Monday, July 6, 2009

Superman’s New Friend, Lloyd the Llama

A post by John Kricfalusi on the Wayne Boring school of Superman drawing ended up teaching me about yet another double “L” character inhabiting the stretch of galaxy between Metropolis and Krypton: Lyla Lerrol (a.k.a. Lyla Ler-rol), a vaguely Marilyn Monroe-looking Kryptonian actress whom Superman meets after stumbling back in time to a point when his home planet hadn’t yet sploded.

I suppose she’s not all that important in the scope of Superman mythos, but her existence makes the list of characters with the initials “L.L.” at least fifteen strong:
Rooting around online didn’t immediately turn up an explanation for this strange, Superman-specific trend. (And yes, while alliterative initials are common in comics, particularly in the Stan Lee-created Marvel series, the “L.L.” characters appear in the various Superman series with peculiar regularity.) Allegedly one comic has Mr. Mxyztplk surmising that the paired letters have a special significance in Kryptonian language, but I’d guess such an explanation happened after-the-fact, maybe even in response to readers wondering what the “L” the deal is.

A message board at reprints a no-longer-extant online exchange about the mysterious initials. It notes that Lois came first and that Lex Luthor didn’t debut as an “L.L.” but just as one “L”: Luthor. Lana was invented to be a Lois analogue for the stories of young Clark Kent and therefore was giving the double initials as well. These three apparently made for enough of a trend that writers continued to name later characters — especially female characters and especially especially women that Superman falls for — in the same style. It seems as plausible an explanation as any other.

I do hope that any Superman-savvy people Googling their way here will share any thoughts on how this odd naming trend came to be.

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