Meet the Gang
Like real life, the Luanniverse has a diverse set of characters that have evolved over time. Some characters, like Brad, have changed dramatically, while others have outgrown the strip and new ones have been introduced. When Greg and Karen write the script for the strip, Read More
A young woman in the post-high-school-pre-adulthood stage of life who’s trying to find answers to “Why am I here? Who should I be? Where do I belong? Who do I belong with? Why is my hair orange?” Luann has enjoyed a nurturing upbringing in a normal family; she’s funny, moral, sincere, upbeat and fun. She’s in junior college and has a knack for teaching, singing and stage design. Luann is a romantic - she believes a life of love, fulfillment and perfection is possible. All she needs is a passion to pursue. But what (and who) IS that?
Luann’s best bud since forever. Why? Because they’re total opposites. Luann’s dreamy, optimistic spunk clashes with Bernice’s cautious, sensible pragmatism. Yet Bernice is, like Luann, a romantic. Bernice rarely dates but tends to fall hard for “non-traditional” guys. She attends Moony Uni where she’s a dorm R.A. and is is on track to be a doctor of psychology. A devoted, serious student, Bernice is already an expert at analyzing everyone’s problems. Except her own.
Frank and Nancy DeGroot
Luann and Brad are lucky to have good parents. Frank works at a non-specified job and Nancy is a stay-at-home mom. They’re always there for their kids, providing support, advice and love. In a huge mid-life gamble, Frank and Nancy bought a shabby old warehouse and, with financial help from TJ and the resources of Mr. Gray, transformed it into “The Fuse,” a combo coffee house, diner, performance and meeting space. So far, so good.
Brad DeGroot & Toni Daytona
Brad is Luann’s older brother, Toni is his beautiful wife. Both are firefighters. Brad had been a shiftless slob, tinkering on his car and stuffing his mouth with Oreos until the heroic 9/11 firefighters inspired him to enroll in fire academy, where he met Toni. He’s now a devoted, if still slightly slobby, husband. Toni’s parents were killed when she was young; she and her brother Jonah were raised by their aunt. To shield herself from pain, she lived a super-disciplined, highly structured life. Now, just as Brad is learning orderliness from her, she is learning spontaneity from him. Classic yin and yang.
Jonah and Shannon Daytona
Toni has found her anchor in Brad, but her brother is adrift. Jonah was a wild and reckless teen, fathering Shannon with a run-away mom then single-handedly raising her. But Jonah’s an irresponsible, impulsive, immature dad, endlessly chasing his dream of being a stage actor. Shannon, a first grader, adores her flakey dad but really needs some stability in her life. Petulant, strong-willed and bossy, she bounces between Jonah, Toni and assorted sitters.
Best Bud, Roomie
Sly, smooth, street-smart and shifty, TJ is a charmer with a mysterious history. He’s been Brad’s pal forever and he rents a house from Mr. and Mrs. DeGroot where he lives with Brad and Toni. TJ also invested in The Fuse, the DeGroot’s bold experiment in business. There, TJ owns and runs Kafe Kablooie where everyone hangs out. But TJ is an opportunist who’s not afraid to jump on the next Big Scheme, even if it means bending some rules. He can seem loyal and sincere, but with TJ you never know for sure.
A gorgeous airhead that boys love and girls hate. She wants to go to Hollywood and be a Big Star; too bad she has Small Talent. When Tiffany was a child, her mom vanished, leaving her to be raised by her distant, business-mogul dad. He’s financing Tiffany’s education - and fancy dorm room - at Moony, but as a former hot-shot high school cheerleader, Tiffany feels overwhelmed and lost in the world of Academia. She craves attention but has I trouble: she can’t see past her false eyelashes because she’s vain, self-centered and shallow. But mostly, Tiffany Farrell is lonely.
Dez is Bernice’s roomie at Moony. Dez’s wild and wonderful, creative and colorful lifestyle adds a splash of spice to Bernice’s staid life. With an exuberant zest for adventure and enlightenment, Dez lives on a spiritual plane of mystic thinking and weird teas.
Smart and Sweet
A sweet, nerdy guy with a big brain and small social skills, Gunther stumbles through life with a head full of knowledge and a personality full of quirks (he’s into magic and sewing). He’s a true friend to all because he’s a good listener with a big heart. Gunther goes to Moony, lives at home with his devoted mother and is not a man that girls find compelling. But just wait until he’s a Silicon Valley billionaire.
Wise and Worldly Thespian
A bright, bold, feisty - and gay - New York gal with a Broadway history, Pru lives and talks fast because as a child of foster care, she’s never sure what’s coming next. Her stylish flair is somewhat out of place in Luann’s vanilla world, but she’s found contentment as a server at Kafe Kablooie and as director of the Fuse’s theater. She rents Brad’s old room in the DeGroot home.
Dark and Quiet Type
Who IS this guy? Mysterious, elusive, laconic and somewhat sullen, Piro seems to have no roots, no identity, no home or family. Is he a drifter? A moocher? A war vet? Is he homeless? Is he sick? He’s a student at Moony, drifting from one couch to another then disappearing. Bernice is attracted and intrigued by him but his unpredictability makes a relationship impossible.
Leslie (Les) Knox
Bully (and Underdog?)
Here’s a guy who’s trouble with a capital T. In high school, he was an obnoxious bully, shoving, hitting and threatening anyone he felt he could overpower. He sees the world as always being against him - he never gets a break. So he has to take what he wants, hurting others if need be. He’s had at least one run-in with the law, has absent parents and lives with his uncle, Mr. Gray. Les is a ticking time bomb; he’ll either somehow find a new path or end up in prison.
This odd little man popped out of nowhere yet he seems to have connections everywhere. He and Gunther’s mom have a little romance going on but it’s hard to tell what his feelings are - about anything. He rarely speaks, hardly changes expressions, never wears anything but a gray suit. During the remodel of The Fuse, he magically procured discounted help and materials. Wheeler-dealer? Shrewd businessman? Con artist? Inscrutable Mr. Gray isn’t revealing anything. He is uncle to Leslie Knox.
Jack and Nil
Art Class Buddies
A couple of guys in Luann’s art class, they’re another odd pair. Looking at them, one wonders why Mr. Atlas and Mr. Spook are pals. Yet they are. Jack is a good-time guy who loves women: looking at them, being with them, going out with them, talking to them. He’s not judgmental or pushy, lecherous or creepy. He’s just a fun-lovin’ guy who’s up for anything. Nil is too busy with his claymation films, taxidermy and medieval weaponry to have time for something as frivolous and phony as dating. Yet he does find Bernice moderately intriguing…
An art teacher at the junior college, Zèbo is one odd duck. With an intimidating Euro-style vibe, he lords over his classes like a dictator, “explaining” art with utterances like, “Note the ethereal collusion of peur and traurigkeit.” No wonder Luann has to take this class over and over.
Knute and Crystal
Is there a more unlikely couple than the Dude and the Goth? Knute: zany, freewheeling, loopy and light. Crystal: dark, introspective and menacingly fashionable. He loves Laurel and Hardy, she grooves to Poe. He’s out the door in 12 seconds, she needs two hours. Oddly, he’s a freak for cleanliness; he’s a whiz at janitorial jobs. She’s a skilled welder who turns metal into everything from rings to giant sculptures. Perhaps they’re both so far off the normal track that they actually merge in Outlier Land. They both attend the junior college.
Everything about Ox is big: size, personality, smile, heart. A lovable lug, Ox is a champion of The Little Guy; his mission is to rid the world of bullies. Ox works as a server at Kafe Kablooie.
How Do New Characters Get Named?
When Greg and Karen write the script for the strip, they use the first letter of the character’s first name to indicate who’s speaking. When naming a new character, the aim is to use letters that aren’t already in use just to avoid confusion.
The intent is good but the execution is spotty. There are many names with the same first letter: Les/Luann. Brad/Bernice. Piro/Pru. Jack/Jonah. Tara/Tiffany/Toni!
Going through the alphabet, it’s surprising how many letters are taken:
Axel, Bernice, Crystal, Dez, Eiffel, Frank, Gunther, Hair, Jonah, Knute, Luann, Manazon, Nancy, Ox, Pru, Quill, Rosa, Shannon, Toni, Viper, Zebo.
Only i, u, w, x and y are available. So the next new character will be named Ignatz W. Yakov.