Some characters can have really great codenames, but some can have
really silly ones too! And here, in this section, we get to take a
look at some of the lumpiest there are.
(Dr. Sven Larsen from Challengers
of the Unknown
in 1964, DC Comics): A guy who could
transform himself into any animal, but why the vegetables or
minerals? Maybe so he could spy on crooks, but even so, what's
so special about the latter two anyway? Too bad the notion of
"species" wasn't on his list of things to change into as well,
eh? That might've pepped things up a bit.
Aside from the fact that he needs power sources to help provide
weaponry for himself, his codename is really that of a
chesspiece on the chessboard that moves in diagonal patterns.
Which, in fact, is just how even this guy did across the
(from Captain America
Golden Age, Timely/Marvel Comics): The really surprising thing
about Steve Rogers' sidekick from his beginning years at the
time he fought in WW2 is that his real name was James Buchanan
Barnes, Bucky being a nickname take on his middle name. But the
downside of it is that he was named after James Buchanan, the
least successful president of the United States (1856-1860), who
did nothing on his part to prevent the Civil War from happening,
as it did soon after his administration ended. Why Bucky was
named after him of all people is a big mystery in the history of
comics. A great character in his time, but a pity they couldn't
have thought of a better name for him. Still, it'd probably be
nothing compared to anything that had to do with a politician as
awful as Jimmy Carter!
The Bug-Eyed Bandit
(Bertram Lavran from The Atom
in 1966, DC Comics): No kidding, he was bug-eyed? Actually, he
wore a mask with bug-eyes on it, and used insect gimmicks, and
probably was as successful at robberies as an ant on the
Bunny from Beyond
(Ralf-124-C4U from Captain
Carrot and his Amazing Zoo-Crew
in 1982, DC Comics):
Would that be the fence seperating between the woods and the
carrot fields on Old MacDonalds farm? Sorry Bunny, but you's
ain't out of the woods yet! And come to think of it, he never
got far beyond that point either. What's the regular name
supposed to be a take on though, R2D2 from Star Wars, maybe?
Makes one wonder if Hare Wars'll be next!
(from The New Mutants
Marvel Comics): The co-product of Rob Liefeld, a writer who'd
had more fallouts in his career than true successes, Nathan
Summers has never registered as much of a character to me, nor
his codename, which, depite belonging to character who's a
telepath/telekinetic, connects to nothing and nowhere, and as a
result, even that's got no impact.
late-1990's, Marvel Comics): I thought we'd already been this
route before with the aforementioned character and the Soldiers of the Future
the late 1980's on Saturday morning television. Now, we're going
it again in John Byrne's abortive attempt to revamp Spidey's
legacy "for a new era" a decade later in the now obscure Spider-Man: Chapter One
miniseries, which was rightfully panned. And if that's not
ghastly enough, the way it was done owes more than a bit to a
very weird manga strip called Ranma
that featured a boy turning into a girl - or was it
a girl turning into a boy? Not to mention that the costume
looked a bit too much like Wonder Man's to boot.
Chopper No. 1
(from DC's First Issue Special
1975, DC Comics): The character in question was something like
an alien with a large pink head, a green robe, purple colored
eyes, and a mere slit for a mouth. And he's been sent into the
depths of oblivion ever since.
Chopper No. 2
DC Comics): He
began as a dreadful racial stereotype, and first bore the name
Chop-Chop. Unfortunately, the new name was no better. In fact,
wasn't one of Top Cat's own pals in that Hanna-Barbera cartoon
or a dog from one of Warner Brothers' Looney Tunes named that as
Comics in 1936): He might've worked better if he'd been part of
the cast of characters in The
Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Unfortunately, he was
living on borrowed time at best.
Comics): Just what is Wade Wilson's name supposed to indicate
anyway? That he's the product of a "pool of despair"? Whatever
it's meant to be, it sure doesn't signify much! Given that Rob
Liefeld was responsible for his creation though, that shouldn't
be too surprising by now.
(Quality Comics, 1939): an early creation of Will
Eisner, this character was a precursor to heroes like the Atom
and Ant-Man, though unlike the former, he didn't specialize in
subatomic sizes and unlike the latter, he didn't influence the
actions of insects either. And unfortunately, the name is kind
of worn out when you consider how today's generation prefers the
term "action figure" to reference toys for boys.
(from Amazing Adventures,
Comics): If you think it sounds like a certain Latverian
dictator, yeah, it does, doesn't it? Guess that's why Anthony
Ludgate later changed his name to Dr. Druid, among a few others,
if I'm correct, but wasn't enough to make him any more effective
than when he began, and in the end, he was killed off
Woman #57 volume 1, 1965, DC Comics): What much can be said
about a giant egg with a face painted on it? As little as
possible, and WW cracked him up by slamming her magic bracelets
The Gay Ghost:
appear to have been two characters by that name, one at DC and
the other at Timely/Marvel. Both were written during the Golden
Age, at the time when the word "gay" meant simply "happy", and
when looked upon in that sense, it's understandable. But since
the 1990's, it's taken on a whole new meaning!
The name is really for a chess move, and other than the fact
that it's also the name of a weekly newspaper in New Orleans,
Louisiana, the Gambit Weekly,
not much of anything, and adds nothing to an already bankrupt
(from The Flash,
DC Comics): A villain who was turned into a being made of
metallic parts like what might've been jerry-built in a
scrapyard. And yet, the name hardly fits his situation, since
it's not like he's actually comprised
of those very metallic beams. As a creation of Geoff Johns, his
characterization was very forced and alienating to boot, and is
even worse than the name given to him
(from Generation X,
Comics): Yes, she does sound like a country chick, and yeah,
she's pretty, but other than that, what much can she do, other
than to peel her skin like a corn husk? That's Paige Guthrie's
power, and I can't see how a character with as little as that
can be effective in crimefighting.
Comics): As if it weren't enough that she wore an embarrassing
trenchcoat when she first appeared, and didn't make any real
changes to it for the first few years of her existance, what
exactly is her codename meant to indicate? It's meant to be
shortage of her actual name, which is - get this - Jubilation
Lee! Only a jubilee is supposed to indicate a celebration that
takes place only every 50 years. And she's barely 19 in the MCU
as of now! And the chances of her being celebrated in the next
50 years are minimal, unfortunately.
Comics): The full name of the evil scientist in focus here is
Ulysses Klaw, he being one quarter of the Frightful Four, rivals
of the Fantastic Four, who turned himself into a creature of
living sound when he was operating in Africa back in 1966, and
was menacing Wakanda, home of the great prince T'Challa, Black
Panther extraordinaire, leader of one of the most
technologically advanced nations on the African continent. But
while Klaw may be the regular name of character, how exactly
does it define Ulysess' power over sound effects? Not to mention
that he doesn't have any claws on his hands either! Basically,
it's a toothless name, isn't it, that doesn't even begin to
describe Klaw's own abilities.
(from Supermen of America
1999, DC Comics): What was Fabian Nicieza thinking when he came
up with the name of one of the teen crimefighting characters in
this miniseries? And here when being a winner is the name of the
game! Talk about insulting the character indeed!
Comics): Perhaps the staff at Marvel during the Bronze Age
didn't know it at the time, but "man-thing" is a slang for male
genitalia used in women's romance novels, and for this character
to have it, simply makes him even more silly and embarassing
than need be. As if things couldn't get any more embarassing, in
the mid-70's, when they were doing the Giant-Size book line,
Marvel even came up with Giant-Size
Bleah. If there's any name that really
qualifies for the Hall-of-Shame and Embarrassments, this is it.
(from Legion of Superheroes,
Comics): The Legion of the years gone by had plenty of silly
character names (including Mind-Grabber Lad, if anyone cares, or
even regular names given a future spin like Gim Allon,
pronounced the same way as "Jim Allen"), but Tenzil Kim wins the
grand prize for absurdity due to his power, which is the
ablility to eat anything, which, while not exactly proving scary
to the villains, makes me for one feel better off not thinking
about some of things he might put on his "diet". Plus, his home
planet's name is Bismoll, as in "Pepto-Bismoll". Gee, what'll
those city slickers think of next?
Comics): If you think this character's name sounds like a cough
drop brand, yeah, it sure does, doesn't it? The protagonist was
someone with mental powers, which gives the impression that the
creators must've had the idea of calling him "mentor", but
sadly, they goofed! Oh dear.
Comics): It's a laugh-a-minute, yes it is!
Why'd they name him after a slug? Kurt Wagner's a good
character, but deserves much better than a name like that.
(from New Warriors,
Comics): It sounds almost like the former leader of the New
Warriors team must've specialized in dealing out spankings at
nighttime! And if that's not enough, aside from dressing in all
black leather, he even rode a skateboard! What next, did he
whack people in the back while riding on it?
(from Emerald Twilight in 1994, DC Comics) the
word means apparent displacement of an observed object due to a
change in the position of the observer. While this might have
described Silver Age Green Lantern Hal Jordan at the time DC's
editorial mandates turned him into a villain in one of the worst
moments from 1990s history, it becomes a lot more meaningless
after Parallax became a separate character in 2004, when Geoff
Johns was allegedly trying to fix Hal, but even then, he still
turned GL into a serious mess, as it continued to be long after
(Amalgam Comics): The comics this ludicrous combo-character
comes from was a special teaming of the big two (DC and Marvel,
of course), and to make matters worse, he's an amalgam of two
other silly characters, Matter-Eater Lad and Paste Pot Pete,
who'll be discussed below. And his name is one of the most
disgusting suggestions for what he could possibly do that I've
ever heard of. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. All I do
know is this - let me outta here! Heellllp!
Paste Pot Pete
(from Strange Tales
Marvel Comics): He took up his name in that anthology series
during the early Marvel Age, so I guess it could be forgiven.
Since then, he's taken up the more fitting name of Trapster, and
it became a running gag for many years that he was still trying
to live down his initial moniker. Even so, what happened to Stan
Lee at around that time anyway? Maybe he was fooling around with
the stamp glue in the office!
(from The Flash
in 2001, DC
Comics): This was the name given to a minor character named
LaShawn Baez, a girl who tried to steal a kidney transplant for
her ill father, and ended up a fugitive instead. Her power was
that she could teleport around while leaving an explosive impact
in her wake. The name, however, really doesn't register much
impact by contrast, about what you can expect from a script
written by DC's notoriously overrated hack, Geoff Johns.
(from the Mr. Scarlet & Pinky
in WOW Comics, by Fawcett Publications, 1940): during the Golden
Age, the Mr. Scarlet and Pinky duo served as Fawcett's answer to
Batman and Robin, and were co-created by France Herron and Jack
Kirby. But alas, the name of the younger protagonist has become
so outmoded and embarrassed in today's world. Sure, the word
"pinky" can be a slang for the fifth finger on the hand (if you
consider thumbs the first anyway), but the color itself is
hardly something most men would care to wear nowadays.
Interestingly enough, after the Fawcett creations DC had bought
the rights to in later years had been merged with the DCU proper
and these two were featured in All-Star Squadron, Brian Butler
(the real name of the older protagonist) subsequently retired
and the younger fellow took up his mantle!
(from Alpha Flight, Marvel Comics): Narya, the
daughter of the Indian goddess Nelvana, was a shape-shifter
who'd been raised in part by Shaman (Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen),
and had power of flight. Trouble is, her codename is a slang for
cocaine addicts. Oddly enough, it was established in the
original AF volume from 1983-94 that Shaman, however
unintentionally, may have led to her powers only working
properly when she was on Canadian soil and she couldn't leave
the borders without risking illness, which came close to putting
her in a situation where she'd be like the junkies her codename
mirrored. Not the greatest name then for a character living in
the Great White North, is it?
Marvel Comics): Unfortunately, that's a slang for cocaine and
heroin mixed together, and the results of such a horrific
mixture can be fatal. What's Marvel trying to do with this
character anyway, make him look like an addict or a pusher?
(from DC Comics):
As much as I like Roy Harper, former sidekick to Green
Arrow/Oliver Queen, while his codename does indicate the
velocity at which he fires his weapons, the problem is that it
also makes him sound like a drug addict, which is exactly what
he became in 1971 in Green
Lantern co-starring Green Arrow.
Today, he's changed
his name to the much cooler Arsenal, which certainly helps to
indicate some of the archery-based weapons he carries.
(from Metamorpho, the Element Man
in 1967, DC Comics): I suppose this guy can sting alright, but
his codename also sounds like a cross between a bee sting, a
Chevy Corvette Stingray and the form of pants called dungarees!
in 1970, DC Comics):
This one's just too stupid for words. The character had his
optic nerves re-reouted to his fingers so that - no, better yet,
forget it. Like I said... He was killed off later on in the Crisis on Infinite Earths,
which is just as well.
Marvel Comics): He was Thor's substitute, and with a name that
just doesn't fit the bill. Thunder, to say the least, while it
may go in well with lightning, does not work well with strike,
though the latter certainly does, but they didn't think of that,
did they? Nor did they think of using boom with thunder, for
that matter. And as for Thunderstrike himself, well, he's been
dead for many years now, gone and forgotten.
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Avi Green. All rights reserved.