Monday, August 12, 2013

Top Ten "Punny" Secret Identities

You know, I enjoy a good pun. Where would Super Hero comics be without them? So, here I am, listing my absolute favorite secret identity puns!

Before we get to the list proper, here's a list of the runners up, in no particular order.
(If a (?) appears next to the name, it means I don't know if it's an intentional pun or not.)

Norrin Radd, Silver Surfer (?) ("Radd"... "rad". A surfer. Maybe a pun? Probably not.)
Cassandra Nova (?) (Cassie Nova; ironic pun on Casanova because she's ugly and antisocial?)
Julio Richter, Rictor
Jubilation Lee, Jubilee 
Frank Einstein, Madman (He was brought back to life. Say the name quickly.) 
Rainbow Raider, Roy G. Bivalo 
T. O. Morrow 
King Faraday  (King for a day)
Elsie Dee  (LCD)
Jack Russell, Werewolf-by-Night 
Cain Marko, Juggernaut (?) (Mark of Cain? He's Professor X's step-brother.)
William I. Zard, the Wizard 
Elizabeth "Libby" Belle, Liberty Belle 
Angelo Bend, Angle Man
Dr. Charles McNider, Doctor Mid-Nite          

And without further ado, the TOP TEN!
10:  Any Funny Animal Parody Superhero    
Even from the heyday of Daffy Duck, the names of animal parody Superheroes have been amusing (to me, at least). Duck Twacy, Stuporduck, that's just two of many. Particularly, Marvel and DC's self-parodies, the Justice Barn and the Spider-Ham universe. 
I mean, get a load of some of these names: 
Captain Americat 
Ducktor Doom 
Wonder Wombat 
Iron Mandrill    
Good stuff, but some of the secret identities are... lacking. For example, Captain Americat is secretly Steve Mouser, as opposed to Steve Rogers. Ehhhh, kind of funny, I guess? But every once in a while, we get something like "Peter Porker, the Amazing Spider-Ham!" which works very well for both identities. Well, I think it does, and it's my list! So that's my number 10.    
(Also, yes, I'm perfectly aware that at least one unauthorized porno uses "Peter Porker" as Spider-Man's secret identity. No, I will not provide a link. I'm trying to keep some semblance of being family-friendly after "Birds of Prey.") 

9:  Vanisher 
Ah, the Vanisher. A low-rent gimmick villain with only one trick: teleporting. 
This character's real name? 
Telford Porter.

TELFORD. PORTER. "Telly," to his pals. Yeah. Why is this pun even on the list? Because I love how brazen it is. I don't know if this is Stan Lee not giving a crap what the audience thinks, just having a bit of fun, or both, but you have to admire a writer who creates a guy named "Telly Porter" and expects them to carry an issue as the main villain.       

8:  Damian Wayne 
The fourth (or fifth?) Robin, Damian Wayne is the son of Batman. Who's the mother? Talia al Ghul, of the League of Assassins, who is herself the daughter of Ra's al Ghul, the former leader.

Ra's al Ghul is... um, some language I don't know, but it translates to "The Demon's Head." Damian. Demon. Demon's Head. Yeah. Again, I appreciate how brazen this is. Telford Porter's a creation of the 60's, but Damian was created just a few years ago. Before Batman's son became an official part of DC continuity, he was referred to in alternate universe stories as Ibn al Xuffasch. (Son of the Bat) Now, they just come right out and call him Damian Wayne. Gotta love when comic companies try to get away with this, eh? Actually, I do like it when they can succeed at this sort of thing.    

7:  Nathaniel/Allen Adam 
As I've stated previously, Captain Adam became Captain Atom. Say them quickly, and there's no audible difference between the two. How could anyone ever keep a secret identity when your code name sounds exactly like your real name? 

Oh yeah.
Walk around as "Cameron Scott." 

6:  Mr. Miracle 
Mister Miracle, a creation of Jack Kirby and one of the New Gods, is the world's greatest escape artist, and was a child slave. (That's all that's relevant for this list.) His keeper, an evil hag named Granny Goodness, christened this constantly-escaping child... 
Scott Free. 
And yes, it was supposed to be an ironic pun in-universe. And that's why this unsubtle name is all the way up at number 6, it's actually acknowledged in the comics themselves, unlike Telly Porter. 
Why do I keep coming back to that one?    

5:  Batman Villains 
Sometimes, it seems like a punny name is a prerequisite for being a Batman villain. 
Case in point: 
Mary Louise Dahl-  Baby Doll 
Deever & Dumfrey Tweed- Tweedledee & Tweedledum 
Victor Fries-  Mr. Freeze 
Temple Fugate-  Clock King (pun on "Tempus Fugit," or "Time Flies") 
Humphrey Dumpler-  Humpty Dumpty 
Roscoe Chiara-  Black & White bandit (pun on chiaroscuro) 
Edward (E) Nygma-  Riddler (Changed from Edward Nashton in-universe to make a pun) 
Julian Gregory Day- Calendar Man (pun on Julian and Gregorian calendars) 
Harleen Quinzel-  Harley Quinn (pun on harlequin, a clown) 
and finally, the Joker. 

No backstory's been officially given, but in the Burton film, they gave him the original name of "Jack Napier," a pun on "jack-a-napes." Not only that, he likes to give himself punny disguises: 
Joe Kerr 
Mr. Longgreen (pun on long grin) 
And more.    
Why am I putting all of them at number five? Because the puns are inconsistent at best. Some are great, some are "meh." They average out as... well, average.

4:  Kite-Man 
I'm going to admit right off the bat that I don't think this is actually a pun, per se, but I appreciate the wordplay.

Kite-Man is a perpetually inept villain who uses kites as a gimmick (what a shock). His real name?
Charles Brown. 
If you don't get the joke yet, allow me to show you this image.

If you still don't get the joke, you probably never had a childhood.  I don't know about you, but I appreciate the reference,and it's my list. 

3:  The Vell Family 
Both Marvel and DC own characters with the "Captain Marvel" identity. 
Marvel's first character with the title was actually and alien with the name
Captain Mar-Vell. 
But that's not all, he had a son named Genis-Vell, and a daughter named Phyla-Vell. If you don't get it yet, you probably aren't a sciencey person.  Let's just say I eagerly await a son of Phyla's by the name of Ordus. 

2:  Magneto 
Our last "sophisticated" pun, let's get to Magneto. Originally, he was called "Magnus" by his pals.

So that's kind of punny, even though Magnus means "strong," and actually has nothing to do with magnets. Later, he was given the secret identity of Erik Lenscherr, and this is what was used in the movies. But in the comics, his true name was eventually revealed as Max Eisenhardt. If you don't speak German, that's Max "Iron-Hard." If you don't speak Latin either, that's "Greatest Iron-Hard." A perfect name for a master of magnetism, right? This one goes so high up because it's both subtle and blatant. The only one more subtle and more blatant is number one.

1:  The Spot 
Now, his name's not Tim Spot, or Blake Hall, or anything. It's better.

Johnathon Ohnn was a scientist, who was trying to duplicate the teleportation abilities of the Dark Dimension. Instead, he opened a hole to a universe of half-light, and half darkness. Eventually, he gained control of these dark holes, and used his teleportation holes to commit crimes as the Spot!

Have you figured it out yet? He's quite literally... 
Johnny Ohnn, the Spot.

And that's why it's at number 1. Because it's perfectly innocuous, until you say his real name with his code name. I only realized this pun earlier this year, and I facepalmed right then and there. The 15-year delay I had in getting the pun makes this the perfect Stealth Pun, because they never actually outright say "Johnny-on-the-spot."

Well, that's the end of my list, and the end of this particular brand of nonsense! 
See you at the NewtCave for the next brand of nonsense!

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