So recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the excellent Japanese light novel series, Boogiepop, and its inexplicable failure in the U.S. Then I thought, “Wait a minute, its failure isn’t that inexplicable. They named the damn hero Boogiepop. What the hell?” Which of course made me think I needed to do a list.
Here’s a list of superheroes who have really, really crappy names.
1. Boogiepop. What does Boogiepop sound like to you? Does it sound like that guy in your shop class who had a one-man band and played the didgeridoo? If it doesn’t, it sounds like the guy in your art class who had that experimental band with his barefooted girlfriend. In any case, Boogiepop does not sound like the embodiment of justice (or something) that randomly possesses teenage girls (or boys) to fight “enemies of the world.” And that’s a shame, because I think teens being possessed by an avenging hero makes for a great series, and I can’t read Japanese, so I don’t know what happened to the characters. Damn everything.
2. Eat Man. Eat Man is another Japanese superhero. Eat Man is kind of a stupid name. His superpower is the power to eat stuff and then transform his arm into the stuff he ate, which is really weird. Japan is really weird, though, so I guess this is to be expected.
And besides, Eat Man isn’t as lame as:
3. Matter Eater Lad. Matter Eater Lad’s super-moniker has a few issues right off the bat. 1) There’s the whole matter of using “lad” in his name. Seriously, what is this, the 1850s? Who goes by lad nowadays? Or even thenadays? 2) “Matter Eater” describes the thing he does, which is useful, I guess, but not particularly un-lame. Matter Eater Lad eats matter (which, doesn’t everyone?), but he doesn’t transform into anything. That’s a bit of a letdown, really.
4. The Whizzer. The Whizzer is a Flash-like character, because “Speedy” was already taken or something, I don’t know. (“Speedy” is also a stupid name, and especially for a hero who doesn’t have the power of superspeed.) We used to call our dachshund “The Whizzie” because dachshunds are incredibly lackadaisical about getting outside for their nature calls and much prefer to take care of business on the living room carpet. I just can’t respect a superhero whose name makes me think of my dog’s bad bathroom habits.
5. Dazzler. Every chance I get, I make fun of Dazzler. Why? Because I hate disco, that’s why.
6. Man Thing. Man Thing is Marvel’s answer to Swamp Thing, only with a much more hilarious name, and a giant-size issue to boot.
7. Squirrel Girl. Squirrel Girl always pops up on lists of people with lame superpowers, but I think having the power to control squirrels is better than some you could have. I can’t think of any specifically, but I’m sure there’s worse ones. Somewhere. Anyway, the name Squirrel Girl is too literal and makes me think she looks like a squirrel, kind of like Dorothy the Ape-Faced girl from the Doom Patrol.
8. Mr. Fantastic. Sure, he’s the leader of the Fantastic Four, which is nice for its alliterative balance, but Mr. Fantastic is just a dickhead name, and that’s all there is to it.
9. The Gay Ghost. Even back before gay meant gay and it meant, like, supra-happy, that’s still a pretty lame name for a superhero. Especially when you combine it with “ghost.” Add just one “r” to Gay, and you’ve got a much better superhero name: “The Gary Ghost.” Or The Gray Ghost. Whichever.
10. Bouncing Boy. Weird how there’s such an overlap of “lame names” and “lame superpowers,” but here we have Bouncing Boy, who is round and can bounce. That’s pretty much it.