Not only is Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe the highest grossing film franchise of all time, having pulled in about $14.5 billion in the last decade. The ubiquitous films have made more than a few obscure B-list comic book characters, including Black Widow and Iron Man, popular enough to put on virtually every item you can imagine. Now that the Social Security Administration has released the most popular baby names of 2017, it looks like Marvel characters are becoming household names for another reason: People are naming their kids after them. Who runs the world? Girls named Natasha.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise really. Borrowing names from pop-culture has always been a thing. After The Godfather came out in 1972, there were probably a few more Fredo’s or Michael’s running around by 1973. Still, Fredo? Michael? Even if there was an uptick in those names following the movie, they were conventional enough beforehand. In the Marvel era, no one coincidentally has the first name Hawkeye.
If that sounds like a joke, it’s not. Six boys were actually given the name Hawkeye in 2017. Fortunately, what’s arguably the nick-nameiest-real-name of all time was one of the less popular Marvel names to make its way into the real world. 355 girls were named Natasha. Was it popular before? Yes. But, it’s way more interesting to think that 710 parents somewhere actively wanted their kid to have the name birth name as the Avengers resident assassin Black Widow. The same can probably be said for Wade (Deadpool, 899 boys) and Parker (Spiderman, 1,487 girls, 4,346 boys).
The more obscure ones aren’t as popular but are unmistakably taken from the MCU. Some 96 unlucky babies were named Loki, after Thor’s brother, the big-bad of 2012’s The Avengers. 63 girls were named Valkyrie, like Tessa Thompson’s character in Thor: Ragnarok and 128 children were named Pepper, presumably after Iron Man’s fiancee. And, if one harbors suspicions that some parents might just be naming kids Pepper for fun and not based on the MCU, know this: 11 kids were named Drax and 50 kids were straight up named Marvel.
Life is weird, also fantastic.