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.
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!
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.)