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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Big Bertha=a type of WWI cannon. The name might lie behind "Big Barda".

Screaming Mimi=from the novel The Screaming Mimi by Fredric Brown, possibly via the film version. In the novel it's a play on the expression "the screaming meamies" used to name a statue.

This is visual rather than a name, but Gorgon is visually Pan or a satyr or fawn. In myth Medusa was a Gorgon (and all the Gorgons were women).

"Triton" is the name of a sea god. "Karnak" might just be something Lee made up that sounded tough, though there is a place of that name in Egypt with a temple complex. My best guess, which I'm not entirely happy with, is the Inhuman was intended as an analogue for Ares/Mars. Crystal was originally a witch character. (She had witch eyebrows.)

Black Bolt was presumably a separate creation added to the Inhumans when Lee and Kirby decided to do them in Fantastic Four. His name is a variation on Blue Bolt, which was a long-running Golden Age title and the name of the hero of its initial lead feature. The original form of the feature was created by Joe Simon. Kirby's collaboration with him began with the second instalment.

Randy Jackson said:

Warstar of the Imperial Guard is actually two beings, B'nee and C'cil.


I would not have gotten that in a million years.

A commentator on Captain America #105 at Supermegamonkey notes "Batroc" is a near-anagram of "acrobat". I'd bought the "batrachian" explanation but that sounds a more plausible derivation. It makes me wonder if Kirby meant him to be the same guy as Carl Zante, the Acrobat from Strange Tales #106/#114.

The lead in the E-Man series -- an energy being -- went by the name "Alec Tronn." His partner was an exotic dancer named "Nova Kane."

I may have mentioned before that I have a soft spot for the Adventure Comics run of Dial H for Hero that featured reader submissions back in the early 80s. One of my favorite reader creations was a speedster called Hasty Pudding. Not sure if that's really a pun but I always thought it was a clever code name.

I hadn't heard the "near-anagram" theory, but I'd always assumed that Batroc's name was derived from "batrachian" not only because his specialty was leaping, but because he was French.  On the one hand, that made him more subtle than Marvel's other leaping villains of the era: Frog Man, Leapfrog, the Toad & Amphibius, but on the other, naming a Frenchman after a synonym for "frog" is kind of demeaning, yet still  "under the radar" enough that he could make it into a major motion picture mostly intact, unlike, well, any of their Asian characters so far...

Luke Blanchard said:

A commentator on Captain America #105 at Supermegamonkey notes "Batroc" is a near-anagram of "acrobat". I'd bought the "batrachian" explanation but that sounds a more plausible derivation. It makes me wonder if Kirby meant him to be the same guy as Carl Zante, the Acrobat from Strange Tales #106/#114.

Captain Comics said:

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."

If he were related, it would have been Dev-El.

That reminds me -- it too me a while to catch the pun in Aisha Tyler's Archer character's name, Lana Kane, as well! They hardly ever said her first and last names together.

ClarkKent_DC said:

The lead in the E-Man series -- an energy being -- went by the name "Alec Tronn." His partner was an exotic dancer named "Nova Kane."

Blue Devil's alien friends were named Jorj and Lehni.

The agents assigned to monitor Young Justice were Fite and Madd.

Also in E-Man we were introduced to Mike ("Don't call me Mickey") Mauser.  Does that count?

Dave Palmer said:

Also in E-Man we were introduced to Mike ("Don't call me Mickey") Mauser.  Does that count?


Sure, it does!

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