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Captain Superhero

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He's our hero!

"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, although it can occasionally overlap with it when a costumed superhero holds the actual rank of captain.

Compare Something Person and Captain Space, Defender of Earth! (which this can overlap if a character is a space hero and a superhero).


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Captain Ginyu of "The Ginyu Force" in Dragon Ball Z is a villainous spoof of this. It should be noted that as a member of Frieza's forces, he may very well have the rank of Captain. However, it should also be noted that no other character on the force uses any rank designation, not even among the rest of the Ginyu Force.
  • Daichi ends up getting called Captain Earth by his teammates, likely because of this trope. It eventually grows on him.
  • Captain Celebrity of My Hero Academia: Vigilantes is a Pro Hero with Flying Brick powers. Unfortunately, he's a womanizing Smug Super who's in the hero business just for the fame and glory it brings him.

    Comic Books 
  • He started as a toy, only later being 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 comic series didn't do so hot in the '60s, or when they tried to revive him in the '90s. 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 archaeologist before getting his powers. However the newer Captain Action, Miles Drake, is a former Navy SEAL so the title makes sense.
  • Captain America might not be the first, but he's one of the most famous. He's also one of the few who have actually earned the rank 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. Both the Charlton and DC versions are actual captains in the USAF.
  • Captain Britain. He belongs to a multidimensional organization of individuals carrying the Captain Britain title (or the local equivalent, like Hauptmann Englande or Captain Airstrip One), each meant to defend their Earth's version of Britain and the greater Omniverse.
  • Captain Canuck.
  • 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.
  • Captain Gravity.
  • Captain Marvel:
    • Mar-Vell actually did hold a Kree military rank equivalent to captain before being exiled to Earth. Same goes for Ultimate Captain Marvel, who explained it this way: "My name is Geheneris HalaSon Mahr Vehl, rank of Pluskommander, officer of the Kree Void Navy. Pluskommander is a rank roughly analogous to Captain".
    • Since Mar-Vell's death, his codename has been taken up by Monica Rambeau, Phyla-Vell and Carol Danvers. Carol 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.
  • Dr. Blink: Superhero Shrink has both Captain Omnipotent and Major Amazing (among others). They argue over who outranks who.
    Captain Omnipotent: These ranks really mean something?
    Nocturne: I'm looking it up.
  • Empowered has Capitan Rivet, the metallic leader of the Superhomeys.
  • The Flash rogues Captain Cold and Captain Boomerang are villainous examples.
  • The Captain from Nextwave. 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 was already one of those. A plumber, would you believe. Broke into my apartment and left a horse's head in the 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 actor with a yellow lightning bolt tattooed 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's 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 melon-farmer tracks me down and says, "I was The Captain first!." I had to pay him money in the end.
    • By the way, he's not actually joking. Aside from the Shout Outs to other franchises (and the porn star Captain Marvel), all of these Captains are real Marvel characters of varying obscurity. Even Captain Rectitude.
  • Captain Marvel, former moniker of Shazam!.
  • Another villain is Captain Marvel foe Captain Nazi.
  • 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 Metropolis is a minor character in Watchmen. His name might be justified by his apparent military background.
  • Captain Flash, one of the few superheroes created during The Interregnum.
  • The Ultimates: In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Captain America was the first superhero ever. And, for decades, the only superhero ever to exist. When he was found alive, and the US created the Ultimates with other new superheroes, the European Union made their own super soldier program. All their members were named as "Captain" followed by the name of their country, as in "Captain Britain", "Captain Italy", etc.
  • Super-powered anthropomorphic rabbit Captain Carrot is the greatest hero of Earth C, home of DC Comics's funny animal characters.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: When Steve Trevor gained superpowers for about a week and took up costumed superheroing he used the title Captain Wonder.
  • Captain Hero, superheroic alter ego of Jughead Jones, was a whimsical parody of the trope.
  • Don Martin's Mad Magazine character Captain Klutz was a luckless schlub who attempted to commit suicide jumping out his tenament window but on the way down he gets caught up in a pair of long johns, some polka dot shorts, a bath bonnet and a towel. He then falls on top of a bank robber who called him a klutz. When the police asks who he is, he slurs "I'm a klutz, captain." The officer takes this as a spoonerism and christens him Captain Klutz.

    Fan Fic 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Cannonball Run mild mannered mechanic Victor becomes Captain Chaos!
  • Parodied in Deadpool: while brainstorming aliases with Weasel, Wade happens to glance at the bar's "dead pool" board and decides to call himself "Captain Deadpool". Weasel gives him a blank stare and says "Just 'Deadpool'", to which Wade agrees.
    • Also present in one scene of Deadpool 2, where Wade introduces himself as Captain Deliciouspants, before jumping into bear pen in a zoo, attempting to commit suicide after his girlfriend's death.
  • Lampshaded in Epoch, where the protagonist is being escorted to the Big Dumb Object by Captain Tower of the US Army (played by Brian Thompson). 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.
  • Champion City's beloved superhero Captain Amazing in Mystery Men, 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...
  • 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."
  • The title character in The Return of Captain Invincible, of course. The question just in whose forces he supposedly earned the rank does come up early in the movie when he's being interrogated by his detractors shortly before his original disappearance. (It's never actually answered, though since it's clear that he is very much an acclaimed World War II hero and crime fighter the question itself comes across as appropriately petty.)

  • Captain Underpants plays with this. In George and Harold's Superman-style origin comic for the character, his first name is revealed to be "Captain" after his adopted parents' favorite cereal.
  • 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 preferential 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.
  • In Super Powereds, the first ever costumed Hero in this 'verse was Captain Starlight. While it's known that he's a World War II vet, it's not stated what his military rank was.
  • In Renegades, the informal leader of the eponymous group is called Captain Chromium. He's highly unlikely to have been an actual captain at any point, given he was probably still a kid when the governmen collapsed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Played With in The Boys (2019), as the first supervillain (well, open supervillain) shown is a Middle Eastern Terrorist with Action Bomb powers who calls himself Naqib, the Arabic word for Captain.
  • Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future
  • Captain Video
  • 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."
  • Henry Danger - The protagonist is the sidekick to superhero Captain Man. Apparently, he chose the most common prefix and suffix for superhero names and left out the middle part.
  • 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.
  • Captain Terrific in an episode of Imagination Movers.
  • Impractical Jokers: "Look! It's a fat bird!" "No! It's a fat plane!" "No! It's... Captain Fatbelly!" A.K.A. Joe Gatto in green spandex and white briefs.
  • 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).
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • On Whose Line Is It Anyway?, the names of "Weird Superheroes" often dip into this trope. Colin was once memorably dubbed "Captain Hair."


    Newspaper Comics 


    Tabletop Games 
  • Fully justified in the GURPS IST universe, as the International Supers Teams are a military organization. All supers on the teams are awarded the rank of Captain if not higher, so anyone who wants to use it gets to.

    Video Games 

  • In Doc Rat, Captain Kerpow.
  • 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.

    Web Original 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Whateley Universe: 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.

    Western Animation