Monday, July 31, 2006

Who wants to be a superhero?

Yes, I saw the last 5 or 10 minutes of "Who Wants to Be a Superhero?" on TV last night...not quite sure I get it. (Does the winner get to be a real superhero? Now that I'd like to see.) But what really prompted this post was the topic of names.

Before I had my first child 8 years ago, we'd picked the name Kara as a girl's name. It was just a name I had liked since childhood. We had a boy, and then another, so Kara's always been on the back burner. Now, since I'm expecting again, I started considering it again, and just found out this year that Kara is the "real" name of Supergirl (most incarnations of Supergirl, anyway). Shortly after learning that, I found out some DC Comics stamps were coming out this year, including 2 Supergirl stamps. I planned to buy 3 sheets of them, one to use and 2 to save as keepsakes for my possible Kara. 

So...the stamps came out last week, and as I went to buy them online, I realized I had a dilemma. I'd just found out my baby might be a boy. Why would I need 3 sheets of stamps with Kara/Supergirl if I wasn't having a Kara? My husband said to buy them anyway--I could always just use them for mailing. But 3 sheets? They're not that cheap, and I don't usually like using special stamps on everything. I already have a lot of Muppets stamps, children's book art stamps, Disney stamps, author stamps, etc., and never want to "waste" them on bills, so they hardly get used. 

So I joked to my husband that our only solution was to find a boy's name that was the alter ego of one of the male superheroes on the stamp sheet... About 2 minutes later, I added, "When I said we should find a superhero boy's name, I didn't realize Nicolas Cage had named his son Kal-El." My husband asked what search terms I'd used to find that out, and I said, "I wasn't searching for it, I just happened to be reading an article on Nicolas Cage!" Which was true. At the very moment I'd been talking to my husband about the stamp problem, I'd been holding the lastest Reader's Digest open to an article about Nicolas Cage, which I was about to start reading. How oddly coincidental to read about his son Kal-El just a moment later!

That got me thinking... I wouldn't name a child Kal-El, or Clark for that matter. I kind of like Kent, but I don't want sons named both Kyle and Kent (I know, Kyle and Kara both start with K's, too, but I picked Kara first!). So I decided to look up the names of the other superheroes. The best one ws Plastic Man--Patrick--but I wouldn't name a kid after Plastic Man! Others included Arthur, Oliver, Barry, Guy, and a lot of other names I wouldn't use for my child. Then I learned that the name of the most recent Green Lantern is...Kyle, my youngest son's name.

I then looked up the rest of us, and discovered we all have superhero alter egos! My husband's name is Mark, and there's a newer superhero named Invincible (from Image Comics), otherwise known as Mark Grayson. My oldest son's name is Ryan, and it turns out the newest Atom is Ryan Choi (and Atom fits my little scientist quite well!). Finally, I looked up myself, and found a superhero named Alison...Dazzler, who was once even known as "The Disco Dazzler"! She's a singer who started out in disco, later moving on...also a mutant who converts sound into light and energy beams, and has been associated with the X-Men. Totally cracked me up! So now do I have to keep the superhero thing going with the 5th member of our family? Heh. They are coming out with some Marvel Comics stamps next year, so at least we could expand our horizons...

By the way, I bought 2 sheets of the stamps. If Kara doesn't materialize, I'll just use them. I figure they'd be great for my sons' birthday party invitations! And in my ongoing loyalty to all things literary, I also got a sheet of Katherine Anne Porter stamps.

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