X-Men: Storm’s Real Name First Inspiration

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Today, find out how a few years before Ororo Munroe debuted as the X-Man known as Storm, his co-creator conjured up a very different Ororo in a comic book.

This is “Just Like the Time Before”, a feature in which I examine examples from comic book history where comic book creators created early versions of notable comic book characters and ideas for later plots. Essentially, the “tests” for later, more famous characters and stories.

Forget the Bible (still probably the number one source of name ideas for kids for a moment), people generally tend to be heavily influenced by popular culture when it comes to naming their children. For example, from 2014 people started to really care game of thrones and using Daenerys Targaryen’s nickname, Khaleesi, as the name for their child…



drogo and danaerys from game of thrones

It was never a CRAZY popular name, but it was pretty damn popular there for a while, surpassing all sorts of mainstream girl names (interestingly, Daenerys or even “Dany” never got that popular). However, it wasn’t pretty much the same kind of thing that happened with Arya Stark from game of thrones. The name, Arya, had been around as a male name for quite some time, but it wasn’t until George RR Martin that the name became a girl’s name and it exploded in popularity and is still going strong strong.


arya stark maisie williams game of thrones frey

In 2021, for example, he was in the top HUNDRED girl’s name in the United States! It’s crazy! This means thousands of little girls are named Arya every year. By “crazy” I just mean “surprising” because I don’t have a particular problem with the name.


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SUPERHERO NAMES AFFECT BABY NAMES, TOO

Superhero stories are also a common place to come up with names, like when Harley Quinn was introduced and the name “Harley” exploded in popularity…


harley quinn "Batman: The Animated Series"

Harley isn’t as popular as Arya, but it’s somewhere in the 200s for the most popular girl names in the US.

A name that isn’t as popular, but is still in use there (somewhere around the 16,000th most popular name for a girl in 2021) is Ororo, which previously existed as a term Giant Size X-Men #1, but Ororo Munroe obviously popularized the name…


Giant-sized X-Men cover jump.

We first see Ororo named in Giant Size X-Men #1 (by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum), as she uses her powers in Kenya…



It’s also here that we first learned that her name was Ororo, but obviously the Munroe part didn’t happen until Chris Claremont took over writing the all-new X-Men. quite different from Len Wein…


Now let’s go back a few years to 1971 and see the FIRST time Wein used the name “Ororo” for a woman from an African country.

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WHO WAS THE FIRST ORORO?

Phantom Stranger was a fascinating series where the Phantom Stranger would mainly be used as a kind of facilitator to tell interesting fantasy stories with a bit of horror. Check out Neal Adams’ stunning cover for the issue, ghost stranger #15 (written by Wein from a story idea by his editor, Joe Orlando, and drawn by the great Jim Aparo)…



John Kwelli was the son of the leader of an unnamed African nation and he had left his country to pursue a life in America as a successful cybernetic scientist, but when his father fell ill, John returned home to see his father before his death, but on the way he had a train accident. The Phantom Stranger pulled him from the wreckage, but John then passed out. He woke up to see Ororo, his former love, who had also gone to America to study, but she actually went home unlike John…


John is then reprimanded by a local sage, who talks about their local god, Chuma, and how John dishonored them by abandoning his family…



An oil company has discovered oil in the area and they want the village to sell to them, even if it means they all lose their ancestral home. They don’t want to, but they don’t know how to defend themselves. John has an idea. He builds a robot that uses artificial intelligence and the robot comes to the people LIKE the god Chuma, inspiring people to fight back (and training them too)…


We also learned that the sage was secretly working with the oil company. Okay, things are progressing, but it looks like John did TOO good a job designing Chuma, as the robot developed human feelings and that includes falling in love with Ororo! when she rejects him, he abandons them to their loss…


The Phantom Stranger then convinces Chuma to return and he again rallies the people the soldiers sent by the oil company, but his human side kicks in again and he decides he will eliminate John as a love rival by killing him during the battle. The villagers manage to defend their home, but Ororo saw what Chuma did and she lets everyone know that he is a murderer…


They stone their “god” to death and he’s destroyed and Phantom Stranger gets to teach us one of those good old lessons about not messing with the gods as a man or something…


Interestingly, since the story is about oil, it should be noted that Ororo actually MEANS “oil” in the Yourba Nigerian language (but more like vegetable oil). Anyway, I guess Wein came across the word somewhere and Wein liked the way it sounded and so we came up with an iconic comic book name, just reused a few years later for a character more famous cartoon.

Thanks to reader David B. for suggesting this story (he suggested it for a Look Back, but I think it works well here). Alright, folks, you MUST have suggestions for other characters and/or storylines that fit this theme! So email me at [email protected] for future installments!

KEEP READING: How Superman First Tried To Replace His Secret Clark Kent Identity

The Secret Reason DC Covered Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1


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