With Great Pun Comes Great Responsibility
Editor’s note: This post was written by Travis Parker, the brains behind Hey, That’s Super!
I grew up reading and falling in geek-love with some truly amazing comic book characters. Colossus, the man of steel with a heart soft as butter. Flash, who made me feel insanely slow in everything I ever did. Magneto, the man who could make Colossus soft as butter. Their depth and lasting impression has kept those characters—and countless others—in comic book mainstream for decades: proof of their greatness.
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I think there’s only one thing greater than a truly amazing comic book character, and that’s a truly amazing comic book character pun.
If you looked at the above images and thought, “I see what you did there,” then you’re probably in my camp. If you looked at the pictures, rolled your eyes and groaned, then guess what? Pun accomplished! That’s what puns are for.
However, for those of you scratching your head right about now, let me explain: a pun is a joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words that sound alike but have different meanings. So, Super Man is awesome but stick a comma in him and he’s super, man! Say Colossus out loud, get all phonetic on his butt and suddenly he’s Coalossus. And what other meanings for Flash could there be other than the hero and the camera? (Seriously, I want to know. Write it in the comments section below).
Today, comic book puns can be found as memes but their most popular incarnation is (as the Wonder Twins would put it) “Form of: t-shirts!” Shops like mine, Hey, That’s Super!, specialize in these kinds of geek tees and are helping to drive the trend and get more and more people into attire that looks at hero culture in a different way, which is exactly my mission.
A Pun In the Oven
Personally, I’ve always taken pride in being the one in my group who pushes the puns and makes my friends’ eyes roll. One of my favorite jokes (and admittedly the worst I’ve ever heard) is, “A fish walks into a bar and orders a glass of water.” I admit, I’m laughing as I type this. It’s not a pun, because fish actually need water, but it takes me somewhere I didn’t expect to go and that is absolutely hilarious to me.
Puns do that too. And that’s exactly why I love them.
Somewhere along the way I started writing down the punny thoughts that crossed my mind about the heroes and comics I loved. Eventually someone close to me said, “Hey, why don’t you put these on t-shirts?” So I did. And I’d like to say the rest is history, but that would be a cliché, and this article is about puns. Not clichés.
Not every shirt I’ve concocted completely hits the mark for me, but when it hits, it really hits. Now I’ve grown to love a lot of the 30+ designs I’ve created in the past year as if they were independent comic book characters. I mean, I truly want to see Woolverine in his own feature comic. He and Beest and others like them have taken on a life of their own and, to me, that’s a winning pun.
The thing with designing punned-out hero tees is that you’ve always got to keep people laughing with the latest joke. The plus side of that is that it forces me to keep creating and building up the cast of characters in my very own Pun Universe (which is just begging to be called P-U because some puns just plain stink). However, the downside of constant creation is that it takes more funding to launch a new tee than to reproduce existing ones, and that’s why I’ve started Hey, That’s Super’s Kickstarter campaign.
Now in its final week, this campaign will help launch new designs into the Hey, That’s Super! family. The benefit to backers is the insanely cool and often exclusive rewards including t-shirts, cards, prints, wallpapers, and even Woolverine tattoos! We’re close to funding but every dollar helps and many of the exclusives, once gone, are gone.
You can view the full Hey, That’s Super collection currently on Etsy at heythatssuper.com.
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