Superheroes, they’re just like us. Some of them get all the glory and others get the short end of the stick. It doesn’t just extend to their powers or the supervillains they’ve taken down, though. When you’re kicking ass across the galaxy, you’re bound to build up a reputation. And what’s behind that reputation? A name, of course.
Although most early superheroes have pretty simple names—usually something that defines them followed by their gender—Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man wouldn’t be nearly as impressive if they were stuck with a sucky sounding name. But, after eighty years of comics and the literally thousands of superheroes created for them, there are bound to be a few duds in the bunch.
Not every superhero is created equal, and thus there are an unfortunate few who are stuck with some pretty awful sounding names. Many were just the result of characters who were poorly designed to begin with, and others just have odd powers that warrant an odd name. Either way, we’ve rounded up the 15 Most Ridiculously Named Superheroes (and there are many more than these), which, if anything, will make any issues with your own name seem petty in comparison.
15. Squirrel Girl
How could anyone take a superhero named Squirrel Girl seriously? Squirrels aren’t exactly ferocious creatures of doom—unless they’re rabid—but even then, they don’t strike fear into the hearts of grown men. However, her silly name has often worked to her advantage. Unbelievably, Squirrel Girl has defeated the likes of Thanos, Galactus, and Doctor Doom with her squirrely powers. Although Iron Man rejected her as a sidekick, she did get to join the Great Lakes Avengers. As a result, she recently starred in her own graphic novel, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe! where she takes on a clone of herself in addition to… the entire Marvel Universe.
Fans of her wacky brand of humor can take heart that she’ll be part of Marvel’s New Warriors TV series, possibly even in a main role, which is still in the works with ABC studios. Since she has a major crush on Speedball (also a pretty ridiculous name), perhaps there’ll be a more of a focus on the growing pains of the New Warriors as they navigate adulthood and making a name for themselves as superheroes.
X-Treme sounds like so many things other than a superhero name. Is it the name of a new workout DVD? A WWE wrestler? A porn star? It’s also such a painfully obvious ’90s name, the comics should have come with a warning label. Not only does he have retractable blades on his suit (so metal), but he can burn someone from the inside out by setting their electrolytes on fire. If that’s not x-treme, the definition needs to be rewritten.
To add more fuel to the fire (pun intended), his origins are pretty hazy. When Martin Strong found him, he didn’t know who he was or where he was from. He temporarily joined up with X-Force at one point, but was always somewhat of a rogue agent, preferring his solitude. It wasn’t until he encountered Eric the Red that he found out something about who he was and that he was heir to the Shi’ar throne. Still, his name is about as silly as ’90s superheroes get.
13. Lady Cop
Lady Cop was a highly underrated superhero created for DC in the 1970s. Despite her on the nose, and slightly sexist name, she was actually pretty amazing at what she did. After witnessing the grisly murder of her two roommates, Liza Warner joins the police force to find their killer. Before she even gets her diploma from the academy, she stops her graduating class from getting blown up by a grenade.
What’s most amazing about these comics and Lady Cop is that she encounters workplace misogyny just like real female cops experienced. Even her supposed boyfriend can’t really handle the fact that she’s in the police force, asking her to resign and saying “I can’t marry a working man”. It’s a shame she didn’t have more appearances or at least given a more interesting name. Let’s not go into her ridiculous portrayal in Arrow, though… If they were going to make her go rogue, couldn’t they have at least changed her name?
12. Matter-Eater Lad
There’s just something about pre-1970s superhero names that are so unimaginative. So, DC creates a superhero who can consume anything in his path and they choose the most obvious name that comes to mind? Matter-Eater Lad has about as much pizazz as a pencil sharpener. We imagine that they came up with him as a joke and just decided to run with it.
Unfortunately, even though they had him join the Legion of Super-Heroes, his powers weren’t exactly helpful in the middle of a battle. In fact, sometimes they hurt him more than they helped him. In Superboy and The Legion of Superheroes #251, he eats his way through the Miracle Machine in order to save the universe from Omega. Although he accomplishes his goal and prevents the death of millions, he’s left insane due to the nature of the machine’s ability to create reality from thoughts. The levels of interdimensional weirdness that must’ve created are pretty astronomical.
Bird-Brain’s creation is a cautionary tale about why you shouldn’t splice animal and human genes together. Sure you might get an interesting hybrid of both animal and human traits, but like his name suggests, the creature might not be too bright. The result of experiments by an evil scientist called the Ani-Mator (cute), Bird-Brain was one of a few experiments created as slaves. He wasn’t exactly superhero material to begin with, but the tests and torture he was subjected to galvanized him to do something about his, and the other experiments’ test subjects, as well.
Ani-Mator made his creations go through a dangerous maze in order to test their abilities. However, Bird-Brain managed to escape and meet up with the New Mutants. Although they wished for him to stay and learn at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, he ultimately went back to rescue the rest of the Ani-Mator’s experiments. Maybe being a bird-brain isn’t so bad after all.
10. 3-D Man
Not only is his name absolutely ridiculous, but so is the very concept behind this Marvel character. 3-D Man made his debut when his first issue premiered in the 1970s, although his adventures actually took place in the ’50s. His powers really had nothing to do with 3D (and how could they really, since we already see in 3D), but he has a pretty trippy red and green costume complete with 3D glasses.
As for his backstory, after getting caught in the explosion of an alien spaceship, Chuck Handler’s image became imprinted on his brother’s glasses. By concentrating extra hard on the images, his brother, Hal, could make Chuck reappear as a 3D image. In the process, however, Hal would enter a comatose state, almost as if he had borderline personality disorder. Basically, 3-D Man was a combination of the two brothers’ consciousnesses, with both of their minds present in some form or another. It’s an interesting concept, but completely out there in terms of actual usefulness.
Skateman was a gem of a superhero created by Neal Adams who amazingly went on to do a ton of work for both DC and Marvel. Generally regarded as one of the worst comic books of all time, Skateman unsurprisingly lasted for just one issue. As his name suggests, he fights crime on roller skates and unfortunately doesn’t have any real powers to speak of unless you count “leaping…striking…slashing…thrusting…and striking again…”.
His name strikes fear into the hearts of absolutely no one. Seriously, no one. What were Neal Adams and Pacific Comics thinking? This skating disaster could only have come from the mind of a forty-year-old in the 1980s who intended on appealing to a younger audience he clearly didn’t understand. Why read Superman when you have Skateman, right? Superman only has x-ray vision and can fly; Skateman has Skaterade—a restorative tonic containing herbs, roots, and the love of a roller girl. No contest.
8. Color Kid
Color Kid sounds more like the name of a rapper than a superhero, but believe it or not, he was a DC creation. Like a few others on this list, he was rejected from the Legion of Super-Heroes for his less than useful powers (and probably his lame name too). Maybe if his costume didn’t have a giant rainbow on it, they would have taken him a bit more seriously. Honestly, he looks more like a Care Bear than someone who can kick ass and take names.
Although he was rejected from the Legion, he became part of another Legion (of Substitute Heroes) who apparently found more use for his color changing powers. Since he’s able to change the color of things via the electromagnetic spectrum, he can sometimes alter their composition, which did prove useful during the Earthwar invasion. As a member, Color Kid was entitled to a Legion Flight Ring, which also allowed him to fly among other things.
Doorman? What could possibly be so great about watching the door of a building and keeping out the lowlifes? Wait, that’s not what Marvel’s Doorman superhero does? Then why is he named that? There are certain words that have a particular connotation attached to them, and “Doorman” is one of them. If his superpower allows for the transportation of people from one place to another, why not call him Teleportman or something more exciting sounding?
Believe it or not, Doorman actually has a pretty interesting storyline. He’s eventually tapped as the new Angel of Death after Deathurge is captured. Although his father doesn’t approve of his superhero lifestyle, he’s overjoyed at his son’s Angel of Death appointment (despite the fact that he has to learn about it the hard way). Doorman has to collect the soul of his own father after he dies while decorating for Christmas. See? He has so much potential, but that name…
Briefly a member of the X-Men, Maggott is a unique type of mutant who possesses a sentient digestive system. That’s right, he has two giant slug-like creatures living in his stomach, named Eany and Meany (no joke). These beings use the energy from the food they eat to give Maggott his energy. Thus, without them, he suffers greatly and can actually die. Aside from that, he really has no powers to speak of, although he did gain strength comparable to how much the slugs had eaten.
Eany and Meany can consume pretty much anything—including human flesh—just like actual maggots do. In fact, they almost eat Psylocke when she attacked him in the Uncanny X-Men. However, it was the consumption (by one of his slugs) of a bomb implanted in Cyclops that gained him favor and a spot in the X-Men. Still, despite his merits, Maggott got stuck with one of the most disgusting mutations around, and a matching name to boot. Poor guy.
5. The Gay Ghost
One of the oldest superheroes (in terms of his creation and actual age), The Gay Ghost’s name doesn’t quite mean what you think it might. Although his origin tale tells of a “strange adventure—one of the queerest in all of history,” he wasn’t supposed to be portrayed in the contemporary meaning of the word “gay.” Created in the 1940s for the first issue of Sensation Comics (also one of Wonder Woman’s first appearances), The Gay Ghost’s name was supposed to hint at his amicable, cheerful leanings much like Casper was called “The Friendly Ghost.”
Still, the name is pretty silly, as is his main superpower: entering the bodies of men who are deemed good at heart. Essentially, he possesses people, but only men, in order to bring evildoers to justice. Gay as his intentions might be (in the 1940s sense of the word), by the 1950s, his name was changed to The Grim Ghost to avoid offending the general population’s sensibilities at the time (although the connection was only noted in Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #9).
4. Fruit Boy
One of the many potential recruits rejected by the Legion of Superheroes, Fruit Boy’s name is about as impressive as his superpower. Essentially a guy who just carries around a bag of fruit, ripening it with some sort of concentrated energy, he didn’t really stick around long. Only appearing in three Legion of Super-Heroes issues, he was pretty much just a part of a ploy at diplomacy by the President of the United Planets.
A few issues after he was introduced, the United Planets used him and the other Legion rejects to form their own group, which—as you might imagine—didn’t go very well. They were supposed to observe the dissection of an alien Destroyer carcass that turned out to not be so dead after all. Maybe if Fruit Boy had used a bunch of his ripe fruits to choke the Destroyer to death, Legion wouldn’t have had to rescue them all from it.
3. Negasonic Teenage Warhead
Negasonic Teenage Warhead is one of those superhero names that you either think is absolutely amazing or incredibly lame. Either way, though, you have to admit it’s a pretty ridiculous name. Even Kitty Pryde remarks, “Wow, we really have run out of names,” when she hears it for the first time during the events of the third volume of Astonishing X-Men.
With a name like that, it’s not surprising that Grant Morrison borrowed it from elsewhere. Apparently, he is a big fan of the group Monster Magnet, who have a song called “Negasonic Teenage Warhead.” Morrison created the character during his time working on New X-Men in the early 2000s, but her appearance was short-lived. She mostly functioned as a student of Emma Frost’s, and then later appeared as a member of the Hellfire Club along with The Black King and Perfection.
Even her portrayal in the Deadpool film (although different from the comics) was largely due to her name alone, which the filmmakers chose out of 400 different X-Men characters. As screenwriter Paul Wernick put it, “I don’t care what her powers are. She’s gonna be in the movie.”
2. Arm-Fall-Off Boy
When your name sounds like a punk and emo band had a baby, it’s easy to see why no one takes you seriously. Arm-Fall-Off-Boy was one of a handful of superheroes who tried out for Legion during the Secret Origins comics from the 1980s. In issue #46, he demonstrates his powers for a bewildered Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, and Cosmic Boy, to which they respond with a polite no thank you.
First of all, his arm doesn’t even fall off, he has to pull it off in order to use it as a weapon. If it did fall off, that’d be even more stupid. Imagine he’s in the middle of a battle, running around somewhere, and his arm just falls off. Then he wouldn’t even have his supposed superpower to work with.
Secondly, isn’t it sort of redundant to have an arm you pull off into a weapon? Most people—superheroes or otherwise—would just use their fists if they’re going to fight in hand to hand (or arm to arm) combat. It’s no wonder this guy’s entire existence was wiped out following the events of Zero Hour.
Is this not the most ridiculously sexist name for a superhero you’ve ever heard? As if this poor girl’s self-worth and identity are entirely wrapped up in her looks. Nevermind that she actually has some pretty impressive super powers like telepathy, telekinesis, and psychometry (among others). Couldn’t they have just called her something like Telepath?
Looker started off as Emily Briggs, a homely bank teller in Los Angeles. Then, through her kidnapping by the Abyssians, it’s revealed that she’s not only next in line for their throne, but that Halley’s comet will make her beautiful and powerful. After she’s transformed, she ditches her bank job to become a model, because that’s what all women really want to be, right?
What’s worse is that she was married and presents her new self to her husband during Christmas, as if her body is a possession to be owned. Not to get all feminist on you guys, but there’s a whole women’s studies paper begging to be written about this unfortunately named DC heroine.
How many other silly sounding superheroes can you name? Be sure to leave them all in the comments.
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