentally still doesn’t say that he’s in love with her.
Geek wisdom: It can be pretty intimidating to express our feelings to others, especially about deeper emotional issues, such as love. There are a lot of reasons why this is: fear of being laughed at, fear of rejection, etc.
However, unless we really come out and communicate how we feel, there’s no way any relationship can move on to a deeper and more personal relationship. It is risky (and scary) but sometimes you just have to take the risk.
From: Death: The High Cost of Living
Who said it?: Didi/Death
The story behind the quote: The quote comes from Death, one of the characters from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. Specifically, the quote comes from the miniseries, Death: The High Cost of Living.
Essentially, a suicidal boy named Sexton meets a girl named Didi who claims to be the personification of Death. Didi explains to Sexton that, in order to appreciate taking away the lives of people, she is reincarnated every 100 years to experience one day of walking among the living. Sexton is amazed (and strangely) drawn to Didi as she expresses such joy in simple acts, such as eating a bagel or riding a taxi. He decides to follow her around and tries to see if there is a meaning to his life.
By the way, MASSIVE SPOILERS ARE AHEAD! Please read the series since the quote will have a deeper significance when you really appreciate the story. Don’t worry. The story is deep and I think non-geeks will love the story.
The quote comes from the end of the miniseries where Didi has a conversation with Death. Death asks how it felt to be alive and Didi beams and exclaims that it felt so wonderful to be alive and wished it didn’t have to end. Death then delivers the quote, explaining that life has to end, making every minute precious.
Geek wisdom: We take life for granted. Even the simple joys of eating a bagel is lost when we don’t realize that we’re lucky to be alive to eat the bagel. The sad thing is, we also take the big things in life, like family and friends, for granted.
We shouldn’t have to wait for our time to be up before we start appreciating life. We should be living and enjoying what little time we have left on this earth now.
From: Calvin and Hobbes
Who said it?: Calvin
The story behind the quote: Calvin and Hobbes is a very creative comic strip from Bill Watterson. Unlike most comic strips, the jokes and stories never patronize the intelligence of the audience and can be read (and enjoyed) by kids and adults alike. Calvin is a very active kid and is best friends with his stuffed tiger, Hobbes. Since he is just a kid, he is very imaginative and constantly dreams of impossible adventures, such as being in outer space in his Spaceman Spiff persona. Most of the stories and gags usually revolve around Calvin’s imagination and how it gets him into trouble. However, there are a lot of philosophical ideas as well. Calvin and, by extension, Hobbes observe things with remarkable insight for a little boy.
The quote comes from the very last strip that was released. It has Calvin and Hobbes walking in the new fallen snow and exclaiming that the day is so full of possibilities. They then both ride on their bobsled, eager to look around the world and find new and exciting things.
Geek wisdom: We have to treat each day as a new adventure. As Calvin said, the day is always full of new possibilities. A lot of us have become cynical and actually dread and worry about what tomorrow will bring. There’s a lot of things the world can offer us and we sometimes close ourselves to the possibility of actually going out and enjoying ourselves.
All of us should take the time to remember that each day brings us new opportunities. We should not hide from these opportunities. Rather, we should chase after the chance a new day brings us.
Who said it?: Mary Jane Watson
The story behind the quote: Wow, when it comes to comics, I seem to either go to Batman or Spider-Man… but this is a bit different since it isn’t the hero that gives the quote. Rather, it’s the love interest of Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson.
We have to get into a lot of backstory regarding this quote to really get the full impact of the wisdom from it. Prior to her first (official) appearance in the comics, she was just this faceless girl that Aunt May kept on trying to set Peter Parker up for a date (initially mentioned in Amazing Spider-Man #15). Peter kept blowing it off since he assumed that, since his aunt liked her so much, he wouldn’t really like her. This actually kept on for a really long time and it became somewhat of running joke of the series.
Finally, in Amazing Spider-Man #42 (around two years after she was initially mentioned), Peter does meet Mary Jane, who turns out to be a bombshell of a red-head who jokingly mentions how lucky he is.
Geek wisdom: You shouldn’t be afraid to try new things once in a while. Sure there’s going to be a chance that the experience is awful. However, unless you try it, you’ll never know if its something that’s plain god-awful or something given from God. Imagine if Peter Parker never met Mary Jane. He wouldn’t have had met the love of his life. Remember, you may hit the jackpot, too, if you try something new.