Superheroes are known as symbols of action and adventure, but they can also be pretty funny when they want to. While Marvel and DC have had plenty of shows that played their superheroes straight, they’ve also both released quite a few comedies, both live-action and animated, with their characters over the years. These shows also make use of all sorts of genres, from romantic to even workplace comedies.
Many of these series are aimed at mature audiences, while a few are aimed at children. This means it’s just as likely for a superhero comedy to be darker and edgier than its source material as it is to be lighter. Sometimes, when a character is somewhat obscure, or is already treated as a joke by fans, it makes sense for a show to be tongue-in-cheek and have a sense of humor about things. After all, plenty of superhero characters already have running gags in their original comics.
12 She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022)
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is a superhero series, a legal drama, and a comedy series all in one. Jennifer Walters is an Assistant Direct Attorney who gets in a car crash with her cousin, Bruce Banner, the Hulk himself. Exposure to his blood transforms her into a Hulk as well.
Jen Can Smash the Fourth Wall
Since this is a show about representing superheroes, the show plays fast and loose with the legal system, something which is used as a sense of humor. Of course, the show can even play loose with reality itself. In one famous scene, when Jen feels the story is making too little sense, she literally goes to Marvel Studios to rewrite certain plot elements.
Many actors from earlier Marvel productions also reprise their roles in the series, like Bruce Banner himself, Mark Ruffalo, and Tim Roth, who plays Emil Blonsky/The Abomination. The series also features a well-known appearance from Megan Thee Stallion, who appears as herself.
11 Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. (2021)
Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. is an animated series revolving around the titular villain himself, the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing, and he’s going through a midlife crisis. Also known as George Tarleton, M.O.D.O.K. is the head of the bankrupt A.I.M., which he sees get sold to rival company, G.R.U.M.B,L. Meanwhile, at home, M.O.D.O.K.’s wife questions his need to be a villain, his son is too socially awkward for his liking, and his daughter seeks his approval.
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Seemingly hating both superheroes and other supervillains alike, M.O.D.O.K. plans to take over the world. That said, things rarely work out for M.O.D.O.K. by the end of each episode, in part thanks to his own behavior. M.O.D.O.K.’s backstory is also apparently changed so that he was apparently born with his current appearance instead of being experimented on. Of course, even the most evil characters can still be hilarious.
Patton Oswalt voices the title character. Some notable guest stars include Jon Hamm as Tony Stark and Nathan Fillion as Wonder Man.
10 Ms. Marvel (2022)
Ms. Marvel is a miniseries revolving around the titular heroine. Also known as Kamala Khan, she starts out as a teenager from New Jersey who is a fan of superheroes, particularly Carol Danvers, or Captain Marvel. However, a magical bangle grants her the ability to manipulate hard light.
A Superhero For John Hughes Fans
Thanks to its young protagonist, Ms. Marvel combines a superhero story with a coming-of-age comedy. Real-life fans of superhero media can easily find Kamala relatable, especially with the escapist fantasy of her actually getting to develop her own powers coming true. Notably, the series takes influences from John Hughes films, and other similar high school stories, like 10 Things I Hate About You. Fans have also noted similarities with the Tom Holland Spider-Man films.
9 Powerless (2017)
Powerless is a workplace comedy that takes place in the world of DC Comics. Emily Locke works in Research & Development at Wayne Security for Wayne Enterprises. Their work revolves around items meant to help humans caught up in super-powered battles.
What Goes on in the Background
The series is notable in that most of the main characters are original characters who haven’t previously appeared in DC’s comics. That said, many classic characters and actors associated with DC media do make a variety of cameos in the series. Adam West notably narrates the opening for the first episode, later making another appearance in an episode released online. Batman himself also makes a brief cameo in the series, even though he technically owns the place of business where the main characters work. There are a few other jokes about the DC universe, like Lex Luthor being the president in the series.
8 Teen Titans Go! (2013)
Teen Titans Go! is an animated series, serving as a comedic spin-off of the earlier Teen Titans cartoon. The Titans are now at their most comedic. Robin is the de facto leader of the series, though his teammates never exactly listen to him. Cyborg and Beast Boy are something of a comedic duo; Starfire is the comedic fish-out-of-water, and the sardonic Raven is always there to give the series a good dose of black humor.
No Villain or Pop-Culture Reference Is Safe
As the series goes on, the Titans become so self-absorbed that there are times when the villains they face come off as more heroic. The series also loves to make as many pop-culture jokes as it can, from the characters once showcasing a bunch of Sailor Moon-style transformations to the Titans battling the Scooby-Doo gang on Family Feud. Notably, while the original Teen Titans cartoon could only hint at Robin’s past with Batman, this series has the Titans interact with other DC superheroes, usually with comedic results.
7 Peacemaker (2022)
Peacemaker is a superhero series based on the DC Comics character of the same name. After the events of The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker, also known as Christopher Smith, finds himself part of the black ops squad “Project Butterfly,” tasked with fighting butterfly-like parasites that can take over human bodies. All the while, the series takes a look into Peacemaker’s origins. Smith doesn’t have typical superpowers, but is a vigilante with powerful strength, armor, and skills.
From the Dance Party Opening to the Post-Credits Outtakes
A few actors reprise their roles from The Suicide Squad, most notably John Cena as the title character. The show notably doesn’t shy away from Peacemaker’s darker qualities, being a combination of a pacifist and an extremist, stopping at nothing to obtain peace. In a way, he’s been compared to a superhero and a supervillain rolled into one. Comedy plays out from the beginning to the end in the series, from the dance sequence opening to each episode’s post-credits outtakes.
6 Guardians of the Galaxy (2015)
Guardians of the Galaxy is an animated series based on its namesake superhero team. Early on, the team, made up of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot., are tasked with finding the Cosmic Seed, which can create a new universe, and keeping it out of the hands of the villain Thanos.
A Funny Series from a Funny Film
The series is something of a mix between the movies and the original comics. For example, Star-Lord’s father is presented as J’son, as in the comics, as opposed to Ego the Living Planet. As the series goes on, the characters crossover with other Marvel characters, including the Avengers, Howard the Duck, and Spider-Man, as well as a cameo from Stan Lee.
The original Guardians of the Galaxy film is famous for its humor, and the cartoon still adheres to comedy or pop culture jokes. For example, each episode title references a classic song from the 1970s or 1980s. There are also classic running gags, like no one knowing who Star-Lord is, Drax’s inability to get sarcasm, and Rocket’s loose temper. “You’re welcome,” the franchise’s arc words, were even used as the series’ tagline.
5 Harley Quinn (2019)
Harley Quinn is an adult-animated comedy series based around the eponymous DC Comics character. The series starts off with Harley Quinn leaving her boyfriend, having accepted he never loved her. Early on, Quinn decides to make a name for herself in Gotham City and recruits other villains for her new team. While Harley’s allies change throughout the series, some notable names early on include Poison Ivy, Clayface, Doctor Psycho, and King Shark.
Harley Quinn Has a Hero’s (and Villain’s) Journey
Harley Quinn, here voiced by Kaley Cuoco, has always been a popular DC Comics character, and her fans can enjoy seeing her as the star of the show. In particular, Quinn has appeared as both a villainess and a heroic character throughout DC lore, and the series explores both roles for the character. In particular, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy’s relationship becomes a driving force throughout the series.
4 My Adventures with Superman (2023)
My Adventures with Superman is an animated series starting off with Clark Kent trying to develop his journalistic career as well as his superhero alter-ego. The budding new reporter and intern is starting his new job alongside Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, all the while having to protect Metropolis and learn about his origins.
Superman at His Most (Socially) Awkward
The show manages to combine a superhero origin story with a romantic comedy, with Lois even being able to quickly figure out Clark’s secret identity. The series is filled with running jokes that paint a fun portrayal of the characters, like Clark breaking things, Jimmy’s conspiracy theories, and Lois’ bravado. In particular, the series portrayal of Clark as socially awkward and insecure actually manages to make the great Superman relatable. The series has also been praised for its anime-influenced art style, though many DC fans poked fun at Clark getting a magical girl-esque transformation into Superman.
3 Doom Patrol (2019)
Doom Patrol is a dark comedy-drama starring the superhero team of the same name. Since its inception, the Doom Patrol was made up of loners and misfits shunned by the world. In the series, members of the team include Kay Challis, Crazy Jane, who has multiple personality disorder; Cliff Steele, or Robotman, whose human brain was placed in a robot body; Larry Trainor, or Negative Man, whose body is a host to negative energy; and Victor Stone, or Cyborg, a high school football player who was “rebuilt” after a lab explosion.
Even The Previews Have Their Fans
The series uses its dark aesthetic for comedy. At one point, when Cliff brings up that he is a robot with a human brain, he is bluntly told he’s nothing special as a lot of appliances in the series universe have brains, including an apparently sarcastic toaster. Some viewers particularly find the previews to be the show’s funniest part, since they usually take things out of context.
2 WandaVision (2021)
WandaVision is an American miniseries that sees Wanda Maximoff finding Vision alive after the events of Avengers: Endgame. The two start their new lives together in New Jersey, meeting new neighbors and even having children. However, their reality keeps changing, with the episodes paying homage to classic sitcoms and tropes from throughout the decades.
A Tribute to Sitcom Classics
These include references to shows like Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, Malcolm in the Middle, and Modern Family. However, this undercuts the surreal nature of what’s really going on in the series. Thanks to this, the series also makes use of various styles, from black-and-white to broadcast technicolor, even using claymation at one point.
The series in particular became famous for the twist of Wanda’s neighbor Agnes being the witch Agatha Harkness, punctuated with the song, “It Was Agatha All Along.” The series inspired two spin-offs: Agatha: Darkhold Diaries and Vision Quest, revolving around Agatha and Vision, respectively.
1 Batman (1966)
The 1960s Batman series saw the character star in a colorful, surreal and famously campy series. This Batman intentionally portrays the superhero-related antics, particularly the supervillains, in an over-the-top fashion. In addition to some of the more familiar members of Batman’s rouge gallery, some new villains included the egg-pun obsessed Egghead, played by Vincent Price, and the flower-themed Louie the Lilac, played by: Milton Berle.
Fans Still Remember The Sound Effects
The series is still a prominent adaptation of the Batman mythos, in spite of all the different versions that have come out since. For many fans, Adam West’s portrayal of Batman, the series’ theme song, and the use of sound effect interstitials are all iconic. Decades later, the series has honored with the comic series, Batman ’66. Given its impact, it can be surprising for fans to learn that this series only ran for about two years during its original run.
“}]] Superheroes and supervillains, whether live-action or animated, can be surprisingly funny. Read More