Silly Code Names

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.

Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man (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.

Bishop (from X-Men, Marvel Comics): 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 timestream.

Bucky (from Captain America during the 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 sidewalk.

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!

Cable (from The New Mutants in 1990, 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.

Captain Power (from Spider-Man in the late-1990's, Marvel Comics): I thought we'd already been this route before with the aforementioned character and the Soldiers of the Future in 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 1/2 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 in 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 (from Blackhawk, 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 well?

The Clock (from Quality 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.

Deadpool (from Marvel 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.

Dollman (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.

Dr. Droom (from Amazing Adventures, Marvel 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 altogether.

Egg-Fu (from Wonder 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 together.

The Gay Ghost: There 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!

Gambit (Marvel Comics): 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, it's not much of anything, and adds nothing to an already bankrupt character.

Girder (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

Husk (from Generation X, Marvel 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.

Jubilee (from Marvel 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.

Klaw (from Marvel 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.

Loser (from Supermen of America in 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!

Man-Thing (from Marvel 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 Man-Thing! Bleah. If there's any name that really qualifies for the Hall-of-Shame and Embarrassments, this is it.

Matter-Eater Lad (from Legion of Superheroes, DC 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?

Menthor (from Tower 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.

Minute-Man (from Fawcett Comics): It's a laugh-a-minute, yes it is!

Nightcrawler (from X-Men, Marvel Comics): Why'd they name him after a slug? Kurt Wagner's a good character, but deserves much better than a name like that.

Night Thrasher (from New Warriors, Marvel 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?

Parallax (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 GL: Rebirth.

Paste-Eater Pete (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 in 1963, 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!

Peek-A-Boo (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.

Pinky (from the Mr. Scarlet & Pinky feature 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!

Snowbird (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?

Speedball (from 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? Bleah!

Speedy (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.

Stingaree (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!

Ten-Eyed Man (from Batman 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.

Thunderstrike (from 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.

All content TM & Copyright Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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