web stats

CSBG Archive

8/7 – Curious Cat Asks…

Not counting Peter David’s creations, what is the coolest name of a comic book character(s) that is a pun?

Is it Mike Barr’s Force of July?

Karl Kesel’s Locke and Lode?

Gardner Fox’s Major Disaster?

Or someone else?

We3-5_edited.jpg

121 Comments

Joshua Strasburg

August 7, 2008 at 11:32 am

I’ve always been partial to Marshal Law.

Die Fledermaus from the Tick should be up there (the live action TV series has the weaker but still good Batmanuel.)

Major Victory and Major Force always struck me as just as funny as Major Disaster. Come to think of it, there was also Silent Majority.

There was a really lousy Damon Wayans movie called “Major Payne”. Which was the first time I’d seen this real groaner of a pun. That is, until the web comic VG Cats, which ALSO has a character named “Major Payne”.

I think my favorite has to be Corporal Punishment on the Simpsons.

I’m assuming you meant Peter David, which automatically nixes Sachs & Violens.

Does Liberty Belle count?

ClanDestine?

And, you know, Dr. Strange was a pun, since he starred in Strange Tales. Same with the Flash. Yep, betcha didn’t know The Flash premiered in Strange Tales!

Legion puns are good:

Ultra Boy was swallowed by a space whale. His real name? Jo Nah.

After having left the Legion, Star Boy & Dream Girl returned to the help them in disguise — as Sir Prize and Miss Terious.

Misty Knight? (ugh…I actually went to a high school with a girl named Starry Knight…yikes)

Rose and the Thorn?

I don’t think Sloe, Steddy & Mr. Sprynt (henchmen of the Turtle) really fall under the “cool” category.

Actually, I think I’m going to have to go with Dan’s suggestion of Liberty Belle.

I’m of the general opinion that “name of a comic book character(s) that is a pun” and “cool” are mutually exclusive concepts.

Geez, you could get seventy or eighty different ones from Mike Barr’s run on the Outsiders alone.

The Duke of Oil, The Nuclear Family, New Wave, the Force of July…heck, Madame Ovary…

I loved, loved, loved those books growing up.

Splint Chesthair

August 7, 2008 at 12:45 pm

I like Madman’s “real” name: Frank Einstein. The Tick also had American Maid.

On second thought, I’m going to have to go with Starfire and her family.

Her real name is Koriand’r (coriander) — named because she’s spicy.
Her sister: Komand’r, a strong leader.
Their father: Myand’r (meander), who has a weak sense of direction.

Then there’s the story where Kory returns to Tamaran and marries someone with the ability to split into multiple copies. His name? Phy’zzon (fission — and I probably got the apostrophe in the wrong place).

Gotta go with Psylocke. It was years before that name dawned on me.

Jack Russel

Scott Free.

Wait…Psylocke is a pun? Am I just not hearing it?

Calamity James from The Beano.

Sugar and Spike is almost a pun.

Joshua Strasburg

August 7, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Yeah, I don’t get Psylocke either. Can someone explain? I always just thought it was a horrible attempt at making up a name that just sounded cool.

Jeff: That’s what I like about it, it slips under the radar if you’re not looking for it, and when it does occur to you, it hurts.

Okay: I am officially admitting that after 20-some years of awareness of the character, the pun has never occured to me.

Now tell me what it is, so I can stop dwelling on it!

Psylocke. Psyche.

This is from the man who brought us a group named Force Majeure, though.

Are you sure that doesn’t just fall under the category of “really, really stupid name”? Isn’t there a certain…I dunno, silly elegance to a pun that that’s missing?

Sigma7- That can’t have been intentional, could it? God, I hope not.

X’Hal is pretty bad. Marv Wolfman and Mike W. Barr should have a bad punoff to see who gets to play Peter David in the finals.

Jeff: most puns register instantly and after a while lose their pun-factor and become more readily associated with the character. The thing I like about that one is its lifespan is inverted — we associate it with Betsy Braddock and then, decades later, it hits like a wet fish to the face. On its own merits, though, yeah, it’s pretty horrible. (Any worse than “the Duke of Oil?”)

Joshua Strasburg

August 7, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Man, if that Psylocke thing is true, it has to be the worst superhero name ever put to print. The names of the corny superheroes I made up when I was 11 seem like literary genius compared to Psylocke.

As speaking of bad names, I was reading about Gene Nation from the X-books a while ago and holy crap, do those characters have some terrible names. I never read the comics, but if I did I’m sure I would have stopped immediately after seeing these names:

Marrow, Hemingway, Sack, Vessel, Reverb, Ever, Loss, Charm, Membrain, Fever Pitch, Integer, Opsidian, Wynter, Iron Maiden

Some of them are puns, I guess, but man are they bad …

I’m not sure if it qualifies, but I always liked the KGBeast.

Darkseid — hands down.

I never even mispronounced it as Dark Seed….but still never got the pun til years and years later.

Psylocke = psyche ? Not seeing it. still.

Ah jeez. I just heard it. I had to repeat it to myself a lot, but I just heard it. Psy-lock. Psy-key.

Oh, that’s just the kind of thing that puts a guy in a murderous rage.

Woof.

And from my gaming/fan fiction days in highschool, The Warsaw Pack and The Hollywood Knights

Jeff Holland: Ow. Ow. Ow.

Ambush Bug has the evil sock, Argh!Yle!

And how about the names in Common Grounds:

Marquis de Sod
Deb-U-Ton
Baron Existence
Khrapp the animated garbage pile

and my personal favourite, The Acidic Jew!

Wow, I never thought about Psylocke that way. It hurts a little.

Styx and Stone, old Spidey villains always hurt my mind.

Badrock from Youngblood, because it was a pun on his original name.

From Milestone: Nun Of the Above

I suppose I can’t get away with Agents Nuck & Futz, which is what Peter David *wanted* to name Agents Fite & Maad before DC said, “Yeah, no.”

So let’s just go with the Clock King’s real name (at least in the cartoons), Temple Fugit.

Ms. Tree
and
Mister E

are both pretty cool, I think.

Okay… Psylocke – if true – has to win THE WORST..

I do love Marshall Law though… And Major Disaster…

Though my favourite non-name, but still a sort of pun was from the recent ABC Warriors story in 2000AD, where they are reminiscing about the Volgan war…

Blackblood is desparately trying to find out the identity of someone the enemy has (in his mind) codenamed “General Public”… Cue a running gag as he tortures the other robots and prisoners “WHO IS GENERAL PUBLIC??”

yeah.. forgort Ms Tree!

Psy-key? Seriously?!? It’s a riff on psyche? If an invisible hand reached down and smacked me right now, I couldn’t be more surprised.

Top Ten’s Irma Geddon is the first to come to mind.

But my favorite: Chronos fought a bunch of sewer-dwelling critters called metrognomes.

It took me forever to realize that Ms. Tree was a pun, and boy was I angry at myself when I figured it out.

My favorites, though, are from Invincible: Dupli-Kate and Multi-Paul.

Joshua Strasburg

August 7, 2008 at 2:51 pm

Dupli-Kate and Multi-Paul are awesome but Rex Splode sucks. Ugh, it’s bad.

Turner D. Century!

And I am with Splint Chesthair: Frank Einstein is AWESOME.

Yeah, not a single one of these names is cool.

“Admiral Behavior” from an issue of Evan Dorkin’s “Bill & Ted” comic made me crack up out loud when I first read it.

I’m with Sterg. I’ve always been partial to Turner D. Century.

There was an animated show called C.O.P.S. which had a short lived comic book run, which had a villain named Ms. Demeanor.

Further thoughts from a discussion Psylocke:

“shylock?”
“I thought it was merely intended as a warlock/psionic mashup. The pun may be accidental.”

And I agreee with myself from above

Darkseid!

The name puns in the Asterix books are pretty heinous whether in English or the original French — I’ve always been fond of the Druid being named Getafix in English, for example. And the Bard, Cacophonix.

That Psy-lock/Psy-key thing is killing me.
Over 20 years and I never realized. I wish I had never known.

I don’t know if this is one of Peter David’s creations..but in the Blasters special a long time ago…the little kid…I think his name is Dust Devil..but in his hands he had a copy of “Ben Steel and his Bear Hans” …always got a giggle out of it.

Not a character, but the Batman: Cataclysm special-

Blackgate: Isle of Men

Say the subtitle a few times, and you’ll get it.

Peter David was indeed the man behind The Blasters.

Question…does anything from Todd Nauck count, given his collaborations with Peter David in Young Justice? If so, what about Lily Hammer? Or Freezerburn?

“Dupli-Kate and Multi-Paul are awesome but Rex Splode sucks. Ugh, it’s bad.”

Bah, I like Rex Splode.

elbichoemboscado

August 7, 2008 at 4:52 pm

The one and only Thomas Oscar Morrow… ¡T.O.Morrow!

Astounding.

I’m still hitting my head in the wall for the “Ms.Tree” pun…

I can’t believe no one’s mentioned T.O. Morrow.

Stephane Savoie

August 7, 2008 at 5:10 pm

King Faraday.
A classic!

The Eyeball Kid

August 7, 2008 at 5:18 pm

Mister E.

I like any pun based on a military rank…I don’t know why, I just find them hilarious. I remember, when I was living in Australia, I always used to salute when I passed the clothing store named “General Pants”.

Probably unfair to use this one, but my all-time favorite comics-related pun character name comes not from an actual comic, but from the videogame based on comics, “City of Heroes”/”City of Villains”. At one point, when running around in the game, I saw a supervillain with the power to summon and control zombies, dressed up in a vaguely mobster-esque suit. His moniker? “Don of the Dead”.

Tom Fitzpatrick

August 7, 2008 at 6:05 pm

After seeing all these posts, I’ve come to one conclusion ……:

You all need therapy.

;-)

ive always liked the cops from Savage Dragon. i dont remember what issue had all their names in it but the couple i do remember where Anita Mann and Ben Dover.

Savage Dragon was filled with bad puns. There was an undead shaman by the name of Abner Cadaver.

I love Irma Geddon. And American Maid.

Always kind of liked Punch and Julee. In Astro City, the Timekeeper’s henchmen were the Tempus Fugitives.

Reminds me of the old sketch from SNL where a defendant in a court case was Richard Hertz. Bill Murray (?) asks, “Who’s Dick Hertz?”

FunkyGreenJerusalem

August 7, 2008 at 6:47 pm

The name puns in the Asterix books are pretty heinous whether in English or the original French — I’ve always been fond of the Druid being named Getafix in English, for example. And the Bard, Cacophonix.

Whatever language Asterix is translated into, all the characters get renamed to make puns in that language.

Maybe Marvel and DC should consider that if they want to be read the world over.

What’s wrong with X’Hal?

Transformers UK had a villain named “Jihaxus,” who was created when the book was in danger of cancellation, and Marvel kept going back and forth on whether or not the book would be continuing. His name is pointing at that, as a play on “gee, [why don't you just make up your minds and] axe us.”

I like any pun based on a military rank…I don’t know why, I just find them hilarious. I remember, when I was living in Australia, I always used to salute when I passed the clothing store named “General Pants”.

Real life example: I used to work for a company where the job involved emailing proofs to clients for approval. One of the clients, with a .mil email address, was named “Jim Shorts.” Which means that at some point in his career, he would have been “Private Jim Shorts.”

Even better, there was an “01″ in his email address, which says to me there was more than one person with that name in the service. In other words, a PAIR of Jim Shorts…

Atom Eve and Spider-Mandrill

Okay, I just got King Faraday.

I don’t get how X’Hal is a pun either.

I’m not buying the Psy-lock / Psy-key thing.

Has any one mentioned Edward Nigma?

And in Astro City a family with the surname Furst is the First Family.

The Psylocke thing never occurred to me before, either, but I’m not convinced it’s intentional. Maybe that’s one to investigate for Urban Legends Revealed, Brian?

I know I’m getting the spellings wrong, but the climax of the The Dark Phoenix Saga was marred by a couple of Imperial Guardsmen named B’nee and C’cil (per the old cartoon). Took me right out of the dramatic story.

Rex Splode is seriously awesome. Shrinking Ray is also super cool. So are Multi-Paul and Dupli-Kate. Good stuff, Kirkman!

And, yeah, we’re gonna need an Urban Legends Revealed about this Psylocke/psyche thing. Cronin?

X’hal = exhale

I’m guessing instead of calling her Psi-Witch, he called her Psi-’lock. What’s the big deal?

If Psylock is short for Psy-warlock, that may be stupider than the lock/key thing.

i don’t think some of these examples (like Thomas Oscar Morrow or Edward Nigma) are true puns.

As for all the ones that are, well, they’re all pretty awful (or at least not cool). They only really work if you’re doing a comic like “The Tick.” Otherwise they seem really dopey. For years, I pronounced “Darkseid” as “dark-seed” and was completely happy with that. (It’s still a play on words, I guess, but a little subtler.) The fact that it’s supposed to be “dark-side” is just groan inducing.

I concur, DanLarkin. I’m also giving 60-40 odds in favor of the pun being intentional.

Hmm Giffen and/or DeMatteis used a few in their Justice League run.
There’s Mr. Nebula, which isn’t a pun, as far as I can tell, but he was formerly known as Kirtann-Rodd.
As Mr Nebula was a planetary designer of sorts, Kirtann-Rodd is a good name.

And while not puns, per se, involved in his transformations are two Lords of Order, named St’nn and Jakk.

Since Mr Nebula was a parody of sorts of Galactus, most of you should know who St’nn and Jakk are.

Oh, and that Psylocke/Psyche thing–whether intentional or not–is a HUGE stretch.

Speaking of Giffen’s Justice League, there was also Manga Khan (Manga Con) and his side kick L-Ron H*bb*rd (and yes, that was his full name, even though most people just called him L-Ron…)

Starfire shouts ‘X’Hal!’ when she’s startled or disgusted. It doesn’t sound like ‘exhale’, it sounds like ‘ze Hell?’ ‘Exhale’ would make no sense. ‘Dark Seed’? C’mon, guys. Silent Majority of the Force of July is the coolest. BTW, it was Punch and ‘Jewelee’.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

August 7, 2008 at 10:03 pm

L-Ron.

How about Medea Blitz from ‘American Flagg’? See, I knew I could name one no one else had yet.

Hawk and Dove.
Angel and the Ape.

Back when I was roleplaying, I came up with a character whose name was so awful, my GM refused to let me play him. A second generation costumed adventurer, his father was a minor-league reptile themed gadget-villain called The Iguana, our hero becomes a superhero as a way of redeeming his father’s legacy.
He needed a name that reflected his dad’s schtick, but which said ‘definitely a good guy’.

Alas, my GM refused to let me play a character called ‘Scales of Justice’.

What about the Silver Surfer’s real name: Norrin Radd.

A surfer.

Named “Radd.”

“Hawk and Dove.
Angel and the Ape.”

Erm… those aren’t puns.

I love Baron Existence. I’ve read Common Grounds, but I never spotted that one!

Asterix is a mine of great names:
Unhygenix
Fulliautomatix
O’Veroptimistix
McCannix
Crismus Bonus
Timandahaf

I could go on for hours!

Not a character, but I always liked Gang Green in Martial Law (and I saw the same pun the other day in Noble Causes) and one of the members had the words “Armageddon Outta Here” on his costume!

“Yankee Poodle.”

The Zoo Crew should be disallowed on the same grounds as Peter David characters: If we had to go through them all, we’d be here until the end of time.

However, we can still play Green Lantern’s racing opponent in DC One Million, The Mach Turtle!

I quite like Hip Flask and Vanity Case from Elephantmen.

Asterix needs to be discounted as THE best for name puns…

There are just way too many!!

Geriatrix,
Panacea,
Vitalstatistix
Dogmatix!

Then there were the Romans, the Goths, the Corsicans, the Vikings…

phew!

In Marshal Law, the leader of Gangreene was Suicida…

I always imagined “X’Hal” was pronounced as “Zal” or “KZal”… not exhale…

And I have to go with L-Ron too…

I name pretty much any of my characters (such as ones I create in City of Heroes) with a pun name if I can.

Actual comics? Big Sir comes to mind. Though I don’t know if it’s the best ever.

I like Kirkman’s style of incorporating real names into a pun. Like Atom Eve, Shrinking Ray, Dupli-Kate and my personal fave… Rex splode.

And can’t forget Abe Saipen.

I admittedly scanned through quick, but has Argh!Gyle been mentioned yet?

I used not to get most “punny” names because English is only my second language. It took me years to catch up on most of them.

I always assumed that “Psylocke” was a reference to “Psychic Lock” (which is how many telepaths describe using their powers.) I suppose the Lock/Key thing is also possible, but it seems a little too obscure… puns are supposed to be easy to get, otherwise why make them?

It could also be a take on “Shylock” since the character is British.

No one mentioned the Riddler’s secret identity yet of Edward “E” Nigma? Seriously, if your a parent in the DCU, be careful what you name your kids, or else they’ll go into a life of crime, based solely on their names.

Jack B. Quick(one of Alan Moore’s creations for America’s Best Comics)

They’ve had comic book appearances in Disney magazines, so we can count Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable.

L-Ron isn’t a pun.

It’s a tragedy, or a disease (Tom Cruise), but it ain’t no pun.

Manga Kahn had other robots named after other writers too.

I’m still pushing Darkseid, though no one’s coming on board with me. Darkseid..as in Dark Side…as in of the moon, of which his face looks like, or as in evil like the Force, which is like the Source. Of course, of course!

Building from Nun of the Above, John Rozum’s Xombi series had some really goofy names (despite being an AWESOME book that deserves trade paperback treatment!). Xombi once fought Manuel Dexterity, a man from the waist up and a giant hand from the waist down. His wife? Manuela Dexterity!

Also, there were the Sheer Shears, hooded figures with scissors sticking out like beaks from their faces. They were immune to written knowledge, or for those of you that missed it, “paper”.

@ Sigma7:

I was going to pull out the Inigo Montoya “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means” on you, but I see it now. Wet fish to the face indeed…

I’m a big fan of Common Grounds, The Tick and Asterix so I second all the votes for those, also to throw in my own 2 pence:
Venus Bluegenes, from Rogue Trooper

I can’t believe nobody’s mentioned Harley Quinn.

My favorites have to be:

3. U-Go Girl from X-Force
2. The Sawn-off Shogun from Sinister Dexter
1. Count Rushmore: The All American Vampire

Admittedly that last one comes from a comic which only exist inside my own head, but I’m going to allow it.

I think Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein should win the award for most bizzare naming pun.

How is “Abe Sapien” a pun?

And yes on the terrible “Psy-key” gag. The warlock idea is a much bigger stretch than Claremont throwing us a terrible pun…

The Green Lantern Ch’p, with his friends D’ll and M’nn’e. Their planet was H’lven, which may be a pun I’m not getting. There are several puns in the GL Corps but i’m kinda blanking beyond ch’p & co.

The warlock idea is a much bigger stretch than Claremont throwing us a terrible pun…

Claremont had already done it with “Douglock” and he’s the best there is at cannibalizing his own ideas.

The Ch’p and D’ll one reminds me of the Shi’ar Imperial Guarsdman Warstar, who’s actually two symbiotic aliens, B’nee and C’cil.

@Eliot

H’lven & The Chipmunks

Claremont had nothing to do with Douglock. That was Scott Lobdell. Lord knows Claremont fell from grace but I don’t think his names ever approached that level of atrocity.

The Psylocke / Psy-Key finally thing occurred to me a few years ago, and I really don’t know whether Claremont intended it or not. I always saw it as a play on “Shylocke.”

The best one that hasn’t been mentioned so far is the original Mister Miracel, Scott Free.

Who else hasn’t been mentioned? Actually the only other one I can think of is the little robot girl Elsie Dee, from Larry Hama’s Wolverine run…

Somebody mentioned Jack Russel. That’s the Werewolf By Night. Am I dense? Where’s the pun? Is it a kind of dog or something?

Jack Russel terrier.

Dinah Sore, from Byrne’s run on West Coast Avengers.

Dinah Soar, actually. Because, see, she can fly…

Scott Free was mentioned a lot earlier on.
I purposely didn’t mention L-Ron, as it’s not a pun.
Most of Manga Khan’s other robots aren’t mentioned more than once–but there was one issue that listed several–all named for SF writers–as was referred to above.

One of those robots was Hein-9, which is a pun.

Stefan’s right: “Douglock” isn’t any kind of pun, it’s just a merging of two characters’ names when they themselves merged (more or less). Since Betsy Braddock didn’t merge with any sort of Warlock when she got her codename, that’s not the same thing.

The name, for those keeping track, is just dropped on us out of nowhere in New Mutants Annual #2, right on the first page. No explanation or origin.

Actually the only other one I can think of is the little robot girl Elsie Dee, from Larry Hama’s Wolverine run

You wouldn’t beLIEVE how long it took me to get that one…

This thread’s about dead I guess but I just remembered my favorite pun name!

From the pages of the original X-Force/Cable, but now Punisher War Journal, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent…

George Washington “G.W.” Bridge.

I grew up in the Bronx and it took my mother to point that out to me, when I was like 12.

How is Hein-9 a pun, but L-Ron isn’t??
Hein-9 is a reference to Robert Heinlein another Sci-Fi writer…

Just remebered anotehr great 2000AD one: Armoured Gideon…

Story was so-so, but the pun was great. Giant robot smashing things…

The one that made me wince most recently was Ice Kate from the original Batman & The Outsiders.

Joshua Strasburg

August 13, 2008 at 11:55 am

Marionette, your screenname reminds me of another one I like: I just finished reading Same Difference and Other Stories by Derek Kirk Kim. In it, there is a short comic featuring a marionette character named Mary Annette.

The “real” name of The Vanisher is Telly Porter.

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives