Coming up with a superhero name is way harder than it sounds, because most of the good ones were taken almost right away -- "Batman" was one of the first to go, and sadly not every character in the world can be called that. By 1942, they were already resorting to crap like "Hoppy the Marvel Bunny" and "Stuff the Chinatown Kid." In fact, there was a time when comic book writers were so desperate to think of names that hadn't been snatched up yet that they apparently didn't take a second to say those names out loud and realize how they sounded. And that leads us to the little known (with good reason) but absolutely real superheroes I'm going to present to you today.
(And, yes, I realize that many of these words didn't exactly mean then what they mean now, but that makes it better -- these characters were created by people who honestly just wanted to bring some joy into the world and never even saw the double meaning coming. That, to me, is much more hilarious than when the asshole who writes Kick-Ass names his villains "The Motherfucker" or "Johnny Two-Dicks.")
#5. The Gay Ghost (DC Comics, 1942)
The Gay Ghost is a ghost who fights crime and evidently is super happy about it. He appeared in the same comic as Wonder Woman and had a lot in common with her, if you know what I mean (I mean they both occasionally turn invisible). He's still the most fabulously dressed character in the whole series, though. Right from the first page, the introductory text warns us that the adventure we're about to read is "one of the queerest in all history":
It retained that spot until the release of David Bowie's "Dancing in the Street" video in 1985.
But what is it that makes the Gay Ghost so queer, exactly? Well, for starters, his superpower is being able to possess the body of "dissolute young American" and renowned pencil mustache enthusiast Charles Collins -- or, as the crime-fighting spirit himself cheerfully puts it, "I can enter your body!"
That's not the only thing he's cheerfully putting in this image.
In fact, the Gay Ghost can force himself into just about anyone as long as they have "a little good in them." Curiously, all the people he chooses to "enter" happen to be males; sometimes he spends whole issues just going in and out of different men, tirelessly penetrating the flesh of any guy who crosses his path as part of his quest against crime. His burning passion for justice was born one day in 1700 when, as Irish nobleman Keith Everet, he was ambushed and killed by a gang of thieves who wanted to steal his favorite purse.
"It's a saaaaaatcheeeeel ..."
After that, Keith's ghost was granted powers by his ancestors in the afterlife and spent the next two centuries resting inside a painting of himself (perhaps waiting for a time when society was more accepting of Gay Ghosts), before coming out and helping defeat the Nazis. Although he still makes cameo appearances from time to time, for some reason DC Comics started pretending his name was the Grim Ghost, which is only half as catchy and none as accurate.
#4. The Whizzer (Marvel Comics, 1941)
One of the most important rules of comic book writing, indeed storytelling in general, is that if you're gonna create a superhero whose name evokes the image of a stream of piss, never dress him in a yellow costume and give him speed powers that will make it look like he's attacking his enemies by peeing super hard on them. Unfortunately, Marvel Comics' the Whizzer was created before this rule came into effect.
I have nothing to add to this image.
You know when you go for a quick leak and your Guybrush Threepwood decides to start shooting its watery salvo in any direction and you end up leaving a mess? Well, that happens to the Whizzer sometimes, too:
"OH GOD TRYING TO STOP JUST MAKES IT WORSE."
The Whizzer was a regular man named Robert Frank until he got bitten by a cobra, presumably in the dick. With his judgment seriously clouded by grief and desperation, Robert's dad could think of no better solution to save his son's life than to inject him with some mongoose blood (again, presumably in the dick). Robert is restored to life and gains the speed of a mongoose, while his dad immediately suffers a heart attack and dies, probably just from the utter shock that his infuriatingly moronic plan worked.
"Man, Dad's hurtful nicknames for me always end up being right."
I feel like there's a dick joke to be made about the fact that the Whizzer gets his powers from injecting mongoose blood (something about how "mongoose" sounds like "man juice," perhaps?), but I'll leave that for more talented Internet writers to make. The important thing is, that's how Robert became the Whizzer, King of Speed. Hope you brought a sufficiently large tarp to this motel room, crime, because you're about to get golden showered. Or worse:
Surely you get the general idea by now. However, it saddens me to admit that, despite everything I've shown you so far, the Whizzer still wasn't the most offensive character in his own comic -- meet his dim-witted sidekick, Slow Motion:
You know, in case you momentarily forgot that people fucking suck.
#3. Lady Fairplay (Progressive Publishers, 1941)
Lady Fairplay is one of the earliest female superheroes ever created, an important and historic milestone for the comic book medium ... and her name sounds like "foreplay." I mean, yeah, it could have been worse (she could have been "Lady Fairskin"), but what makes her name so unfortunate is that there's definitely a kinky S&M vibe going on in her adventures that makes it seem like fighting crime is, in fact, just like foreplay to her.
"Just ... just give me a few minutes to recover."
The narration even calls her the "Goddess of Chastisement," which sounds like something Gomez Addams would call Morticia during the height of nipple-clamp-induced orgasm (those two were freaks). The same text also seems to imply that Lady Foreplay only fights crime because otherwise she'd be using all that extra energy to bone anyone or anything that crosses her path.
Which makes the "school teacher" part twice as disturbing.
There are several other clues in the comic that she's not in the superhero business to save lives, but simply for the excitement -- the sexual excitement, that is (just making sure you got it, if it wasn't clear). Also, look at the word "fairplay" in the first panel below and tell me it doesn't look like it originally said something else and they had to change it: Maybe her original name really was Lady Foreplay, or maybe it was something even worse.
"Hey, Jack, you know we can't name the character LADY FUCK-THINGS, right?"
"OK, I tried."
Granted, the name may not be the biggest problem this comic has.
"It even has a special steering wheel for my frail woman hands!"
At the end of her first adventure, the Goddess of Chastisement returns to her classroom before the school principal can find out she was gone -- yes, the whole time she was getting her rocks off by punching criminals, she was also neglecting the innocent little angels entrusted to her care. We're very disappointed in you, Lady Foreplay.
"And if it gets boring I can always mix things up, teaching crooks and chasing children."