The many names of Kitty Pryde

While not as wishy-washy as Hank Pym, the X-Man Kitty Pryde changed her superhero name three times within her first five years.  Today, we’ll take a look at them, if just because the Internet should be a place where no matter what question you have, there should be a website answering it.  That’s the rules — I didn’t make them up.  Following a similar format from last article, let’s get into this. After all, today is educational.

Kitty Pryde

She first showed up as a wide-eyed, optimistic thirteen-and-a-half year-old girl in Uncanny X-Men #129, written by Chris Claremont and written by John Byrne.  Some trivia: this issue also premiered the psychic and eventual Cyclops paramour Emma Frost which my dear friend firestorm78 best describes as a “fabulous bitch.”




Can you tell the romantic sparks flying from the moment Kitty sees her future crush Colossus?  He’s, and not to emphasize the powerful rhetoric used, “kinda neat-looking.”  I tease, but I’m always disappointed when I read a Marvel comic that doesn’t have a robot attack anytime characters step into a diner.  From what I’ve read, it’s a good 50% chance of the store owner collecting insurance when a superhero gets hungry in public.  Also, you see those svelte superhero physiques?  Imagine the calories burned when you have to claw terrorists in between each bite of your hamburger.

In two issues, Kitty officially joins the team as Jean Grey uses her psychic powers to change Kitty’s parents’ minds about having their daughter be raised by superheroes.  I’m just saying that’s the same type of unethical actions that caused Cyclops to kick Professor X out of the X-Men.  But to be fair, Jean Grey is slightly more attractive.


The girl joins the fighting roster ten issues later in Uncanny X-Men #139, written by Claremont and drawn by Byrne.  Though it may be odd to have a seventh grader fight alongside adults battling catastrophic global threats, the original X-Men were only fifteen when they started shooting laser eye blasts at Magneto



Kitty must be referring to the soda with her tab joke, because the Urban Dictionary only refers to a tab as a potentially offensive word to call Asians and I don’t think that applies.  She ditches the Sprite name after thirty issues (and the name is currently used by a mutant at Wolverine’s school), but remember Kitty’s proclamation on the top of the second page.  Ariel?  Ew.  Which brings us to her second superhero name:


This is where it gets complicated.  She definitely takes the name Ariel, but there’s no big reveal like before.  From what I could gather, she first shows off her new costume in Uncanny X-Men #169, written by Claremont and drawn by Paul Smith.



She expresses discontent with Sprite, but so far she’s only switched outfits to a Cirque du Soleil disco theme.  In the famous graphic novel X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills, written by Claremont and drawn by Brent Eric Anderson, we first see her called by her new identity.


The change to Ariel comes from some trauma she experienced with the Morlock underground a few issues back.  She almost married one to save Colossus’ life — who never thanks her and then starts dating someone else — and now the fourteen year-old figures she should upgrade to a more “adult” thing.  Like most middle schoolers believe.

Three years later she gets kidnapped by ninjas, brought to Japan, and brainwashed into an assassin.


Breaking free from the evil ninja leader Ogun’s control, she starts her revenge.  Which goes badly. The girl’s no Wolverine.  Still, before the climactic confrontation, she admits that she’s evolved.  Her hair has gotten shorter, her attitude has gotten tougher, and her eye makeup has gotten darker.  Meet the new Kitty in Kitty Pryde & Wolverine #5, written by Claremont and drawn by Allen Milgrom.





I like Shadowcat — it’s a great superhero name.  Apparently, so does she, because she sticks with it until present day.  Though I can’t remember reading a comic I’ve read in the past two or three years where she’s called Shadowcat — she gets the Emma Frost and Luke Cage treatment of just getting addressed by her real name in place of her alias.  But like most comics before that — here is 2010’s Uncanny X-Men #521 as proof — she’s referred to as Shadowcat:


Hopefully you’ve learned something today — that’s the greatest gift I could give, y’know, after money or material goods.  On Monday, we see an inside look at how Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman pick the Justice League.  Spoiler alert: it’s not cage fighting.

5 Comments on “The many names of Kitty Pryde”

  1. Totally off-topic, but I love Wolverine’s hilarious thought balloon regarding his first glimpse of Emma Frost…

    “Nice lookin’ frail. Somethin’ about her scent, though — raises the hackles on my neck. Wonder why?”

  2. By the way, one of the weirdest-ever retcons that Claremont later indulged in was that Charles Xavier, Wolverine and Kitty Pryde’s father Carmen all served together in the military…

    Obviously all three of them were later stricken with amnesia and completely forgot they all knew each other from years back. Or maybe Xavier just performed one of his infamous telepathic mindwipes.

    • Katzztar says:

      There is a theory that they really didn’t serve in the military together, but were physic illusions created by Xavier’s subconscious.

  3. Katzztar says:

    Article states she’s changed her name multiple times over five years. That after becoming Ariel, it was three years later she was kidnapped by Ogun and became Shadowcat. However, that 5 years must have been in real time because story-wise it was much shorter. As in only one and a half years happed from the time she first joined to the Morlock Massacre.

    For decades I refused to believe it was that short of time. But I finally accepted Marvel as a “sliding time scale” and it applies to Kitty. Not going by real time but story-wise=
    – Kitty is introduced as thirteen and a half yrs old. (Began using Sprite)
    – in a Giant-sized issue’s backstory set shortly after X-Men return from space (Starjammers & Lilandra still present) we see the team give Kitty a birthday party because her 14th b-day passed while they were in space fighting the brood.
    (She used Sprite for about 6 months or so. She was no longer called Sprite very much after return from space though we don’t see use of Ariel until God Loves, Man Kills. She used it for only months since she used Shadowcat the most)

    -in X-Men vs. Fantastic Four, one chapter opens up with Kitty singing a song and she mangles the words so to say “I’m fourteen, going on fifteen”.
    -In early Excalibur issues while rest of team is still lost in timestream (Cross-Time Caper) she had her 15th birthday.

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