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?
Brainy Best Friend
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.
Big Dreams, Bigger Ego
A gorgeous airhead with a plus-size figure and jumbo-size ego, Tiffany dreams of glamour, fame, and fortune. When Tiffany was a child, her mom vanished, leaving her to be raised by her distant, business-mogul dad. He finances Tiffany’s education at Moony - and her ritzy lifestyle - but he’s hit hard times, forcing Tiffany to re-structure her life. Worse, he's dating the evil and manipulative Ann Eiffel who seems bent on making Tiffany's life miserable. As a former hot-shot high school cheerleader, Tiffany feels lonely and lost in the world of Academia. She dreams of being a Tycoon like her dad so that she can be independent of him. But as a student she struggles. Tiffany works as a server at Kafe Kablooie to make ends meet.
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 n' 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, where he excels in engineering. His mom married Mr. Gray, so he now reluctantly lives in their guest house with Les Knox, who used to bully him in high school. The big focus in Gunther’s life right now is his girlfriend, Bets.
Leslie (Les) Knox
Bully Trying to Be Good
In high school, Les was an obnoxious bully, shoving, hitting and threatening anyone he felt he could overpower. As an adult, he is sulky, suspicious, sneaky, but also sometimes sweet. 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. None of this is surprising because Les is Ann Eiffel’s estranged son. Les hates her for abandoning him to be raised in foster care and by Mr. Gray, her brother. Now, Les rooms with Gunther and works at Kafe Kablooie.
Irma and Mr. Gray
Irma is Gunther’s overbearing, overprotective mother. She raised him as a single mom and made him the man (?) he is today. She’s a happy, optimistic, kind-hearted woman and a awesome cook. She’s also an open book, unlike her new hubby, Mr. Gray. He's an odd little man who popped out of nowhere yet seems to have connections everywhere. He's nice enough but it’s hard to tell what his feelings and thoughts are. He rarely speaks, hardly changes expressions, never wears anything but a gray suit. Is he a shady businessman? Con artist? Inscrutable Mr. Gray isn’t revealing anything. He is Ann Eiffel’s brother and uncle to Leslie Knox.
Ann Eiffel is probably the most evil, scheming, cold-hearted character ever to appear in LUANN. She first showed up in 2002 as manager of Borderline books where she gave grief to her new employee, Bernice. Over the years she’s conned, annoyed and alienated herself from most everyone - except for Tiffany’s dad. He adores Ann and they live together. But Ann Eiffel cares about only one person: Ann Eiffel. She’s Mr. Gray’s sister - and Leslie Knox’s estranged mom.
Her motto: “I go where I want, do what I want, AM what I want.” Tara is fearless. At the wheel of her Jeep, she drives restlessly through life, seeking the next Extreme Adventure! She loves the outdoors, archery, parties and mischief. She thinks Luann is far too “safe” and pressures her to cut loose. A couple years ago, she got in trouble at Moony Uni. and now goes to the Jr. college with Luann, Jack and Nil, sharing lab and art classes. But her focus isn’t on school. It’s on the beautiful day just outside the window...
Bets attends Moony Uni., majors in business, loves cosplay and has an overbite. What a perfect match for Gunther! The two of them spend lots of time going to fan-cons and sci-fi films. But Bets also loves social media and spends a little too much time living there, afraid she’ll miss something. She’s outgoing, gutsy and honest, but she seems to need lots of affirmation.
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.
Jack and Nil
Jack and Nil are another odd pair - why are Mr. Atlas and Mr. Spook pals? Yet, they are. Jack’s a good-natured guy who loves women. Despite his biceps, he’s a gentleman; not judgmental, pushy or lecherous. He loves animals, especially dogs, and he and Luann spend quality time together at the dog park, enjoying their honestly platonic relationship. Nil’s too busy with his stop-motions films and odd art projects to have time for something as frivolous and phony as dating. Although he does find Bernice moderately intriguing…
Wise and Worldly Thespian
Bright, bold, feisty, Pru is a New York gal with a Broadway history who describes herself as a "lesbian thespian." She 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.
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.” For some reason, he chose Luann to be his teaching assistant.
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.