Is there an out-of-universe reason that two prominent Marvel scientists are both 'Doctor Hank'? Obviously I'm thinking of Dr Hank McCoy and Dr Hank Pym.

I think having multiple characters with similar names adds realism (eg several Roberts in Game of Thrones which they edited for the TV series to avoid confusion) but both are doctors and both use the same shortening of a name. It strikes me as quite a coincidence.

Did Stan Lee have a great family doctor called Hank or something? Were they actually created by very different people at a similar time in Marvel's history and it is pure coincidence?

  • @BDFozz - Thanks for this. I'm surprised there isn't more out there or more interest in this question - this is one which really started tickling my brain when I thought of it.
    – ThruGog
    Apr 12, 2017 at 7:33
  • ssa.gov/oact/babynames/decades/names1960s.html - according to Social Security - "Henry" was the 95th most popular name in the 60's. Hank is often a nickname for Henry
    – NKCampbell
    Apr 12, 2017 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


First - it should be noted that Henry McCoy was not a doctor in X-MEN #1; he was still a student. I have generally inferred from the early X-Men stories that our 5 mutants were high-school students; I tend to think later stories invalidate that assumption, but Beast was a student at that time.

Stan Lee was the writer for the first appearances of both Ant-Man and the Beast, so it wouldn't appear to be a case of two different writers coming up with the same name. I believe Ant-Man showed up in 1962, and the Beast in 1964, so Pym was well-established by the time McCoy was created.

While I can't rule out the possibility that Stan was explicitly honoring someone he knew, I don't think that's the case.

Based on comments by Stan Lee about a number of things in the early days of Marvel, he may simply have forgotten there was another character named Henry/Hank when creating the Beast.

Keep in mind the issue of Spider-Man where he calls him "Peter Palmer", and that the reason the Hulk's name is Robert Bruce Banner was that Stan referred to him as Bob Banner in one story.

  • He just forgot that he created two DOCTOR Hanks? In a two year period?
    – ThruGog
    Apr 12, 2017 at 20:25
  • I thought Beast was a teen when created, not a PhD.
    – eshier
    Apr 12, 2017 at 20:41
  • 1
    @eshier - I had actually edited the answer to note this by the time your comment posted.
    – RDFozz
    Apr 12, 2017 at 20:52

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