- Marvel and DC love to pepper their films with clever and amusing easter eggs, and we can't really blame them. With such massive universes at their disposal, and a loyal fanbase always ready and willing to pick apart each new movie that they produce, it's no wonder that the studios enjoy sprinkling clever nods to the audience in all of their films.
Over the years, there have been numerous easter eggs that have shown up, from blatant cameos to hidden clues that only the most hardcore of Marvel/DC fans would pick up on. Regardless, it's always fun to see what the studios come up with for their latest efforts and with Avengers: Age of Ultron now in theatres, and the DC Cinematic Universe about to unravel, we thought we'd go back and choose 11 of Marvel and DC's most obscure easter eggs that only hardcore fans would notice.
Action Comics #1 - Superman ReturnsBryan Singer payed homage to Superman's first appearance during a brief moment in Superman Returns that only those familiar with the iconic cover would have recognized.
We're, of course, talking about when Superman picks a car up over his head and takes a step forward before setting it back down safely. It's a small, but memorable image for fans of the Man of Steel and it's one that works remarkably well in live-action.
Odin's Ravens - The AvengersOdin, the father of Thor and Loki, makes a small cameo in The Avengers in the form of Huginn and Munnin, his trusty raven spies. The ravens first appeared in the throne room in the Thor film, and reappear in The Avengers during the scene where Thor and Loki first talk before being interrupted by Iron Man.
The ravens can be seen flying around a mountain peak in the background, meaning Odin was keeping an eye on his sons while they were away on Midgard. Perhaps he could have helped out a bit during the alien invasion though? That might have been nice...
Blaze Comics Billboard - Man of SteelIt almost takes Superman's power of micro-vision to catch this blink-or-you'll-miss-it Easter egg, but if you look for it, it's there.
A Blaze Comics billboard is scene in the background during one shot of Superman and General Zod's climactic fight, which hardcore fans immediately recognized as a nod toward DC's resident time-travelling rogue. Created by Dan Jurgens in 1986, Blaze Comics is a fictional comic book company within the DC Comics universe, which regularly featured Booster Gold as its main hero. Unfortunately, there's no telling if the billboard proves that Booster Gold exists in the DC Cinematic Universe or if some visual effects artist is just a card-carrying member of the hero's fan club.
Fin Fang Foom Billboard - Iron Man 2Speaking of billboards alluding to fan-favorite characters, Marvel included one in Iron Man 2. Their billboard, which Iron Man flies past at breakneck speed, featured artwork of Fin Fang Foom, a giant Chinese dragon and a classic member of the Armored Avenger's rogues gallery.
As fantastical as the Marvel universe has become, it's doubtful we'll ever see Fin Fang Foom show up in the flesh on screen, leaving this billboard as nothing more than a cool nod to a famous and rather badass comic book character.
"Journey Into Mystery" Billboard - ThorBillboards are apparently the perfect place for directors and visual effects artists to slap hard-to-spot Easter eggs for fans. Marvel didn't just utilize them in Iron Man 2, but in Thor as well. Only this time, it wasn't a nod to a character as much as an entire line of comics.
Journey into Mystery was initially published by Atlas Comics (and later by Marvel) and was a horror anthology that introduced audiences to The Mighty Thor in 1962. Four years later, Journey into Mystery was renamed for its title hero.
The Thwarted Wayne Murders - WatchmenFour years before Zack Snyder announced that he'd be bringing Batman to the big screen in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, he included a Batman-centric Easter egg in his ambitious Watchmen adaptation. During the film's opening credit sequence, which serves as a sort of prologue for the events to come, the original Nite Owl is seen punching out a criminal in front of an opera house.
Upon closer observation, it's clear that the man with the gun must be Joe Chill, and that the people who are being saved are Thomas and Martha Wayne. For further proof, you need only look at the wall of the opera house, which has a Gotham newspaper on display as well as a host of Batman comic book covers. This means that in the Watchmen universe, the Wayne murders never happen, which means Bruce likely never becomes Batman.
Galactus' Shadow - Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver SurferTim Story's Fantastic Four sequel, Rise of the Silver Surfer, has its fair share of problems, but is often chastised for one thing: its depiction of cosmic Marvel villain Galactus. Rather than faithfully adapt Galactus as a gigantic Celestial being with a purple outfit and horned helmet, Story took a more conservative route and made the villain a giant cloud. Needless to say, fans were disappointed.
For a brief moment, however, Galactus does appear in his "true" form. Or, rather, his shadow does, as it shows up on the side of Saturn during the villain's journey to Earth.
The Human Torch - Captain America: The First AvengerThose unfamiliar with comics hear the name "Human Torch" and immediately think of the Fantastic Four's Johnny Storm, but readers know that Johnny's actually the second being to take up that mantle.
The original Human Torch showed up in 1939's Marvel Comics #1 from Timely Publications. The original Torch is actually an android whose creator placed him in a big glass case. When the case opens, the exposure to oxygen causes the android to catch fire (and, interestingly, gain sentience). The Human Torch became one of Marvel's first characters, and even did battle with Namor the Sub-Mariner.
The Human Torch shows up briefly during Captain America: The First Avenger, on display during the Stark Expo near the beginning of the film. That means that the movie actually has two former Human Torches in it, with Chris Evans being the second.
Wakanda - Iron Man 2Iron Man 2 is chalk full of Easter eggs, which makes sense since it was the first step in Marvel's plan to fully expand its cinematic universe.
Near the end of the film, when Tony Stark meets with Nick Fury, there are several computer screens with a few Easter eggs for fans to find. One is footage from The Incredible Hulk, while the other is a small nod at Wakanda, the highly advanced fictional African nation that Black Panther calls home. The map on the wall behind Tony features a dot in Africa that points to Wakanda, a place that wouldn't come into focus on film until Avengers: Age of Ultron in order to pave the way for Black Panther's debut in Captain America: Civil War. So, it serves as both a bit of fan service and universe building.
Well done, Marvel, well done.
Bob Kane's Autograph - BatmanComic book Easter eggs are a dime a dozen in today's superhero-heavy climate, but they were a bit harder to come by a few decades ago. However, Tim Burton still included one such gem in his 1989 Batman film that pays homage to Batman co-creator Bob Kane.
Near the beginning of the film, Alexander Knox walks through his office and is handed a sketch of the Batman that's been spotted around Gotham City. The drawing itself is a funny gag, but the signature below it is the best part, as it's the autograph of Bob Kane. To go one level deeper, the character that does the drawing is listed as "Bob the cartoonist" in the novelization of the film.
First Cover - Captain America: The First AvengerIn a nice nod to the comics, we see Captain America acting out a scene where he takes a swing at Hitler. It may not seem like much, but fans who are familiar with the First Avenger will recognize this image as the same image used on the cover of the very first Captain America comic.