Everybody loves a good villain, even better, a good villain name. To find a villain name that over time becomes a trademark of evil, the very mention of which instills a chill, is every author’s dream. Hannibal Lector, Darth Vader, Count Dracula, Cruella De Vil, Freddy Kruegar, Dr. Doom, Adolf Hitler – to name but a very few. Marvel and DC comics popularized pseudonyms to associate functional similarities like, Magneto, Dr. Octopus, Mystique, Joker, or Blackheart. For me, the most inventive process of nomenclature for faux villains are pseudonyms used by Roller Derby girls with altered famous names, aptronyms – a name that matches the occupation of its owner, or charactonyms for fictional characters suggesting a distinctive trait.
Everyone has his or her favorite name play-on-words. Rusty Bucket, Crisp E. Bacon, Solomon I. Lands, Dee Lyn Quint. One of my favorite primary school jokes of a fake library book: 50 Steps to the Outhouse, by Willy Makit; Illustrated by Betty Wont. Sophomoric for sure, but we loved it. The naughtier the ‘nym, but more memorable. Isn’t an adolescent boy who doesn’t know the famous airport announcement: “Will Michael Hunt please contact customer service – searching for Mike …” Never gets old. Example of an aptronym could be Sally Blizzard – Meterologist, or an auto salesman with the name, Henry Ford Carr. Charactonym examples are more common, like Mistress Quickly, Dr. Horrible, or the famous Long John Silver.
Leave it to a once obscure sport to reset the bar on villainous name selection. If you’ve never watched women’s Roller Derby, you’ve been deprived. It’s like speed skating with the aggressiveness of hockey and pro-wrestling. What makes the game even more fun is the cornucopia of pseudonyms used by the players. A recent article about the Lehigh Valley Rollergirls brought back memories of sixties Saturday afternoon roller derby on TV, when midwinter kept kids indoors with only four channels on television. With player names like Bruise Almighty, GoreJess, and Amelia Dareheart, what better place is there to mine villainous names? Dr. Doom might be one of Marvel’s top villains, but Mariah Scary could be the start of a whole new genre.
Until Drew Barrymore’s movie, Whip It, came out in 2009, roller derby had almost become a forgotten footnote of American sports. With names like Smashley Simpson, Babe Ruthless, and Bloody Holly, the movie Whip It reintroduced America to teams like the Hissy Fits, Traverse City Toxic Cherries, Detroit Pistoffs, Eves of Destruction, Murder City Kitties, Left Hook Honeys, Kappa Jamma Slamma, Arkansas Killbillies, Glamazons, Sadistic Sweethearts, and the Trust Fund Terrors. Cruella De Vil has nothing on these dangerous dudettes.
They’re always looking for a few good women. Courtesy of Buzzfeed, here’s a few good ones.
Vladimir Naboobkov, Wuthering Frights, Dora the Destroyer, Wolf Blitzher, Wikibleedia, Whoremione Granger, Whistler Smother, Susan B. Agony, Wench Press, Vulva Las Vegas, Velveteen Rabid, Uma Vermin, Tart of Darkness, Artillery Clinton, Skank Williams, Doris Day of Reckoning, Shirley Temple of Doom, Nasty Pelosi, Katniss EverMean, Naomi Cannibal, Kancer, Sigourney Reaper
You can find the entire league at the International Rollergirls’ Master Roster. And if you’re looking for that perfect villain name, you might be inspired to create your own. I’m thinking of Death E. Dahmer.
You’re about to enter the rink. The crowd is calling for blood.
What’s your evil name?