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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One of the cannibal bogmen in this week's Red Sonja (#7) was drawn to resemble comedian Paul Scheer. The other cannibals are other comedians or podcasters Gail Simone knows, I believe, but I wasn't able to place them.

Incidentally, in the John Wayne panel from Fantastic Four #196 at the first link in my previous post the Thing declares Wayne is his only idol "next'a Willie Bendix". I had to look that up. Bendix starred in the radio/TV show The Life of Riley, where his catchphrase was "What a revoltin' development this is". In the 60s/70s that was one of the Thing's characteristic lines.

There's a Superman story from the 70s in which Superman, in his Clark Kent guise, wants to ditch Lana and makes use of his super-ventriloquism, imitating Cary Grant and making it sound like his voice is coming from a limo. Lana declares it's Cary Grant and artist Curt Swan drew a cameo image of the aged Grant to show who she was expecting to see. Superman's Grant dialogue begins "Lana, Lana, Lana!" This was a play on "Judy, Judy, Judy", a line associated with Grant that is thought to have originated with an impression by Larry Storch. I'm not sure of the issue. It may have been Action Comics #488.

Strictly speaking, Tracy in Wonder Woman #219 doesn't assign Prince to investigate the disappearances, but to keep an eye on further potential targets. The look Diana Prince had in the 70s was likely modelled on Gloria Steinem's, but I don't mean to imply the artists aimed for a facial likeness.

Luke Blanchard said:

Wade Halibut Jr. in Superman #274 was based on Kurt Vonnegut. Last time I mentioned this Richard Willis pointed out that the name was a play on that of Vonnegut's Kilgore Trout.

and

Incidentally, in the John Wayne panel from Fantastic Four #196 at the first link in my previous post the Thing declares Wayne is his only idol "next'a Willie Bendix". I had to look that up. Bendix starred in the radio/TV show The Life of Riley, where his catchphrase was "What a revoltin' development this is". In the 60s/70s that was one of the Thing's characteristic lines.

Actually Wade Halibut was probably based on Kilgore Trout, not Kurt Vonnegut. In the spirit of this thread, Vonnegut used the name Kilgore Trout as a reference to his friend, the great SF writer Theordore Sturgeon (get it? Sturgeon, Trout, Halibut ).

I used to watch The Life of Riley on TV as a kid, so I didn't have to look it up. I'm so OLD!

I used to watch The Life of Riley on TV as a kid, so I didn't have to look it up. I'm so OLD!

They used to play it during the '70s and '80s in the NYC area on WOR when I was a kid. In fact, WPIX played the older Jackie Gleason version late at night for a time, too. 

The Caped Crusader said:

They used to play it during the '70s and '80s in the NYC area on WOR when I was a kid. In fact, WPIX played the older Jackie Gleason version late at night for a time, too.

Until you mentioned it I hadn't realized Jackie Gleason also played the character on TV. Bendix played him in the 1949 movie and the radio show, then went on to take over the role on TV, which was what my family watched in its original run.

According to Wikipedia Gleason's single season was because Bendix was tied to a movie contract or he would have been cast. The Gleason version ended because of failed negotiations with its sponsor. After a three-year gap, the show returned to TV with Bendix in the role.

The Gleason version ended because of failed negotiations with its sponsor.

Not having a sponsor is not something we really think about today (unless the program is highly controversial), but that happened enough back then. Mr. Lucky for example, was a popular show during its first season, yet couldn't get a sponsor for the second season.

Luke, thanks for reminding me about the Spiro T. Agnew "appearance" in Green Lantern. As a lad of 13 in 1971 I recognized the Veep, but knew nothing about politics, so I was pretty sure I was missing the subtext of the story. Years alter, I realized there wasn't much of one.

And I'll be the romance books of the '50s and '60s is a treasure trove of images for this sort of game, not only because artists might want to use a specific actress to suggest a personality type, but because all artists forever and ever have used photo reference. The problem there is that even if you showed me those books and told me what actress had been copied, I wouldn't know them. This is one of those rare occasions where I can still say "I'm too young for this."

As to William Bendix, I never saw a single episode of Life of Riley, yet I still know who Bendix is and can picture him in my head. I don't know why that is. Perhaps I saw him on a variety show or talk show. Or maybe he was in a movie where an older person pointed him out and said "That's William Bendix." Who knows? It was a long time ago.

As to Amy Grant and Dr. Strange, I feel the need to show how egregious this particular lift was:



Captain Comics said:

Luke, thanks for reminding me about the Spiro T. Agnew "appearance" in Green Lantern. As a lad of 13 in 1971 I recognized the Veep, but knew nothing about politics, so I was pretty sure I was missing the subtext of the story. Years alter, I realized there wasn't much of one.

And I'll be the romance books of the '50s and '60s is a treasure trove of images for this sort of game, not only because artists might want to use a specific actress to suggest a personality type, but because all artists forever and ever have used photo reference. The problem there is that even if you showed me those books and told me what actress had been copied, I wouldn't know them. This is one of those rare occasions where I can still say "I'm too young for this."

As to William Bendix, I never saw a single episode of Life of Riley, yet I still know who Bendix is and can picture him in my head. I don't know why that is. Perhaps I saw him on a variety show or talk show. Or maybe he was in a movie where an older person pointed him out and said "That's William Bendix." Who knows? It was a long time ago.

As to Amy Grant and Dr. Strange, I feel the need to show how egregious this particular lift was:

It actually looks like a combination of Agnew and Vincent Price to me.

I've read that Green Lantern/Green Arrow story I don't know how many times, and to me, the Agnew resemblance is obvious, but I never got the Nixon reference. To me, it just looked like an ugly kid.

And what was the point, anyway? Were Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams saying Spiro Agnew was pulling Richard Nixon's strings? I find that hard to believe, almost as hard to believe that anyone else thought so.

The issue also had an an Alfred Hitchcock walk-on appearance.

Emerkeith Davyjack said:

...The Amy Grant one was a pretty blatant lift of an image from the cover of one of her albums , so a particularly visible one It was , definitely , a " swipe file gone too far " example...

I remember - or at least I think I do - seeing it on the shelf of my then-LCS (in Green Bay WI) and noticing it .

There are some early Dr. Strange stories where the logo refers to him as " The Master Of Black Magic " , so that gave Grant's lawyers something else to huff about !!!!!!!!!

When I read ED's comment I thought it was inaccurate. I didn't remember a reference to "black magic" regarding the hero himself. However, I found this introductory panel on Wikipedia which uses those exact words. Many fundamentalist Christians think Harry Potter is devil worship, so the presence or absence of the phrase probably wouldn't have made much difference to Amy Grant.

A school district in eastern Tennessee banned the Oz books because of witchcraft.

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