That Scott Guy, He Wasn’t All That Great

Great Scott! Is there anything more quintessentially comic-booky than all those verbal outbursts superheroes were forced to say in the heat of battle?

Interjections have a long and proud history in our language — think of all the “Zounds!” and such in Shakespeare plays — but it was only around the 19th century that a renewed sense of prudishness and piety led folks to skip the swearin’ and cussin’ and resort to less blasphemous forms of expressing surprise. “Great Scott,” one of Superman’s favorites over the years, is believed to have come out of this era, as a reference to U.S. General Winfield Scott. 

No surprise, early comic-book writers had no choice when it came to finding creative ways for their characters to say “Holy crap!” But as it turned out, those colorful interjections were useful when the heroes started appearing in team-up books or on shows like Super Friends; with a larger cast and limited time for characterization, interjections were a handy way to note who said what in the script. (This practice was hilariously referenced in an episode of Justice League Unlimited; when Wonder Woman cries out “Hera help me!” in battle, Hawkgirl shouts back, “Do you have to say that all the time?”)

The task here is simple: match the comic-book characters with the interjections most commonly associated with them. Some are obvious; others, not so much. And some heroes get more than one, just so you know.  

By the crimson bands of Cyttorak… begin!

1. Aquaman

2. Batman

3. Beast

4. Black Vulcan

5. Captain Marvel

6. Colossus

7. Conan

8. Doctor Strange

9. Flash

10. Green Lantern

11. Hercules

12. Lobo

13. Luke Cage

14. Martian Manhunter

15. Perry White

16. Robby Reed (of Dial H for Hero)

17. Starfire (of Teen Titans)

18. Storm

19. Sub-Mariner

20. Superman

21. Thing

22. Thor

23. Wonder Woman

a. Great Rao!

b. Holey Moley!

c. Oh my stars and garters!

d. Great wings of Mercury!

e. Great galaxies!

f. Sweet Christmas!

g. By the hoary hosts of Hoggoth!

h. Great Neptune!

i. Great lightning!

j. Goddess!

k. Sockamagee!

l. By Odin’s Beard!

m. Great Hera!

n. Great Caesar’s ghost!

o. Lenin’s ghost!

p. Suffering swordfish!

q. Suffering Sappho!

r. Suffering shad!

s. Great Gotham!

t. Shades of the Seraphim!

u. By the many moons of Munipoor!

v. Sweet Aunt Petunia!

w. X’hal!

x. By the white wolf!

y. Moons of Krypton!

z. Crom!

aa. Frag!

bb. Great Guardians!

cc. By my beard!

dd. Merciful Minerva!

ee. Moons of Mars!

ff. Holy mackerel!

Answers: 1. (h), (p) 2. (s) 3. (c) 4. (i) 5. (b) 6. (o), (x) 7. (z) 8. (g), (t), (u) 9. (d) 10. (bb) 11. (cc) 12. (aa) 13. (f) 14. (ee) 15. (n) 16. (k) 17. (w) 18. (j) 19. (r), (ff) 20. (a), (y) 21. (v) 22. (l) 23. (q), (dd)


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