The Big Bang Theory: 15 DC & Marvel References You Probably Missed
How well do you know the superhero shoutouts sprinkled through The Big Bang Theory?
For the amazing 12 seasons, The Big Bang Theory delighted audiences with its perfect blend of humor, romance, and an unapologetic celebration of geek culture. Its subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) nods to the comic book world made fans chuckle and nod knowingly.
But did you spot them all? Let’s break down some of the most interesting and hilarious DC and Marvel references that might have breezed past even the most eagle-eyed fans.
1. Stan Lee’s Cameo (Marvel)
Stan Lee, the Marvel maestro himself, makes a cameo in the sixteenth episode of season 3, The Excelsior Acquisition. When Penny takes Sheldon to meet Stan Lee, it ends on a hilarious note as Sheldon gets a restraining order filed against him by Lee. This episode is loaded with Marvel references that we'll dive into later.
2. Aquaman 's... Bathroom Routine? (DC)
One of the more peculiar obsessions in the show was Raj's fixation on how Aquaman... um, relieves himself. Yep, in Robotic Manipulation, Raj posed several hilarious and thought-provoking questions about the aquatic hero's lavatory habits.
From the design of Atlantean toilets to their plumbing system — Raj's imagination knows no bounds.
3. Thor’s Mjolnir (Marvel)
Penny, Bernadette, and Amy try decoding the mystique of comic books in episode 13 of season 6. As they muddle through Thor's story, Penny claims Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, is super heavy. Bernadette thinks it's all magic, while Amy feels since it's Thor's hammer, he's the only worthy one.
For avid Marvel readers, this is hilariously off-track. Mjolnir, inscribed with "Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor," relies on worthiness, not weight or exclusivity.
4. Green Lantern’s Weakness (DC)
In The Dead Hooker Juxtaposition, Raj rants about how ridiculous it is for Green Lanterns to have a weakness to yellow.
The nerd brigade chimes in, mentioning that only the modern Green Lantern have this vulnerability, while Alan Scott fears wood. Raj also makes a cheeky comment about taking them both down with a pencil.
5. Sheldon's X-Men Mix-up (Marvel)
Sheldon's X-Men analogy in The Pants Alternative episode is humorously misguided. Calling his gang "C-Men" (for Cooper) misses the mark. X-Men, contrary to Sheldon's belief, wasn't christened after Xavier.
The X denotes their exceptional abilities, powered by the X-gene. In essence, it's about their extraordinary nature rather than a nod to Xavier. Stan Lee's original idea was to highlight their unique, "extra" powers compared to regular humans.
6. Aquaman Statue (DC)
In the episode titled The Spock Resonance, Sheldon, being the ultimate geek, proudly shows his apartment to a documentary crew. He draws attention to an Aquaman statue guarding his place. Sheldon claims that the King of the Seven Seas has been on security duty for over 13 years.
7. Too Many Spider-Man Comic Books (Marvel)
In the same episode starring Stan Lee, Penny's on a mission to buy her nephew some comics, but here's the catch — she has no clue about them. She ropes in Leonard for assistance.
When asked about her nephew's favorites, she casually drops Spider-Man. Sheldon, ever the enthusiast, bombards her with options, but Penny's already zoned out.
8. Flash-tastic Halloween (DC)
Halloween episodes are a treat, especially in The Middle-Earth Paradigm. Penny's party witnesses a comic mix-up when Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj all show up dressed as The Flash. The banter that follows is pure gold. Raj's idea to form a Flash queue to mimic super-speed is genius.
9. Hulk Hands (Marvel)
In the twelfth episode of season 3, Raj tries to get Sheldon to double-date. Sheldon, as always, needs an incentive. Raj gives him a pair of Hulk Hands, but Sheldon being Sheldon, decides it's the perfect accessory for his date night.
10. Justice League Affair (DC)
Costumes are clearly a big thing for our TBBT gang. In the season 4 episode The Justice League Recombination, the gang is on a quest to ace a costume contest. Their pick is the legendary Justice League.
We've got Leonard as Green Lantern, Howard donning the Batman cape, Sheldon as his favorite Flash, and a slightly grumpy Raj as Aquaman. Plus, Penny and her beau Zack jumping in as Wonder Woman and Superman.
11. Batman's Special Invitation (DC)
Remember when Adam West, who famously played Batman in the 60s, made an appearance? It was during Sheldon's birthday bash in the episode The Celebration Experimentation. The gang decides to make up for a childhood disappointment by inviting the OG Batman. It was a sweet and nostalgic touch.
12. Bravest Marvel Character Debate (Marvel)
Ever wondered who is the bravest Marvel character? The gang sure did in The Boyfriend Complexity episode. While the boys had some humorous guesses, Sheldon's pick was priceless: the doctor who gives Wolverine his prostate exam. Classic Sheldon.
13. Leonard's Not-so-Secret Password (DC)
We all know that Leonard is a Superman fanboy. But did you catch his not-so-secret password? In The White Asparagus Triangulation, Sheldon hacks Leonard's Facebook, revealing that Leonard uses "Kal-el" (Superman's real name) for every account. Way to keep it unpredictable, Leonard.
14. Who Created Silver Surfer? (Marvel)
In the sixteenth episode of season 3, The Excelsior Acquisition, Stan Lee himself is coming to the comic book store to sign autographs. While waiting, Raj is rolling his eyes at Stan Lee’s usage of alliterative names — Peter Parker, Fantastic Four, and... Silver Surfer.
But fun fact: while Stan Lee did introduce Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four #48, it was Jack Kirby who created the character.
15. Sheldon's Catwoman Rankings (DC & Marvel)
Sheldon is known for his lists, and in The Bad Fish Paradigm, he shares his ranking of Catwomen actresses. In order: Julie Newmar, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eartha Kitt, Lee Meriwether, and Halle Berry.
Halle Berry may be at the bottom of his list , but she led to a discussion about Sheldon's favorite X-Men too (in order: Professor X, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Cyclops, Iceman, Storm, Angel, and The Beast). Two references for the price of one.