Within the world of comic books, some characters are already self-aware. Call them smart or insane, they have realized they are all fictional characters in a comic book.
Animal Man, formerly known as A-Man, was never a popular character. That all changed when Grant Morrison penned the critically acclaimed 1988 Animal man series. After his family is killed, Animal man is sent to the Arkham Asylum. He encounters Psycho-Pirate and then is transported to Limbo, the universe of unused comic book characters. He finally meets Grant Morrison in a black and white version of the “real world” and asks why was he put through so much grief. Amongst comic book fans, the 1988 Animal Man series is a treasured legend.
The infamous Merc with a Mouth is one talkative chap. part of the reason he just does not care and is goofy all the time is because he is aware he is a comic book character. That nothing he ever does is under his control. So he stays his charming self, referencing previous Marvel issues in his own adventures and even going so far as to break through the fourth wall and ask the writers and artists to change the storyline because he’s losing.
The Joker‘s self-awareness reportedly began in Detective Comics #476. He could be seen talking about his grand plan directly with the viewers and then reached out to the corner of the page, turning it for us. In another creepy conversation with a psychiatrist in “Batman 80-Page Giant, he claims both him and the psychiatrist are more likely fictional characters and then looks right at the reader, asking if we were real. That is creepy as heck.
The rhyme loving Demon once thanked all the writers and artist including Garth Ennis, John McCrea, Jack Kirby, Alan Moore, and Alan Grant, for helping create him. It was in The Demon #58. And he did it all while rhyming.
She-Hulk is a lean, mean, green fighting machine. It was under John Byrne’s hands that she became a fourth wall breaking superhero. 1989’s The Sensational She-Hulk series saw Jennifer Walters break the fourth wall and even talk to the editors. She even fired one of her narrators and tore through the pages to get to an advertisement.
A mysterious man in a green suit who is so crazy DC Comics took him to court for ‘Contempt of Comics’. A superman villain, Ambush Bug relies on sheer dumb luck to get the job done. He is a bad villain and an equally bad superhero (tried both, failed at both). It is Ambush Bug’s insanity that gives him the ability to be self-aware. He regularly jumps out of the box and breaks the fourth wall to change the story when he doesn’t like it.
2005’s Infinite Crisis drove Superboy-Prime so angry that he punched through reality itself. His actions had grave repercussions. He then tried making himself the only Superman. Superboy-Prime failed and was sent back to Earth-Prime. There he started reading DC comic books, trolling message boards and ridiculing the comic book readers. He even started attacking the DC headquarters. He is indeed DC’s greatest nightmare – a superhuman internet troll.
In Deadpool Volume 1 #37, the God of Mischief slips up he is self-aware. he says – “thou alone knowest the truth of all these matters is — none of this is really happening. There is a man…with a typewriter.” Loki has spoken up about the true nature of the universe he is in on multiple occasions.
In 2001’s “World’s Funnest”, Mxyzptlk and bat-Mite, two fifth dimensional imps with Godlike powers, got into an argument that destroyed multiple universes. In a fit of rage, Mr. Mxyzptlk summoned a giant eraser that literally erased Captain Carrot’s universe and tore into the pages of another parallel reality. The imp duo were then seen in posing in the real world photos of New York City.
A Hulk ally, Rick Jones has always been a comic book geek. He is also self aware – having the power of comics awareness, a play on the ability of cosmic awareness. Jones can perceive the entity known as the Eulogy. Eulogy speaks for the highest authorities of the DC Universe aka the writers. It claims his universe is coming to an end. But only Rick Jones knows the real reason why his world is ending is because the comic book series is being cancelled.