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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Philip Portelli said:

I suddenly thought about a teenage Shirley Temple.

PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod said:

Philip Portelli said:

Not sure if Kathy was a good choice but I can't think of a better one.

 

Judy Garland

 

And you just made me recall that I would have liked to have seen The Wizard of Oz with Shirley Temple as Dorothy, Moe Howard as the Tin Man, Larry Fine as the Scarecrow, and Curly Howard as the Cowardly Lion.

MGM originally wanted Shirley Temple to play Dorothy but Darryl Zanuck wouldn't agree to it. Makes you wonder what Judy Garland's career would have been if this had happened.

 

Philip Portelli said:

All this talk made me think about a 1960's Avengers movie/TV show . . . .

 

I played this game once a few years back and made a Deck Log Entry out of it.  In my original cinematic version of the Avengers, I selected performers on the stipulation that their presences would be at the time when they were age-appropriate to the hero.

Philip, you put a little spin on it by requiring performers who would have been age-appropriate for their rôles in the '60's.  Fortunately, most of my original choices fit that requirement, but I had to make some substitutions in a couple of cases.

My cast for a 1960's The Mighty Avengers television series would be:

CAPTAIN AMERICA . . . . Ty Hardin

IRON MAN . . . . . . . . . . . Anthony Eisley  

(It's almost impossible to write Errol Flynn out of that part, but by the '60's, not only would Flynn have been too old for the part, he was dead.)

THOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Dave DraperMr. Universe 1966

GIANT-MAN . . . . . . . . .  James Franciscus

THE WASP . . . . . . . . . . Lisa Gaye

(Of my original choices, this one was the toughest to toss out.  Barbara Britton would have been the perfect Janet van Dyne.  However, by the '60's, Miss Britton, while still gorgeous, would have been ten years too old for the rôle.)

HAWKEYE . . . . . . . . .  Robert Culp  

(The actor I tossed out in this case, Lex Barker, was visually closer to Clint Barton, but Culp's acting style and image fits the bowman better.)

QUICKSILVER . . . . . . . Horst Buchholz

SCARLET WITCH . . . .  Myrna Fahey

(As much as I appreciate the nod to Ann-Margret, Philip, the Scarlet Witch of the 60's had black hair, not red, remember?)

HERCULES . . . . . . . .  Alan Steel  

(Yes, I know---everyone likes to go with Steve Reeves, but I think Steel was a closer visual fit to Herc.)

BLACK PANTHER . . .  James Edwards, one of the best and most unsung actors going in the '50's and '60's

and, of course, we cannot leave out . . . 

JARVIS . . . . . . . . . . .  Dean Jagger  

(A little old for the part, but in this case, I'm willing to stretch the point.)



Commander Benson said:

Philip Portelli said:


THE WASP . . . . . . . . . . Lisa Gaye

(Of my original choices, this one was the toughest to toss out.  Barbara Britton would have been the perfect Janet van Dyne.  However, by the '60's, Miss Britton, while still gorgeous, would have been ten years too old for the rôle.)

As beautiful (and leggy) as she was, her sister Debra Paget just had the something extra to play Janet.

SCARLET WITCH . . . .  Myrna Fahey

(As much as I appreciate the nod to Ann-Margret, Philip, the Scarlet Witch of the 60's had black hair, not red, remember?)

Another obscure beauty and actually had a role in a comic-book show (Batman). I think she would have been a good choice.

I remember hearing somewhere that Robbie Robertson was modeled after Sidney Poitier.

And weren't Winky, Blinky and Noddy modeled after the Three Stooges?

Commander Benson said:

HAWKEYE . . . . . . . . . Robert Culp

(The actor I tossed out in this case, Lex Barker, was visually closer to Clint Barton, but Culp's acting style and image fits the bowman better.)

Watching I Spy in it's original run, I remember being struck by Culp's portrayal of Kelly Robinson. Bill Cosby's Alexander Scott was likeable and competent (as well as being a break-through character for the time). Culp's character was sometimes unlikeable, dangerous and occasionally a little crazy. An imperfect hero, which was new to me at the time.

As an aside, I just found out that the Ant-Man movie will have Henry Pym but that he WON'T be Ant-Man.


The Caped Crusader said:



Commander Benson said:

Philip Portelli said:

THE WASP . . . . . . . . . . Lisa Gaye

(Of my original choices, this one was the toughest to toss out.  Barbara Britton would have been the perfect Janet van Dyne.  However, by the '60's, Miss Britton, while still gorgeous, would have been ten years too old for the rôle.)

 

As beautiful (and leggy) as she was, her sister Debra Paget just had the something extra to play Janet.

 

SCARLET WITCH . . . .  Myrna Fahey

(As much as I appreciate the nod to Ann-Margret, Philip, the Scarlet Witch of the 60's had black hair, not red, remember?)

 

Another obscure beauty and actually had a role in a comic-book show (Batman). I think she would have been a good choice.

I applaud your knowledge of performers, sir.  I did have a reason for choosing Lisa Gaye over her older sister, Debra Paget.  I am familiar with both of them on the screen, of course.  It's my evaluation that Miss Gaye handled light comedy better than Miss Paget.  Granted, Debra Paget had the more striking screen presence, but I felt that wasn't as important to filling the rôle of Janet van Dyne as was the ability to handle what would otherwise be inane lines and give them enough of a light comic touch to make them work.  Either actress could do that; however, I thought Miss Gaye would have done it better.



Commander Benson said:


I applaud your knowledge of performers, sir.  I did have a reason for choosing Lisa Gaye over her older sister, Debra Paget.  I am familiar with both of them on the screen, of course.  It's my evaluation that Miss Gaye handled light comedy better than Miss Paget.  Granted, Debra Paget had the more striking screen presence, but I felt that wasn't as important to filling the rôle of Janet van Dyne as was the ability to handle what would otherwise be inane lines and give them enough of a light comic touch to make them work.  Either actress could do that; however, I thought Miss Gaye would have done it better.

No, you have a point. Portraying the Wasp does need a deft comedic touch that not every gorgeous woman of that time (or now) could have handled. Still, I am reminded of Debra's performance in Stars and Stripes Forever when I state I think she could have handled it. Besides, I have been in love with her ever since I saw her in The Ten Commandments back in the '70s. IOW, I say the more roles for her would have been for the better! :-D

Wasn't there also a comedy-relief con-man character in 1950s Superman books based on W.C. Fields? J. Wolfington somebody?

Luke Blanchard said:

Uncle Marvel was based on W.C. Fields.


Captain Comics said:

Wasn't there also a comedy-relief con-man character in 1950s Superman books based on W.C. Fields? J. Wolfington somebody?


You're thinking of J. Wilbur Wolfingham, Cap.  He was a clear send-up of Fields.  He debuted in the tale "Comedian's Holiday", from Superman # 26 (Jan.-Feb., 1944) and went on to make eleven more appearances in SupermanAction Comics, and World's Finest Comics between '44 and 1952.

Then he was consigned to comics limbo, until Len Wein resurrected him for an appearance as the protagonist in "The Man Who Could Cause Catastrophe", from Superman # 341 (Nov., 1979).  For some reason, Wolfie was deemed suitable for an encore six years later, in "The Sale of the Century", from Action Comics # 573 (Nov., 1985).

Hope this helps.

A British comic called Funny Wonder ran stories starring Charlie Chaplin from 1915. Examples of a later British comic mostly made up of comedic star-strips called Film Fun can be found at Comic Book Plus in its "UK Comics and Australian" section.

Sheldon Moldoff's original version of "The Black Pirate" was inspired by the Douglas Fairbanks movie of the same name. The face of the Pirate in the "Now, by Zeus" panel on one of the pages reproduced in this obituary thread resembles Fairbanks's but I doubt Moldoff aimed to make his character look just like him, because I think he could've achieved a consistent close likeness if he'd wanted to. In contrast, the artist of the "Red Gaucho" series from Nickel Comics mimicked Fairbanks's broad grin and poses. That series may have been inspired by his movies The Mark of Zorro or The Gaucho.

An adaptation of a George Kaufman and Moss Hart play called The American Way drawn by Walter Galli appeared in All-American Comics ##5-10. The play's star was Fredric March, and in the instalment I've seen Galli drew March's character to look like him. Some panels appear drawn from photographs, and I think other characters were also likely drawn to look like their stage counterparts.

Charles Sultan, the artist of the "Jonathan Kent" series from ACG's Spy and Counterspy and Spy-Hunters, apparently modelled the character after John Wayne. Check out the splash of the instalment in Spy-Hunters #3, for example.

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