5 Comicbook Characters Based on Real People

Not all heroes wear capes! Whether it’s because of their kind heart, their resilience, or sharp wit, we all have people in our lives that we look up to or admire greatly.

Comic creators feel much the same way, and sometimes they immortalize those who touched their lives through their art and creativity.

Diana Prince from Wonder Woman

Back when Diana was first created by psychologist William Moulton Marston, female superheroes were rare. Inspired by his wife Elizabeth Holloway Moulton (also a psychologist herself, and his partner inventing the polygraph) and their companion Olive Byrne, Diana was created to show girls that they too could be heroes and to teach children of all genders that strength didn’t mean aggression, and leadership should always be compassionate.

Tony Stark from Iron Man

When Steve Rogers asked Tony Stark what he would be without his suit, Stark replied: “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.” Stan Lee has made it no secret that the main inspiration in crafting Tony Stark was Howard Hughes, who people often described in much the same way. While Stark’s cockiness and occasional emotional immaturity can be off-putting, he often redeems himself with his altruism and ability to learn from his mistakes.

Courtney Whitmore from Stargirl

Geoff Johns created Stargirl as a tribute to his late sister, Courtney. Inspired by both her indomitable spirit and caring nature, Stargirl is known for her kindness, curiosity and seeing the goodness in those around her. But that doesn’t mean she’s a pushover! Like Wonder Woman before her, Stargirl is equal parts kind and tough, standing up for herself and others and never backing down from adversity.

Nick Fury from The Ultimates

Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Allred were huge fans of actor Samuel L. Jackson and drew a great deal of inspiration from his filmography while updating Nick Fury for modern audiences. Their depiction of Fury was so beloved that it became the standard design and characterization throughout subsequent comic series. Everything came full circle when Jackson was cast to play him in the Iron Man movie. 

Harley Quinn from Batman

Created as a sidekick for the Joker in the 1992 animated series, creator Paul Dini was inspired by his friend Arleen Sorkin after seeing her performance as a peppy harlequin on the television show Days of Our Lives. Much like the redesign of Nick Fury with Marvel, Harley Quinn was so iconic that she has become a DC comics staple, appearing in multiple comics and movies. 


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