Superhero naming is a complicated game: Sometimes you need an adjective, sometimes you need a military rank. And sometimes, you need to make up your OWN words! Welcome to Ten Things: Ten Nonsense Word Names!
Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with An Amateur Comics Historian and Dethstryke Blüdforse, Presents:
TEN THINGS: TEN NONSENSE WORD NAMES!
Created by jealous gods of Olympus to knock that Superman guy down a peg, Zha-Vam was sculpted from base clay and imbued with godly powers to make him a match for the Man of Steel. With the thunderbolts of Zeus, the strength of Hercules, the invulnerability of Achilles, the fire-breath (?) of Vulcan, the archery skills of Apollo and the swiftness of Mercury, Zha-Vam would be dangerous enough, but each letter on his belt can channel additional powers. Debuting in 1967, he is a clear homage to Captain Marvel, who would end up published by DC Comics just a few years later.
A member of Shi’ar Imperial Guard, it’s not clear if Squorm is a single mind controlling a vast number of worm-like creatures, or a colony of said creatures in one humanoid space-suit. Either way, their “powers” are predicated on being a hive of worms, a series of words that literally make my skin crawl.
The only way this guy could be more revolting is if he was a pair of overalls teeming with wasps…
I’ve been arguing whether or not to include this hero, a member of Argo 5, as I am not 100% certain that his name isn’t just a word in another language, which will make me look like an ethnocentric jerkface for calling it “nonsense.” Essentially immortal, he is the Maltese god of strength and boyfriend of Argo 5 leader Gladiatra, and as far as I can tell, Shazrath is not actually a word in the Maltese language.
If I’m wrong, lemme know, I hate when I’m accidentally a putz.
An army Ranger by trade, Asao Hyou is the land part of the land/sea/air trio Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan, and his unusual nom de guerre is a portmanteau of “vulcan” and “panther”. Imbued with the power of a panther (cue Tasha Robinson explaining that panthers aren’t actually a separate animal, but just color variants of big cats like leopards and jaguars), VulPanther and his team defended the Earth against the Machine Empire Black Magma. They are the first team to use a combining robot and the smallest team in Super Sentai history, since the “sun” in Sun Vulcan sounds like “san”, the Japanese word for “three.”
A clone of intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo, grown to adolescence, Slobo is considerably weaker than his “father.” A member of the Young Justice team, he served as the team mechanic until his body began to degrade from the incomplete cloning process. He sacrificed his life to save a teammate from Darkseid, only to have his mind trapped for eternity inside his own memorial statue, truly a fate worse than death.
Having wished to be a detective in his childhood, Judd Shepard gained superhuman tracking powers when he was infected with the power-inducing Theta Virus. Thanks to the creator of the virus, Dr. Deming, his tracking skills were cybernetically enhanced and he became a member of her team, The Exiles, seeking out other Theta-victims, X-Men style. Judd and his team were wiped out in their fourth issue in a big surprise plot twist, bringing the series to a close. (In order to keep the surprise, Malibu Comic had actually SOLICITED issues #5 and #6, which is an impressive commitment to the bit and also possibly some sort of fraud.)
Perhaps the single greatest superhero alias in the history of the form, this hero (real name unrevealed) operated in the 1980s with the Omega Rangers. Able to generate lightning bolts as he punches, he is clearly the team’s strong-man. As with many Astro City denizens, he’s appeared here and there, just awaiting the moment when it’s his turn in the spotlight, and with a perfect onomatopoeic name like that, it should be sooner rather than later.
Known as the greatest X-Man of them all to most people (and as the second greatest X-Man of them all, after The Mimic, to me) the alien pickle-man called Doop is an enigma, wrapped in a mystery, dipped in batter and fried tempura-style. He/it may be an alien, may be a lost project of the Super Soldier Project, may be dead, but one thing is sure: Doop is never dull. The most believable explanation of his origins is that he is a creature from The Marginalia, a world-between-worlds that only exists metatextually “where the story ends” and even that may not be the truth.
Combining physical pliability with nuclear energy, the hero called Nuculoid (real name unknown) is a hero in the future reality of Earth-22 in the DC Universe, aka the world of ‘Kingdom Come.’ He joined Superman and the Justice League in cleaning up the streets of the future, which were full of battle metahumans, and was one of those who lost their lives in a tragic nuclear bombing.
Reputedly, Nuculoid was a hero created by Alex Ross when he was in grade school, who made it into the story almost unchanged, including his code name, which just screams “eleven-year-old creator” in all the best, most joyful ways.
From an alternate world where technology has actually advanced the way we thought it would in the ’50s, Zachary T. Paleozogt became a hero because he was good at it, and because it was fun. He eventually crossed over to another world, where he met a girl named Jenny, whom he began dating while accidentally turning her brother into a monkey. As a teenager, Zot! is overconfident, a little bit vain, but truly heroic at his core, and loves what he does as much as I loved reading about it.
In his world, it’s the far-flung future year 1965!
This week’s Ten Thing topics, Ten Nonsense Word Names, is all me, but feel free to follow along @MightyKingCobra for more Ten Things madness on Twitter! cOr check out the full Twitter archive here! As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, if only because the copyright game gets more cut-throat every year. Either way, the comments section is below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!