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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Van-Zee's last name is also a letter, and Zod is kinda-sorta zed, the European version of Zee. A lot of Kryptonians had a similar naming convention, but just when I thought the whole planet was named for English alphabet letters, along would come an Ak-Var or Professor Va-Kox and spoil everything.

Incidentally, I assumed the first part of Dev-Em's name was supposed to suggest "devil."

Luke Blanchard said:

"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.

Most of the Phantom Zoners and Kandorians weren't created by Siegel, though. That makes Van-Zee an interesting case, as he first appeared in Lois Lane #15, which the GCD (following Martin O'Hearn) attributes to Otto Binder.

When I wrote yesterday I couldn't think of any more Kryptonian names (other than Lara) which were presumably coined by Siegel. I now have two more, which don't fit the pattern. They're from "The Eight Impossible Missions!" from Adventure Comics #323. Phantom Girl's mission is to learn the greatest prize Jor-El ever received. She solves the problem by entering the Phantom Zone and talking to the last remaining prisoner, the Mighty Gazor. He tells her he tried to destroy Krypton, and Jor-EL stopped him. As a reward Jor-El was given the preserved brain of a deceased genius called Garf-Og, which assisted him in his work.

"Preserved brain? Er, no offense, but I was hoping for some money."

Siegel also wrote the first Lesla-Lar Supergirl story from Action Comics #278-#282, and "Superman's Return to Krypton!" from Superman #141, which adds Lyla Lerrol and Ken-Dal.

I wondered at the time if Ken-Dal was a pun, but wasn't sure if they really wanted to take a poke at Barbie. ("Ken doll"). More likely Siegel knew somebody named Kendall.



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!

Actually, it was LB pointed that out to me.

My favorite Kryptonian pun name is Superman's evil cousin, Kru-El. I can only assume that his relatively few appearances mean that most creators found his name to be just a pun too far.


Luke Blanchard said:

Most of the Phantom Zoners and Kandorians weren't created by Siegel, though. That makes Van-Zee an interesting case, as he first appeared in Lois Lane #15, which the GCD (following Martin O'Hearn) attributes to Otto Binder.

When I wrote yesterday I couldn't think of any more Kryptonian names (other than Lara) which were presumably coined by Siegel. I now have two more, which don't fit the pattern. They're from "The Eight Impossible Missions!" from Adventure Comics #323. Phantom Girl's mission is to learn the greatest prize Jor-El ever received. She solves the problem by entering the Phantom Zone and talking to the last remaining prisoner, the Mighty Gazor. He tells her he tried to destroy Krypton, and Jor-EL stopped him. As a reward Jor-El was given the preserved brain of a deceased genius called Garf-Og, which assisted him in his work.

I read somewhere in my youth that Gen. Zod's full name was Dru-Zod. I don't know if that's true any more, if it ever was.

Luke Blanchard said:

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

Richard Willis said:

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!

I still don't get the joke. What does a dog have to do with a werewolf?

Isn't Jor-El's father's name Seyg-El? I think that tops them all.



Dave Elyea said:

My favorite Kryptonian pun name is Superman's evil cousin, Kru-El. I can only assume that his relatively few appearances mean that most creators found his name to be just a pun too far.

Captain Comics said:

I read somewhere in my youth that Gen. Zod's full name was Dru-Zod. I don't know if that's true any more, if it ever was.

General Zod's full Kryptonian name of Dru-Zod was revealed in "Jor-El's Golden Folly", from Superman # 233 (Jan., 1971), written by E. Nelson Bridwell.

Hope this helps.

Thanks, Commander! Good to know I didn't dream that!

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