102 Hackneyed, Trite and Overused Sentences and Phrases That Must Never Appear in a Superhero Comic Book Ever Again
Hey, I’m not totally unsympathetic to the comic writer’s plight. It’s a tough gig, and nobody minds if they end up recycling a few themes here and there. Not to get all Joseph Campbell, but a little repetition is inevitable when you deal in the same heroic themes month after month.
But repetitive dialogue? Come on, people. I’m sure it’s hard coming up with stirring lines for a character that’s already been in 58 battle scenes this past year alone, but there has to be some room for originality.
In no particular order, here are some of the overused lines and phrases that I would gladly pay never to see again in my favorite comics. (And if you’re a hotshot comic writer who might recognize one or more of your favorite go-to lines here, kindly take this as a polite request to KNOCK IT OFF ALREADY.)
Did I miss any of your favorites? Feel free to add more.
(P.S. No, I’m not picking on the poor writer tapped to write The Saga of Crystar back in the ’80s — I just happened to have some scans of that series lying around that turned out to be perfect for this page. Truth is, you could grab a bunch of issues from almost any comic series and find a lot of these phrases. Go ahead, try it — it’s fun!)
1. How can something so big move so fast?
2. I’ve never seen anyone/anything move so fast!
3. Gotta move fast!
4. Everything’s moving so fast!
5. Just one (slim) chance…
6. Got to give it all I’ve got! or Got to pour everything I have into one last blast/punch/etc.
7. He’s only one man!
8. She’s just a woman/girl!
9. You dare mock me?
10. Curse you!
11. You will pay for that insult with your life!
12. The only way we can defeat him is by working together as a team!
13. I don’t need to read your mind to know what you’re thinking.
14. Everything I touch, I destroy! or Why do I hurt the people I love?
15. Are you crazy? You could have gotten us both/all killed!
16. No! It can’t be! Not… you!
17. You! But… you’re dead!
18. You! But… I killed you!
19. How many times do I have to kill you?
20. That… hurt.
21. You fool! You’ll destroy us all!
22. Actually, it tickles. (normally said after an invulnerable hero is hit by a blast or projectile)
23. I don’t want to hurt you.
24. Don’t make me fight you.
25. No. If I did that, I’d be no better than you/them.
26. He… he isn’t human!
27. He’s unstoppable!
28. We can do this the easy way or the hard way. (sometimes followed by Please choose the hard way)
29. Well, that was easy.
30. You call that easy?
31. This isn’t going to be as easy as I thought.
32. We’re more than a team. We’re family.
33. I lost her/him once before. I won’t lose her/him again!
34. I defeated you before. I can do it again.
35. No quarter asked, no quarter given.
36. I could have sworn I saw something… I think I need to get my eyes checked. (usually said after a supporting cast member goes looking for a hero who has just ducked into a closet and flown out a window… although come to think of it, how many closets have windows in them?)
37. Now’s our chance!
38. Let’s get out of here!
39. Why must you fight? You know defeat is inevitable.
40. Why do you resist me?
41. Wait… something’s not right here.
42. If only I could tell him/her how I truly feel!
43. This can’t be happening!
44. You can’t do this to me!
45. Is that the best you can do?
46. You’re going to have to do better than that.
47. He’s gone! Disappeared! (almost inevitably followed by the classic It’s as if he never existed!)
48. It seems I underestimated you. I won’t let that happen again.
49. Stop it! You’re killing him/her!
50. They may have started this, but we’re going to finish it!
51. Don’t know… how much more of this… I can take… or We can’t take much more of this!
52. Must… keep… fighting…
53. Impossible! No one has ever survived this trap/journey/test/etc.
54. Then… it was all for nothing?
55. This isn’t a game! or No more games!
56. I’m through playing around with you! or I’m tired of playing this little game of yours!
57. We’ve won this time, but they’ll be back! or We’ve won this battle, but the war will go on!
58. He/she’s dead!
59. No! He/she can’t be dead!
60. It’s your fault he/she’s dead!
61. Before I’m through with you, you’re going to wish you were dead!
62. But… we saw you die!
63. Did you expect me to fall for the same trick again?
64. I fell for that trick last time, but you won’t fool me again!
65. Give me one reason why I shouldn’t kill you right now!
66. Once I defeat you, the rest will easily fall.
67. Who are you trying to kid?
68. You can’t be serious!
69. Are you mad?!?
70. There are just too many of them!
71. That’s all I/we needed to hear.
72. The boss wants to speak with you. Now.
73. It’s not over yet. Not by a long shot!
74. I don’t need your help!
75. Where do you think you’re going?
76. Hold it right there!
77. It’ll take more than a bunch of hired goons/robots/underlings to stop me!
78. You may have defeated my minions, but you’ll never defeat me!
79. What a shame to have to destroy such beauty or What a shame to destroy such a brilliant mind.
80. Go ahead and laugh, but soon you’ll be laughing out of the other side of your face! (I never understood this one. I mean, right side or left side it doesn’t really matter if I’m still laughing, right?)
81. I can’t tell you! They’ll kill me if I talk!
82. What makes you think I won’t kill you right now? (Oh, I don’t know, hero, maybe because this is the millionth time you’ve threatened someone like me for information and we always seem to survive the encounter? Just guessin’.)
83. I want some answers… now!
84. He’s stronger than he looks! or He’s stronger than I remember!
85. As long as one of us is still standing, we will never stop fighting you!
86. What are you doing here?
87. I was going to ask you the same thing.
88. He’s mine!
89. This is one battle he/she has to fight alone!
90. You can’t go in/out there! It’s suicide!
91. If I hadn’t rolled with that punch, he would have taken my head off!
92. Everything is going exactly according to plan.
93. The punishment for failure… is death!
94. Surrender or be destroyed or Surrender or he/she dies.
95. Not if I have anything to say about it!
96. Are you quite through?
97. Nice try. Now it’s my turn.
98. You obviously don’t know who you’re dealing with.
99. It’s like some horrible nightmare!
100. Oh, no! What have I done?
101. After what you’ve done, there can be no going back.
102. And finally, any story that ends with the caption: “The beginning!”