Comic Book Names: The Pow Factor!
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.)
Below is a list of some of the most famous comic book names that follow one of more of these rules.
Lana Lang (from Superman)
Harvey Dent (Two-Face)
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
on November 22nd, 2010 at 4:04 am
I love comic book style names. Most boys names I like definitely fit right in, and a lot of girls names I like, too. And I LOVE alliteration. I know some people say “it sounds like a comic book character” as a negative but for me it’s positive. As you said, these names are memorable! And the nice thing is that they’re not memorable for being strange or anything, just something about them that sticks in your brain!
on November 22nd, 2010 at 6:55 am
Ok, I challenge anyone to come up with an alliterative L name that doesn’t sound like Lois Lane. I love alliteration but with L it’s difficult because of the stress the sound already places on the tongue. Our last name is like ‘Lucky’ and most L names sound awful with it except Levi.
on November 22nd, 2010 at 7:00 am
Actually I do love a nickname which isn’t alliterative that I think sounds a bit comic-book like.
Kit Lucky. I love Kit – unfortunately I don’t like Christopher despite it being my dad’s name!
Lani B Said
on November 22nd, 2010 at 5:46 pm
Leilani Lee Loy
on November 23rd, 2010 at 10:00 pm
This is a fun topic! I never realized what goes into naming comic book characters. But the part about them being memorable is very true- before I ever discovered Marvel comics I knew Spider-Man’s name was Peter Parker. And when I hear names like, for example, Carol Danvers from X-Men, I find myself thinking, I’m sure I’ve heard a name like that before! If I didn’t know the context I would think that was a real person.
Not to nitpick, but I noticed that Wolverine is listed above as John Logan; his name in the comics is James/Logan Howlett.
A couple other X-Men names that follow these rules come to mind:
Charles Xavier (Professor X)
Betsy Braddock (Psylocke)
Wade Wilson (Deadpool)
Amara Aquilla (Magma)
Ororo Munroe (Storm)- it’s not alliteration, but she’s got some interesting assonance in her name.
Thanks for this blog! I enjoyed reading it.
on November 25th, 2010 at 1:20 am
Harley Quinn is cool! I’m not the biggest fan of Harley, but Quinn is the name we will use if we have a second daughter.
Jamison Siverson Said
on December 27th, 2010 at 10:17 am
I am glad to be a visitor of this thoroughgoing web blog ! , thankyou for this rare info ! here .
on December 27th, 2010 at 8:21 pm
on June 6th, 2011 at 12:22 am
Persephone, I have a friend named Lauren Lane. I’ve always thought it was pretty. 🙂
on June 12th, 2011 at 8:07 pm
on March 30th, 2013 at 6:48 pm
hello, you forgot Bruce Banner. Geez louise. For a superhero topic, you’d be expected to list EVERY single name.
The Dc Comic Characters Alliteration | Online Comic Guide Said
on February 8th, 2015 at 11:14 pm
[…] Comic book names : the pow factor! – baby name blog […]
leave a reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.