Characters / Big Nate

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Nate Wright

The title character. Nate is a sixth grade straight-F student, self-proclaimed ladies' man and Renaissance Man, and quite short (4'6" to be exact). His crush is Jenny, who hates him, and his sworn enemies are Gina and Mrs. Godfrey.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Believes that he and Jenny are destined together and uses every possible opportunity to pursue her. Jenny, for her part,does not like him back, but she does tolerate him to some extent.
  • Adorkable: He may be a jerk, but all he wants is to be respected by the kids in his school. Awww.
  • Anime Hair: Has very spiky hair. At one point, his friends try to make fun of him by making an ice cream cone with ice cream that looks like his hair. Nate admits that while he's not happy with it, it is a creative use of "Hershey's Kisses."
  • Arch-Enemy: He has a few for different reasons:
    • Gina: Him being a slacker and her a kiss-up straight-A student, they clash very frequently. Nate's friends see it as a Love Hate Relationship though.
    • Mrs. Godfrey: His social studies teacher. Somewhat one-sided, he does not like her at all and they clash the most frequently. While most of it is Nate's doing, there are times where she also shows her frustration with him. Her favoritism to his older sister may have been a part of it.
    • Randy Betancourt: The school's Top Jerkass. He tends to mess or screw with people For the Lulz. Nate usually steps in to put a stop to Randy's Jerkass deeds and Randy doesn't take stuff lying down.
      • The chapter book Big Nate Blasts Off has this intensify when Nate actually moves on from Jenny and likes a new girl... the same one Randy does. Furthermore, the only times Nate has ever gotten into a physical altercation was with Randy, and this has happened twice so far (the first time being in a prior book where Randy teases Francis and Nate just goes nuts on him.)
  • Butt-Monkey: Gets scared by cats, hurt in sports, fails to impress Jenny, and other things.
  • Berserk Button: Notably, mentioning school during the summer or bringing up the possibility that he can be outdone.
    • Also messing with his friends. Despite not being on speaking terms (due to a fight) with Francis, when Randy bullies him, Nate proceeds to go berserk and physically fight him (he even mentions it's the first time he ever fought someone).
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Nate is amazing with random trivia (basketball, Peanuts, etc.), yet earns horrible grades because he lacks the motivation to study properly. He's also a chess prodigy (even going to the occasional state tournament), and only earns horrible grades in Mrs. Godfrey's Social Studies class. Every other class hovers around a grade of C. He is also shown to be a master prankster and creating some of the largest pranks pulled on Prank Day. From letting a flying squirrel and a moose into the school (Rocky and Bullwinkle theme) to setting up a dating profile with Ms. Godfrey and setting her up on a date with a desperate rodeo clown (evening showing up to school with flowers), Nate shows off a commendable amount of planning and logistics for these pranks.
  • Cannot Talk to Women: Doesn't normally have this problem, but when he gets the chance to talk to Ruby, all that comes out is "Blorf".
  • Casanova Wannabe: Nate frequently tries to chat up any pretty girl he encounters (but especially Jenny, whom he believes is his soulmate), but are almost never successful with his endeavors. There are some aversions, however:
    • He had a girlfriend named Angie in the summer of 1997, who he met at Summer School. She broke up with him six months later, on Valentines' Day.
    • During the summer of 2001, he got a girlfriend named Kelly. Unfortunately, he broke up with her the following year, (they met in soccer camp and was seldom seen, going to a different school).
    • In 2015, he found another girl named Trudy, a seventh-grader whom he met on a carnival ride. However, he broke up with her the following year as he was often forced to be around her friend group of seventh-graders while she never wanted to be around his friends.
  • Catch-Phrase: "Spitsy, you idiot" and "Oh, how I hate her."
  • Cosmic Plaything: Oh so much. While he may deserve his misfortune from time to time, usually, the fates are flatout mean to the kid. Especially when he tries to do something nice for Jenny.
  • Deadpan Snarker: What'd you expect from the Yo Mama King/Nickname Czar/King of the Trash Talk?
  • Dirty Kid: He's somewhat obsessed with a racy Superheroine called "Femme Fatality", which got him in trouble when he lend one of her comics to his 1st grade reading buddy, Peter.
  • Everyone Has Standards: In the strip in which Jenny asks Artur out, she gives Nate the fateful note. He considers disposing it, before realizing it was a sleazeball move... and then goes to deliver it to Artur, chastising himself for not being a sleaseball.
  • Follow Your Nose: Nate's sense of smell is so keen that at several points he identifies several things to crazy specifics (blindfolded) just by smelling them.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Teddy and Francis put up with him more than they hang out him. Lampshaded in one strip, where Nate loudly wonders why one would hang out with people they don't like, and, in the next panel, Francis and Teddy had disappeared.
  • Genius Ditz: Is able to plan out complex pranks with precision, but is unable to name a Chinese emperor.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Continuously tries to win Jenny's affection despite the fact that she and Artur are Sickeningly Sweethearts. However, as of the novel Big Nate Blasts Off, he has moved on from her. He has also moved on from her in the comic strips it seems since she moved back.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Nate is very self-absorbed and sometimes treats others in ways that aren't always acceptable. However, Nate will do the right thing when it counts, such as sticking up for others who need it (in his own way). Nate is often seen sticking up for those needing it (such as when a student is dealing with someone annoying or that's a jerk, Nate lures them to his locker and opens it, blasting them away with the crammed junk.) His reasons for not being nice more often could be due to his status as a Cosmic Plaything.
    • The best example of Nate's true character is in one story when Nate finally finds himself in the cool kids' clique... until the Big Man on Campus Marcus starts bullying Artur, whom Nate is secretly jealous of. Instead of allowing the bullying to continue, Nate decides to tell Marcus off and help Artur up (despite there being nothing in it for him), because he feels Artur is his friend. It's what sets Nate apart from other Middle School story protagonists like Greg Heffley.
  • Loving a Shadow: Tends to do this; he at one point considers dating a girl he hardly knows (Daisy) simply because she might like him. It's even shown that he likes Jenny this way, he really doesn't know much about her as a person and, as his dad puts it, "idealizes" her.
  • Luminescent Blush: Whenever he gets embarrassed or angry. Extends to his ears.
  • Missing Mom: His mother divorced his father when he was young, and he doesn't really know her all that well.
  • The Nicknamer: He's a master nicknamer who has come up with at least a dozen of insulting nick names for the teachers (especially Mrs. Godfrey).
  • The Nose Knows: He's able to pinpoint exactly what something is based on its scent, though he has been fooled on occasion-for example, he assumes that a smell of rose-scented soap is coming from a female teacher, when the source is actually his (male) math teacher.
    Mr. Staples might want to consider using soap that's a bit more macho.
  • The Pig Pen: : He's a slob who practically keeps a junkyard in his locker, and the homework he submitted is always in a mess (crumpled up, stained with various food scraps, etc)
  • The Prankster: The best prankster in school, and had always pulled the craziest stunts during Prank Day.
  • Prince Charming Wannabe: His attempts to court Jenny frequently involves writing her (lame) poetry, calling her "m'lady", and generally trying and failing to be chivalrous around her.
  • Selective Obliviousness: No matter how many times, ways, or just flat-out statements of hate for him he gets, Nate still believes that deep down, Jenny likes him.
    • The chapter novel Big Nate Blasts Off actually has him move on from this and realizes she never really liked him (romantically, anyway.) It also seems to have happened in the strip after his breakup with Trudy.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Frequently boasts of his own greatness, even though he rarely achieve anything.
  • Stalker with a Crush: It is mentioned that he once played a "Love You Like a Love Song"-esque song in order to impress Jenny.
  • The Napoleon: Originally mentioned to be "the shortest kid in school" (before people like Chad came along) and definitely bigheaded enough. Heck, he even mentioned once that Napoleon would make a good middle name.
  • Trademark Favourite Food: Cheez Doodles, which he uses as his #1 subject for poetry writing (when he's not trying to write stupid love poems for Jenny, of course).
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Often becomes one, such as when he treats Jenny's breakups with a smile and basically grinds her feelings to powder. Despite this, Nate has a moral center despite his moral flaws and self-absorbed attitude, which sets him apart from other Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonists, as Nate does ocassionally display traits that will make you want to root for him.
  • Why Can't I Hate You?: To Artur. Interesting example of being a romantic version and nonromantic version. Nate's dislike of Artur stems from Artur being with Jenny, being better at chess and being Born Lucky compared to Nate's Butt-Monkey status. Despite this, he can't bring himself to hate him and is friends with him. He even admits that he finds Artur okay, but is annoyed how nothing bad tends to happen to him.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Nate has a fear of cats. Often Played for Laughs.

Ellen Wright

Nate's older sister, who drives Nate crazy. While originally one of the main characters, she has grown to less significance as the strip goes on.

Martin Wright

Nate's dad. The epitome of a Bumbling Dad, who is divorced, sucks at sports, and on the occasions that Nate is not the Butt-Monkey, expect Dad to be.

  • Berserk Button: It's not a good idea to mention college money to him. He's also rather volatile while working his taxes.
  • Bumbling Dad: Hits pretty much every single note, and seems to have "Epic Fail" written on his attempts to do anything.
  • Butt-Monkey: If Nate isn't the one getting the Butt-Monkey treatment, it's usually his father who takes up the role.
  • Dirty Old Man: Enjoys Nate's Femme Fatality comics, and has an Anna Kournikova screen saver.
  • Fan Disservice: He's a balding, middle-aged guy with a pot belly and has the tendency to walk around shirtless or in shorts.
  • Generation Xerox: Big Nate In the Zone reveals that as a sixth-grader he was actually a lot like Nate, making jokes and goofing off instead of doing his homework.
  • Hollywood Genetics: Guy with ambiguous (probably brown) hair color gets a raven-haired kid and a blonde kid.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Quite a bit. Examples include: Confiscating Femme Fatality when he's a Dirty Old Man himself, telling Nate to eat healthy when in fact he has a rather decent-sized sweet stash, etc.
  • Parental Favoritism: Clearly favors Ellen over Nate. Nate lampshaded it once with a Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue" comic about a "witty prince" (Nate), "evil and hideous princess" (Ellen), and "absent-minded king" (Nate's dad), where in arguments the king would always take the princess' side.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Doesn't seem to notice how much Ellen bullies Nate, and if he does, never is seen doing anything about it. There's even a time where he sees Ellen forcibly noogieing Nate while sitting on top of him...and walks right past, saying to Nate "You're on your own."
  • The Talk: Had one with Nate once, and was so nervous and mixed up that Nate found it amusing and invited Francis and Teddy to come listen.

Ted Wright

Nate's lazy uncle who still lives with Nate's grandparents.

  • Basement-Dweller: He lives with his parents and spends most of his time watching Battlestar Galactica.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Has shades of this, such as when he tried to flirt with one of Nate's neighbors when she was visiting. She didn't really catch on, and Uncle Ted was disappointed when it turned out she was married.
  • Lame Excuse: He's the king of lame excuses, and managed to completely get out of helping Nate paint his grandparent's house with such excuses as "I feel a touch of malaria coming on" and "I probably wouldn't even know what to do with a paintbrush".
  • Lazy Bum: Hoo boy. As if "still lives with his parents" wasn't enough of a hint.

     Students of P.S. 38 

Francis Butthurst Pope

Nate's best friend, a bookish, school-loving, at times borderline butt-kisser. He's, among other things, a Neat Freak, Nice Guy, and Deadpan Snarker.

Teddy √ Ortiz

Nate's other best friend, who matches Nate in prankster tendencies. On the rare occasions that anyone agrees with Nate, it will most likely be Teddy. His parents are mathematicians, as evidenced by his middle name being the square root symbol.

  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: The fact that his parents are math teachers doesn't mean that he enjoys math any more than Nate does.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He enjoys making wisecracks.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: The square root symbol (it's mentioned that his parents are math teachers).
  • Nightmare Fetishist: He can be rather gross, as Nate first opened up to him when he played around with a squid's leg to pretend they were boogers during a science class. He has also more than once disgusted his friends when he started to discuss about his eating habits, such as when he ate so many gummy bears that he threw up.
    Teddy: One bear came out my nose.
  • Only Sane Man: He's the most normal of the trio — he's not as wacky or stupidly reckless as Nate, but is far more socially adept then Francis.
  • The Prankster: Which is one of the reasons why Nate got along with him so quickly.
  • Shout-Out: In terms of looks, Teddy is essentially Franklin.

Dee Dee Dorcas Holloway

A Canon Immigrant from the books who eventually became a character in the comic strip. She's a member of the drama club and a fellow cartoonist.

  • Canon Immigrant: She appeared only in the books for a while before becoming one of Nate's friends in the comic strip as well.
  • Drama Queen: Part of the drama club, so it is a given.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Her middle name is Dorcas, though she seems to have crossed over into Never Heard That One Before territory by the time she mentions it to Nate.
  • Large Ham: Deliberately, as she take her drama club activities very seriously.
  • Meganekko: She wears glasses.
  • Nice Girl: One of Nate's best friends, and for good reasons.
  • Only Sane Man: Is the best one of Nate's friends to talk to if you need to resolve something, and she's good at figuring out relationships. Also sees herself as this—she's the one who rolls her eyes the most in response to the other characters.
  • Race Lift: She was originally white in the books, but got an Asian skin tone when she made her comic strip debut.

Chad Applewhite

A Tiny Schoolboy who is amazingly cute and friendly, so gets the attention of all the girls without even trying. Is a member of Nate's modern group of friends.

Note that there have been a lot of one-time characters named Chad over the years; this is the first one to be a major part of the cast.

  • All-Loving Hero: He can't really hate anyone unless they specifically bully him.
  • All There in the Manual: Chad's last name, Applewhite, is only mentioned on a chart in Big Nate Flips Out.
  • Berserk Button: The only real way to tick him off is to comment on his height or weight.
  • Big Eater: He loves food, especially sweets. Hey, that chub has to come from somewhere.
  • Black Bead Eyes: One of the few characters to have them.
  • Chick Magnet: Really, just about every girl in the school thinks Chad's adorable. Even Gina.
  • Cloudcuckoo Lander: He occasionally drops in just to deliver a line on his train of thought.
    Nate: (after being told that his outstanding detentions have been removed from records) I like to think of all my detentions as outstanding.
    Chad: I like to think of chocolate donuts!
  • The Cutie: Definitely! There's a reason why he can easily get any girl to pay attention to him. Though he drops this if you push his Berserk Button.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Well, in a non-gay way. When Chad describes how he gets a girl's signature in his yearbook (by going up to them and saying in his cute way "Will you sign my yearbook?"), Nate notes that even he wants to hug Chad.
  • Hidden Depths: Owns a Peruvian snake venom extruder, which Nate finds in his locker once. Nate even lampshades it, saying, "There's more to Chad than meets the eye."
  • Nice Guy: He's awfully humble and nice for being the Chick Magnet that he is, and really doesn't dislike anyone unless they are mean to him specifically. Nate even references this when Chad asks Nate to make him a super-villain in his comic.
    Nate: Chad, no offense, but... I don't think you're the super-villain type. (gives Chad a noogie) You're too nice!
  • Tagalong Kid: To Nate's group of friends.
  • Youthful Freckles: Adds to his "cute" appearance.

Jenny Jenkins

Nate's long-running crush who is often annoyed and angered by him. Despite this, she manages to have something of a friendship with him. Is currently dating Artur. Moved to Seattle for awhile in 2013, but ended up returning. Nate also seems to have gotten over her after his breakup with Trudy.

  • Alliterative Name: Jenny Jenkins.
  • Berserk Button: Can get rather violent when Nate makes advancements or accidentally messes her up when trying to do something.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When dealing with Nate.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: She's blonde, popular and is Nate's biggest crush.
  • First Love: Nate's first crush, dating all the way back to first grade.
  • Hair Decorations: She wears a black hairband.
  • Lysistrata Gambit: Uses a (toned down) version of this technique to beat Nate at Monopoly.
  • Odd Friendship: Although Jenny frequently shoots down Nate's advances with either violence or harsh words, she frequently hangs out with him and the rest of his friends for swimming or Monopoly. She also appeared more often early in the strip as just one of Nate's friends whom he had a crush on.
    • Nate's Odd Friendship with her boyfriend Artur may be a reason. In a chapter book, she goes to Nate when Artur is an uncharacteristically bad mood (inadvertently caused by Nate, though only he knows that) and when he asks why she came to him, she mentions that Artur trusts and respects Nate.
  • Official Couple: Artur is her best-known boyfriend, but she's also had several other boyfriends before him.

Artur Pashkov

A transfer student from Belarus, who is Nate's Foil. While he is probably the nicest character in the strip, he has a one-sided rivalry with Nate (from Nate's point of view). Very blind to sarcasm.

  • Always Someone Better: He is better at drawing and chess than Nate, two skills that Nate values the most about himself. However, while Nate has no problem with Artur being a better artist, Artur's superiority in chess bothers him to no end.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Has these instead of lines like the other characters.
  • Born Lucky: One of his traits that bothers Nate's, contrasting with his Butt-Monkey status.
  • Foil: To Nate. While Nate is a Casanova Wannabe, Butt-Monkey, and Deadpan Snarker, Artur is probably the nicest person in the strip, a Chick Magnet, Born Lucky, and seriously Sarcasm-Blind.
  • Foreign Exchange Student: He's an exchange student from Belarus.
  • Funny Foreigner: He is from Belarus.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Due to his somewhat poor English skills, he occasionally says offensive stuff without actually understanding what they mean.
  • Literal-Minded:
    • When asked if he wants to play table football, he jumps on a table.
    • When asked if he had ever played soccer, Artur responded that no, he hadn't... because he isn't from America, and it was called football there.
  • Metaphorgotten: See Literal-Minded.
  • Nice Guy: Negative emotions are practically nonexistent to Artur, though Nate annoyed him once or twice.
  • Odd Friendship: With Nate. Despite Nate's one-sided rivalry, Nate means a great deal to Artur. In fact, when Artur was upset (accidentally due to Nate and known only by Nate, Teddy and Francis), Jenny says she went to Nate because of how much Artur trusts him.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Partly due to being a foreign student and serves as a good Foil to Deadpan Snarker Nate.
  • Unknown Rival: Nate has a massive grudge against Artur for being better than him in several things (particularly, chess and art, two skills Nate prides himself on, though the latter is almost never addressed). To make matters worse, Artur is not only better at them than him, he's so darn modest about it!


A popular girl who is Francis' girlfriend. She's not too common nowadays, however.

  • Flat Character: She really only exists in the strip as Francis' girlfriend and as an extra, without much character.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: She goes out with Francis, the resident Smart Guy.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Sometimes shown as a reporter for the school newspaper.
  • Nice Girl: Her main character trait. She never really got much character development other than that, which is probably what led to her being Out of Focus.
  • Only One Name: Her last name is never revealed, though one comic referred to a character named "Sheila Stapleton", which may or may not be her.
  • Out of Focus: Sheila was most common early in the strip, but hasn't been in many strips as of late.

Gina Hemphill-Toms

Nate's other arch-enemy, Gina is the polar opposite of Nate, getting straight A's and never letting him forget it. Basically, she's Ellen all over again, just a whole lot less ditzy.

  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Takes pride in her academic achievements, and generally treats other people like shit.
  • Flanderization: In her first appearances, Gina was simply a good student who liked to challenge herself, and got on Nate's nerves simply by being as smart as she is. But nowadays, she's an Insufferable Genius and Academic Alpha Bitch.
  • Insufferable Genius: She likes to show-off her knowledge by trying to answer any and every question Mrs. Godfrey asks in class. She once had a knowledge show-down with Francis to determine which of them is smarter.
  • Kick the Dog: Nate's not a nice person, but tattling on Nate for the way he breathes is just weird.
  • Not So Above It All: Gina was quite annoyed by Nate's weird habit of hitting his head with a plastic bottle as stress relief. He then had the moxie to hit her head with it... which prompted her to do it and it relaxed her as well.
  • The Smart Guy: One of the smartest kids in the school.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: She wears glasses and, along with Francis, is one of the smartest students in Nate's year.
  • Teacher's Pet: She's one of Mrs. Godfrey's favorite students (the other being Ellen) and appears to enjoy being in her company. Once, an unusually friendly Gina meets Nate & co. in the beach and asks if she can hang around with them. Nate drove her away by pointing out that Mrs. Godfrey is also at the beach, and wouldn't Gina want to be with her instead? It worked.

Randy Betancourt

The main bully of P.S. 38, not counting Chester. Loves to pick on Nate and his friends often. He's stopped being a bully by the end of Big Nate Blasts Off, at least in the books.

  • The Bully: Clearly.
  • Freudian Excuse: As revealed in Big Nate Blasts Off, his parents don't live together and by the time he tells Nate, they're getting divorced. Randy says that every week he moves "from [his] mom's house to [his] dad's. And back again." It's hinted that his mixed-up way of living made him dysfunctional.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Becomes Nate's friend at the very end of Big Nate Blasts Off after winning the Mud Bowl. Unfortunately, we've yet to see this happen in the comics.
  • Jerkass: Does mean things to kids for fun, like stealing Nate's clothes during a dance in Big Nate Goes For Broke.
  • Signature Laugh: "Nya ha ha!"
  • Swirlie: Apparently, this is one of his favorite methods of payback.

Kim Cressly

A stout, stoic girl who has a thing for Nate (though Nate doesn't like her). Nowadays she's going out with Chester.

Chester Budrick

Another bully who clearly has some... issues. He's described to be six and a half feet tall, three hundred pounds, and has five o' clock shadow. He has a extremely short temper, so beware of pushing his Berserk Button. Is currently dating Kim Cressly.

  • Barbaric Bully: Has given Nate huge wedgies, stuffed him into garbage cans, and just plain beat him up multiple times.
  • Berserk Button: Really, just about anything can offend Chester. One kid got a hot dog shoved up his nose for refusing to share his lunch with him.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Over Kim, which she casually mentions to Nate. Chester doesn't want Kim even talking with other guys (and is hinted to beat up boys that she talks to), Kim goes ahead and chats with Nate anyway.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With Kim, but mostly would just look this way due to his massive size.
  • Shout-Out: Chester's method of speech and his size can remind a reader of The Hulk.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Occasionally speaks like this.
    Chester: You called me a beast. That makes me want to hit you.
    Nate: No, I... (coughs) I said beets! I'm pro-vegetable!
  • The Voice: Chester's almost always shown completely off-panel; if we do ever see him, it's generally his fists. The most we've ever seen of him is his body from the neck down, in Big Nate On a Roll.
  • Younger Than They Look: As mentioned above, he's over six feet tall and has five o' clock shadow, and yet he's still in sixth grade. Though he might not be as old as Nate and his friends, given the hints that he's been to summer school and might have been held back several years for anger issues.


Nate's first girlfriend. Nate met Angie when he was going to summer school; she had moved into town late in the school year and had to go to summer school to catch up. She shares some of Nate's interests, like art, soccer, and Cheez Doodles. Angie broke up with Nate after she just lost interest in their relationship, leaving Nate crushed.

  • Birds of a Feather: Angie has plenty of things in common with Nate; she loves drawing cartoons and Cheez Doodles seem to be her favorite food as well. She also likes soccer, though she seems to be a lot better than Nate.
  • The Bus Came Back: After dumping Nate, Angie made two other appearances in the comic strip: one where Nate helps her resolve an argument with her boyfriend, and one where she runs for school president against Nate (and wins).
  • Official Couple: With Nate until they broke up.
  • Second Love: Nate's second major crush after Jenny, and he fares a lot better with Angie than Jenny.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: During Halloween, Nate was dressed up as a Cheez Doodle and planned to meet Angie during the night to go trick-or-treating. Francis figured that Angie will dump Nate on the spot when she sees the ridiculous costume, but it turns out that Angie's wearing the same costume.


Nate's latest girlfriend, nicknamed Trudy. Nate met her at a summer fair and instantly developed a crush on her. It took some time to discover that she was a new student and also a seventh grader. Nate broke up with her when she refused to hang out with his friends.

Breckenridge Puffington III

A new kid introduced in Big Nate Lives It Up. Is obsessed with botany.

  • Adorkable: His extensive knowledge about plants and flowers makes him annoying at times, but remains a positive person.
  • The Bully: Used to be this.
  • The Cameo: Gets a small cameo in Big Nate Blasts Off in Nate's Imagine Spot.
  • Demoted to Extra: After being a major character in Big Nate Lives It Up, Breckenridge only gets a minor cameo in the next book.
  • Karma Houdini: Breckenridge was a bully to Nate as a toddler, but he always got away with it. Later, though, Nate forgives him and they remain friends.
  • Nice Guy: He is like this now, but as a toddler, on the other hand...
  • The Smart Guy: He knows everything about flowers.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: He knows lots about botany, and wears glasses.
  • Unfortunate Names: Not like most examples, but come on. Would you want his name? It's clear that Breckenridge isn't a big fan of his name either, considering the many cruel nicknames that stem from it.

     Faculty of P.S. 38 

Clara Godfrey

Nate's social studies teacher and Arch-Enemy. While not as evil as Nate often describes her (because only Umbridge could be that evil), often shows blatant favoritism.

  • Arch-Enemy: She is one of Nate's least favorite teachers (after Coach John). Mrs. Godfrey, on her part, detests Nate for his lack of effort and disrespectfulness, and is shown to be very pleased when Nate is assigned to another teacher during the school's temporary "visit" to Jefferson.
  • Does Not Like Spam: As stated below, she hates jelly beans.
  • Evil Smells Bad: According to Nate, her breath stinks of dead fish.
  • Fat Bastard: She's a Sadist Teacher who is fat.
  • Hidden Depths: As it turns out, Mrs. Godfrey loves Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: In an old yearbook she is shown to be quite attractive. Nate and Teddy don't initially know that it's her since she's labeled as "Ms. Lessard" (her maiden name), and faun over her until Francis tell them who the attractive teacher really is.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Her favoring of Gina and clear dislike of Nate may seem unfair, but Gina's obviously a very good student, while Nate is lazy and clearly doesn't care about school at all.
  • Parental Favoritism: Quite blatantly favors Gina over Nate. A recurring gag is that Gina will answer a question (without raising her hand and usually with a loud "OOH!", but when Nate does the same thing, she shoots him down.
  • Pet the Dog: When Nate tells her he's unable to do homework because of a family emergency, she turns sympathetic and excuses him from the homework, and even advises him to find someone compassionate to talk about his problems with. Too bad said family emergency was a lie.
  • Sadist Teacher: While Nate does bring a lot of it on himself, Ms. Godfrey is usually unfair to him. For example, when Gina complains about Nate's loud breathing, Mrs. Godfrey immediately ordered Nate to stop breathing, even though he's not really doing anything wrong.
  • Skewed Priorities: At one point, Nate sneaks into her desk to see if he can find his research paper topic. Mrs. Godfrey catches him, but the first thing she notices is that Nate ate her Skittles.
  • Sweet Tooth: Loves candy (but can't stand jelly beans), and has been mentioned to have Skittles and Junior Mints hidden in her desk.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: At one point, Mrs. Godfrey gets sick and Coach John becomes the substitute for the social studies class. Nate is happy at first that Mrs. Godfrey is gone, but quickly realizes that Coach John is even worse as a teacher. As such, Nate is ecstatic when Mrs. Godfrey returns.

Ken Rosa

Nate's art teacher (and favorite teacher). Often regrets his choice of job.

  • Berserk Button: Do not tell Mr. Rosa that it's easy to be a teacher, or he'll probably start laughing maniacally.
  • Cool Teacher: As a guy who teaches Nate's favorite subject, manages and motivates the chess team, and even helps Nate with his personal issues, he's a pretty cool guy. Heck, he even nicknames teachers (read: his colleagues) and seems to hate Mrs. Godfrey like Nate does!
  • Deadpan Snarker: Falls into this occasionally, especially when stressed from his job.
    Nate: You [teachers] get to use an electric pencil sharpener while we [students] get this crank model! This thing is a total dinosaur! I mean, you might as well make us whittle our pencils!
  • Meaningful Name: "Rosa" is another word for the color pink, and Mr. Rosa is an art teacher. There's also an amateur art company called Rose Art.
  • Nice Guy: He's one of the nicest people in the school to Nate, even as an overworked teacher.
  • Not So Above It All: He secretly nicknames the other teachers, as shown when he slips and calls the (unseen) teacher Mr. Granger "Granger the Stranger". He also thinks of Mrs. Godfrey as a "tyrant".

Miss Clarke

Nate's English teacher. She's supportive of Nate and generally nice to all the students, and also one of Nate's favorite teachers.

  • Hot Teacher: In an early comic that had Nate rap about school, he described Miss Clarke as "hot", suggesting that he thinks of her this way.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Occasionally uses phrasing like this, but that's mostly for teaching.
    Miss Clarke: For a nonrestrictive clause or phrase, but not for independent clauses joined by coordinating conjunctions...
    Nate: Say what?

Mr. Staples

Nate's math teacher. He has a passion for math and bad jokes.

Mr. Galvin

Nate's science teacher. He's pretty old and very boring, so his class isn't the most exciting.

  • The Bore: There's not a lot of action in his classes. Mr. Galvin is boring to listen to, makes the kids do lame experiments, and has earned the nickname "Fossil Face" for having almost no sense of humor.
  • Collector of the Strange: He collects potatoes shaped like president's faces.
  • Dirty Old Man: Believe it or not, Mr. Galvin is one. Nate once bribed him into not giving him detention by giving him a swimsuit photo of Greta Van Susteren.
  • Opaque Lenses: You can't see through his glasses.
  • Vague Age: He's old, but we're not sure just how old. When Nate asks Mr. Galvin how old he is, Mr. Galvin replies "I was born in the Holocene epoch," though that isn't any help, considering that it's the time period we currently live in and began millions of years ago.

Coach Calhoun

Nate's gym teacher, coach, and health teacher, except when Coach John fills in for him.

  • Foil: To Coach John. They're both gym teachers, but Calhoun is rather friendly to his students and congratulates them for trying their best, while John is Drill Sergeant Nasty to the students and only cares that they win games.
  • Nice Guy: Like Mr. Rosa, he sometimes takes the time to help Nate with his personal problems.
  • The Pollyanna: He's pretty positive, seeing the best of everyone and preferring to stay on the bright side even during a hopeless baseball game.

Coach John

The other gym teacher and coach in P. S. 38. He's a bit old-fashioned with his coaching tactics, and prefers to yell at kids and make them run wind sprints.

  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: He treats kids like they're in a boot camp. "Training" for sports mostly involves lots of wind sprints and push ups. Nate even says that if you take away the uniform from a stereotypical drill sergeant, you'll end up with Coach John.
  • Fat Bastard: He's cruel to the students, and so fat he can't see his own feet.
  • Foil: To Coach Calhoun, given that one is kind and positive and the other is mean and demanding.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: When he's not being a harsh gym coach, Coach John does other jobs. He's been a substitute school nurse, lifesaving instructor, substitute teacher for Mrs. Godfrey's class, and yoga teacher.
  • No Indoor Voice: He tends to raise his voice quite a bit.
    Coach John: LET'S GO, LADIES! STRAP 'EM ON!

    Students of Jefferson 


The main bully of Jefferson that harasses P. S. 38 students.

  • The Bully: Picks on anyone from his rival school.
  • Canon Foreigner: He has yet to appear in the comic strips.
  • Irrational Hatred: To everyone from P. S. 38.
  • Jerkass: Just like nearly every other Jefferson student, he bullies P. S. 38 kids for no good reason other than they're from P. S. 38.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: He's beaten spectacularly in the Ultimate Snowdown by the P. S. 38 kids.


One of Nate's former girlfriends whom he met at a summer soccer camp. She's a little more on the tomboyish side, liking soccer and football. She's notable in that she's the only named student we've seen from Jefferson that doesn't show Irrational Hatred to any P. S. 38 kid. Nate ended up breaking up with her through a note that he delivered to her house. Unfortunately, Kelly saw him as a jerk for not breaking up with her face-to-face, dumping him.



A dog belonging to Nate's neighbor and is probably the closest thing to a pet Nate could ever have.

  • Big, Friendly Dog: Often greets Nate by glomping and licking him. Nate regards this gesture as either touching or annoying (usually the latter, though).
  • Cone of Shame: Spitsy is never actually seen without his collar, and it enhances his goofy appearance. Fitting, for a dumb dog like him.
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Nate constantly calls him an idiot for getting beat up by squirrels and going out for parties with Francis's cat.
  • Glomp: His preferred way of greeting people, especially Nate.
  • Interspecies Romance: Is dating Francis's cat, Pickles. Don't think on that one too hard.


Francis' cat. As cats go, she's basically a prodigy (especially compared to Spitsy).


Nate's class hamster who spends his days snarking at the class' antics.

  • Deadpan Snarker: His only "lines" consist of him making snide commentaries about Nate and his classmates, especially when they start fussing about him. Here's one of his gems:
    Nate: It's a cheesy trinket! Sherman deserves something more dignified!
    Sherman: At this point, the dignity ship has sailed.
  • Silent Snarker: Well, he isn't a Talking Animal, so nobody in-universe can actually hear his snark.