A whole new (mostly sarcastic) take on the superhero movie hit theaters in April 2010 (a little movie called Kick-Ass you may have heard about), so what better way to celebrate those moments when comic books have wormed their way into otherwise non-comic book movies? We thought so, too. Behold! Your action movie, comedy, or teen adventure may be nerdier than you realized…
12. Breathless (1983)
This 80s remake of the iconic 60s French New Wave classic swaps out the original leading man's obsession with Humphrey Bogart for an obsession with…The Silver Surfer? Yes, indeed. Marvel at Stan Lee's overwrought prose read in Richard Gere's himbo monotone.
11. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Leonardo DiCaprio's teenage con man Frank Abagnale Jr. unwittingly betrays his true age to FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) when he adopts the alias "Barry Allen." Hanratty does some poking around and discovers that Allen is, in fact, the alter ego of The Flash. So this bank-frauding Robin Hood must be a kid, right? Because everyone knows comic books are for children.
10. Half Baked (1998)
Ah, the first high. For the young version of Dave Chappelle's Thurgood, it means a lifetime love of Abba Zaba bars. For Jim Breuer's Brian it means an abiding obsession with The Grateful Dead. And of course, for the younger version of Guillermo Diaz's Scarface, it means having a costumed friend there for you when that first buzz kicks in.
9. Crimson Tide (1995)
Quentin Tarantino famously "punched up" the script to this Tony Scott submarine thriller, and let's just say that his fingerprints are all over the place. How else can you explain why, amid all the shouting and the technobabble, Denzel Washington's Lt. Commander Ron Hunter stops to mediate an argument between two sailors about The Silver Surfer? This is not only appearance #2 of the Surfer on this list, it's also by no means the last time we'll hear from QT.
8. The Toy (1982)
In this wacky, slavery-themed comedy from the 80s treasure chest, Richard Pryor portrays a man who sells himself to a millionaire as a plaything for the wealthy man's kid (suck on that, overly-touchy audiences of today). At some point, Pryor and his "Masser" dress up in Spider-Man costumes. We're guessing Marvel didn't see the script when they signed off on that one.
7. Adventures in Babysitting (1987)
Elizabeth Shue has to herd a pack of kids—the youngest being a little girl harboring an obsession with The Mighty Thor—around all night during a wild adventure in downtown Chicago. Attempting to retrieve the family truckster from a garage, the gang comes face to face with Thor himself. Well, actually a mechanic (Vincent D'Onofrio. Yes, for real) with feathered blonde hair and a hammer. But it's close enough!
6. Maximum Overdrive (1986)
In this Stephen King adaptation about mechanical devices rising up against their human oppressors, we are given this bit of prime nightmare fuel: A sentient 18-wheeler with the grinning face of Spider-Man villain The Green Goblin tacked up on its grill. Imagine seeing that in your rear-view at 80 MPH.
5. True Romance (1993)
Ah, Quentin Tarantino. Only in your geek-addled imagination can the line "want to see what Spider-Man #1 looks like?" lead to sex. Sure, we eventually find out that Alabama (Patricia Arquette) is a prostitute who has been paid to endure a tour of the comic book shop where Clarence Worley (Christian Slater) works, but that does't tarnish this scene's rep as a fanboy wet dream. Turning a girl on by explaining why comics are cool ("Great stories, beautiful artwork")? That's as improbable as Lara Croft's measurements.
4. The Goonies (1985)
When deformed simpleton Sloth finally confronts his abusive family, he naturally finds encouragement in the time-honored patron saint of standing up for what's right: Superman. One look at that iconic crest on Sloth's expansive chest and Robert Davi sums it up perfectly: "We're in deep shit now, Francis."
3. The Lost Boys (1987)
If you suspect that your town is overrun with vampires, your local comic shop is probably as good a place as any to find sympathetic ears. And name dropping Batman #14 is the best way to establish your street cred, even if you are dressed like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor David Bowie Back-Up Dancer.
2. Charlie's Angels (2000)
Cameron Diaz's ass in Spider-Man panties.
That is all. Come back to the list when you're ready. And wash your hands.
1. Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)
The famous "Superman Speech" courtesy, once again, of Tarantino. Not only does this scene prove that it's a good idea to slip some paralyzing serum to your dates before you start rambling about comic books, it's also one of the best breakdowns of the Superman mythos ever—on the money and perfectly delivered, if a bit left field for this chop-socky revenge flick. Still, it's a classic for a reason…