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?
I just saw this one on Facebook:
I feel kinda dumb. I've known about The Question for forty years, and I JUST NOW realize the significance of his alter ego's name, "Vic Sage." "Visage," meaning "face."
I never spotted that one before, either.
Another one I just saw on Facebook:
Both Sally Forth comics--the risqué version meant for military men and the family daily comic strip--had a title character whose name I didn't at first realize was a slang expression for bravely proceeding.
A more obvious example was a character from Charlton Comics' short-lived mid 1970's Vengeance Squad title. The leader of the squad was Eric Redd. The comic was more notable, IMHO, for the secondary feature, the aforementioned Mike Mauser. In the issue I have, the Mauser feature wasn't even mentioned on the cover--more's the pity.
King Faraday. Don't know if I caught on to that one right off the bat.
I never got that! Also Vic Sage.
Perhaps I could interject here with "The pun that never was".
In the early 70s, the BBC broadcast a series of 5 minute animation programmes in the UK, during children's programming, that were based on the 50's comic strip "Captain Pugwash". The original comic strip was inoffensive enough - with characters such as "Master Mates", "Barnabas" and "Tom the Cabin Boy."
There is a persistent urban legend, often repeated by the now defunct UK newspaper, the Sunday Correspondent, that ascribes sexually suggestive names – such as Master Bates, Seaman Staines, and Roger (meaning "have sex with") the Cabin Boy – to Captain Pugwash's characters, and indicating that the captain's name was a slang Australian term for oral sex.
The origin of this myth is likely due to student rag mags from the 1970s and the character Master Mate, whose name when spoken by Pugwash occasionally sounded a little like "Master Bate". However none of the other characters ever featured in the show. Interestingly, although there was a real character called Willy, which is an inoffensive British slang term for penis, this character is never cited as an example of the double entendres.
John Ryan successfully sued both the Sunday Correspondent and The Guardian newspapers in 1991 for printing this urban legend as fact.
Willy is a euphemism for penis in the States, too, which made the movie title "Free Willy" a head-scratcher for me. Did nobody think twice about that name?
Of course, this is the same country that gave us the comics books Giant-Size Man-Thing, Marvel Two-In-One, Marvel Triple Action and Jungle Action. I can't look at any of those titles without my inner 10 year old smirking.
Also, when Marvel revived the Western character Ghost Rider as the fiery skull cyclist, they felt the need to re-name the original Ghost Rider when they reprinted it several years later, presumably to avoid confusion. So they titled the book Night Rider -- which, in the South, is a synonym for the Ku Klux Klan. Heckuva job there, Brownie!
Somebody born south of the Mason-Dixon line must have pointed this out to the New York office, which belatedly changed the name to Phantom Rider.