What’s in a name?

A brief question. Does anyone have strong feelings as to how we should refer to comic creators in reviews? I tend to go full-out with names on the first mention, then switch to surnames. 

Or rather, Martin Gray tends to go full out with names on the first mention, then Gray sticks to surnames.

It’s habit – that’s how I approach the subject when I’m in occasional reviewing mode for work. But often I’ve been enjoying the contributions of the people I’m writing about for years. Calling Geoff Johns, say, Johns might read as a tad impolite, or a remnant of private school (not that I went, you understand …).

But I don’t actually know Geoff Johns, or 99 per cent of the folk I write about, so just calling him Geoff feels a tad presumptuous. One of my blogging chums, Colin of Too Busy Thinking About My Comics, always uses Mr and so on, which sounds fine given the dignity of Colin’s lovely blog, but I’m far from convinced I could pull it off.

I’m not lying awake at nigh worrying about this, but I do wonder occasionally, does flinging surnames around imply a certain snittiness that’s not meant? Any views welcome!

10 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. Full names, then surnames, unless you're referring to two members of the same family, like John and Sal Buscema, in the same review.

    First names are problematic.
    You realize how many Johns, Jerrys, Toms, Marks, etc, there are in this business?


  2. Thanks Britt, that's the gist of the comments I've had on Facebook, to which I linked the post. Phew.

    Now, how was the movie for you? I'm afraid to link to my take, at Eye For Film, just in case …


  3. For some reason, we can say “Gail” and people know whom exactly we mean. But I have referred to her before as “Simone.” When I refer to JT Krul, I call him JT. Possibly because when I say Krul I think of the fantasy movie Krull. Granted, their first names are shorter than their surnames. I don't mention Bendis's first name ever but that is more out of contempt. Some creators though are known by their initials, such as PAD or JMS.

    I think though that when you refer to someone by their first name, it implies a more personal relationship. I have not met too many creators to feign any type of familiarity.


  4. “Now, how was the movie for you? I'm afraid to link to my take, at Eye For Film, just in case …”


    The long version has lots of curses…unsuitable for a family-oriented blog.


  5. Id go with full name, then surname.

    And as for why Gail Simone is usually called “Gail” rather than Simone, I've done some thinking on that. I think the surname bit gets a little confused when dealing with a creator whose surname is also a first name: Simone, David, Isabella. It confuses the issue a little, so Gail becomes Gail, Tony is Tony, and Peter is commonly PAD.


  6. When I've interviewed people I use full name first then first name thereafter – I've only once had an interviewee change it to his surname, but then he was a Lord so I guess they're used to that. That's just my way – I like the reader to feel that they're talking to the person on a one to one basis. When I worked in the US last year, I used the same method – and the Ed changed everything to surnames, which I found incredibly unfriendly and rude! But that's just what the Yanks do. As many of your comic book people are American, I suggest you maintain the US system – refer to them by their surnames, unless you've met them personally in which case you can use their first name. That's my twopenceworth. Hope it helps.


  7. Like most everybody else, I'd go for full name then surname.

    Anyone getting shirty about something as standard as that probably needs to have a word with themselves!


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