Giant squid for Take 5

Illustration from Henry Lee's Sea Monsters Unmasked, London, 1884. I realize this is a squid, not an octopus, but sometimes beggars can't be choosers on what's easily available in the public domain.

Why did the octopus beat the shark in a fight? Because the octopus was well armed.

That’s a joke that would probably make former Iowa Information writer Mark Mahoney proud. Today (Thursday Oct. 8) is World Octopus Day, so that joke is the first of a few octopus-related things I’ll be mentioning today. I’m going to rank the five best octopuses, or things similar to an octopus like a squid or a kraken, in popular culture.

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5: The giant squid from “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”

If you’ve ever seen a movie, television show, book or novel reference a giant squid or octopus pulling a boar or ship into the water, it was probably taken from this. If you are unconvinced, just ask Captain Nemo about it.

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4: Ursula from “The Little Mermaid”

When I was a little kid, my youngest sister, Annie, had a “Little Mermaid” book that had buttons on the side you could press to make noise. One was Ursula doing her version of an evil and maniacal laugh.

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My sister was terrified of that button, because she’d seen her in the movie and knew how evil and terrible she was. Plus, literally stealing someone’s voice is a villain move that isn’t used very often.

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3: Squidward Tentacles from “SpongeBob SquarePants”

Look, somebody has to keep SpongeBob and Patrick in line on that show. Who else is it going to be? As funny as SpongeBob and Patrick can be, sometimes you need the angry person to keep people in line.

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2: The Kraken from “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”

The first “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie was great. “Dead Man’s Chest” was fine, although some people didn’t like it. We probably don’t need to mention the other sequels after that. The Kraken was terrifying though. Everyone thought so. Well, everyone except Captain Jack Sparrow.

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1: Dr. Octopus from “Spider-Man”

The man is a doctor with an advanced degree in nuclear science, so it’s safe to say he isn’t dumb. He can also climb walls as well as Spider-Man can because of his four titanium-steel artificial tentacle arms. The arms are incredibly strong and react faster than humans can, so he basically has his own built-in all-terrain vehicle. He was also the first famous octopus I thought of when I was writing this, so Doc Ock is number one. (And this was the only GIF of Dr. Octopus I could find, once against proving “The Simpsons” has done everything.)

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