Yellowjacket: Do you think you can stop the future? You're just a thief!All right, you've got the powers, got the costume, got the cool origin story, now you just need to pick the perfect superhero name. Maybe you go with something that describes your powers, or a grim n' gritty one-syllable name. Surely you're the next classic superhero, with an Awesome Mc Coolname superhero name to go with it. Wait, what's this? Why is everybody laughing? Surely evildoers would tremble at the mere utterance of your name! Or not. Sorry, pal. You need to get a better name if the Legion of Doom is going to take you as a serious threat. You've got yourself an Atrocious Alias. Once you have committed this, there is no turning back. The name will catch on and that's how you will be known from here on. Your only hope is to become famous enough one day for everyone to not automatically think of something else when they hear it. Many are the reasons for a character, superhero or otherwise, to have such a malodorous moniker: Maybe you were originally published in The Golden Age of Comic Books, when certain slang terms had different meanings. Maybe you're using a fairly standard Something Person naming convention and your powers don't exactly make for an intimidating name. A specific type of Unfortunate Name. See also The Adjectival Superhero, Have a Gay Old Time (the cause for most names on this list), Giver of Lame Names. Contrast Awesome Mc Coolname. Please note that this trope is only about embarrassing names that the character specifically chooses. If it's a name the person was born with, see Unfortunate Names.
Scott: No, I'm Ant-Man.
Scott: I know, wasn't my idea.
Scott: No, I'm Ant-Man.
Scott: I know, wasn't my idea.
— Trailer dialogue for Ant-Man
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Anime & Manga
- Son Gohan from Dragon Ball picked the name 'The Great Saiyaman', complete with ridiculous costume. He never seemed to notice the bystanders he just saved were staring at him incredulously. The one time he actually was called out for his ridiculous name, he started throwing a tantrum that terrified the wits out of the poor guys.
- Ships in Martian Successor Nadesico are named after flowers. One of them has the unfortunate name of the Pansy. Predictably it gets its ass kicked.
- Char Aznable's alias in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam is alternatively romanized as Quattro Bajeena (eh, not great) or Quattro Vagina (oh my).
- The Char Clone of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn goes by the name "Full Frontal." Whether it's an alias or not isn't clear, but it seems likely given that he wears a mask. Word of God says it's supposed to refer to his aggressive, in-your-face fighting style (as in "full frontal assault"), but that hasn't stopped the jokes.
- Sentai parody Special Duty Combat Unit Shinesman. The uniform colors of the eponymous hero team were selected based on their responses to the question "What is a good color for a superhero?" Unfortunately, since they were all office drones who had no idea they were being interviewed for spots on a Sentai team, most of them gave corporate-safe answers and ended up stuck introducing themselves as Shinesman Moss Green, Shinesman Gray, Shinesman Sepia, and Shinesman Salmon Pink. Only The Hero Hiroya has a decent color, thanks to remembering his Sentai-loving little brother saying that the Red Ranger is always the best.
- Death Note - "Kira" (a corruption of "killer"), Light Yagami's worldwide alias, can mean "glittering" in Japanese. However anyone who dares mock Lord Kira shall suffer a sudden inexplicable heart attack.
- In the series CLANNAD, several alternative names for the protagonist were suggested in a scene, but were not actually relevant beyond characterizing the two new characters that were introduced.
- In Busou Renkin, the protagonist spent half of an episode coming up with stereotypically crappy names for his weapon and attack.
- Back when he was in high school, Kotetsu from Tiger & Bunny spent quite a bit of effort on thinking of possible superhero names he would use in the future. He was not very good at it.
Tomoe: Okay, let's see... "Fate Wanderer: The Destiny", "Fearful Body: The Muscle", and "The Prince of Fists, Mr. Punch". They all suck. You're terrible at this.Kotetsu: Y-You don't have to say it like that...
- One legendary Bully Hunter in Daily Lives of High School Boys is called "Rubber Shooter." While the Japanese themselves has no doubt as for what it meant — "Rubber" means rubber bands in Japanese — due to Separated by a Common Language, other from other parts would have issues understanding what he shot—for example, to the British, "a rubber" means an eraser; in North America, it refers to a condom.
- In the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX episode where Kagemaru appeared, after Manjyome challenged him using his nickname ("Manjyome Thunder"), Fubuki tried to do the same, giving himself a cool nickname of his own. Unfortunately, the best he could come up with was "Blizzard Prince"; the look of embarrassment on his sister's face said it all.
- The second Pretty Cure All Stars movie features the fearsome Eldritch Abomination... Bottom. This is the same franchise that gave us "Fusion" (as in, a fusion of previous monster-types) and "Black Hole" (because seriously, that guy is tough).
- Ranma ½ has Pantyhose Tarō, who initially is not an example since it's Happōsai's fault he's named that. He does cross into this with his idea of a better one: Handsome Tarō. In a later episode where Happōsai gets bothered into changing Tarō's name, he muses out-loud about worse suggestions for names, letting it slip that he was invoking the trope on purpose.
- The titular Samurai Flamenco has his named mocked thusly, given that he's an Ascended Fanboy of Tokusatsu shows and it's quite obvious he picked the name himself.
- In Tenchi Muyo! GXP due to the fact that every other "lucky" name was taken at the time, Seiryo is forced to christen his ship the Unko, which is supposed to mean "bringer of fortune", unfortunately for Seiryo, "Unko" also means, and is more commonly used to refer to, poop.
- Kill la Kill has an organization called Nudist Beach. Everybody who learns about it comments that it is the stupidest name ever. Not surprisingly, the same guy who named it that also named an invention of his the "Rending Scissors", something mocked by an opponent of his and said to be due to his habit of just naming things what they are, and gave his own daughter a name that can translate to "abandoned child" which is distressingly spot on once we learn her backstory.
- One-Punch Man has a ninja character who calls himself "Speed of Sound Sonic". Saitama and Genos make fun of it because it sounds redundant. Saitama himself ends up receiving the hero name "Caped Baldy".
- The 41 Supreme Beings of Nazerick in Overlord have some pretty out-there names, until you remember they were players of an in-universe MMORPG. Momonga didn't plan to get stuck with such a cute name, Touch Me was probably being an intentional jackass, and Bukubukuchagama ([onomatopoeia for bubbling] Teapot) appears to have named herself after what she could see at the time.
- Pictured above is the Whizzer, who has pretty much been a walking joke since The Silver Age of Comic Books due to his snicker-inducing name (for non-US readers, "taking a whizz" means urinating). The fact that his costume is yellow probably doesn't help matters. His origin? Mongoose blood gives you superpowers! In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, even Spider-Man laughs at his name and pee-yellow costume. When Spidey asks the Whizzer why he chose his name, the Whizzer says it was the sound he made when he ran, and that it sounded better in the 50s. Deadpool also riffs on him a bit for it at one point. note When the character debuted in 1939, football player (and later US Supreme Court Justice) Byron "Whizzer" White had been playing in the NFL for a year, having been given the nickname by a newspaper columnist during his college career. So perhaps it made more sense at the time.
- Marvel acknowledged this even back in the 70s in the Fantastic Four Celebrity Roast comedy special, showing Whizzer drinking too much and dashing off to the men's room, prompting his friends to snark about that being the real reason for his name.
- For some kind of 70th anniversary thing, Marvel did a story set in the Golden Age where he explained that "Whizzer" was his college nickname - he thought they were calling him "Wizard", and by the time he worked out they weren't...
- Good thing The Beano isn't available in the US - it has a character called Billy Whizz, named that for the same reason as the Whizzer (he has super speed). In a slight subversion, the "whizz" part of his name is mostly ignored - instead his super speed means the "billy" part of his name is used as a nickname for "speed", aka methamphetamine.
- "The Beano" itself qualifies — it shares a name with a product that basically allows you to eat beans and certain other foods without farting up a storm. "Take Beano before and there'll be no gas!"
- Flash expy The Whizzer of the Squadron Supreme also shows a penchant for the colour yellow. The Squadron Supreme miniseries mentioned that his first choice of name was The Boomer: it may be coincidence but making his NFL debut two years prior to this comic was Norman Julius "Boomer" Esiason.
- Also in the Spider-Man universe:
- The Shocker gets this, presumably because his name is also a term for a sexual act (and an obscene gesture). Being a Deadpan Snarker, Spider-Man makes fun of these folks. In Ultimate Spider-Man when Spidey first meets the Shocker and asks him "Who are you supposed to be? The Vibrator?"
- Kraven the Hunter apparently forgot that "craven" means "cowardly". The writers attempt to justify it by revealing his full name to be "Sergei Kravinoff".
- Jackson "Big Wheel" Wheele
- Frederick "Big Man" Foswell
- This mobster-type was not treated as that when he lived. (He was size-conscious though, and wore lifts when he disguised himself as the Big Man).
- Jason "Demogoblin" Macendale (what, is he the goblin you try in the store before you decide you want to buy it?)
- Although that really was more of a fan nickname to set him apart from his non-demonic previous incarnation.
- One story, "Cliche," had Spidey going through a rough day of superhero cliches, including a new team of supervillains out to collect a bounty on his head. Individually, their names aren't that bad, the Ogre, the Squid, Lightning Fist, Razorwire, okay, maybe Ms. Fortune is a bad pun. But collectively they are... the Wicked Brigade.
- "Night Thrasher". Spidey thinks it makes him sound like he has terrible nightmares. In one issue, Spidey teams up with Thrasher and The Punisher. Naturally, Spidey doesn't get along with either of them (both of them being Darker and Edgier heroes), and eventually grumbles about being lectured by "One guy who sounds like he has naughty dreams and another guy who sounds like he likes to spank people."
- Then there was the time the Blue Shield attempted to apprehend Spider-Man for not registering with the Initiative. Spider-Man took the time to question why his health insurance premiums had gone up so much (for non-US posters, Blue Shield is also the name of a major health insurance company).
- "The White Rabbit", which is hardly a name to inspire terror (like DC's Mad Hatter, she is on a Lewis Carroll riff). Then again, she's not at all scary anyway. Also her occasional partner in crime "The Walrus" with "the proportional speed, strength and agility of a walrus" - who makes Spider-Man burst into laughter during a fight when he says this, since while walrus in the water is a graceful and nimble swimmer despite weighing up to two tons, on land they are are extremely slow and clumsy.
- During The Clone Saga, Ben Reilly was called "The Scarlet Spider", and even he thought it was a stupid name. It was very hard to find anyone who disagreed with him on that. (In his defense, he wasn't the one who came up with it; that credit goes to Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich, who based it on the fact that Ben Reilly's costume was basically a brighter red version of Spider-man's costume with a blue jacket over the top.)
- Marvel Comics' "The Trapster" originally went by Paste Pot Pete. He still gets mocked for that from time to time. (In fact, bringing it up is his Berserk Button.) One flashback story had Spider-Man encountering Pete while Paste-Pot was preparing to ambush the Human Torch. Before a fight could ensue, Paste-Pot announced his name-causing Spidey to break into laughter. Paste-Pot is so insulted and disgusted by Spidey's mockery he simply gives up and walks off, muttering something about needing to change his name.
- A Superman comic once featured a retired supervillain called the Molester. He kept explaining that when he chose the name (during The Golden Age of Comic Books), molest meant 'to annoy' and that he was supposed to be a playful villain like the Prankster.
- Golden Age superhero Doll Man. There was also the Silver Age Marvel villain Mr. Doll, whose gimmick was voodoo dolls. Supposedly, his original name was going to be the much-more-threatening "Mr. Pain", but the Comics Code Authority rejected that.
- Daredevil villain Zebediah Killgrave is an amoral psychopath who has used his mind-control powers for his own sick desires... and calls himself the Purple Man. This is probably why Jessica Jones had to change David Tennant's portrayal of the character. Even then, everyone thinks his choice of name is ridiculously stupid:
Jessica Jones: Granted, it is a mundane name, but "Kilgrave"? Talk about obvious. Was "murdercorpse" already taken?
- In an issue of X-Factor the heroes are confronted by a villain calling himself Number One Fan (with spinning blades as his main weapons) leading one member of X-Factor to comment that "We must be just about tapped out of silly names to call ourselves". When Kitty Pryde heard of the name "Negasonic Teenage Warhead," her reaction was similar: "Wow, we really have run out of names." Negasonic Teenage Warhead had been dead since the Genoshan massacre. Before her death, she planned to name herself after the song. (Furthermore, her death caused Emma Frost a mental breakdown. Suddenly, not so funny...) X-Factor also features Strong Guy (a.k.a. Guido Carosella), who picked his name on the spot when a reporter saw his exaggerated musculature and said "He must be the Strong Guy. Every super team has a Strong Guy." Needless to say, Guido wasn't taking things very seriously. He didn't even want to have a code name, seeing at as rather pointless for somebody whose unusual physique makes disguising himself for a civilian identity impossible. But Guido insisted on sticking with the name.
- The X-Men's demon-like, teleporting mutant Kurt Wagner uses the alias Nightcrawler. And it would be perfectly cool for a superhero name, except for one problem—a nightcrawler is also an earthworm.
- The second issue of Heroes, Anonymous revolves around the struggles faced by a sheltered farmboy who takes up the mantle of the legendary Gay Avenger without having the slightest clue that to modern ears, "gay" immediately suggests "homosexual". However, after discovering this, he's dedicated to keeping the name out of respect for his grandfather, the original Gay Avenger.
- The first issue also briefly flirts with this; former sidekick Attaboy finds his name inappropriate in adulthood, but sticks with it because "Attaman" doesn't have quite the same ring.
- While he was alive "Freedom Ring" got a lot of flack for having a pretty dumb alias. It was also invoked gay symbolism — "freedom rings" are rainbow-colored rings on a chain, a well-known gay signifier of the '90s. This, however, was likely intentional as the character was an open homosexual, and prior to being killed by evil alternate universe Tony Stark, Iron Maniac, Freedom Ring was the most prominent gay superhero in Marvel. Creator Robert Kirkman regretted killing the character as he represented about 20% of the overall homosexual hero census in the Universe.
- Batman villains:
- Mr. Polka-Dot, who even calls his name odd (but apt) himself.
- Tweedledee and Tweedledum, whose real names are Dumphrey Dumson and Deever Tweed.
- Humpty Dumpty, who bears the unfortunate real name of Humphry Dumpler.
- Dr. Drool.
- During the time the Blackhawks became superheroes, some of them got ridiculous names to go with their equally silly costumes. The already silly-named Chop-Chop became "Dr. Hands," and Chuck became "The Listener," complete with ear-covered costume.
- During the time the Dark Age of Supernames reigned supreme, names trying to sound "extreme" or "kool" usually ended up being hilarious instead. D-list Captain America villain "Blistik" sounds more like a lip balm than a serious threat. note
- Speedball probably crosses into this territory when you realise that a brightly-coloured, bouncy comic relief character shares his name with a lethal drugs cocktail that's polished off more entertainment careers than Celebrity Big Brother. Penance, on the other hand...is equally ridiculous, even before contextualizing it.
- The closest thing Howard the Duck had to an archenemy was a mad musician named Dr. Bong. Well, what else would you call a supervillain that had a giant bell on his head that when you rung, he could change reality?
- Astro City:
- There's the Otter, possibly the cutest supervillain name ever. Mind you, he does run around dressed as an otter, so the name clearly doesn't bother him. Maybe he should have called himself the furry old lobster instead.
- Then there's Glue-Gun, an Expy of Marvel Comics' Paste-Pot Pete.
- One issue has The Majordomo, who clearly intends to be an impressive rule-the-world villain. As another character dryly points out, it might have come off better if he hadn't named himself after a servant.
- When Brian Kinney became the sidekick for the priestly-themed Confessor, he received the codename "Altar Boy." He doesn't care for it, but doesn't get a vote in the matter.
Confessor: "Altar Boy or busboy. Your choice."
- Legion of Super-Heroes has Matter-Eater Lad. note And the infamous Arm-Fall-Off Boy, who received the slightly more dignified name of Splitter after the Zero Hour continuity reboot. Recurring Legion of Supervillains member Radiation Roy. Look, man, we don't care if you have radiation powers and your name is Roy, that name is dumb. This is even specifically mocked by one of his teammates, who insists on calling him "Radiator" because he doesn't ally himself with losers. Absorbency Lad of the same team. Again, this name suffers from being a little too on the nose. The reboot version of him is a Terran supremacist called Earth Man, which is a marked improvement to say the least. In the Amalgam Universe, where DC and Marvel characters were combined, Matter-Eater Lad and Paste-Pot Pete became... wait for it... Paste-Eater Pete.
- Empowered plays this trope for laughs (being a superhero parody/deconstruction) to the extent that pretty much every character in the book has a ludicrous name: Sistah Spooky, dWARf, Phalik, Maidman, Baron Womb, Crowquet. In fact, the main super team is called the "Superhomeys."
- Although the Smug Super characters tend to make fun of Empowered's name, the best example from the series isn't the heroine. One of the Superhomies is a sapient Blob Monster who redubs himself Protean, and becomes increasingly enraged when a mook thinks his name is Protein and makes fun of him. Sistah Spooky tells Protean then he should go back to using his old name, "Glorph", which at least wouldn't confuse anyone.
- There's also a trio of Captain Ethnic villains who called themselves Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash. Rum ended up at Alcoholics Anonymous, Sodomy left after getting tired of insisting that his name only referred to heterosexual sodomy, and Lash, who Emp encounters is a ridiculous fauxreigner who Did Not Do the Bloody Research.
- Also qualifying, Willy Pete. He at least has its Genius Bonus spelled out In-Universe; it's the military's nickname for the super-lethal flammable chemical white phosphorous, which burns at over 3000 degrees. Willy Pete himself is more than capable of living up to his namesake, so that one stops being funny and starts being scary real quick.
- King Tyrant Lizard is a hulking, scaly mass of muscle and malice who would be more intimidating if he hadn't given himself such a stupid name. (Well, it is the literal translation of Tyrannosaurus Rex.) It would probably also help if he stopped wearing that stupid tiny crown his mom made for him.
- Minor Iron Man foe Vibro's name is pretty weak as it is, but his real name is the utterly pathetic Vincent Vibreaux.
- Kick-Ass, himself.
- In Volume Two, Red Mist changed his name to the Mother Fucker, and named his gang The Toxic Mega-cunts.
- Upon meeting Spider-Man in an intercompany crossover, Image hero Invincible makes fun of Spider-Man's heroic name, and Spidey does the same for Invincible. Then when meeting the Avengers, he attempts to guess their names, using 'Spider-Man' as a gauge. Robot-Man (Iron Man), Claw-Man (Wolverine), Flag-Man (Captain America), Fabio-Man (Sentry), Bat-Woman (Spider-Woman), and Black-Man (Luke Cage) — to which Peter confesses that perhaps his name /is/ poorly chosen.
- Darker Image #1 gives us... Deathblow! A name so utterly trapped in its time of origin that even That '90s Kid couldn't get past its stupidity.
- In a crossover, even Superman made fun of his name.
- What makes it funnier is that the name itself was almost never used in the Deathblow series, or any other Wildstorm comics - he usually went by Michael Cray, so even the creators didn't want to use the name.
- Captain Marvel had a few Golden Age opponents with questionable names, but the worst of them had to be Mr. Banjo, whose gimmick was that he strummed secret codes to a Japanese submarine on his banjo. Depending on how you look at it, Mr. Mind (the World's Wickedest Worm) might qualify as well.
- The other especially suspect one is Nippo, the Japanese judo master and assassin. Seriously, Nippo? Since comics made in the 40s were all about raising support for the war (everybody knows about "Superman says you can slap a Jap," right?) and making the enemy look stupid in any way possible was pretty par for the course, but really.
- The Gay Ghost is one of the most infamous examples in comic history. For the record, in his later appearances (however few there have been), he's been known as the Grim Ghost — evidently the "Gay" moniker was something akin to an Ironic Nickname.
- The Champions comic books has the Galloping Galooper (who's portrayed as an egotistical goofus, so it's probably deliberate).
- Combining this trope with Unfortunate Implications: John Walker, aka Super-Patriot, recruited a team of super-strong allies called the Bold Urban Commandos, or "Buckies" (named after Captain America's sidekick), led by African-American Lemar Hoskins. When Walker replaced Steve Rogers as Captain America, Hoskins took the identity of the new Bucky. Writer Mark Gruenwald had to be made aware of the problem: "Bucky" was demeaning, since slave-owners in the 1800s sometimes called their male slaves "Bucks".
- In-universe, Gruenwald had a black custodian inform Hoskins of the Unfortunate Implications, not only of the name, but of a black adult appearing as a "sidekick" to the new Captain America. Hoskin's superiors allowed him to change his name to Battlestar, and promoted him as Walker's partner instead.
- Deliberately used by Steve Englehart in the 1970s when he had Captain America fight against an evil cabal masquerading under the name Campaign to Regain America's Principles (a shout-out to the real-life "Campaign to Re-Elect the President, known as CREEP).
- So, they literally got C.R.A.P. past the radar?
- Captain Cold, enemy of The Flash hates his actual name. For his part, it's pretty difficult to be proud of the name Leonard Snart.
- Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: Prowl was a predabot and liked a good hug, then he had to change his name to Dent because there was another more important Prowl. All the good names were taken.
- Spawn has the Clown, a demon in disguise as a Monster Clown, whose true form goes by the name of The Violator. At least it sounds kind of scary, and given what sort of character Clown/Violator is, it definitely fits...
- In Young Avengers, Billy Kaplan initially chose the name Asgardian for himself. Seems fine enough since he's initially Norse themed, but unfortunately Billy happens to be gay, opening himself up to endless "Ass-Guardian" jokes that he doesn't realize until his teammates point it out. He changes his name to Wiccan soon after.
- When Loki joined the team he felt himself qualified, by virtue of being an actual pagan deity, to point out that even Wiccan is kind of religiously insensitive considering Billy is Jewish.
- Loki is not alone with this sentiment either, when Wiccan joined the New Avengers Power Man revisited the point at length.
- Several of the Portmanteau hero names used in the Amalgam Universe are just plain ridiculous. Among the more egregious examples are "Madarinestro" and "Shatterstarfire."
- In Injustice: Gods Among Us, Green Arrow is being picked on by Harley Quinn for the name of his lair, the Arrowcave. Harley then asks him why didn't he just call it "The Quiver" (a case for holding arrows), and Oliver...says that name is a lot better.
- In the 2006 Freedom Fighters miniseries, the Ray III derides the Invisible Hood's codename, saying that it sounds like "an ultra-thin condom".
- Strikeforce: Morituri:
- One criticism of James Hudnall's run were the uncreative codenames his characters gave themselves — a telekinetic named "Lifter," a pyrotechnic named "Burn," an invisible character named "Ghost"...
- Deliberately crossed over with Embarrassing Nickname by Pilar "Scaredycat" Lisieux and William "Scatterbrain" Deguchi; they gave each other embarrassing names as part of a dare.
- A Running Gag in Incorruptible was Max Damage's sidekicks having inappropriate codenames. One starts out as "Safeword", based on her Compelling Voice power, before reinventing herself as "Hate Crime" (chosen because "I hate crime"). The one going by "Jailbait" at least used the name intentionally with full knowledge of how it was in poor taste. The last one gets the name "Headcase", which isn't too bad in comparison.
- Jubilee's full name is Jubilation Lee. Although actually an Awesome McCoolname, she considers her real name to be this and prefers to be called by her shortened name.
- Froggy in The Lion King Adventures. Even he admits it.
Simba: So what's your name?Froggy: Froggy. Not the most interesting of names, I'll give you that, but it's easy to remember.
- In Bring Me All Your Elderly!, in order to avoid Name's the Same, the author commands the characters from Avatar: The Last Airbender to give their live action counterparts nicknames. Some of the nicknames the movie characters get aren't really that bad (Awng, Eeroh, Katarola). Movie!Sokka, however, gets stuck with the name Sockson, much to his dismay.
- The Specials: To be fair, Small is at least a better name than Mr. Smart. But then, so is Captain C***face.
- One of the biggest laughs of Boogie Nights comes when Eddie's chosen porn name is unveiled in lights: "Dirk Diggler." The presentation is as lame as the name.
- Karl Berger, aka K. the Butcher Shitter from Violent Shit.
- Archie Benjamin, aka Horny the Clown from Drive Thru.
- Fogell, aka McLovin from Superbad. Of course, only two people really think it's horrible. Fogell himself, as well as pretty much everyone else, absolutely loves the name.
- Spoken by Reuben Soady about his brother Remnar in Escanaba in Da Moonlight: "Well, he turned out pretty much the way you'd expect for somebody goes by the name of Remnar."
- Parodied in Kung Pow! Enter the Fist, when main villain Master Pain suddenly changes his name to Betty. The Chosen One then stands up and insults him by going "But, isn't Betty a woman's name?"
- In Man of Steel, when one of General Swanwick's underlings tells him Superman is the name they're using to refer to the character, he gives him a look that basically says "that's a ridiculous name to call someone".
- In Spider-Man, when Peter Parker becomes a pro-wrestler, he wants his name to be The Human Spider. The ring announcer says that is horrible and calls him Spider-Man instead.
- In Deadpool, Wade Wilson utterly mocks Francis Freeman's alias, Ajax, saying he got it from the dish soap.
- In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, we have Taserface. Pretty much nobody takes his moniker seriously, and when a captured Rocket ridicules him, the rest of the mutineer Ravagers laugh at it. Even a normally calm and serious Sovereign bursts into massive laughter when she hears his name.
- In the New Order Lone Wolf Gamebooks, the player is invited to make up a name for their character or roll two dice. This can lead to awesome names or to things like "Sword Sword."
- In the story-within-a-story of Stolen from Gypsies, one character actually the hero's love interest in disguise is a rakish highwayman who took the name "the Dim Avenger". While the intended meaning of Dim was "dark", the character tends to get asked if their name means they are stupid.
- Damned: Madison Desert Flower Rosa Parks Coyote Trickster Spencer
- In the first novel of the Evil Genius Trilogy, one character early on is a Jerk Jock who is trying to chose a sufficiently threatening villain name, but all of his choices lead the others to laugh at him (e.g. choosing the Decimator, and then having it pointed out that decimate literally means "kill 10%"). Of course, the Axis Institute's coursework slowly destroys this little habit- right before he loses control of his powers and incinerates himself.
- The comedy book How to Be a Superhero has a section devoted to avoiding choices like this, e.g Mr AC/DC might not be good choice even if you do have electrical powers. Then there's the poor guy who got his powers from and named himself "Purple Helmet".
- Zits from Flight.
- Good Omens' secondary set of Bikers of the Apocalypse, Grievous Bodily Harm, Cruelty to Animals, Really Cool People, and Treading In Dogshit (formerly All Foreigners Especially The French, formerly Things Not Working Properly Even When You've Given Them A Good Thumping, never actually No Alcohol Lager, briefly Embarrassing Personal Problems, and finally People Covered In Fish).
- Wild Cards had Snotman, who was unable to make people forget his old name even after he has become the Reflector.
- Discworld: In The Last Hero, when the Silver Horde disguised themselves as gods to infiltrate Dunmanifestin, two of their adopted cover-identities were the Muse of Bloody Swearing and the God of Being Sick Again. (The title of God of Being Sick had apparently already been taken.)
- Jack Ryback of Mike Nelson's Death Rat! introduces a side character to Ponty just as he realizes he probably shouldn't be using Ponty's real name, so he quickly makes up "Earl Topperson" as a psuedonym, using his eyes to apologize for the terrible choice of name. It's also mentioned that they simply refer to the titular book as "the thing" after Jack bucked mightily at Ponty's suggestion that they call it by its radio initials "Delta Romeo".
- Professor Pippy P. Poopypants from Captain Underpants. That book was about him wreaking havoc on the entire city because nobody would take him seriously because of his silly name. This in itself isn't an example of the trope; what makes it one is that at the end George and Harold suggest that he changes his name, and he picks his grandfather's name instead: Tippy T. Tinkletrousers. It's stated in his backstory that in his country of New Swissland, everyone has an idiotic name due to a reason that the book deemed too boring and stupid to explain.
- In Hush, Hush, the Fallen Angel who stalks, harasses, terrifies and almost murders Nora calls himself Patch. The author clearly intended this to be a cool and gangster-like name but seriously, what kind of fallen angel who remains borderline sociopathic even after being seemingly redeemed by love names himself Patch? A name that sounds much more apt for a dog? Even Wolverine who used the same name as an alias for a while couldn't make it cool.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: One of the main protagonists of the series adopts an assumed name so he can easily blend in with the locals when he visits an unremarkable backwater planet named Earth. The "minimal research" he did before deciding on his "nicely inconspicuous" moniker led him to settle on Ford Prefect.note
- Joy Hopewell from Flannery O'Connor's short story "Good Country People" changes her name to Hulga. She's glad that it's so very ugly.
- The title character of the Mediochre Q Seth Series. He insists that he named himself after a shade of red (between pale ochre and deep ochre) but his name still sounds like 'mediocre', meaning 'of middling quality'. Also, Seth was one of the more vilified Egyptian deities, when Mediochre is (at least trying to be) a hero. Mediochre is a bit eccentric, however, so this might all be intentional.
- The first title character in Ellen Conford's The Revenge of the Incredible Dr. Rancid and his Youthful Assistant, Jeffrey. It probably didn't help any that "Dr. Rancid" was actually one of the heroes in Jeffrey's stories-within-the-story.
- In The Tome of Bill, the leader of a vampire coven has the authority to impose certain rules. The leader of the Village Coven has it that all the vampires take a new name to distinguish themselves from their human lives...so far so good. Except that Jeff is a Psychopathic Manchild whose idea of a cool name is "Night Razor". Other gems include Rage Vector and Dr Death. The only halfway presentable name among them is "Sally Sunset". Bill dispenses with this policy immediately after killing Jeff.
- In The Reckoners Trilogy David mentions that the ability to wield physics-defying powers does not always correspond with the ability to choose a good name. Epics in the series have monikers that range from decent, e.g. Steelheart and Nightwielder, to at least descriptive, e.g. Deathpoint, to things like Insulation, an Irish epic with gun-related powers called Rick O'Shea, and El Bullish Brass Dude.
- Molly from Divergent nicknames herself "The Tank".
- Please Don't Tell My Parents I've Got Henchmen: Charles still hasn't come up with a better name than "Sharky," despite promising he was working on it two books ago.
- Please Don't Tell My Parents I Have a Nemesis: Air Conditioner Man. After he realized he was as bad at crime as coming up with an intimidating villain name, he retired.
- Lampshaded in The Infected. The IPB has an unofficial but powerful system where the most photogenic operatives become the public face of the organization and have colorful costumes and heroic codenames vetted by PR experts. The most powerful Infected have short, descriptive names like Gravity or Stasis. The rest get vaguely derogatory names referencing their powers of appearance, like Goblin or Sparks.
Live Action TV
- In an old All That sketch, a Mayor is auditioning several superheroes for the city, though only encountering examples of generally sucky powers. The final one is basically a Flying Brick with no weakness whatsoever. He would be an automatic shoo-in were it not for his name of Superty-Duper Man. In the end, the Mayor resolves to save the city herself, strapping on a cape and flying away.
- Angel: Inverted with The Groosalugg — Groosalugg means "brave and undefeated." That's right, his name advertises the fact that he never loses.
- In the first episode of the first series of The Black Adder, Edmund wants to settle on a new nickname, having become a Prince of the Realm. His initial suggestion is The Black Vegetable, before his (at the time) Hypercompetent Sidekick Baldrick persuades him otherwise.
- Whose Line Is It Anyway?: Applies to the Superheroes game (but then that's What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway? to start with) and also often the aliases adopted by the players for the Newscasters or Sports Commentators games.
Greg Proops: I'm Rock Hard.Colin Mochrie: And I'm Peggy Lee. (Over audience laughter) IT'S NOT FUNNY!
- MA Dtv has a sketch of a Mexican (or Argentinian, depending on the sketch) wrestler named "El Ass-o Wipe-o." He helpfully explains that in Spanish it means "The Asswiper." He has a compatriot named "Senor Bag of Crap."
- Nathan on Misfits is pretty hopeless at remembering names, and often comes up with nicknames instead. When he considers superhero names for Curtis and Simon, the names he comes up with are "Mr Backwards" and "The Invisible Cunt". Needless to say, they aren't impressed.
- A Saturday Night Live sketch involved a group of B-grade superheroes, including Paul Reiser as a Batman-esque vigilante called Nightstalker. Seems cool enough, until another hero points out that Nightstalker shares an alias with an infamous serial killer/rapist-and then goes into detail of the other Nightstalker's crimes. The heroic Nightstalker proceeds to have a near breakdown.
- The Flash (2014): Cisco thinks Roy G Bivalo's preferred alias (which Caitlin thought up), Rainbow Raider, is stupid and prefers to to call him Prism.
- Supergirl: In "Worlds Finest", when The Flash arrives in town, Cat Grant decides to name the new superhero The Streak or The Blur. Annoyed, Barry Allen tells her the superhero is called The Flash. Cat mocks it and says that "sounds like someone whose only superpower is jumping out of an alley in a trench coat." Barry's expression hints that he had never thought of it that way.
- In a fantasy episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, the twins get superpowers from a comet. Cody gets super-intelligence, and calls himself "Brain Man", with the initials proudly displayed on his costume's chest. Only later is it pointed out to him that those initials are B.M.
- In The Tick (2016), Arthur is trying to convince two police officers that he's an actual, licensed superhero. When they ask for his name, he accidentally gives his real one, leaving him stuck with his own first name as a codename when he becomes one for real.
- A lot of the time you can tell a bad gimmick by how stupid the character's name is. Characters such as Bastion Booger, Beaver Cleavage, Kerwin White and Isaac Yankem never had a chance. Ironically, Kerwin White was a cringe-worthy new character made for one of the most distinguished Mexican wrestlers on WWE's roster who didn't even need a new gimmick, while Isaac Yankem would find incredible success after being eventually repackaged as Kane.
- The ultimate ECW Woobie "Mikey Whipwreck". There is also a "Mike Quackenbush".
- A famous anecdote about "Stone Cold" Steve Austin recalls how, in his early days of WWF, he wanted to change his nickname to go with his cold and uncaring character and asked the creative team to come up with a name. They sent him five pages of names. While most were pretty good, like the Ice Dagger, there was an infamously ridiculous one called Chilly McFreeze. He chose Stone Cold and the rest is history. He jokingly stated in one interview that if they turned down Stone Cold, that he would be the best Baron Von Ruthless he could have been.
- Similarly, in her autobiography, Chyna mentioned several of the names that the WWE had thought up for her. Some were decent, if cliche, such as Phalan, Sheera, Venus, and Tigress. One she singled out as particularly bad... Teeva Gweeve, which she thought sounded like a cartoon pig.
- Raven's opinion one of his opponents, "Thumbtack Jack", in Westside Xtreme Wrestling, as well as Raven's old gimmicks, Johnny Polo and Scotty Flamingo.
- Braden Walker, better known as TNA's Chris Harris, is best remembered for his horrible name. Well, that and introducing himself with a knock knock joke. But mostly for his horrible name.
- WWE generally likes to own the legal rights to wrestler's names these days. As a result we have been given some truly stupid-sounding names, such as "Michael McGillicutty" for Joe Hennig, the son of Mr. Perfect. Although, after a gimmick change that played up his 3rd generation status he changed his named to Curtis Axel, and homage to his father Curt Hennig and his grandfather, Larry "The Axe" Hennig. "Dolph Ziggler" is pretty damn bad, but has been overcome by the sheer work-rate of the performer (Nick Nemeth) saddled with it. So much so that it no longer matters, Dolph became World Heavyweight Champion!
- A wrestling website has released the WWE Developmental Rookie Name Generator! It has a random selection of generic and "real but inherently funny" names, many Awesome McCoolnames taken directly from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Space Mutiny episode, and some deliberately failtastic last names like "Limpnoodle", "Softcheese", "Stephpet", "Floppysex", and "Turdwater". The generator will indeed come up with names like Rolls Floppysex and Mustachio Turdwater.
- If you get lucky you might end up with "Meat Strokeworthy!"
- Northern Championship Wrestling in Quebec, Canada had a tag team called Those Guys, made up of This Guy and That Guy. Maybe it made more sense in French.
- Robbie E once announced his tag team with Jessie Godderz is called "Bro Mans". James Storm laughed and pointed out it sounds like "Bromance".
- This how many felt about Chikara's "Intergalactic Luchador" Saturyne, though she had a supporter in WSU's Jennifer Cruz, who would be the type you'd expect to mock it the most.
- On TNA Impact, Ethan Carter The Third announced that he felt this way about the name WWE chose for Guyanese wrestler Rycklon Stephens: Ezekiel Jackson.
- The joke of ECW's Beulah McGillicutty was that she was a jaw-dropping sex bomb of a woman with the name of a 90-year old Irish grandmother.
- Aberrant, being a deconstruction of superheroics, touches on this: the rise of superpowered Novas, many of whom think they're now required to don costumes and take up aliases, have spawned a budding fashion industry dedicated to not only making non-stupid costumes, but also to come up with fitting and stylish names a Nova can use without feeling silly or raise Unfortunate Implications. A few sucky names still crop up, though.
- This was said to be the main reason why Dude was rejected from the Dino Attack Team and forced to spend most of the war in Antarctica.
- Champions is generally fairly good about avoiding this (the odd atrocious-to-native-speakers foreign language codename slips through sometimes, such as the odd example in the European Enemies supplement for 4th edition, but that's not really this trope so much). However, one example that may sound more unfortunate today than in the late 80s comes straight from the 4th edition Hero System Rulebook's sample NPC section, i.e. a page that everybody familiar with that system likely will have come across: a supervillainess with sonic powers stemming from an alien necklace she found, going by the name of...Howler. In spite of that she's kept showing up in villain roster books since then.
- In Elona, there is a random name generation system that allows you to pick an alias at the beginning and also applies to randomly generated magic items. This can lead to items being generated with names such as Sparkle Homo, Mustache Fortress, Pimp of Awesomeness, or, more likely, a name that is complete gibberish like Foreigner Kitty or Princess of Rebel-rouser
- The roguelike Slash Em Extended has the Courier role, who has to defeat a boss named Some Random Guy. His actual name is Benny but the game rarely addresses him with that name, instead referring to him as "some random guy" by default.
- The random Hersir name generator in Age of Mythology gives us such gems as Thorvald Eggscreamer, Gisli Unsightlywisher, and Bersi Cheesedrowner.
- Superhero League of Hoboken, being a parody, has some deliberately awful superhero names such as Tropical Oil Man and Princess Glovebox.
- Cream the Rabbit. In game, it's supposed to be a pun with Cheese the Chao and her mother, Vanilla the Rabbit. Instead, to many it comes off as meaning "Violently Pummel the Rabbit" (something most players wouldn't have a problem with) - or something different.
- In the first movie-licensed Spider-Man game, Spider-Man tries to guess the Shocker's villainous moniker. Basing it off the Shocker's padded costume he guesses Quilt Man, Padded Pete, Mr. Triple-Ply, and The Cushion.
- Vector Thrust: AI players you face in Skirmish include the standard AXE, VIKING, BLADE, RIBBON, and others. Or, you'll be hounded upon by people like FAIL, GASSY and JUICY.
- Final Fantasy XIV has a minor NPC dragoon named Alaimbert who opted for the personal title "Of the the Spiked Butt". He doesn't understand why the others in his unit keep laughing at him.
- Undertale has King Asgore who's known for his terrible ability to name things and sprinkles Atrocious Aliases about The Underground like sprinkles. His best attempt at naming literally comes from combining his name with Toriel's to make "Asriel" for their child. It runs in the family as his son dubs himself "Flowey The Flower" after his resurrection, and later takes the moniker "Asriel the GOD of Hyperdeath".
- Magellan has "Psi-Jector" - he thinks it's a great (and obvious) name: "I'm a tactile psychic... I project images of thoughts... PSI-JECTOR!" but everyone else just pays out on him - "Psi-Jerktor", "Re-Jector"...
- The defunct Queer Nation (in which a pink meteor gives all homosexuals on the planet superpowers) had a gay, ditzy, male bartender with telepathic powers name himself "Cocktale", just because it was his favorite drink.
- Grrl Power has the supervillain "For Whom the Death Tolls" (usually abbreviated to Death Toll). Even his allies comment on the ludicrousness of that name, which he chose himself. He is also one of the few characters in the comic to wear a cape and a cowl, along with a skull mask. Unfortunately, he turns out to have enough power to turn the joke back on his opponents. In fact, this example is an Exploited Trope as his powers relies on being attacked and he chose the name to be stupid enough to be aggravating (combined with his Jerk Ass behavior) to taunt them into triggering his powers.
- In the same fight where Death Toll emerged, Halo declares "Silver Age Rules." The villains have to introduce themselves, or be assigned insulting nicknames. Most of them just shrug and go along with it. Made all the funnier by the heroes' HUD's displaying names like "Stick Girl" and "Lee Press-On-Claws" that are crossed out after the villains name themselves.
- League of Super Redundant Heroes has a jovial superhero who was frozen in the 40s, and is being coached to re-adapt to the 21st century. His name? The GAY BASHER! Curiously, he seems quite accepting that he needs to change his identity for linguistic reasons, only asking if he can still throw around his patented "Gaymakers". Meanwhile, upon learning that her old friend from high school had gone into witchcraft and (rather ineffectual) supervillany to spice up her dull life as a homemaker, Eva gives Josie the supervillain name of The Desperate Housewitch.
- The Whateley Universe includes several mentions of them. The students are warned to be careful even with their non final name since it can stick even if you change it. Examples include Power Pork, the Flying Bulldozer, Boom Job, and Quickie. Quickie is a well-endowed girl speedster, who didn't get why everyone thought her codename was so funny her freshman year. After finding out what it meant, she ended up changing it to Go-Go. Jinn Sinclair's first choice of a codename was 'Clothes Ghost'. Her teammates made her change it. Like they have a lot of room to talk, since their team name is Team Kimba. Which, again, is Jade's fault. Traduce didn't know what her codename meant until after she got it finalized. It is very appropriate, though.
- Homestar Runner
- The Cheat's commando name, "Firebert".
Strong Bad: Uh, don't make me call you that... It's not a good commando name.
- There's also Strong Bad's short-lived attempt to get people to start calling him "The Lege" (as in "the legend"), until he realizes Homestar was right about it looking like it was pronounced "The Leg".
- The Cheat's commando name, "Firebert".
- Legion of Nothing has Psy-Kick, a karate-wielding human stenograph whose choice of hero name is a source of great amusement to the protagonist (this gets him in trouble, since Psy-kick is also a telepath).
- Several of her fellow teenagers make dirty jokes at the expense of Banging, a teenaged supervillain from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, because of her name. She's only fourteen, though, and grew up a bit sheltered before running away. Itsy Bitsy, a shrinking superheroine from the same setting, gets made fun of a lot as well. The first time the Superheroic trio Ready, Willing, and Able introduced themselves, the reaction they got was, "Are you for real, with that?"
- Coyle Commander's cyborg assistant has the cool moniker of Annihilator. Unfortunately he's a parody of Destro, so it gets shortened to Anni.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal's sketch show had an episode about tryouts for a team of superheroes. One of the applicants exhibited an impressive array of powers that would have made him a shoo-in, if not for his chosen codename—Fetal Alcohero. (He got his powers because his mother drank while she was pregnant with him.)
- A few characters have invoked this trope in Worm, such as Clockblocker (he freezes objects in time), who very intentionally chose his superhero name to be a Double Entendre. On a much darker note are the Slaughterhouse Nine, who tend to pick names that sound silly rather than intimidating, most notably their leader, Jack Slash. This is deliberate- it makes them that much more terrifying when they prove just how deadly they are.
- In Ask King Sombra, after Sombra is revived, he gets captured by the Crystal Wolves and thrown in a cell with a bunch of other ponies. In order to avoid them finding out who he really is, he hastily comes up with a pseudonym. Thus is born Kingsley Glittersmile Sparklefriend.
- Two superhero wannabes proudly introduce themselves as X-Ray & Vav, and get shocked when Hilda says that sounds stupid.
- Red vs. Blue has a character who calls himself "Sharkface". Felix instantly makes fun of it. Later, when Caboose meets him for the first time and coincidentally calls him "Sharkface", Tucker says that is stupid.
Felix: What is he, a Batman villain?
- An episode of Freakazoid! featured a hero originally named Lord Bravery having copyright issues and eventually ending up with the name "Lord Smoked Meats and Fishes." People then refused to get help from him. Not that the "Lord Bravery" name got him much more respect than that, mind you.
- Minoriteam had an entire episode devoted to Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain the Black Coq in a nonstop session of Getting Crap Past the Radar.
- South Park
- Sea Man from the episode "Super Best Friends." And his sidekick is a fish named Swallow.
Narrator: Meanwhile, in the ocean depths, Semen seeks out water to mix with the concrete.Sea Man: Sea Man! Look, Swallow, we should be able to divert the water with that pipe.Narrator: And so, Semen and Swallow get to... get to work. *laughs*
- 'The Human Kite' is bad on its own, as are all the kid superhero names, but it being used by Kyle drives it into this trope due to it sounding like "kike," which is used as a slur against Jewish people.
- Sea Man from the episode "Super Best Friends." And his sidekick is a fish named Swallow.
- The Simpsons
- "Homer to the Max": Homer's proposed new names for himself are not only idiotic — "Rembrandt Q. Einstein" — but, except for one (Max Power!), misspelled on his name-change application.
- In another episode Homer tries to imitate Bart's secret identity "El-Barto". He decides to call himself "El-Homo." All it took was a Hispanic gay man congratulating him on coming out for Homer to realize his mistake.
- Deliberately and appropriately true of the Toilenator from Codename: Kids Next Door.
- In a G.I. Joe parody sketch on Robot Chicken a new member is inducted into the Joes. While trying to come up with a cool code-name he accidentally slips on a spilled drink and is summarily dubbed "Fumbles", much to his chagrin. He jumps over to Cobra to get revenge and is suggested an equally horrible code-name ("Trouser-Snake" because he's in Cobra and has cool pants) which he accepts resignedly. He turns out to be an incredibly badass Cold Sniper who single-handedly destroys the Joes (save for Duke, who he leaves alive), with Cobra Commander nervously congratulating him:
Cobra Commander: Uh, Good job, Trouser-Snake.Fumbles: Fumbles. It was always Fumbles.
- Most supervillain names on The Venture Bros. Seriously, Phantom Limb? Doctor Girlfriend (later Doctor Mrs The Monarch)? Then you have names of minor villains, like "Intangible Fancy," "White Noise," "Mr. Monday," and how about "Tigerrific?"
- Dorkus on Jimmy Two-Shoes
- Changed Daily in The Secret Show gets a ridiculous name every day, much to the amusement of whoever hears it whenever it's announced.
- Regular Show Rigby legally changed his name into Trash Boat, by taking an advice from a rock star named The Urge. But The Urge later attacks Rigby because his stupid name overshadowed his fame.
- Brad Wright is part of the Skysurfer Strike Force. While his teammates have badass names like Crazy Stunts, Sliced Ice and Air Enforcer, he decides to pick Soar Loser. Yeah...very badass.
- In the Adventure Time episode "The Creeps", Finn and some of his friends get together for a masquerade party, and use various silly "mystery names". For example, Princess Bubblegum is "Lady Quietbottom" and Cinnamon Bun is "Guy Farting". Jake looks like he's about to leave after announcing his mystery name is "Randy Butternubs".
- Ben 23, an alternate universe version of Ben from Ben 10: Omniverse, has a habit of picking out super-obvious and lame names for his aliens. Such as Charcoal Man (Heatblast) Mr. Monkey (Spidermonkey) Vomit Man (Upchuck) and so on.
- Played straight with The Mighty Heroes — the team consists of Strong Man, Diaper Man, Tornado Man, Cuckoo Man, and Rope Man.
- In Danny Phantom, the titular hero has this problem in early episodes back when the public first start becoming more aware of him. Due to most people not knowing his name, the media ends up making up an alias for him, which he despises.
Sam: "Inviso-Bill"?Tucker: You need a publicist.
- Princess War Tickle from Atomic Puppet. However, she's still a very respected superhero in the show's universe, since she's the only superhero considered to be greater than Captain Atomic, which she has certainly demonstrated on several occasions.