"I wonder what you're captain of..."One of the most common types of superhero names. Simply stick "Captain" in front of this hero's name, and then whatever (usually) noun the writer wants. Perhaps it's to give the impression of leadership, as though this character actually is The Captain. This character won't actually be a captain of some military group, but will often be The Good Captain. This can even happen with villains as well, although it's rare, and often reserved for parodies. The notoriety of this naming convention also named the tropes Captain Ethnic, Captain Geographic, Captain Patriotic, Captain Obvious (which was named outside this wiki), Captain Oblivious, Captain Ersatz, and several other members of the TV Tropes Superhero Team. Again, this is not simply a captain of a ship or military group. Compare Something Person and Captain Space, Defender of Earth! (which this can overlap if a character is a space hero and a superhero).
— Penny, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
Examples:Anime and Manga
- Captain Ginyu of "The Ginyu Force" in Dragon Ball Z is a villainous spoof of this.
- Daichi ends up getting called Captain Earth by his teammates, likely because of this trope. It eventually grows on him.
- Captain America might not be the first, but he's one of the most famous. However, he is one of the few who have actually earned the title of Captain.
- Major Glory of The Justice Friends is a spoof of this (major being a rank above captain in the U.S. Army).
- Captain Atom
- Captain Marvel, former moniker of Shazam
- Captain Mar-Vell, who, actually did hold a Kree military rank equivalent to captain before being exiled to Earth.
- Carol Danvers has recently taken up the mantle of Captain Marvel. She had reached the rank of full bird colonel by the time she quit the Air Force, meaning that she's more than earned the title.
- Captain Britain; as well as his sister Psylocke when she briefly took the mantle of Captain Britain.
- The Flash rogues Captain Cold and Captain Boomerang are villainous examples.
- Another villain is Captain Marvel foe Captain Nazi.
- The Captain from Next Wave. A straight-up parody, as he kept trying to find things to put after "Captain" but kept encountering trouble with it. He went with "Captain ☠☠☠☠" at one point, but got his mouth washed out with soap by Captain America.
The Captain: I was Captain Power for a while. But then I got sued. Something about a cartoon. Then I changed it to Captain Ron. And got sued. Changed it to Captain L. Ron. Got beaten up by Tom Cruise. I was Captain Universe, but it turned out there was already a Captain Universe. Captain Ultra. There had been one of those. A plumber, would you believe. Broke into my apartment and left a horse's head in my water tank as a warning. Captain Avenger, taken. Captain Avalon, I had to give up(...)I tried Captain Marvel. There've been, like, eight Captain Marvels. One of them was an adult movie star with a lightning bolt on his...anyway. There was a Captain Kerosene. I mean, I was scraping the bottom of the barrel, and there was already a Captain Kerosene. That was my luck right there. I wasn't Captain Rectitude, but I was pretty much all of the other Captains at one time or another. So I gave up. I decided I was just The Captain. And then some marine-looking guy tracks me down and says, "I was The Captain First!". I had to pay him money in the end.
- Captain Confederacy. Lampshaded in the backup strip "Saks and Violet", where comic artists in the Free City of New York briefly consider a "Captain NYC" character, and one asks why superheroes never seem to rise above Captain.
- Slightly averted in the Johnson-era satire SuperLBJ and the G.R.E.A.T. Society, where Goldwater is depicted as "COLONEL America". (The real Goldwater's reserve rank was Major General.)
- Captain Canuck
- Captain Metropolis is a minor character in Watchmen. His name might be justified by his apparent military background.
- He started as a toy, but was incorporated into DC and Marvel comics, but Captain Action certainly counts. Basically he's a guy in tights wearing a sea captain's cap (complete with boat anchor insignia) and wields a laser pistol and a "lightning sword," a sword with a blade shaped like a lightning bolt. He possesses super-strength as well as the ability to change his appearance to look like almost anyone. His toy line and comic series didn't do so hot in the 60's, or when they tried to revive him in the 90's. They're trying again with a new figure and darker and grittier comics.
- The original version of Captain Action, Clive Arno, has no real reason to have the "captain" title, as he was an archeologist before getting his powers. However the newer Captain Action, Miles Drake, is a former Navy SEAL so the title makes sense.
- Empowered has Capitan Rivet, the metallic leader of the Superhomeys.
- The Captain Of The Virtual Console has Captain Gancena, taking inspiration from Captain N: The Game Master.
- The 1980s comedy Hero At Large had Captain Avenger. John Ritter was an actor hired to play the in-universe-fictional Captain Avenger to promote an upcoming movie. When Ritter foils a robbery in-character, the hero becomes "real."
- Lampshaded in Epoch, where the protagonist is being escorted to the Big Dumb Object by Captain Tower of the US Army. He mentions to his companion that it sounds like a superhero name. Subverted in the sequel where Tower dies from a single shot to the gut.
- Maybe because he got promoted.
- In The Cannonball Run mild mannered mechanic Victor becomes Captain Chaos!
- Champion City's beloved superhero Captain Amazing in Mystery Men, who despite being an effective crime-fighter and media darling is actually a self-important snob more interested in the endorsement deals he lands after averting high-profile crimes than actual justice and public safety. He even arranges for dangerous supervillain Casanova Frankenstein to be paroled from prison just so he'll be able to defeat him yet again. This backfires spectacularly....
- How to Be a Superhero has several. Lampshaded in the section explaining why superheroes shouldn't try to fund their career with bank loans:
Superhero: Good morning. I want to apply for a loan.Bank official: Certainly sir. And what is your name?Superhero: Captain Whirlwind.Bank official: Ah, a captain. Well, we offer peferential loans for veterans. What part of the forces did you serve in?Superhero: Er ... well ... I didn't ... I'm not actually a real captain.
- Captain Underpants
- Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future
- Captain Video
- Captain Terrific in an episode of Imagination Movers
- Captain Nice
- Dinosaurs: When Earl gained superpowers and decided to be a superhero, he wanted a superhero name more impressive than "Captain Action Figure", Baby's favorite superhero. He became "Captain Impressive".
- Captain Marvelous in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. A pirate captain, but counts since he is the leader of a superhero team (the only one left in the universe, since the powers of the previous thirty-four Super Sentai were depleted and transformed into the Gokaigers' keys).
- Whose Line Is It Anyway? The names of "Weird Superheroes" often dip into this trope. Colin was once memorably dubbed "Captain Hair."
- In an episode of Maude Maude's cousin visits; he has a split personality which comes out at times of stress, becoming CAPTAIN-AN-AN-AN-AN HERO-RO-RO-RO-RO! (He makes his own echo sound, and insists others do the same.)
- In the French series Hero Corp, which parodies the superhero genre, many characters are named like this, usually with a ridiculous noun, like Captain Extreme Sports or Captain Shampoo.
- An episode of The A-Team had Murdock, Face and BA driving taxicabs. Murdock being Murdock, he soon drives around wearing a tablecloth as Captain Cab.
- Star Trek: Voyager. The Show Within a Show holodeck program The Adventures of Captain Proton, an Affectionate Parody of Flash Gordon and other sci-fi serials. The hero is played by Lieutenant Paris (demoted to Ensign at one stage). When Voyager's actual captain is reluctantly convinced to enter the program, she naturally outranks him as Queen Arachnia.
- Captain Courageous from Johnny Mnemonic.
- Captain Rainbow, a character from Nintendo.
- Captain Smiley of Comic Jumper.
- Captain Falcon of F-Zero. YES!
- Captain Qwark of Ratchet & Clank
- Captain Hero of SimCity
- Captain Commando, hero of a self-titled arcade game and Capcom's former mascot.
- This El Goonish Shive features Catalina suggesting a "Captain Superhero" rename of Cheerleadra.
Susan: Cheerleadra... I can't believe they dubbed her Cheerleadra.Catalina: Yeah! That's, like, a sidekick's name! They should've called her "Captain" Something! Captain Tiny Skirt!Susan: <beat>Catalina: ...What? I don't have a lot to go on.
- In Doc Rat, Captain Kerpow.
- Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Lampshaded when Penny asks (in song), "I wonder what he's captain of."
Captain Hammer: [mocking Billy/Horrible] You see, little Penny's giving it up, she's giving it up hard. 'Cause she's with Captain Hammer. [holds up his fists] And these are not the hammer. [walks away from Billy, but then returns] The hammer is my penis.
- Discussed in the three-part series Captain Dynamic, made by Rooster Teeth to promote City of Heroes, the titular character claims that heroes often use the word Captain in their names because it gives people a sense of the military and gives them the power to marry people on a boat.
- Superhero School Whateley Academy specifically forbids students from using an unearned title as part of their code name, so Alvin "Captain Canada!" Cuthbert (his insistence on including that exclamation point is a good indication of his general level of doofusness) is forced to use "Cerebrex" until he graduates, assuming the other Canadian students don't beat him to death for making them look bad, which is a distinct possibility since Whateley has a lot of Canadian students and he does tend to make them look bad.
- Likewise "Captain Bravo!" and "Doctor Goodvibes" are stuck with "Bravo" and "Goodvibes" until graduation, lampshaded by typical teenage bellyaching about the unfairness of it all. But you can see why the faculty and staff who have actually earned those ranks, titles and degrees would find the whole idea of High School kids using them unacceptably pretentious.
- Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels
- Although not a superhero, Captain N was likely named after this trope.
- And subsequently the hero of the webcomic Captain SNES: The Game Masta.
- Captain Planet and the Planeteers
- Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys.
- Captain Hero of Drawn Together
- Captain Green and the Eco-Teens in The Fairly OddParents.
- Captain California in Hero High.
- Captain Implausible in Phineas and Ferb.
- Captain Hindsight from South Park, a superhero with the dubious power to determine what should have been done to avert the present catastrophe.
- He can also fly, which everybody appears to ignore.
- Captain Crandall from Teamo Supremo.
- Captain Sunshine from The Venture Bros.
- Captain Super Captain from the Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero episodes "I'm Super!" and "I'm Still Super!"