Marvel is dominating pop culture right now — this year, Black Panther topped box offices for five weeks straight, and Avengers: Infinity War only took 11 days to officially break $1 billion after its release. We're only halfway through 2018.
That's just the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Considering the cultural impact of its comic books, shows, rides at Disney's theme parks, and endless merchandise, is it really a surprise that people are naming their kids after Marvel characters?
The U.S. Social Security Administration released data from the 1,000 most popular baby names in 2017. Among the typical Emmas, Masons, and Olivias, there are some pretty unusual names that you might recognize from theaters, from Banner to Hawkeye.
Here are some Marvel-inspired names, from most to least popular:
1,487 female, 4,346 male
There are 5,833 babies born in 2017 who share a name with Peter Parker, an awkward high schooler by day and Spiderman by night.
After being horribly disfigured by and gaining mutant powers from an experimental cancer treatment, Wade Wilson drops his given name for something more fitting: Deadpool. Sadly, Deadpool wasn't one of the top 1,000 baby names last year, but Wade was!
To be fair, Natasha is already a pretty common name even without Marvel's influence. But we'd like to think that 2,602 babies were named after Natasha Romanova, better known as Black Widow. When is this badass Avenger getting her own movie?
121 female, 7 male
Pepper Potts is Iron Man's fiancée and most of the time, his voice of reason. She also shares a name with 128 children born in 2017. It's a pretty cute name.
5 female, 91 male
Yes, 96 babies were actually named Loki. Not family pets, but actual children. We don't have an explanation for this, either.
OK, this name sounds ridiculous but think of all of the nicknames you could get from Valkyrie: Val, Kyrie, Elite Asgardian Warrior ... the possibilities are endless! After all, who wouldn't want to be named after a fearless alien fighter?
21 female, 29 male
50 kids born in 2017 were actually named Marvel. On the plus side, those 50 kids don't have to wait for Halloween to dress up as their favorite characters — they get to be Marvel superheroes all year long.
39 little boys were named Banner last year. Are all of them tributes to Bruce Banner, the Incredible Hulk? Probably not, but we like to think that some of those parents are fans of the lovable (even if prone to angry outbursts) scientist.
9 female, 28 male
The feisty little raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy makes is clear that he's not some cute pet, from his vulgar language to his killer aim. A whopping 37 kids were named Rocket last year — if they couldn't be named Groot, then Rocket will have to do.
Luke Cage is Harlem's reluctant protector, dodging bullets with his inhuman strength. Twenty three male babies shared a name with Cage last year. Since season two is coming to Netflix in June, will more people name their kid after the hoodie-clad hero?
5 female, 15 male
Although Starlord wasn't in the top 1,000 names, the Guardian's human name Peter was very popular. His last name, Quill, was also given to 20 kids born last year.
Nothing says "adorable baby boy" like the image of a massive blue and red alien bodybuilder, right? Eleven children were actually named Drax last year. Yeah, it's a lot.
Even though there weren't any Gamoras in the top 1,000 names, Nebula is a pretty cool namesake. Sure, she dabbles with evil forces and has the most twisted relationship with her sister, but she can fight.
Six actual kids were named Hawkeye in 2017. Six. For the sake of these six children, we hope the archer/Avenger gets his own movie. Or Netflix series. Seriously, you can't let down these six kids!
What Marvel-inspired names will 2018 bring? Black Panther names like T'Challa and Shuri will probably be popular, but if there are any baby Thanoses running around, good luck humanity!
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