Who is roller derbyʼs favorite superhero? There can only be one, and the master list we made for our taxonomy of skate names may provide a clue.
ON SUPERHERO day at the 2015 Rollercon roller derby convention in Las Vegas, we looked at our master taxonomy of skate names to see which comic book hero—or villain—is the most popular. (Our master taxonomy does not include every skate name out there, nor do we claim it represents the best names—just the ones on Derby Roll Call that leapt out at us as we did the research for our 2015 Graphical Taxonomy of Skate Names poster.) Counting down from ten:
Our master taxonomy includes three names inspired by the 1930's space opera hero: Flash Gorgeous, Flash Gorgon, and Flash Nordin.
More popular than his nemesis, Superman, Alexander Joseph ‟Lex” Luthor is the first supervillain in our top ten. He won’t be the last. Lex inspired five names on our list: Lens Luthor, Lex Loser, Lex Lucy, Lexxie Luthor, and Lux Luthor.
=9—The Incredible Hulk
Trouble managing your ref-related anger? You’re not the only one. Marvel enters the list with Bruce Banner and his super pissed-off alter ago, the source of five names on our master taxonomy: Hulk Hellelujah, Clark... SMASH!, Hulk Smash-Her, The Incredible Sulk, and Bruise Banner.
We all know who the real star of Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim series is, and it ain’t Scott. Ramona Victoria ‟Rammy” Flowers can travel through subspace and has amazing, ever-changing hair. She’s definitely a rollergirl, just like Ramona D’Flowers, Ramona D. Flowers, Ramona Flowers, Ramona Glowers, Ramona Sours, and RamOnYa Flowers.
Of course manga made the list, and of course derby’s most-beloved manga superhero is Usagi Tsukino, the Soldier of Love and Justice, best known as Sailor Moon, inspiration for Sailor Boom, Sailor Doom, Sailor MoonHer, Sailor MoonMoon, Sailor Swoon, and Skayter Moon.
He’s a billionaire, a badass, and he has mommy and daddy issues. Every rollergirl can relate to at least one of those, and so Bruce Wayne and his black and sometimes very, very dark gray alter-ego makes our list eight times: Bruise R. Wayne, Bruise Payne, Bruise Wayne, Cake Crusader, Caped Crusk8ter, Dark Knight, Deuce Payne, and Striped Crusader. Score one more for DC Comics.
Another Marvel superhero: Donald Trump-like playboy billionaire Tony Stark and his high-tech supersuit inspired Iron Clam, Iron Dan, Iron Fran, IRON MA’AM, Iron maam, Iron Mantis, Iron Megan, Iron Mädchen, and Tonya Stark—nine names in all.
There’s a big gap between the top two and everybody else. DC's beautiful arch-villain and master botanist Pamela Lillian Isley, better known as Poison Ivy, is the second most referenced superhero on our master list, with an amazing twenty entries: Poison Harley, Poise N Ivy, Poison Enfy, Poison Envy, Poison EV, Poison Eva, Poison Evie, Poison Eye V, Poison IV, Poison Ivers, poison ivory, Poison Ivy, Poison Lilly, Poison NV, Poison Oakley, Poison Sevy, Poison Viney, Poison Violet, PoisonIvory, and Poizon Envy.
Poison Ivy is popular, but even she cannot beat her sometime lover, another DC Comics arch-villain, the truly amazing Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, M.D., who often appears dressed as a roller girl in DC's ‟New 52” Harley Quinn series, and inspired twenty-five names on our master list: Gnarley Quinn, Gnarlie Quinn, Gnarly Quin, Gnarly Quinzel, Harleelee Quinn, Harleen BringsHell, Harlequim, Harley Grim, HarlequInsane, Harley Kwin, Harley Kwinn, Harley Quadzel, Harley Queen, Harley Quinn, Harley Scrimm, Harley Sin, Harley Spinn, Harley Spins, Harley Syn, Harleyquinn Davidson, Hurly Quinn, Poison Harley, Scarleigh Quinn, Scarley Quinn, and Snarley Quinn.
Some conclusions, even though this ain’t science: first, DC has been kicking Marvel’s ass when it comes to strong superwomen. Second, all the best women in comic books are ‟villains.” What's with that? We’ll have to see if characters like Carol Danvers, now Captain Marvel (written by our favorite comic book writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick, creator of Bitch Planet); Kamala Khan, now Ms. Marvel; and Jane Foster, now Thor, can change either of those things anytime soon. And, last and most, big ups to Australian skater Poison Harley, who manages to be both of roller derby’s favorite superheroes at the same time. Poison Harley, if you’re reading this, drop us a line; we’d like to give you a little something, in honor of your awesome.
Like skate names? Check out our Graphic Taxonomy of Skate Names poster here.