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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Luke Blanchard said:

I don't know if this has been stated anywhere, but Two-Face's appearance may have been based on the half-face look of Boris Karloff's character (once disfigured) in The Raven (1935), as this was portrayed on the movie posters (the movie was B&W, so the green look of the disfigured half doesn't appear in it). I don't mean to imply I think the Bat-team were otherwise going for a likeness of Karloff.

I've never heard that before. I haven't seen the 1935 Raven movie. Here is a still from the movie. It sure looks like an inspiration for Two-Face.



Richard Willis said:

Luke Blanchard said:

I don't know if this has been stated anywhere, but Two-Face's appearance may have been based on the half-face look of Boris Karloff's character (once disfigured) in The Raven (1935), as this was portrayed on the movie posters (the movie was B&W, so the green look of the disfigured half doesn't appear in it). I don't mean to imply I think the Bat-team were otherwise going for a likeness of Karloff.

I've never heard that before. I haven't seen the 1935 Raven movie. Here is a still from the movie. It sure looks like an inspiration for Two-Face.

Maybe. I never thought about it until now.

. When I first saw it during the early '70s, it was about 4-5 years before I even heard of Two-Face. It might have made a connection later on had the movie been in color. Cool trivia: Clint Eastwood was slated to become Two-Face on Batman, but the higher ups thought his made-up face would have been to gruesome to air.

...I just brought up the Clintface story recently here , Cape .

  Did it get as far as (even if just tried-out on a dummy/whatever) make-up experiments ?

  I don't know that I've ever seen anything saying that it was ever explicitly even brought up to Clint , maybe/even ~ And presumably , it would have been for the " If NBC had called a couple of days earlier " never-happened fourth season ?

The Caped Crusader said:



Richard Willis said:

Luke Blanchard said:

I don't know if this has been stated anywhere, but Two-Face's appearance may have been based on the half-face look of Boris Karloff's character (once disfigured) in The Raven (1935), as this was portrayed on the movie posters (the movie was B&W, so the green look of the disfigured half doesn't appear in it). I don't mean to imply I think the Bat-team were otherwise going for a likeness of Karloff.

I've never heard that before. I haven't seen the 1935 Raven movie. Here is a still from the movie. It sure looks like an inspiration for Two-Face.

Maybe. I never thought about it until now.

. When I first saw it during the early '70s, it was about 4-5 years before I even heard of Two-Face. It might have made a connection later on had the movie been in color. Cool trivia: Clint Eastwood was slated to become Two-Face on Batman, but the higher ups thought his made-up face would have been to gruesome to air.

Uncle Marvel was based on W.C. Fields.

Dick Briefer drew Frankenstein (as he called him) with characteristics drawn from Karloff's appearance as the monster. I think the resemblance is apparent in this story. The monster has the Karloff version's triangular face, heavily-lidded eyes and hollow cheeks. The look of Briefer's version varied over time, and the comedic version of the character on the middle book cover shown towards the bottom of the post doesn't show the likeness. A point to note here is that when Briefer began drawing the monster Universal hadn't yet had actors other than Karloff play the role.

The Simon and Kirby story "The Hunchback of Hollywood and the Movie Murder" in Captain America Comics #3 involved an actor drawn to look like Karloff called Goris Barloff, but he wasn't a recurring character.

King Kong was the model for Titano the super-ape and the British Mytek the Mighty.

Captain Comics said:

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.

 

Nobody remembers this, but the early appearances of John Constantine in Swamp Thing were also based on Billy Idol.

The first Clayface was horror film star Basil Karlo.

The Golden Age Green Lantern was drawn to resemble Alan Ladd in a few issues of All Star Squadron (around #19 or 20, I think).

Actor Ty Hardin in PT 109 (1963) was the spitting image of the bearded Green Arrow. (I can't take credit for this one I read about it in a magazine!)



Philip Portelli said:

The first Clayface was horror film star Basil Karlo.

Right. A combination of Basil Rathbone and Boris Karloff.

The Golden Age Green Lantern was drawn to resemble Alan Ladd in a few issues of All Star Squadron (around #19 or 20, I think).

Again, in 1939, Ladd was an unknown actor. It was a few years later before he became a star in This Gun for Hire.

Actor Ty Hardin in PT 109 (1963) was the spitting image of the bearded Green Arrow. (I can't take credit for this one I read about it in a magazine!)

There is definitely a resemblance with Hardin's character from PT 109, though not in the politics of Ty and post-SA Ollie. :-)

The hero of the Italian series Dylan Dog was modelled after Rupert Everett, and his assistant, Groucho, is identical to Groucho Marx. My recollection is the latter's moustache was removed to reduce the resemblance when some stories from the series were published in English by Dark Horse.

Cerberus had a character modelled after Groucho Marx called Lord Julius.

If anyone doesn't know, movie star comics, many starring western stars, proliferated in the 40s and 50s. Examples are Buster Crabbe Comics, John Wayne Adventure Comics, Dorothy Lamour, Gabby Hayes Western, Charles Starrett as the Durango Kid, Tim Holt, Dale Evans Comics and The Adventures of Alan Ladd. Some only had short runs, others healthy ones. Dale Evans Comics and The Adventures of Alan Ladd were from DC, which also published The Adventures of Bob Hope, which ran from 1949-1967, and Adventures of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis/Adventures of Jerry Lewis, which ran from 1952-1971.

In his series on DC's Swing with Scooter series, which starts here, "Robby Reed" of the Dial B for Blog site argues that Scooter (pt 3) was visually modelled after Paul McCartney, and that Malibu (pt 4) was a cross between David McCallum as Ilya Kurakin and Butch Patrick as Eddie Munster. I buy both of these: there's room for argument about Butch Patrick (the inspiration for Malibu's vampire traits may have come from elsewhere, his face may have been based solely on McCallum's), but the rest seems beyond question.

Kane Creole was an Elvis Presley analog from Thriller. The stories featured two version of the character, a young man version and a middle-aged version, both clones of the deceased original.


Luke Blanchard said:

. . .  and Adventures of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis/Adventures of Jerry Lewis, which ran from 1952-1971.

DC changed the title of the series, with issue # 41 (Nov., 1957), after the real-life Martin and Lewis team broke up.  Now the company probably had its own, independent reasons for choosing to feature Jerry, rather than Dean, in the magazine.  But it always reminds me of the prevailing public perception, immediately after their separation, that Lewis would go on to be a big star, but Martin would fizzle out and spend the rest of his career as a lounge singer in second-rate nightclubs.

It just goes to show how much the public underestimated what acting skill and comedy talent Dean Martin brought to the pairing.



Commander Benson said:


Luke Blanchard said:

DC changed the title of the series, with issue # 41 (Nov., 1957), after the real-life Martin and Lewis team broke up.  Now the company probably had its own, independent reasons for choosing to feature Jerry, rather than Dean, in the magazine.  But it always reminds me of the prevailing public perception, immediately after their separation, that Lewis would go on to be a big star, but Martin would fizzle out and spend the rest of his career as a lounge singer in second-rate nightclubs.

It just goes to show how much the public underestimated what acting skill and comedy talent Dean Martin brought to the pairing.

Correct. When you factor in his musical and television career, Dino was easily the bigger star (and Jerry's obvious clout at the box office wasn't that much more superior than Dean's, either).

Dean Martin had a likeability that Jerry always lacked. He believed himself to be a genius, not to say that he wasn't in some regards but he clearly bought into his own hype.

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