DID YOU READ

The 10 funniest superheroes (with video)

Iron Man movie image Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark

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“The Avengers” is going to be the big hit of the whole year, certainly, but while it has its fair share of funny moments, there are actually superheroes whose stock in trade is comedy. One of the most glaring omissions from the otherwise solid Sam Raimi “Spider-Man” films are the crucial element of Peter Parker’s wiseacre nature. In the comic books, he’s always got some snappy patter going to distract his enemies in the midst of a fight – and sadly, “The Amazing Spider-Man” reboot doesn’t look to be going in that direction, either. So, in the interest of four-color funny, here’s a rundown of ten superheroes known for their comedy stylings.


1. The Tick

Gloriously insane and gleefully dorky, Ben Edlund’s lumbering blue lummox of a superhero lived in a weird world where all the goofiest superheroes ever ran about The City and fought criminals like Chairface Chippendale (a criminal mastermind with a chair for a head), El Seed (a talking flower man), and The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs At Midnight. With his neurotic moth-themed sidekick Arthur, he bellowed his mighty battle cry of “Spoon!” before tossing his nigh-invulnerable self into the midst of chicanery everywhere. Spoofing the superhero genre while reveling in it, it’s hard to get any funnier than this.


2. Batman (Adam West)

Now that the perception of comic book adaptations is a vastly different beast than it was in the decades immediately following the 1960s “Batman” series, nerds everywhere can unclench about good old Adam West and Burt Ward fighting crime in a cheeky, campy and ridiculously stylized version of Gotham City. For years, no one wanted to take comics seriously enough to make a good movie, and folks blamed this show. These days, however, it’s a golden oldie that’s so over-the-top that you can’t tear your eyes from it. Burgess Meredith’s Penguin lives on as everybody’s Dick Cheney impression, Cesar Romero’s Joker and Frank Gorshin’s Riddler are unfortgettable, and every punch lands with a thunderous zowie! And no one can forget the Shark-Repellent Bat-Spray.


3. Spider-Man

As previously stated, the wall-crawler has always had a sterling wit, but you wouldn’t know that by watching Tobey Maguire sling the webs. Even most of his animated adventures are more corny and painful with the quips than they are funny. The current comic books are pretty sharp, however, and the recent “Spectacular Spider-Man” cartoon and the new “Ultimate Spider-Man” animated series bring a really modern comic sensibility to the adventures of Peter Parker and his high school buddies. This current one is big on cutaways to wacky sequences underscoring the goof of the moment. It may be a little hard to take at times, but hey, it’s for kids!


4. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)

Tony Stark was a smooth ladies man, but he was never quite the quipster he is today until Robert Downey Jr. stepped into the role of the Armored Avenger for the 2008 film that made all the Marvel films which followed possible. Is it essentially Downey playing himself and forcing the established comics character to follow suit? Well, yeah, probably, but it works. It works so damn well that it managed to hold its own and vie with “The Dark Knight” as the best comic book movie ever – certainly of that year – thanks in no small part to Downey’s unstoppable quipping and relentlessly charming bastardry. You never know what’s going to come out of this guy’s mouth, and we love it that way. It’s all RDJ’s doing that Tony Stark is now a household name.


5. Deadpool

Wait, didn’t we just do Spider-Man? Ha ha, no, this guy is much more of an antihero than anything else. Fabien Nicieza took a half-assed Rob Liefeld sketch of what was essentially DC’s Deathstroke, gave him Spider-Man’s sense of humor but with a broken bad-guy edge, and thus Wade Wilson was born. It wasn’t until Joe Kelly gave him his first solo series that The Merc With A Mouth really began to flourish into the manic maniac he’s come to be known and loved as. That series bounced back and forth between fourth-wall-breaking craziness and dark and twisted melodrama with stunning ease, and made him into the unluckiest guy in the world despite his unbelievable regenerative abilities. Every time he tries to be a hero, it blows up in his ugly, scarred face, and that just makes him crazier and crazier. Forget what you saw with Ryan Reynolds in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” The best animated appearance was in the feature “Hulk Vs.,” which you can see here to get a sense of how nuts this guy is.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.