Marvel has done an impressive job of creating properties that all types of fans can enjoy. Fans of mainstream, lighthearted action can enjoy movies like The Avengers and television shows such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Meanwhile, fans wanting darker and more adult stories can turn to Netflix. However, Marvel cartoons are a format older than any of these, allowing young children to experience these characters and the universe at the same time.
Because of this, most of these cartoons are very kid-friendly. However, there are more than a few dirty and adult jokes that managed to sneak past both the television censors and Marvel's own producers. Within these seemingly-innocent cartoons is saucy gay subtext, jokes about Spider-seed, and even Iron Man's attempt to show off his iron rod. Once you have seen these crazy dirty jokes hiding in plain sight, your understanding of the Marvel universe - and your childhood - will never be the same.
Fortunately, it's easy to check out what kinds of dirty jokes we're talking about. You don't need the all-seeing eye of the Asgardian Heimdall or the telepathic command of Charles Xavier. All you have to do is keep scrolling to check out 15 Adult Jokes You Missed In Marvel Cartoons !
15 The Rocky Horror Morph Show
A surprisingly popular character in X-Men: The Animated Series was Morph. As his name implies, Morph's mutant ability was shapeshifting: this allowed him to look and sound like exactly anyone he wants. Of course, it was only a matter of time before this turned into a creepy thing.
Morph is left for dead early in the series, and when he returns, he has a grudge against his old team. He decides to knock Gambit out in the creepiest possible way as part of his grand scheme. Morph transforms into Rogue, tells Gambit “she's” been lying about her inability to turn her powers off, and touches him as proof. She requests that he meet her in five minutes for what is clearly a booty call.
Gambit then finds the real Rogue asleep, and thinking she's ready to knock boots, begins kissing her. Of course, her powers kick in and knock our ragin' Cajun out!
14 Black Widow Aims for Hawkeye's "Arrow"
Part of what makes the Black Widow and Hawkeye dynamic so unique is that they are so well-matched. Whether it’s in training or in actual combat, each one knows how the other ticks. It’s fitting, then, that in the first “Gamma World” episode, Black Widow manages to tease and torment Hawkeye in a way that he mimics later on this list...
This cartoon likes to play up one of Black Widow’s weapons that we see very little of in the MCU. As befitting her name, she has some electric stingers that allow her to shoot out her own bolts of stunning electricity, simulating the bite of… well… a black widow. At one point, she fires one of these bursts directly below Hawkeye’s crotch.
It’s a pretty clear warning for the hero who is obviously doing a lot of thinking with his "arrow": if he kept it up, Black Widow was going to make sure he had no "arrow" to think with!
13 Iron Man Tries to Show Spider-Man His Iron Rod
Even though he’s constantly changing it, Iron Man always ends up with a really iconic look. This look includes his mask, whose most prominent features are the eyes and the mouth. However, in an episode of Ultimate Spider-Man, everybody’s friendly neighborhood wall-crawler finds out that Iron Man once had a mask with a nose… and, like the viewer, he is suitably freaked out by the idea of Iron Man with a nose.
Where it gets weird, though, is when Iron Man tries to explain it. He tells Spider-Man that he was going through an “anatomic phase” at the time and begins saying “you should see the one with…” At this point, Spider-Man cuts him off by saying “Another time! Or never.”
That’s right, true believer: Iron Man was offering to show underage Peter Parker his iron... rod. All we can do is hope that a scene that weird isn’t waiting for us in Avengers: Infinity War!
12 Hawkeye's chest shot
Thanks to the first Avengers movie, even the most casual Marvel fans are familiar with the flirtatious relationship that sometimes exists between Black Widow and Hawkeye. And even after we see Hawkeye hiding a family in the second Avengers movie, there still exists a sparking tension between those two characters. And in the “Gamma World” episode of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the creators took this a little too far.
Hawkeye, as usual, is sporting his wacky array of trick arrows. Hawkeye is actually a minor villain in this episode, and in order to subdue Black Widow, he shoots a special stun arrow directly between her breasts, provocatively showing his admiration for her body. He does something very similar to Wasp in the next episode.
Ultimately, this ends up being TMI about Hawkeye and his proclivities.
11 Son of a Beach!
Weird nicknames are a staple of comic books and comic media. This is why people call Iron Man “shellhead,” Spider-Man “web-head,” and so on. And Spider-Man in particular likes to use nicknames to taunt his enemies, such as calling Green Goblin “gobby.” However, in the “Sandman Returns” episode of Ultimate Spider-Man, he took it a bit too far with the Sandman.
The nickname given to Sandman in this episode is “beach.” Sure, it’s not very inventive, but it seems well-suited to someone who is literally made out of sand. What’s the problem? Well, regularly calling someone “beach” as an insult sounds suspiciously similar to calling a sexist slur.
The episode underscores this when the insult is used by Batroc the Leaper, who sports an over-the-top French accent that makes this adult insult very clear. In this way, the producers carry on a proud tradition of Spider-Man media hiding adult language, as happened in an old Hostess Fruit Pie advertisement entitled “Spidey Spoils a Snatch.”
10 Ambiguously Gay Avengers
Marvel's cartoons (and Marvel as a company) haven't always handled LGBT characters and subject matter very well. This is something that they are working on now (we see you, Iceman), but in the meantime, there are some charming moments hidden in old cartoons. This includes Hawkeye indicating that his arrow might just fly both ways in the "Hyperion" episode of Marvel's Avengers Assemble!
It involves Hawkeye (ever notice how he's in the middle of all these adult Avengers shenanigans?) and his interactions with Hyperion. Hawkeye gets weirded out when Hyperion winks at him, and his teammates continue to tease him over getting winked at. Later, he seems to warm to the idea and returns the frequent winks.
Frankly, it's difficult to describe this as anything other than flirtatious behavior, and Hulk even calls this out, saying Hawkeye only likes Hyperion because of the winking. When Thor gets in on the winking action, this kiddie cartoon seems about to get more progressive than the MCU has even been.
9 Toad Gets Even Creepier
Considering all of the different X-Men adaptations, it's easy for your head to spin while you try to keep up with the changes. Fortunately, there are a few things that remain constant no matter the story. And one of those constants is that Toad is always, always a weird creep.
In an episode of X-Men: Evolution, Toad is speaking to Wanda Maximoff, better known as the Scarlet Witch. In the course of the episode, Toad casually refers to her by the worse nickname: “Cuddle Bumps.” There's pretty much no other interpretation possible of this phrase—what could be the “bumps” that Toad thinks he'd liked to “cuddle?”
This makes for one of the grossest character moments in a Marvel cartoon, with a make character literally objectifying a female character by reducing her to nothing more than walking breasts.
8 Cyclops Gets Raw
When it comes to finding dirty moments in Marvel cartoons, it's always a two-way street. Some of what seems dirty is intentional on the part of the writers, and some of it comes from the dirty thoughts we all bring to the table. That's certainly the case for this next moment, which is either casual battle banter or a frightening glimpse of Cyclops' pillow talk.
In the X-Men: Evolution episode “The Stuff of Heroes”, the X-Men tangle with Juggernaut. He's another character that is very similar in this series: he's still super-strong, super-powerful, and all-around tough to take out. When Cyclops tries to stop him, Juggernaut boasts that he can't be stopped, and that “I'm RAW POWER.”
To this, Cyclops whips off his visor to increase the blast and screams “You want it raw, tough guy? Then take it RAW!”
Frankly, it's tough to hear Cyclops say this before a climactic explosion from his body without thinking that this is a pretty damn kinky cartoon.
7 Rogue Unmans Spyke
To put it mildly, X-Men: Evolution was a divisive series. This was the cartoon that reimagined most of the X-Men and their villains as teenagers who are trying to survive the perils of high school as well as superpowered combat. While the whole idea was to tone X-Men down for younger viewers, you can always count on Rogue to make things both sexual and violent.
In one episode, the character Spyke is being a total creeper. He is recording Rogue and others without their consent, and Rogue takes exception to this. She threatens the fellow mutant by saying that if she sees herself on this video later, the other mutants are “going to call you Spyke-less.”
The threat is clear: Rogue is going to tear this man's membere off in retribution if he keeps disrespecting her. Considering her power lets her hurt and incapacitate people without leaving a scratch, this sexually-violent threat is especially weird.
6 Spider-Transmitted Diseases
Typically, the superhero dichotomy is that people love the hero while they ignore the alter-ego. This was Superman's dilemma for years, as Lois lusted after the Man of Steel but would barely look twice at Clark Kent, who was stuck wondering if the “real” him was not good enough.
In the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon, we see that Peter Parker not only turns the heads of women, but he fills their heads with some pretty R-rated thoughts.
Specifically, Liz Allan seems to have some dirty thoughts about our favorite wall-crawler. When she hugs Peter, a classmates warns her to be careful because “geekitude is contagious.” To this, Liz responds “I don't mind catching what Peter's got.”
This is pretty wild as sexual metaphors go, with Liz implying that getting something infectious from Peter would be worth it simply because Peter's worth it. Looks like Peter has a pretty frisky fallback plan if things don't pan out with Mary Jane!
5 There's something about Black Cat
Generally speaking, Spider-Man isn't thought of as one of the dirtier heroes. Nonetheless, the makers of the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon were really fond of squeezing in some strangely sexual jokes. And in one memorable instance, the show channeled a bit of the raunchy comedy There's Something About Mary!
In one episode, Spider-Man is trying to apprehend Black Cat. As usual, Black Cat is a flirtatious, cat-themed thief (which is a totally original character design, to be sure). While chasing her around a warehouse, Spider-Man is spraying his sticky webs all over the place before one finally lands on one of her hands. As she notices how sticky Spider-Man's emissions are, she comments “You better not get your goop in my hair.”
Considering how often Spider-Man's sticky webs have been compared to seed, it looks like Black Cat was very worried she might be recreating the hair scene from There's Something About Mary.
4 Gambit Doesn't Want to Play With Himself
Gambit's reputation as the randiest X-Man is established early on in X-Men: The Animated Series. In the first episode, we have the now-iconic scene in which Sentinels invade a suburban mall in their attempts to apprehend Jubilee. The scene has become classic because it simultaneously introduces us to these iconic characters and the creative use of their powers. The X-Men rise to the occasion and defeat the robots, but not before we see Gambit propositioning a clerk.
Gambit is purchasing some cards in the mall (given how he uses his powers, he's probably their best customer), and an attractive female clerk asks if he likes to play cards. Gambit tells her he likes Solitaire and then leans forward, huskily saying “Unless I've got someone... to PLAY with.” There has never been a clearer invitation to sex inside a kid's cartoon!
Sadly, the attacking Sentinels keep us from finding out if Gambit's blunt approach to sex and dating actually works out.
3 50 Shades of Red and Blue
Like many superheroes, Spider-Man has often struggled with protecting his secret identity. There's always the risk that any given battle may result in him being unmasked, or that a friend will simply see him take the mask off.
However, a Spectacular Spider-Man episode gave us an ironic twist when Peter took off his mask and simply dressed up as Spider-Man for Halloween. Openly hiding his secret was pretty funny, but things got inappropriat when we found out exactly what Liz Allen is into.
At one point, Liz is hanging out with Mary Jane at a party. When Peter walks up, Mary Jane gives him a simple compliment about how good the Spider-Man costume is. Liz takes it a step further, though, practically purring that “you can web me up ANYTIME, Petey.” It seems unmistakably clear that Liz Allan is not only into bondage, but she's inviting Peter Parker to show her “50 Shades of Red and Blue”!
2 Racist Rogue
The X-Men is ostensibly a show that fights against oppression and prejudice - against judging others on their status rather than their character. But the '90s were a weird time, and in one episode of X-Men: The Animated Series, Rogue gets away with a classist slur!
In order to insult Graydon Creed (the weird lovechild of Mystique and Sabertooth), Rogue calls him a “peckerwood.” For those not in the know, “peckerwood” is often used as a slur to describe poor white people. In fact, the word has a long and weird history, being used to describe white prisoners back when prisons were first becoming desegregated.
While it's not the most offensive racial slur in the world, it's still really weird to hear it coming from a kid-friendly cartoon.
1 Randy for Mary Jane
The Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon did a better job than most of showing the social cost that Peter pays when he is out being Spider-Man. For instance, while he gets to save the city on the regular, he misses out on simple things like dancing with Mary Jane at a school dance. This is particularly dangerous on one occasion before MJ manages to find the one student who is blunter and more forward than Liz Allan.
In this episode, “Catalysts", Mary Jane is sad that she cannot dance with Peter due to his absence. However, she resolves to still have a good time, and she picks a young man to dance with. Mary Jane is unsure of his name, so she asks him, “Randy?” Without missing a beat, the young man says “very” as they go to the dance floor. It's funny, but also quite shocking, to see a character being so openly frisky on a kid-friendly cartoon!
Did you catch an adult joke in Marvel cartoons that we missed? Be sure to sound off in the comments!