A toy shop owner who wants to call himself Superhero has had his name-change application rejected by authorities in Denmark. Benjamin Preisler Herbst, 26, from Copenhagen said he wanted the unusual name because “it would probably help me in my line of work and my mission of connecting with superhero fans and collectors.” But local authorities have had the final say, outlining that “the word ‘superhero’ [‘Superhelten’ in Danish] is a term for a fictional/non-existent figure who performs heroic acts. We don't believe that Superhero lives up to the criteria for being approved as a boy's name.” Metro spoke to Herbst to hear his side of the name-change story.
Why do you want to change your name?
– Me and my girlfriend collect superhero toy figurines. We have around 80 of them in our apartment. One day when I was looking at them I was thinking of their iconic status, and how at some point it is every child's dream to have a superhero cape.
I think that the world needs more superheroes outside the fictional world. For me a superhero is someone who does good things and not necessary someone with supernatural powers. I have always loved superheroes and I think it would be the ultimate name to inspire people to be superheroes in their everyday life. For me it would be the ultimate name. That being said I live and breathe superheroes. How awesome would it be to be the superhero as well?
Your name-change application was rejected. Why?
– Yes, the name was recently rejected by the naming authorities in Denmark. In their decision they stated the following: “The word ‘superhero’ is a term for a fictional/non-existent figure who performs heroic acts. We don't believe that ‘Superhero’ lives up to the criteria for being approved as a boy's name.” There was no other reason.
But here is the list of names recently approved by the naming authorities: Altan (meaning ‘Balcony’), Blær (Boast), Charme, Dreng (Boy), Europa, Gift (Poison), Gin, Musling (Mussle), Lurifax, Offer (Victim), Memo, Gandalf, Og (And), Ninja, Ok, Tung (Heavy), Pop, Sok (Sock), Tavs (Quiet). I cannot understand why Superhero was rejected!
What other name would you like to take?
– I do not have any desire to change my name to anything else than Superhero.
Don't you like Benjamin as a name?
– Yes, I like the name Benjamin very much, and I would still keep the name Benjamin if I was allowed to be named Superhero. My full name would then be Superhero Benjamin Preisler Herbst.
What names would you give to your children?
– Actually my girlfriend is currently pregnant with twins! We don't know their gender yet, but if one of the twins is a boy we will call him Storm. If one of the twins is a girl we will call her Sne [‘Snow’ in Danish]. I would never call my children something like Superhero, because they will only be children and I have a responsibility to protect them from being bullied, etc. But if they came to me as teenagers or adults wanting to change their names, even to Superhero, I would fully support them.
What benefits would a name like Superhero give you?
– Well, my friends would definitely find it funny if my name were that, but hopefully they’d respect me either way. I do a lot of work to connect Superhero fans and collectors in Denmark, and the name Superhero would probably help me in that mission. What’s more, I think that the children and parents who visit my toy shop would find it funny, that I'm actually named like that.