I love watching all the DCTV shows, but my friends won’t let me watch with them anymore. They complain that I interrupt the shows too many times to point out things like, “Hey, that’s a story element from this or that Silver Age comic.”
It’s not my fault that Warner Bros. keeps on putting in all these cool Easter eggs!
Anyway, while my friends may have placed me under a gag order so they could watch the shows in peace, I still have my keyboard, so I thought it would be fun to share some of these Easter eggs with you, my fellow DC fanatics! February was a big month for the DCTV shows with lots of great comic book references! Let’s break down the biggest ones…
The episode “Goldfaced” introduced us to a villain called, well…Goldface! First appearing in GREEN LANTERN #38, he was a scientist who developed an odd golden glow after ingesting a serum. The glow may have turned heads, but on the plus side, the serum also gave him super strength (which can be a good thing if you’re planning on starting a life of crime). At the time, Green Lantern had a weakness against the color yellow, and Goldface’s aura was close enough to yellow to make him immune to the Lantern ring. Despite this, Green Lantern was still able to defeat Goldface dozens of times.
In the episode “Cause and XS,” Cisco ponders how ridiculous it would be to dress up like Ozone from the movie Breakin’. Cisco was absolutely right, because when he first appeared in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICAN ANNUAL #2 (with the name Paco Ramon), he was dressed like a stereotypical 1980’s breakdancer. Believe it or not, that was his superhero costume as well! Thankfully Vibe’s fashion sense evolved with the times. Perhaps Cisco was vibing the old 1980’s comic when he made that reference to Nora!
Speaking of Nora, did you notice that she reversed the day 52 times? For those of you who are new here (welcome newbies, we love you!), 52 is a significant number in DC lore. It was the name of a weekly maxi-series that started in 2006, the number of different Earths in the Multiverse, and DC’s 2011 line-wide revamp was known as “The New 52.” If you feel like you’ve read this before, then perhaps Nora has gone back in time again!
I never thought I would get so excited about chili, but when Felicity mentioned that Oliver was making it for dinner during “Star City Slayer,” I went nuts! Arrow is currently on its seventh season and it’s taken this long for them to reference Oliver Queen’s famous chili!
The dish was first mentioned in GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW #85 and has since taken on a reputation as one of Oliver’s greatest weapons! The chili is so spicy that it even causes pain to members of the Justice League! In TRINITY #38, Batman’s memory of the chili helped him realize that reality had been altered. If you want to see what all the fuss is about, Oliver shared the secret recipe in GREEN ARROW SECRET FILES AND ORIGINS #1, but remember…it’s got quite a spicy taste!
“Star City Slayer” also mentioned the criminal Blockbuster’s crime spree in the city Blüdhaven. This was a major focus of Chuck Dixon’s run on NIGHTWING in the 1990s, where the former Boy Wonder worked tirelessly to take down Blockbuster’s Blüdhaven criminal empire.
The episode “Menagerie” featured Pamela bonding with an alien parasite to become Menagerie, and eventually getting recruited by Manchester Black to join his “Elite” group. Menagerie was first seen in ACTION COMICS #775, which is an issue I wrote about in the Couch Club last week.
Although Pamela may have seemed like a tough customer, her comics counterpart has a conscience. In Action Comics #795, she warned Superman that Manchester Black was controlling her attacks, and the Elite’s leader responded by giving her a telepathic stroke. Seems a bit harsh, Manchester! Pamela’s alien parasite was eventually passed on to her sister Sonja, proving that even when they’re super-villains, younger siblings always get stuck with hand-me-downs.
Fans of the Joker had plenty of reasons to be excited during the Gotham episode “Ace Chemicals!” After a battle with Bruce Wayne at the iconic processing plant, Jeremiah fell into a vat of glowing green chemicals.
While the Joker’s origin has often been ambiguous and contradictory, the Ace Chemicals version is the most famous and most adapted one. The first version of it was seen in DETECTIVE COMICS #168, where the Red Hood didn’t fall in…but jumped on purpose! He was trying to get away from Batman and figured a chemical bath was a more pleasant alternative to a Bat-beating! When the story was retold in Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s classic BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE, the plant was called “Ace Chemicals” for the first time and Red Hood jumped in out of fear rather than a miscalculated escape plan. Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman movie was the first time Joker (or Jack at that point) fell in by accident rather than taking a poorly chosen leap. Geronimo, Jeremiah!
There are plenty of reasons to love Grace Choi, like the fact that she’s a big DC comics reader!
In the episode “Just and Unjust,” Grace is seen curled up on the couch enjoying copies of SIDEWAYS and THE CURSE OF BRIMSTONE, two titles from DC’s “New Age of Heroes” line. Sharp-eyed viewers may also notice an ad featuring Helen Slater’s Supergirl on the back cover. (It’s a real ad that ran on the back of DC’s titles, but it does create a sort of meta-within-meta Easter egg for Black Lightning…which has referenced Supergirl in the past.)
Speaking of Grace, the episode “Pillar of Fire” revealed some of the more tragic chapters of her backstory. As a youth, Grace spent some time as a prisoner of a child prostitution ring, as revealed in OUTSIDERS #17. When Grace discovered the same organization as an adult, she and her Outsiders teammates worked together with John Walsh (yes, THAT John Walsh, of America’s Most Wanted fame) to take it down.
Viewers also met the villain Shakedown in “Pillar of Fire.” Shakedown was a foe of the Outsiders who had the ability to create powerful vibrations who first appeared when he was hired to kill Black Lightning in BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #9. He was a member of a team of mercenaries called the Masters of Disaster, who were also name-checked during the episode. I’m sure I haven’t been alone in loving all of the Outsiders references the show has given us this season!
That’s it for this month, but what were some of your favorite DCTV Easter eggs in February? Did you catch any good ones?
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com and DCUniverse.com, and is a regular contributor to the Couch Club, our weekly television column. Looking for more #DCTV Easter eggs? Be sure to check out Josh's weekly Doom Patrol Easter egg column on DCUniverse.com.