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Atrocious Alias

Go To might wanna pick a better name, bro. And a different costume color.

Yellowjacket: Do you think you can stop the future? You're just a thief!
Scott: No, I'm Ant-Man.
Yellowjacket: [speechless]
Scott: I know, wasn't my idea.
— Trailer dialogue for Ant-Man


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, or the popular idea of a "cool" name wasn't exactly the same as nowadays. Maybe you're a Legacy Character, and the name wasn't of your own choosing. 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. For adaptations that try to stay away from those, see Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames.

Not to be confused with Lazy Alias.


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. If it's an embarrassing nickname given by those who make fun of the nicknamed character, see Embarrassing Nickname.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • And You Thought There is Never a Girl Online?: Akane Segawa joins the online game Legendary Age and decides to name her character "Schwein". She didn't know what it meant and thought it sounded like an Awesome McCoolname. She is promptly informed that "Schwein" is German for "Pig" and is incessantly mocked.
  • Henry Claremont from The Case Files of Jeweler Richard choses Enrique Wabisabi as a pseudonym for his music. He's British.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Light notes early on that he wishes the masses called him something else (for both the "killer" and "sparkly" reasons), but as a vigilante protected only by his anonymity he has no choice but to roll with it.
  • When Son Gohan from Dragon Ball Z chose to become a superhero, 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.
  • Gundam:
  • Kill la Kill has an organization called Nudist Beach. It Makes Sense in Context, but 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.
  • 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.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Super names in this series tend to be either outrageously cool (All Might, Crimson Riot, Midnight, etc.) or astoundingly stupid (Can’t Stop Twinkling, Grape Juice, Cellophane, etc.), with very little middle ground. Notably, the latter category is largely made up of young rookies, while the former covers the adult, veteran heroes.
    • Bakugo hasn't thought of a proper superhero name yet because he keeps coming up with villain names whenever he tries. Imagine being saved by a hero named "King Explosion Murder". The name he actually uses is even worse than his initial ideas and everyone but Mirio considers it tacky and disturbing. It's Great Explosion Murder God Dynamight. And yes, you have to say the whole thing every time.
  • One-Punch Man has a ninja character who calls himself "Speed of Sound Sonic". (This is slightly better in Japanese; the "speed of sound" part is read in Japanese, the "sonic" part is Gratuitous English.) Saitama and Genos make fun of it because it sounds redundant. Saitama himself ends up receiving the hero name "Caped Baldy".
    • Later, the series introduced more ninjas with similar redundant names: Flashy Flash, Hellfire Flame, and Gale Wind. It's pretty much a Theme Naming thing here.
    • Heroes being stuck with names like Saitama's Caped Baldy (or the even worse Great Degenerate or Dr. Grumpy Pervert) has led to an actual association called the Hero Name Victim Association being formed as a support group.
  • The 41 Supreme Beings of Nazerick in Overlord have some pretty out-there names, on account of being players of an in-universe MMORPG. Momonga (the name of a certain species of Japanese flying squirrel) didn't plan to get stuck with such a cute name (he promptly changes it to the more intimidating "Ainz Ooal Gown" after getting isekai'd, though for reasons completely unrelated to this trope). Touch Me was probably being an intentional jackass (although, being one of the tankiest and most powerful players in the game, his name could also be read as a challenge). Bukubukuchagama ([onomatopoeia for bubbling] Teapot) appears to have named herself after what she could see at the time, and while the name is appropriate for her gooey avatar, it has the unfortunate side-effect in the original language of being used to describe a fat person.
  • 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 name mocked thusly, given that he's an Ascended Fanboy of Toku shows and it's quite obvious he picked the name himself.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX episode where Kagemaru appeared, after Manjoume challenged him using his nickname ("Manjoume Thunder")note , 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.

    Comic Books 
  • Pictured above is the Whizzer, who has 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 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 (a nod to how the name is a case of Have a Gay Old Time). 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). Ironically, 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 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 Boomernote : 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?"
      • The video game adaptation of the first Spider-Man movie directed by Sam Raimi includes subplots which feature comic book villains who didn't appear in the film, one of whom is the Shocker. When they first meet, Spider-Man takes one look at his padded costume and tries to guess whether his name is "Padded Pete", "Mr Triple-Ply" or "the Cushion".
      • Spider-Man: Homecoming has The Vulture (who, in the film, is the Shocker's boss) lampshade this.
      "You're out there, wearing that goofy thing, lighting up cars, calling yourself "THE SHOCKER! I'M THE SHOCKER, I SHOCK PEOPLE!" What is this, pro wrestling?"
    • 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" Wheelenote 
    • 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 walruses in the water are graceful and nimble swimmers despite weighing up to two tons, on land they 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 Ken Ellis, 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.)
    • The Spider-Woman villain Clifford F. Michaels called himself Turner D. Century. He dressed up like someone from 1900 and hated everybody born after the turn of the century. His weapon was a horn that would kill anybody under the age of 65. One observer calls it "corny...real corny."
    • Spider-Man is often called "Spidey". Miles Morales, the Spider-Man of the Ultimate Marvel universe, did not like that name. At all.
  • In the Spider-Man 2 game, Mysterio hammily introduces himself for only for the web slinger to compare the former's alias to a breakfast cereal.
  • 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. In an issue of The Unbelievable Gwenpool, he shows up as Paste Pot Pete again, intentionally invoking ridicule as a distraction; while the heroes and cops laugh at his name and his outfit, he traps them in glue.
  • 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 uses mind-control powers for his own sick desires... while calling himself the Purple Man. It's no surprise that Jessica Jones ditched "Purple Man" entirely, changed Kilgrave to being a stupid nickname, and his legal name to Kevin Thompson.
  • X-Factor:
    • In one issue 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". He winds up having an inglorious sendoff when he "upgrades" himself to replacing his hands with fan blades: he cannot even get out of his lair anymore because he can't press the button to open the door, and when he realizes this, he facepalms...
    • 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 it as rather pointless for somebody whose unusual physique makes disguising himself for a civilian identity impossible. But Guido insisted on sticking with the name.
  • When Kitty Pryde heard of the name "Negasonic Teenage Warhead", her reaction was: "Wow, we really have run out of names." Hilariously, in Deadpool, Wade finds "Negasonic Teenage Warhead" the best name ever. The name comes from a Monster Magnet song, which you can see appealing to him.
  • 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 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 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 British 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.
  • Professor Zoom is perhaps the Flash's most feared and hated enemy. He's one of the most utterly evil characters in the DCU, having killed Flash's mother and systematically destroyed every happy moment in his timline. It's almost enough to make you forget that his name is Professor Zoom.
  • Kick-Ass:
    • Kick-Ass, himself.
    • In Volume Two, Red Mist changed his name to the Mother Fucker, and named his gang The Toxic Mega-cunts.
  • Luke Cage, sometimes known as Power Man. Like Killgrave, this is very much a "why would you waste your perfectly awesome-sounding real name" situation. Namor hangs a lampshade on it in Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #31:
    Namor: (after No Selling a punch from luke): That's it? THAT'S why they call you Power Man? I believe I'll just call you Luke.
  • 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, Invincible attempts to guess their names, using 'Spider-Man' as a gauge. Robot-Man (Iron Man), Claw-Man (Wolverine), Flag-Man (Captain America), Fabio-Man (The Sentry), Bat-Woman (Spider-Woman), and Black-Man (Luke Cage) — to which Peter confesses that perhaps his name is poorly chosen.
    • In his own series, Invincible has lampshaded how his choice of names might not have been the best, because it's kind of embarrassing to say "I'm Invincible" and then get your ass handed to you.
  • Darker Image #1 gives us... Deathblow! A name so utterly trapped in its time of origin that even '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?), 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. Grant Morrison memorably lampshaded this, having Animal Man meet the Ghost in Comic-Book Limbo and having the Ghost beg not to be brought back.
  • 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).
  • 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 (DC) 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.
  • The X-Men have an Artifact example with the supervillain Mister Sinister and his minions the Nasty Boys. Chris Claremont's original plan was that Sinister was "aging over a lifespan of roughly a thousand years", meaning that despite looking like an 11-year-old, he was closer to 50. As such, the goofier aspects of the character — like his costume and naming sense — were the product of a child's perception of what a cool-looking and scary supervillain would be. However, Claremont's plan was never followed upon, so instead Sinister is a man from the 19th century with unimpressive naming sense, at least until Kieron Gillen and later Jonathan Hickman revamped Sinister into the sort of Large Ham Card-Carrying Villain who'd name himself that.
  • Robin Series: Tommy Tinker interrupts with a disbelieving "Doctor Ruthless? Seriously?" when he hears the name given by a superpowered old woman in armor as Tim is reporting a list of the villains he's managed to round up after a breakout in Bludhaven.
  • DC Comics Bombshells: When Mera joins the Bombshells, they give her the code name "Aquawoman". Mera thinks it is dumb, but accepts it because she can't think of any other name.
  • In Common Grounds, Man-Witch apparently never realised that his name was the same as a brand of canned sloppy joe mix. When Mental Midget points this out to him, he says it explains all of the jokes he got in prison.
  • The 2020 relaunch of the New Warriors has the original lineup reuniting to train a group of new heroes. Unfortunately, two of the heroes are named Snowflake and Safespace - an attempt at Appropriated Appellation that basically the entire Internet has denounced as a ridiculous "how do you do, fellow kids?" move.
  • In Young Justice (2019), Tim Drake ends up taking the uniform of his Earth-3 counterpart along with his codename, "Drake". While it's meant to continue to invoke the bird motif most of the other Robins carry, "Drake" is also his last name. After about a year of fans mocking him (and Damian Wayne quitting being Robin in the intern), Tim takes back the Robin moniker and Superboy and Impulse mock him over the name. It ends up that Batman completely disapproved of the costume and name and asked him to take back the Robin name and costume.

    Fan Works 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In To Hell and Back (Arrowverse), this is how the three leads feel about their superhero names. Unfortunately, they're ideal for softening their public images when the Justice League forms.
  • Mastermind: Strategist for Hire: Izuku Midoriya (aka Mastermind) and Touya Todoroki (aka Dabi) jokingly suggest multiple to Shouto Todoroki whilst he is trying to choose a villain alias, including Daddy Issues, Ice Princess, Peppermint Boy, and Icythot.
  • Adjacency: Along with a Running Gag, with Rainbow Dash's "Firebug", which gets repeated comments of making her sound like an arsonist, which she created by spur of the moment thinking while not wanting to use her mother's name of Firefly.
  • The Pokémon Squad episode "HELP" has RM giving out all sorts of awful codenames to use on his campaign trail.
    RM: So you guys know, for security reasons, on this campaign trail we will be using code names. You can address me as "Rayquaza One". May, code name: "Been There Done That".
    May (angry and blushing): You never did me!
    RM: Dante is: "Currently Doing That"!
    MM: How about... no?
    RM: Delia is: "It Happened Once In A Dream".
    Delia (blushing and trying not to laugh): Th-that is highly inappropriate, RM!
    RM: Ash, codename: "If I Had To Pick A Dude".
    Ash: Yay!
    RM: June is... "Rayquaza Two"!
    June: Oh thank Satan...
  • In the DCU and Marvel Cinematic Universe crossover In Which Red Robin Is Done With Marvel's Shit, the titular Tim Drake, alias Red Robin, somehow gets thrown through a portal that lands him in the MCU, and pursued by SHIELD and the Avengers as they try to discern who this new player in the superhero world is. When the Avengers finally catch up with him, they ask him for his name and he gives his alias instead, and they start making fun of it because it's identical to the name of an American restaurant chain, whose jingle is "Reeeeed Robin! Yummm." Tim's baffled.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • 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".
    • SHAZAM!: Freddy Freeman keeps coming up with ridiculous names for Billy Batson's superpowered alter-ego, like "Thundercrack" and "Captain Sparklefingers", which embarrasses Billy every time.
    • In The Suicide Squad, Rick Flag notes that he considers the term "Suicide Squad" degrading.
  • In Deadpool, Wade Wilson utterly mocks Francis Freeman's alias, Ajax, saying he got it from the dish soap. Wade tried to call himself "Captain Deadpool" while brainstorming an alias. Weasel just stares at him blankly and convinces him to switch to just "Deadpool".
  • Archie Benjamin, aka Horny the Clown from Drive-Thru.
  • 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."
  • The Green Hornet:
    • Britt Reid attempts to name his costumed alter-ego The Green Bee, but his news room staff say that sounds dumb. Kato then suggests The Green Hornet and everybody agrees that sounds better.
    • The criminal Benjamin Chudnofsky decides to become a costumed supervillain and names himself Bloodnofsky. One of his minions says that is the stupidest thing he has ever heard. In response, Bloodnofsky kills him and the others quickly fall in line.
  • 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?"
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, we have Taserface. 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.
      • The original Taserface (whose name was provided by writer/illustrator Jim Valentino's 13-year old son) used a suit of powered armour, and his signature weapon was the taser built into his helmet's faceplate, so it made some sense. But it sounded just as dumb.
    • In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Peter is wearing a special covert ops suit so no one will catch on to his identity while abroad. Ned, a Bad Liar covering for him, claims he's a European Spider-Man ripoff named "Night Monkey". Unfortunately, the name sticks.
    • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: Xu Wenwu, the man who actually runs the Ten Rings reveals he considers the title Mandarin invented by Killian in Iron Man 3 a poor name. He takes it with good humor though, expressing bemusement that the American government was almost toppled by a man with the same name as an orange.
  • Reservoir Dogs. Some of the Caper Crew start griping about the color-coded aliases that Joe Cabot is handing out.
    Mr. Pink: Hey, why am I Mr. Pink?
    Joe: Because you're a faggot, alright?
    Mr. Pink: Why can't we pick our own colors?
    Joe: No way, no way. Tried it once, it doesn't work. You get four guys all fighting over who's gonna be Mr. Black, but they don't know each other, so nobody wants to back down. No way. I pick. You're Mr. Pink. Be thankful you're not Mr. Yellow.
    Mr. Brown: Yeah, but Mr. Brown, that's a little too close to Mr. Shit.
    Mr. Pink: Mr. Pink sounds like Mr. Pussy. How 'bout if I'm Mr. Purple? That sounds good to me. I'll be Mr. Purple.
    Joe: You're not Mr. Purple. Some guy on some other job is Mr. Purple. You’re Mr. PINK!
  • The Specials: To be fair, Small is at least a better name than Mr. Smart. But then, so is Captain C***face.
  • 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.
  • Fogell, aka McLovin from Superbad. Of course, only two people really think it's horrible. Fogell himself, as well as everyone else, absolutely loves the name.
  • In the Live-Action Adaptation of Superlópez, when the eponymous superhero reveals himself to the world, the people of Spain, where the film takes place, wasted no time in voicing their opinion on how Superlopez is such a ridiculous superhero name.
  • Karl Berger, aka K. the Butcher Shitter from Violent Shit.

  • 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 choose 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 a 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 pseudonym, 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 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 correspond with the ability to choose a good name. Epics in the series choose their own names, resulting in monikers that range from pretty good, e.g. Steelheart and Nightwielder, to at least descriptive, e.g. Deathpoint (who kills anyone he points at), to awful, like Pink Pinkness, or El Bullish Brass Dude. Some of them also have a bit of fun with it, like an Irish epic with gun/explosion-related powers called Rick O'Shea.
  • Skyward: The pilots of Detritus get to choose their own callsigns, which mostly means they're either cool or at least not terrible (like Spin, Rig, or Ironsides). However when Jorgens preferred callsign (Jaeger) is already in use, he ends up with "Jerkface", a nickname Spensa had given him when he's unable to come up with a new one. The leader of another flight, "Nose", indicates that he got his callsign in a similar way, and apparently one of the First Citizens was "Broken Wind," so it's not a new phenomenon.
  • 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.
  • Avengers of the Moon by Allen Steele is a reconstruction of 1930s Pulp Magazine hero Captain Future. The hero Curt Newton is given an alias to hide his identity from the Big Bad who murdered his parents years before. Unfortunately his compatriots pick the alias 'Captain Future', an imaginary Captain Superhero Curt pretended to be while playing games as a child. Everyone mocks Curt for this with the notable exception of criminal mastermind Ul Quorn, who uses the alias "The Magician of Mars". At the end of the novel it becomes an Appropriated Appellation for Curt — there are no superheroes in real life after all, so why not create one?
  • The protagonist of A.J. Markam's Ex-Superheroes can create and manipulate invisible forcefields with so much finesse and power that he qualifies (at least when he's at full strength) as a Person of Mass Destruction, and even when his powers are on the fritz he's a ruthless killer, cunning Combat Pragmatist and all-around supreme badass. Somehow he got stuck with the code name of... "Mr. Shield." He is not happy about this. It probably doesn't help that his civilian name, Hunter McNeil, is arguably much cooler.
  • In Ward, it's noted that The Lord of Loss could easily have become this. Fortunately for him, he was powerful enough and (more importantly) consistent enough that the media was never able to spin it into being about him losing, making this case a Defied Trope.
  • The Debt Inheritance series of dark romance novels have a crew of bikers named after gemstone terminology. Sounds fine until you start getting into the cut names, and notice that the writer seems to have no sense of irony about naming a rough, tough, manly biker "Cushion". The gang seems to have run out of members before they got to "Princess", though.
  • The Wheel of Time: Faile goes by "Mandarb", the Old Tongue's word for "blade", during her brief stint as a Hunter for the Horn, but hastily changes her monicker when Perrin introduces her to a horse with the same name.
  • In Homerooms & Hall Passes, a character finds himself trapped a Tabletop RPG universe which just happens to resemble a mundane American middle school. Still having access to the game books, he concocts an identity for himself using tables meant for generating NPCs. His randomly-rolled name is Armando Boort. Several other characters inform him that this sounds fake.

    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.
  • Arrowverse:
    • The Flash (2014): Cisco thinks Roy G Bivalo's preferred alias (which Caitlin thought up), Rainbow Raider, is stupid and prefers to call him Prism.
    • Parodied in the first season of Arrow. As a few people are discussing the appropriateness of the nickname "The Hood", Malcolm Merlyn suggests "Green Arrow", which Oliver Queen himself dismisses as "lame". Funnily enough, he'd end up actually adopting that nickname of his own volition a few years later.
    • 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.
    • Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019): Cisco repeatedly derides Mobius' alias the Anti-Monitor as a terrible name. Even Oliver gets in on it later, muttering that it doesn't even sound like a real name.
    • In Stargirl the teenage characters tend to be unimpressed with many of the aliases selected by the previous generation of superheroes and villains. Courtney criticizes her stepfather's old name "Stripesy" as particularly terrible, and isn't much mollified when she learns it's an Artifact Title from when he was half of a crimefighting duo called "The Star-Spangled Kid and Stripsey".
  • 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.
  • Doctor Who: From "The Lodger", when the Doctor sees a patch of "dry rot" on the ceiling of Craig's flat:
    "I'm good with rot, call me the Rotmeister. No, I'm the Doctor, don't call me the Rotmeister."
  • Kamen Rider:
    • In Kamen Rider Gaim, Hase and Jonouchi are debuting as the latest Armored Riders. Hase gives himself the Awesome Mc Coolname "Kurokage" ("Black Shadow")... and introduces Jonouchi as "Gridon" ("donguri", meaning "acorn",note  with the syllables reversed). One fansub translated "Gridon" to English as "Ornac" to hammer home how lame it is.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid's female lead is Poppy Pipopapo, a living video game character created by a computer supervirus. She disguises herself as a human nurse named Asuna Karino in order to pass unnoticed in the hospital and is upset when Hiiro points out that her chosen alias is a very obvious anagram of "kari no naasu" ("temp nurse").
  • MADtv 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 "Señor Bag of Crap".
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Daredevil (2015): Matt's first alias is "The Devil of Hell's Kitchen", which, while it sounds dramatic, sometimes rubs people the wrong way. People like Frank Castle, for instance:
      Frank Castle: What the hell kind of name is the "Devil of Hell's Kitchen" anyway? I mean really?
      Matt Murdock: I didn't ask for that name.
      Frank Castle: I'm sorry. I don't see you running from it.
      Matt Murdock: I don't do this to hurt people.
      Frank Castle: Yeah, so what is that, just a job perk?
      • In season 3, Matt steals Foggy's Bar ID and uses that to visit a prison for information on Fisk. The guards and prisoners, who still work for Fisk, aren't fooled for a second by Matt's attempted deception.
    • Jessica Jones (2015):
      • In a flashback, Trish suggests Jessica take up superheroism, perhaps using a nickname like "Jewel". Jessica refuses.
        Trish Walker: "Jewel" is a great superhero name!
        Jessica Jones: "Jewel" is a stripper's name, a really slutty stripper. And if I wear that thing, you're gonna have to call me Cameltoe.
      • People regularly mock Kilgrave for having such a very ridiculous choice of name. The kind only a child could cook up.
        Jessica Jones: Granted, it is a mundane name, but "Kilgrave"? Talk about obvious. Was "murdercorpse" already taken?
    • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: When Lemar Hoskins reveals his superhero name is "Battlestar", Bucky Barnes pulls a Screw This, I'm Outta Here!
  • 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.
  • Prodigal Son: Dr. Martin Whitly is a Serial Killer known as "the Surgeon". As he admits late in the first season, he actually hates the moniker, which was given to him by the media.
  • 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.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017): Count Olaf goes through a series of obvious disguises, many of which have silly names, but the standouts are "Yessica Haircut" and "Doctor Medicalschool". He's not the only one. There's the VFD agent Larry Your-Waiter.
  • 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.
  • In Ultraman R/B, one of the villains is an Evil Knockoff of Ultraman Orb and declares his title as "Ultraman Orb Dark"... before ruining it by adding "Noir Black Schwarz". He thinks "Ultraman Orb Dark Noir Black Schwarz" sounds cool, but there's some in-series mocking about how he just stuck on three foreign words for the same thing.
  • 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!
  • On an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place, Zeke decides to give his wrestler persona the name "Lavas Sus Manos".
    Justin: That means "wash your hands".

    Pro Wrestling 
  • 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 cliched, 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 name 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, herself included, 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, EC3 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.
  • African-American female wrestler "Bonesaw" Jessie Brooks calls her German Suplex finisher The Brooklyn Bridge. The problem is that "selling the Brooklyn Bridge" is an old scam. It led to the expression, "If you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you." Theatrics of Pain is also called "selling," and why would you name your finisher after something people talk about selling but never do?

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.
    • Knowing her backstory actually makes it worse: Howler started out as a fully trained highly capable opera singer, who in all likelihood sings rather than screams.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • Darius:
  • 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.
  • 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 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. The original capital city of the Underground was called "Home", which isn't too bad... but when he moves the capital to a new location he calls the second capital "New Home". 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".
  • Vyers, the Dark Adonis has all of 2-3 minutes of screentime in Disgaea before Laharl (and everyone else, including the game itself,) decides to start calling him Mid-Boss instead.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: The Moshae thinks this of her name; Moshae is an old angaran word for "teacher", reflecting her status among them. She tells Ryder she can't remember who it was that first gave her the name, but she does remember telling them to shut up. Sadly for her, several decades and several million adoring angara have meant the title has stuck.
  • Though it sounds perfectly badass to us, The Iron Bull of Dragon Age: Inquisition isn't super into his moniker. Especially because he had to take iron cause all the good metals (Steel, Veridium, and Silverite) were taken. It gets worse when Cole points out that his horns look more like dragon horns than bull horns. Meaning he lost out on The Iron Dragon.
    Bull: Oh! ...Shit. That would have been better.
  • In Fable I and Fable II, the Hero can purchase various titles by which to be known, which range from the melodramatic to options like "Arseface" and "Nobhead". NPCs will use your title in background dialogue and might Lampshade the stranger choices.
    Innkeeper: There's somethin' about the name Chicken Chaser... makes you sound like a cock.

    Web Animation 
  • 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.
    • Then again, considering other members of the Cheat Commandos have included "Gunhaver", "Silent Rip", and "Reinforcements", it's probably just a tradition.
    • 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".
  • 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.)
  • 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. The name was actually a bit of Ascended Fanon: fans had called him that back when he was an Elite Mook with no lines before he was upgraded to a speaking character a few seasons later.
    Felix: What is he, a Batman villain?
  • Pokémon Ralphie: Detective Squirtle nicknames himself "Dick Squirts". It isn't until the final episode he realizes why such a nickname makes people uncomfortable.

    Web Comics 
  • 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 and an obnoxious personality. However, it's highly likely this is all actually intentional on his part, as his superpower is to perfectly counter any attack made on him, therefore it is in his best interest to make himself as irritating as possible in order to provoke his opponents into attacking him before they realize that he can't do anything without being attacked first.
    • 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' names themselves.
  • League of Super Redundant Heroes:
    • A jovial superhero who was frozen in the 40s 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.
  • Cornucopia: Hiccup chooses the alias “Yawn” when in Sugars.

    Web Original 
  • The Whateley Universe includes several mentions of them. The students are warned to be careful even with their nonfinal 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.
  • 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).
  • Worm:
    • Taylor struggles with coming up with a name that doesn't sound terrible after she gets her powers. Finding a name related to her (bug-based) powers that doesn't sound terrible is tough, especially with how many of the good names have already been taken. She ends up with "Skitter," which she's reasonably happy with.
    • Bitch, who chose her name both because it's appropriate to her power (she turns dogs into van-sized mutant killing machines) and because its vulgarity is a way to give a middle finger to human society in general. She hates it when the heroes try to give her a more PG alias, "Hellhound".
    • Clockblocker (he freezes objects in time), who very intentionally chose his superhero name to be a Double Entendre. He even went so far as to announce it during a live press conference so that the Protectorate wouldn't be able to make him change it.
    • On a much darker note are the Slaughterhouse Nine, who's names (EG. Jack Slash, Crawler, Mannequin) don't come across as particularly intimidating, contrary to many other villains in the series. This is deliberate- it makes them that much more terrifying when they prove just how deadly they are.
    • Ward has a play on this with "Lord of Loss". Victoria points out that it sounds like the kind of name an edgy teenager would come up with and really is extremely easy to make fun of, but the villain with that name is powerful, ruthless, and intimidating enough that he makes it work.
    • Dinah eventually becomes known by the name "Kid Cassandra", which she doesn't really like very much. Both because of the name invoking Cassandra Truth (nobody listened to Cassandra in myth) and because, by the time of Ward, she isn't a child anymore. It's eventually revealed that Tattletale was the one who came up with the name, mostly as a way to Troll Dinah.
  • The Fin, Fur, and Feather Bureau of Investigation has the Sandwich-Faced Daddy’s Boys, a group of gnu gangsters who have nothing to do with sandwiches and are led by a woman called “Ma”, not a dad. They are said to have only picked such a nonsensical name because literally every other name for a criminal gang had already been taken.

    Web Videos 
  • Coyle Command: Coyle Commander's cyborg assistant has the cool moniker of Annihilator. Unfortunately, he's a parody of Destro, so it gets shortened to Anni.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • 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. Naturally, Cartman is well aware of this.
  • 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!note ), 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?"
  • 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 to Trash Boat, by taking 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.
  • On Danger Mouse, Penfold's code name is "Jigsaw." He gets that name because when he's faced with a crisis, he goes to pieces. (It is mentioned in the debut episode and never mentioned again since but has been used in the American comic book stories, from Marvel's Count Duckula run.)
  • Crawford in Teamo Supremo, after stealing the Mega Gauntlets to become a supervillain, first calls himself "Mr. Glove". After the Team mocks the name, he switches his alias to "the Gauntlet".
  • During his Adam Westing appearance on Archer, Kenny Loggins keeps trying to make "K-Log" catch on as his new nickname. No one likes it. Even his own bodyguard.
    Bodyguard: Yeah, I'm kinda with him [Archer] on that one.
  • Carmen Sandiego: When Carmen meets a new V.I.L.E. agent, Spinkick, she quips, "Codename's kinda on the nose, isn't it?" Shortly after, she meets Spinkick's partner Flytrap.
    "So, all the good codenames finally got taken?"
  • Played for Laughs in Young Justice: Outsiders, where Brion Markov jokingly suggest his codename to be "Hot Lava", to which his mentors laughs. After that, he gives his proper choice of "Geo-Force", which Artemis states is better than the stripper name he picked.


Video Example(s):


Taser Face

Rocket mocks Taser Face's name and even the crew of the Ravagers find that name to be hilarious

How well does it match the trope?

4.81 (37 votes)

Example of:

Main / ActuallyPrettyFunny

Media sources:

Main / ActuallyPrettyFunny