I don't know how long I'd been reading about Ultra Boy before I realized his name was Jo Nah and he'd gotten his powers from being swallowed by a space whale. I caught on to that more quickly than I realized why Matter-Eater Lad was from the planet Bismoll.

But today, copy editing a manuscript that mentioned the barren winters...I realized there'd be a pun in the name of the lead character of Night Force all along. Baron Winters -- 34 years since his introduction! I think that's a new record for me!

Any pun names in comics (or elsewhere) that you didn't catch onto until later?

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Modesty Blaise. Her origin story says her mentor gave her the name Modesty (in a joking spirit, referring to her lack of physical modesty), and she took her surname from Merlin's tutor. I recently realised her surname is really a pun on "blaze".

Wikipedia argues Batroc's name derives from "batrachian".

 

In his recent review of Jack Kirby's Black Panther, Bob recently mentioned that Abner Little was a play on Li'l Abner. that hadn't occurred to me until he pointed it out. 41 years. Beat that!

Well, since I didn't know that until you just told me ...

Jeff of Earth-J said:

In his recent review of Jack Kirby's Black Panther, Bob recently mentioned that Abner Little was a play on Li'l Abner. that hadn't occurred to me until he pointed it out. 41 years. Beat that!

Nice! Though I don't know Kirby's Panther run, so he's an unfamiliar character to me. 

Then there's "Giant-Size Man-Thing" ...

(ducks and runs)

During the---ugh!---New Blackhawk Era, when the team took on super-hero identities, Blackhawk assumed the code name of "the Big Eye".

The Big Eye = the Big Guy, i.e., the boss.

Oh, fer cryin' out loud -- that's another one I never got!

Commander Benson said:

During the---ugh!---New Blackhawk Era, when the team took on super-hero identities, Blackhawk assumed the code name of "the Big Eye".

The Big Eye = the Big Guy, i.e., the boss.

Rainbow Raider is Roy G. Bivolo. This is from the mnemonic roygbiv. I had no idea until the Legionnaires explained this to me on the Captain's old board.

Werewolf by Night is Jack Russell. I can't remember when I worked that one out.

"Federal Men" was an early Siegel and Shuster feature. In the instalment in New Adventure Comics #12 the hero asks a scientist about what the police methods of the future will be like. His answer forms an SF story.

The officer in the story is named Jor-L. What's interesting about this is it suggests the El name was chosen as a homophone for L and comes from the SF tradition that in the future people will have letter or letter-number names/surnames (like Ralph 124C 41+ in Hugo Gernsback's novel, or the characters in the film Just Imagine). Likewise the surname of the Silver Age character Dev-Em is a homophone for M. The GCD attributes all his Silver Age appearances to Siegel.

I never got the joke when I was originally reading Werewolf by Night since at that time I had never heard of the dog breed!

Luke Blanchard said:

Werewolf by Night is Jack Russell. I can't remember when I worked that one out.

Speaking of dogs, I just encountered one whose name is obviously a joke, but I can't figure out if it's a reference to anything (and what, in fact, the joke is, other than it's a bizarre name for a dog, or, well, anything). I just picked up an issue of Adventures of Bob Hope, and he's joined by a dog named Harvard Harvard III. The cover says he's being introduced in the issue (#87), so I don't know how long he sticks around.

What's up with that name? Is there a joke I'm missing?

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