#2. Futurama's Mysterious Number 9 Guy
Futurama is packed with clever Easter eggs and general awesomeness. It's almost like The Simpsons were never cance- ... what? Seriously? Huh. Anyway, we've told you before about the made-up alien alphabet and the real math formula created as throwaway gags for Futurama, but there was something else hidden in the show all along -- see if you can spot it in these stills from seasons 1, 2, 5, and 6 (1999-2011):
Trivia time: The Harlem Globetrotters existed before this series (they were created for Scooby-Doo).
Yep, either the "bald head, goatee, and Number 9 shirt" look is more popular in the future than we thought (perhaps it's the new attire for the Crips), or the same guy keeps showing up in many crowd scenes across the years. Here he is in the very first episode of the show, during the New Year's Eve 3000 celebration:
He even put on his one colored shirt this time, since he was gonna be on TV and all.
Naturally, the Number 9 Guy's mysterious appearances inspired several crazy theories among the show's devoted fans. According to one, he is a reference to John Lennon's disapproval of people who read too much into the Beatles' music -- the number 9 is supposed to come from the song "Revolution #9" from The White Album, the one that fueled the whole "Paul Is Dead" conspiracy theory. The idea is that Matt Groening is such a huge Beatles fan (three-fourths of the band has guest starred on The Simpsons so far) that he put that Easter egg in the show just to fuck with people.
Hence this blatantly inaccurate recreation of the Abbey Road cover.
However, the audio commentary from the Futurama DVDs revealed that the Number 9 Guy's actual origin is even crazier than the fans thought. Originally, he was part of an unexplained caste system and was actually a kind of slave -- the number 9 represented his rank in society, and presumably we would have seen other people being forced to walk around with big 9s on their clothing to show how unimportant they were.
"Stop that, you're not allowed to clap. Or smile."
The plot was abandoned, though, and the writers must have completely forgotten about it, because they eventually brought back the Number 9 Guy for a major part in a plot ... that involved him wearing a tin foil hat. OK, so maybe the whole "screwing with obsessive fans" theory wasn't so far from the truth. He has continued to show up in crowd scenes in the most recent seasons, now with the tin foil 'do permanently on.
Damn, we can never get the tin-sideburns to look that good.
#1. The Same Two Hipster Cops Show Up in Every Superhero Comic
In 2011, comic book writer Scott Snyder noticed something strange while he was going through some superhero kid books: the same two vaguely hipsterish cops, standing in the background of comics by different artists and different companies, with no explanation. They can be seen capturing Lex Luthor after a fight with Superman ...
"Damn, my $6 billion robot armor is no match for these handcuffs."
... before jumping to the Marvel universe and arresting Spider-Man:
"You have to start wearing underpants with those tights, Spider-Man. There are kids around."
Note that it's always a brown-haired dude with sideburns and a red-headed guy with glasses and a soul patch. Here they are again, being molested by Catwomen ...
... then going off to capture Doctor Octopus:
Strange how they're always more effective when facing middle-aged dudes.
The characters have unofficially become known as the Mystery Hipster Cops, the most prolific photobombing law enforcers in the comic book world (granted, there isn't a lot of competition there). They were even featured in the kid-friendly tie-in to The Dark Knight Rises (yes, that exists) supporting an injured Commissioner Gordon while seemingly dressed as Ghostbusters, which is infinitely better than anything in the actual film.
This does back up our suspicions that Bane was possessed by Vigo the whole time.
Their weirdest characteristic is that they show up in Marvel books as well as DC, showing no regard for the laws of continuity or copyright. Nobody seems to know who they really are or what they want. Sideburns and Soul Patch are usually policemen, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of job security for cops these days, because they sometimes show up as businessmen, park rangers, secret service agents, or even criminals:
"Oh, darn, tied up by a scantily clad supermodel again."
When it comes to stalking superheroes in their secret identities, they prefer to wear regular clothes -- Clark Kent appears to be on to them:
Here they've followed Peter Parker to an airport and are wondering why he's suddenly 13:
And why Jameson suddenly looks like he's off to a vacation in the wrong part of Thailand.
They then stopped by Gotham City again and successfully blended into Bruce Wayne's party by copying his tuxedo:
Perhaps they are superheroes with the mutant power to make cameos everywhere, like revamped Muppet Babies versions of Stan Lee. Some fans believe they could be dimension-hopping characters, hinting at a Marvel/DC crossover, but that wouldn't account for the fact that they've also shown up in Transformers books:
"Shit, this is the worst place yet."
Although these superheroes are owned by different companies and the books are written and drawn by different people, it turns out that all of them are published by HarperCollins, so the mastermind behind this conspiracy is most likely someone who works there. Whatever the case, the hipster cops have captured the imagination of fans everywhere and even have their own terrible rap -- let's see who wises up first and gives them their own comic/movie.
Aaron Short is a film student. He's not allowed within 50 feet of George Takei, and he writes this blog about movies.
For more awesome pop culture Easter Eggs, check out 7 Insane Easter Eggs Hidden in Movies and TV Shows. Or discover 5 Things Hollywood Reuses More Than Plots.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out Why Nobody Should Be Sad the Miami Heat Finally Lost.
And stop by LinkSTORM to learn how you too can look like 14-year-old dork well into your 30s.
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