I realized today, apropos of nothing, that I could name five comic-book characters off the top of my head that were modeled on movie stars. Fred MacMurry was famously the inspiration for Captain Marvel, while Marvel's Fandral was based on Errol Flynn, Hogun was based on Charles Bronson, Percival Pinkerton (of the Howling Commandos) was modeled on David Niven and DIno Manelli was quite clearly Dean Martin.

Oh, wait, there's a sixth -- the Ultimate Universe Nick Fury was based on Samuel Jackson.

With the exception of Jackson (who gave his permission for his likeness to be used), I sometimes wonder if those stars were just completely unaware of their images being lifted, or simply didn't care. Or is it just too hard to prove? I remember in 1990 Butch Guice using an image of Amy Grant from the cover of one of her albums, and Grant's lawyers getting on Marvel's case for making it look like the Christian singer was endorsing Dr. Strange.  (Marvel settled out of court.)

Anyway, can anyone think of any more? I sometimes see famous mugs being used in comics for non-recurring faces (especially in Greg Land books) but I'm thinking more of ongoing characters.

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Errol Flynn as Fandral probably was less of a problem, since Flynn died in 1959.

...In my piece on Mary Perkins ~ On Stage I recalled Mary's husband Pete looking rather decidedly

like James Garner and a character from the 70s looking rather like Robert Benchley (who was even a " comics character " of sorts , from his depiction by Gluyas Williams in illustrations to his books)  ~ probably more visually so than Everett Everett Horton , also cited by me but more cited as a " character type " , I guess .

Curt Swan modelled his version of Superman after George Reeves. Gil Kane modelled Hal Jordan after Paul Newman (and the Guardians after David Ben-Gurion). In the 80s Kane drew Clark Kent to look like Christopher Reeve. John Constantine was modelled after Sting.

When Frank Miller was on Daredevil (the first time), he patterned Matt Murdock on Robert Redford.

If I might hijack the Captain's thread briefly, there's an image of Ray Palmer by Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson in this Wikipedia article. This blog post has a self-portrait by Kane. Did he base Palmer on himself, do you think? The impression of a widow's peak in the self-portrait might be misleading, as I think in the portrait his hair is swept over from his left. This page has an image of a self-portrait panel from the first Black Hand story, in Green Lantern #29.

At one point, Norman Osbourn looked like Tommy Lee Jones.

The Joker was based on Conrad Veidt.

I read somewhere that Namor is supposed to look like Fred Astaire.

Early Sinestro was modeled after David Niven, while Vartox was most certainly modeled after Sean Connery in Zardoz.

For a brief time, Bruce Wayne looked like Michael Keaton in some Batman stories of the early '90s.

Green Lantern's (Alan Scott) sidekick was the spitting image of veteran character actor Edward Brophy (even with the same "Brooklynese" dialect).

Ooh, I forgot about John Constantine and Sting -- that's inarguable. Also, I hope someone else sees this, but the current version of Constantine seems modeled -- at least in his own book -- on Jonathan Rhys Myers.

I've heard that Alan Scott was named after Alan Ladd and some other actor, but was he ever drawn to resemble Alan Ladd?

CC, I never knew Sinestro was supposed to look like Niven. Now that you mention it, I see the (obvious) resemblance. Did Kane ever 'fess up to this in an interview or anywhere? And I forgot about Vartox, too, but that one is not only obvious but hilarious! And I never knew about Edward Brophy -- I see the resemblance to Doiby. Again, has that been verified anywhere?



Captain Comics said:

I've heard that Alan Scott was named after Alan Ladd and some other actor, but was he ever drawn to resemble Alan Ladd?

Alan Ladd was a nobody in 1939, so probably not.

CC, I never knew Sinestro was supposed to look like Niven. Now that you mention it, I see the (obvious) resemblance. Did Kane ever 'fess up to this in an interview or anywhere? And I forgot about Vartox, too, but that one is not only obvious but hilarious! And I never knew about Edward Brophy -- I see the resemblance to Doiby. Again, has that been verified anywhere?

I'm not sure if they were verified, Captain.

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