Marvel characters have always been popular amongst the comic book crowd, but thanks to an onslaught of superhero movies released by Marvel Studios (the sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe), Marvel obsession has gone mainstream. According to data released by the U.S. Social Security Administration, Marvel-inspired baby names are now on the rise. Not everyone understands wanting to name a child after an anthropomorphic raccoon, but at least it's better than naming them after IKEA furniture. So, which popular Marvel names are gracing birth certificates across America? Here are 11 of them, ranked according to popularity.
Granted, not a lot of people have named their son Hawkeye, but six people did in 2017! For those who aren't up on your Marvel superheroes, "Hawkeye" (real name Clint Barton) is the greatest marksman on the planet and known for his expert use of a bow and arrow. After his stint as a villain (thanks to Loki), Hawkeye later joined The Avengers and is portrayed by Jeremy Renner in the MCU. It's not clear why the parents skipped the name Clint and went straight for Hawkeye, but some people just can't be reasoned with.
Most Marvel fans are familiar with Peter Quill from Guardians of the Galaxy, famously portrayed by actor Chris Pratt in the MCU. The second movie in the franchise was released in 2017, which just happened to be the year that five females and fifteen males in America were named "Quill." Coincidence? We think not. Honestly, Quill isn't so bad, especially considering that Peter Quill was also known as "Star-Lord."
We didn't think it would be possible for there to be more kids named "Rocket" than "Quill," but the numbers don't lie. According to the Social Security Administration, nine girls and 28 boys were named "Rocket" in 2017, presumably after the genetically enhanced raccoon in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Sure, Rocket Raccoon is a funny, intelligent, fluffy bad-ass, but is it really a great idea to name a baby after him? Clearly, a few people thought that it was.
For those who aren't big Hulk fans, Dr. Robert Bruce Banner is the scientific genius who transforms into the Hulk when he's stressed, angry or injured thanks to radiation exposure. In 2017, 39 baby boys in America were named after Dr. Banner, which also happens to be the year that his character reappeared in Thor: Ragnarok. Look, we understand wanting to name your child after the lovable Mark Ruffalo, but naming him after the Hulk himself? Maybe not.
There is no doubt that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a worldwide success, spawning a slew of popular merchandise and cranking out hit after box office hit. In 2018, Hollywood released nine superhero films and grossed more than $2.9 billion at the domestic box office, or about 25.5 percent of total ticket sales. Crazy, right? People aren't just fans of the movies, though - they're fans of the brand. In 2017, 21 girls and 29 baby boys were simply named "Marvel."
In the Marvel Universe, the Valkyries are a group of female Asgardian elite warriors who served as Odin's special force. In other words, they were a bunch of strong AF women who could easily take on the patriarchy, which might explain why 63 baby girls were named "Valkyrie" in 2017. Although the idea of naming a child after a movie or comic character might be strange, it's a little easier to get behind the idea of naming a daughter after a strong and fearless group of women, fictional or not.
It may not be too surprising that people had named their children Loki, but who would have thought that the name would be this high on the list? Whether they were named after a god in Norse mythology or Thor's villainous brother, five females and 91 males were named "Loki" in 2017. Even if the parents didn't mean to name their child after the infamous super-anti-hero, that's exactly what everyone's going to assume. Actor Tom Hiddleston has played Loki in the MCU for years, appearing in Thor, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok, and Avengers: Infinity War.
Virginia "Pepper" Potts has come a long way in the Marvel universe since her days as Tony Stark's (Iron Man's) pretty personal assistant. After becoming romantically involved with Tony, Pepper became a bonafide superhero badass herself after gaining a wide range of supernatural abilities thanks to the Extremis virus (not to mention her own suit of armor, courtesy of Iron Man). In fact, it has been determined that Pepper Pott has killed more villains than Iron Man himself, which might explain why 121 females and 7 males have been named "Pepper" in the past few years.
Finally, a Marvel-inspired moniker that anyone can get behind! Natasha is certainly not a new name, but it has definitely received a boost in the baby name charts since MCU's introduction of Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black Widow. Natasha is a founding member of the Avengers who is trained in martial arts and known for her "widow's bite," an electroshock weapon in the form of a bracelet that delivers powerful electrical shocks to her enemies. Although the name Natasha hasn't always been popular within the United States, 355 parents chose to name their daughter after the Black Widow in 2017, which is quite the resurgence.
Before the world was introduced to Wade Wilson, also known as Deadpool, the name "Wade" was sitting at #523 on the baby name charts in 2015. After Deadpool's release, the name shot up to #362, with 899 kids being named after the witty and irreverent Wade Wilson. As far as names go, Wade isn't that bad - although technically, Wade isn't (yet) an MCU superhero. Deadpool 2 was one of the highest grossing films in 2018, so that number is likely to only go up this year.
This one isn't that surprising, right? Parker, as in Peter Parker, is by far the most popular Marvel-inspired baby name so far for both boys and girls. In 2017, 1,487 females and 4,386 males were named after Spider-Man, a superhero teenager played by Tom Holland in the MCU. The world has loved Spider-Man long before Spider-Man: Homecoming grossed $880 million worldwide in 2017, but it's clear the popular film had something to do with Parker making a unisex comeback.