Thursday, February 16, 2012

5 Really Crappy Superhero/Villain Names

In keeping with the 30 days of Posts, I figured I'd write more about the subject I know best. In keeping with having to think of something to write on the fly, I asked my friend Eoin to come up with something and this is the best he could think of.



Thanks, Eoin!

In comics, one of the key most important things is having an interesting title for your book. As many comic titles are simply the name of the protagonist, you need to have a dynamic codename for your dashing hero or wicked villain. Sadly, for every Wolverine or Spider-Man, there's characters with unfortunate codenames like Matter-Eater Lad or the Walrus. Usually this is an intentionally silly attempt by a writer to inject more humour into whatever it is they're writing. More often than not though, it's just a lack of effort on the part of the storyteller. I thought I'd highlight some of the worst names here, for a bit of amusement. I promise tomorrow's post won't be another list like this one, though!


Plant-Man



Plant-Man is one of the dozens of comedy villains in Spider-Man with a silly name. In the few stories in which I've seen him, his name and fairly tame powers (he doesn't seem to have as much control over plant as Poison Ivy does) are played for laughs. Wikipedia does seem to suggest that he has on occasion been a serious villain, though.



Bouncing Boy



The Legion of Super-Heroes (in the 31st Century) were chock full of ridiculous-named characters, because there was so bloody many of them that they were almost coming up with new characters every issue. His power is the unique and justice-tastic ability to inflate his body into a ball and bounce triumphantly into the heart of villainy. Strangely enough, his secret identity (which isn't kept secret, though) is one Charles 'Chuck' Foster Taine. Sound familiar? I want to know that the reason they named him this was a reference to Orson Welles' girth in his later years. I also want to see a film where Orson Welles has the power to transform into an inflatable figure of justice.


Crazy Quilt





I'm pretty sure they were being completely serious when they invented Crazy Quilt. We all know that Batman comics in the 60s were at their wildest, madly trying to be tie-in to the mocking ridiculousness of the Adam West spoof. His bizarre origin sees him being blinded in such a way that he can only see really psychedelic colours, so he has to project lights from his headset onto things, before he can commit crimes. Somewhere along the way, this managed to make him a criminal genius.



Crazy Quilt is currently enjoying a bit of a renaissance-period. He appeared in a few episodes of "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" and he was even briefly referenced in the Arkham City video game. I want to play a Batman game where Crazy Quilt features as one of the boss battles. Get to it, Rocksteady.


Cyclops



Most people probably wouldn't suspect Scott Summers to appear on a list like this, but in all fairness, he does have the silliest name of the original X-Men (I say the 'original' because Maggot and Marrow are both up there as well). Think about it though, calling him 'Cyclops' because you can sometimes only sort of see a thin-visor instead of two pairs of eyes is like calling Professor X 'Chrome' because of his bald head, or calling Wolverine 'Leprechaun' because he's a short fellow. To my knowledge, the Cyclopes of myth didn't have Optic Blasts. Wouldn't it have been better for Scott to actually only have one eye?


Stiletto



Stiletto was the product of one of many stupid filler episodes of Smallville, where Lois Lane (despite a lack of superpowers and only the bare minimum of combat training) decided to be some kind of hooker-themed superhero. The fact that there's a Superman show that went on for TEN YEARS without actually showing Superman himself is crazy enough; the fact that a WHOLE BUNCH of other superheroes appeared in it is really pushing it, but the fact that Lois Lane became a superhero at one point in this show is just going eight kinds of Kryptonite too far. I'm also waiting for someone to make a joke about a radioactive high heeled shoe.


Professor Monster



This guy was the villain from the eight-different-kinds-of-hilariously-stupid Japanese Spider-Man show from the 1970s. It's the kind of name someone throws together in a comedy improv sketch about superheroes. Another possibility is that they were actually going to call him 'Doctor Doom', only to discover that their rights didn't extend to Fantastic Four villains. Professor Monster's ridiculous name, ludicrous hideout, apparent lack of superpowers or any idea what he's doing makes him one of my favourite inept superheroes as well.

2 comments:

  1. Cyclops isn't *really* a bad guy though...

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    1. Read the title again. Heroes AND villains. Bouncing Boy certainly isn't a villain.

      And I accidentally referred to Prof. Monster as a hero in the last sentence. Anything but.

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