Superheroes get name dropped in songs all the time, but usually more as concepts than characters. You'll hear people talk about Superman or Captain America, and they're rarely talking about Clark Kent or Steve Rogers, just the ideals these characters represent. It's much more interesting when characters get name dropped in ways that go beyond the cultural ubiquity of superheroes - when it sounds like the people doing the name dropping know what they're talking about.
With the release of The Avengers I've found my inner Marvel geek coming back to life, which has led me to listening to some of my favorite songs that name drop Marvel characters. Black Sabbath's Iron Man isn't here for a couple of reasons, chief of which is that it's not actually about Tony Stark ("He was turned to steel/In the great magnetic field/When he traveled time/For the future of mankind"), and second because it's so fucking obvious. Also not on here: the Ramones doing the Spider-Man cartoon song, because it's a cover of the theme song. It isn't the same thing as name-dropping a character. Also, fuck Joe Satriani in advance.
Ego The Living Planet - Monster Magnet
Named after one of the all-time great weird-ass comic characters, this song is simply awesome. It sounds like the music that should accompany a giant, sentient, bearded planet.
Monster Magnet actually name drops Marvel - and Jack Kirby - a whole bunch. But you gotta go with the Ego song. You just gotta.
Raise The Roof - Public Enemy
Rap actually offers more examples of good name drops than rock, if you ask me. There are so many, in fact, that it's hard to choose just a few to feature here. Obviously Ghostface Killah of the Wu Tang Clan is a major name-dropper - he goes by the name Tony Starks and his debut solo album was called Ironman. But I like this one by Public Enemy off their first album, 1987's Yo! Bum Rush the Show. Chuck D, already a master lyricist, very casually drops in not just accurate lines about Thor, but also brings us one of the few great references to Prince Namor, the Submariner.
In The Garage - Weezer
This is the greatest song ever written about growing up nerdy in the 80s. The first verse is so perfect, and using Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler of The X-Men is beyond amazing. If you were sensitive and read comics in the 80s you a) had a crush on Kitty Pryde and b) sort of identified with Nightcrawler, who was cool and a swashbuckler but everybody thought he was a monster. It's too bad that Weezer released one more album - the brilliant Pinkerton - and then was replaced by a less talented clone band.
Magneto and Titanium Man - Paul McCartney and Wings
You don't often get Wings on a list of coolest anythings, but this song is too good to pass up. Not only does the song reference Magneto and the Titanium Man in the title, Crimson Dynamo shows up in the lyrics. The album this is from, Venus and Mars, hit in 1975, long before anybody gave a shit about secondary Iron Man villains. The Beatles name dropped Captain Marvel in Bungalow Bill, by the way. I'm not sure who wrote that lyric. Is Paul a comic book guy?
Battle for Asgard - Cannibal Ox
Cannibal Ox only put out one real album (they also have a live album and a B-sides/rarities compilation), but it's one of the best records to come out of the turn of the century Brooklyn alternative rap scene. I like every single track on The Cold Vein, but I have a special place in my heart for this track. You might think that the references to Asgard come from Norse mythology, but in the middle comes a name-drop of Galactus and the Silver Surfer. Also, this nerdiest of lyrics: "You can't have my 3.14/That's my pi." And icing on the cake: rapper Vordul Mega has a name like a Jack Kirby character.
Nobody Loves The Hulk - The Traits
The Traits were a garage rock band from Pelham, New York, and this amazing song came out in 1969. It's got that perfect garage sound, and the lyrics are nerdy enough to mention Rick Jones. Considering The Hulk is probably the best part of The Avengers movie, this song's title is about to become very, very not true.