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Since comics first appeared over a century ago, their creators have been as inventive with character names as they have with innovative graphics and storylines, finding exotic names for their femmes fatale, comical names for humorous characters, perky names for pigtailed adolescents and noble names for high-flying heroes. Here are a dozen of the most interesting.

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In her previous blog, Appelation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel revealed the alter ego names of the male superheroes, and this week it’s the girls’ turn.

Last week we looked at comic book names inspired by Clark Kent and Peter Parker – the mild-mannered alter egos of Superman and Spider-Man

More women have donned a cape to fight for good than you might guess, but it hasn’t been an easy road.  The Comics Code Authority, a set of industry standards adopted in 1954, limited gore and violence, but also sexual innuendo.  Selina Kyle hung up her catsuit for more than a decade when the Code was at its strictest.

Female characters tend to go to extremes.  There’s the wholesome Betty and later Barbara, characters introduced as Batgirl at a time when it was thought Batman and Robin needed girlfriends.  Others are clearly not from this world, like Thundra, a Femizon warrior from the 23rd century, arrived in 1972 to challenge The Thing, or the first female superhero, Egyptian princess Fantomah.

As comic books have become popular sources for Hollywood films, plenty of A-list stars have worn these identities.  For parents seeking a feminine name with an edge, knowing that your daughter’s appellation has been worn by a crime-fighting woman of steel might make an otherwise frilly name seem downright powerful.  Here some possible female alter ego comic book names:

Ariella

Amara

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This week, Appellation Mountain’s Abby Sandel looks at comic book names, stripping away the heroes’ superpowers to reveal their more human personae names.

Every superhero needs a couple of things: superhuman powers, a cape, and maybe a sidekick.  He also needs a regular Joe name to hide his higher calling.  Spider-Man fights crime, but Peter Parker dries the dinner dishes.

It’s been this way since Superman first appeared in a 1938 comic book.  Mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent has been donning a cape and leaping tall buildings in a single bound for over eight decades.

Many of the best known comic book characters made their debuts before the 1960s, leaving some of their real life identities as dated as Gary or Wally.

Happily, comic book writers have an easy means to update any of their characters.  While a few famous figures – think Spider-Man, Batman, and Superman – never really ditch their human counterparts, in other cases, the superhero role is a title.  It can be passed on intentionally, or inherited unexpectedly.  For every Wally, there’s a Scott.  The updates keep on coming, too.  How else do you explain that the current Red Ranger in the Power Rangers franchise answers to Jayden?

You could name your son Blaze or Slade, and hope he has the confidence to pull off a larger-than-life appellation, but there are some true gems amongst our heroes’ workaday names.  They prove that popular and classic choices can be exciting.  While some of these are obscure, Hollywood has adapted plenty of superhero stories for the big screen in recent years: the X-Men, Green Lantern, and Captain America are all up this summer, with more in the works.

This list is all boys, but there are plenty of heroic choices for girls, too.  Tune in next week!

Anthony – Who’s cooler than Tony Stark?

Arthur – Aquaman was born Arthur Curry, before he discovered that he was descended from the lost tribe of Atlantis.

Bartholomew

Bruce – Worn by Batman’s other half, Bruce Wayne, as well as scientist-turned-Hulk, Bruce Banner.

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Comic Book Names: The Pow Factor!

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Guest blogger ALISA GILBERT suggests that there might be some tricks used to name comic book characters that could be applied to making memorable baby names.

Some of the most powerful and memorable names in popular culture are to be found in the pages of comic books.  So could there be some tactics used by their creators that could be used to craft a strong, easily remembered baby name?  Here are a few techniques you might apply:

1.  ADOPT ALLITERATION!

One of the most common comic book tricks to making a name stick in your mind is alliteration, one that works because it inserts a repetitive element into the name, giving it a sing-song quality that makes it easier to remember.  In fact, Stan Lee, the creator of classics like Spider-Man, often used alliteration to name his major human characters (Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Pepper Potts) so that he himself could better remember their names. Not only did he find it relatively easy to recall those characters’ names, but so did his loyal fan base and even people who knew little about comics. After all, even if you don’t know that Spider-Man gained his powers from a radioactive spider bite, chances are you recognize and remember his civilian name: Peter Parker. This is one adaptable technique that would be a way to make your baby’s name a memorable one — using a first name that begins with the same consonant or vowel sound as his last name.

2.  DO DOUBLE FIRST NAMES!

Using two first names to make up a character’s name is another trick that comic book writers use to make a name stick—but obviously  this is one that will only work if you happen to have an accommodating surname.  Unlike first names, many last names are less familiar and therefore less memorable, but by using two names that are familiar as firsts, it’s easy to mash them together to create a full name that is easily recalled. This method is evidenced in many DC Comics characters such as Batman’s Bruce Wayne, the Green Lantern’s Alan Scott and Hal Jordan, and Superman’s Clark Kent. If your baby happen to have a last name that could also double as a first, you are in luck: he will end up with a memorable name as long as you give him a familiar first name.

3. KEEP THE NAMES SHORT!

This is another technique that will only work if your last name cooperates. Comic book character creators usually would keep the first and last names short, with each no longer than two syllables. There are exceptions to this rule, but many of the most memorable comic book names are no more than four syllables in total. This method keeps the name short and snappy, reducing the possibility of mispronunciation and recall error. If your baby will have a long last name, consider giving him or her a shorter first name in order to make the name more memorable. With  a short last name, you have more options, depending on just how much you want to adhere to the comics four-syllable maximum method. (Note: Check the Nameberry message boards for some interesting discussions on ideal syllable rhythm and balance.)

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Cat Names from Alonzo to Zizi

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You don’t have to be a cat fancier to appreciate a name with a sleek feline feel.  These cool cat names range from cute kitten names to powerful panthers and tigers, and can be looked at from several points of view: names with cat-related meanings (starring the extended Leo family), cats in books, movies, television—real and animated–and cats named by well-known humans.

First of all, the most obvious:

CALICO

CAT, KAT

KITTY

PUMA

TIGER

Then there are:

NAMES WITH FELINE MEANINGS

ARI, ARIEL, ARIELLA

FALINE

LAVI

LEANDER, LEANDRO

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