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Off My Mind: Should Heroes Be Allowed To Change Names?
by Tony 'G-Man' Guerrero on
How about create an identity and stick with it?
A superhero's name can say a lot about them. Prior to launching a new career as a crimefighter, you really need to give thought to what you're going to call yourself. I believe that once you have chosen a name and have started your career, you should stick with that name. There are some heroes that obviously don't agree with this.
Take someone like Hank Pym. How many different names has this guy gone by? He started out as Ant-Man and has also gone by Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, "Doctor Pym" and is currently calling himself the Wasp.
Hank's not the only one constantly changing his name. Others that have include Clint Barton, Dick Grayson and Roy Harper. Is changing your superhero name show a sign of failure?
== TEASER ==
In some cases, a name change could make sense. Like with Dick and Roy, they outgrew their sidekick personas. It wouldn't make sense for a twenty-something Wally West to still call himself "Kid Flash," but then perhaps more thought should have gone into that name to begin with (like when Bart Allen went by "Impulse," even though that didn't last either).
Does this mean there should be some exceptions? Obviously with Hank, when he stopped playing with ants and decided to make himself grow, calling himself "Ant-Man" wouldn't make sense. Then again, this is a guy whose superhero name was actually "Doctor Pym" when he was in the West Coast Avengers (and his costume was actually a lab coat with lots of pockets so he could carry shrunken items around).
Someone like Iron Man has had several upgrades but still kept the same name (you have to admit that "Iron Man" isn't the cleverest name but it's what he went with and has stuck with it). Creating an identity and sticking with it establishes who you are. Unless you're an incompetent hero, you should build on that reputation. With an established "career," the villains will know that they will be defeated. Civilians can also be relieved when they see a familiar hero coming instead of fearing over yet another masked person showing up.
I say if you're going to create a superhero persona, you need to put some thought into your name (just like you should here on Comic Vine when you create an account). Unless they're undergoing a major overhaul and their "cool" name doesn't match their superpowers any longer, a hero should choose a name and stick with it. (Especially since it causes headaches in our database here as well). Does it matter to you if a hero changes his/her name?