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Not being a comics expert, I can't be sure, but I think this applies mostly to Marvel comics.

Why do so many characters have double initials? There's Pepper Potts, Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Peter Parker and I think at some times there was Bruce Banner (when it wasn't David Banner).

Is this an inside joke or is there some reasoning for this?

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And if I'm right and this is just Marvel, let me know so I can add the marvel-comics tag. –  Tango Jan 20 '12 at 1:38
Lex Luthor, Lana Lang, Lois Lane, Clark Kent (yeah there's a C, but it sounds like a K!). –  Keen Jan 20 '12 at 2:03
You just saw that Big Bang Theory episode didn't ya? –  cambraca Jan 20 '12 at 3:23
It's called alliteration –  apoorv020 Jan 20 '12 at 5:02
The search query that led me here "Does stan lee name ubuntu releases ?" (I use ddg.gg) –  JaDogg Dec 3 '13 at 4:16

4 Answers 4

up vote 30 down vote accepted

Given the fact that Stan Lee was the writer and co-creator across so many of the titles and characters at the formative years of Marvel Comics, it was a way for him to make it easier to remember them when writing and fleshing out the scripts.

Here's a snippet of a Q&A with Stan Lee around the premier of Spider-Man 2 that explains it all:

And we can chalk up all the alliterative names in the Marvel universe to Stan Lee's one failing. "It would be hard for you to believe this, because I seem so perfect: I have the worst memory in the world," Stan said. "So I finally figured out, if I could give somebody a name, where the last name and the first name begin with the same letter, like Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Matt Murdock, then if I could remember one name, it gave me a clue what the other one was, I knew it would begin with the same letter."

If you want to look at DC Comics, and in particular Superman, it may have been due to a personal romantic connection of Joe Shuster, one of Superman's co-creators:

What is the L. L. connection for Superman?
A remarkably large number of characters in the comics have the initials L. L. Most notable are Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Lana Lang, and Lori Lemaris. A rumor says that these names were chosen because Joe Shuster's first girlfriend had the initials L. L.

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I will never, ever, be mature enough to not giggle at Lex Luthor being on that list. –  Zibbobz Oct 16 '14 at 14:30
@Zibbobz Your comment made me giggle! –  Mooz Oct 16 '14 at 20:55
@Zibbobz add in the fact Lex and Clark are both Superboy's biological parents ;) –  Brouellette Mar 9 at 4:36


From "AlliterativeName" article on TVTropes (having a name with the same first and last letter is called "Alliterative Name"):

In comic books, this is especially true of the names of superheroes or their close hangers-on. It was a favorite tool of Stan Lee's, since, swarmed with projects, he often had trouble remembering the characters' names, and the alliteration worked as a mnemonic device. (Though it didn't always work perfectly — Lee occasionally referred to "Peter Palmer" and "Bob Banner".)

In comic books, the Alliterative Name is often also "Two First Names". In cartoons, it goes hand-in-hand with "Species Surname".

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I expected to see a particular reference about names with the same initials in TVTropes, but was sadly disappointed. Don't make me elaborate. Anyway, your warning was too late. Now I must spend the next hour trapped inside TVTropes. –  Andres F. Jan 20 '12 at 2:17
Accio Andres... –  DVK Jan 20 '12 at 2:27
+1 for TVTropes Alert! :-) –  PhilPursglove Jan 20 '12 at 13:07

I think he just did that to remember easier and its cool Bruce banner, sue storm, reed Richards , peter parker , pepper Potts, and the one no body thought of THE THING

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ok, ok... +1 for "THE THING" –  yrodro Oct 16 '14 at 14:28

Because Alliteration is fun! Also when you're working in a larger comic book universe with a complex plot and multiple important major and minor characters I would imagine alliterated names assist the reader in remembering who's who (especially when characters come and go all the time).As a writer myself, I often use Alteration in names as a way to assist readers (and myself occasionally) in remembering those characters- especially if they are relatively minor characters as these catchy names are unique and act as a kind of mnemonic:)

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Welcome to the site, @Anna W.! The purpose of the site is to provide clear, and if possible, definitive answers to questions. While we have chat rooms, the site is not intended as a discussion site or for speculation on possible reasons for an answer. –  Tango Mar 9 at 4:57
You may be 100% correct that this is the reason why. Do you have any quotes you can cite from any Marvel comics creators backing up this idea? –  phantom42 Mar 9 at 5:03

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