We’ve been spending about 15 years now where Marvel has been shoving their characters down our throats at every chance they get, so pretty much every superhero has become an iconic household name. But did you know that when some of these superheroes were first conceived, they were actually based on real people? Let’s take a look.
Nick Fury – Samuel L Jackson
Nick Fury was actually a Caucasian character for a very, very long time. It wasn’t until later when the Ultimate universe got their very own Nick Fury that he was first depicted as being black – based off none other than the very actor that would end up playing the character in the MCU. The new Nick Fury was such a huge success that by now pretty much every Marvel universe has moved on past the Caucasian Fury and went with a version of Sam Jackson.
Tony Stark – Howard Hughes
If you’re gonna write a superhero character that’s an eccentric billionaire, it only makes sense that you’d get your inspiration from a real life eccentric billionaire. That’s exactly how Tony Stark came to be. Rumor has it that Robert Downey Jr. even took it a step further and “updated” the character with some parts of Elon Musk in it, but the main focus of this character will always be Howard Hughes.
Wolverine – Paul D’Amato
You’re probably wondering who Paul D’Amato is, but he’s an actor that played a character in a movie nobody saw named Slap shot. It had such an impact on artist John Byrne that he decided to model Wolverine after the character D’Amato played. At the time, Wolverine was only supposed to be a one-and-done character but it’s become one of the most popular names in the Marvel franchise over the decades.
Magneto – Malcolm X
Maybe not in terms of looks, but Charles Xavier and Magneto were actually based – ethically – on none other than Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. If you’re going to write character stuck in a struggle of social injustice, it would make sense to base them on actual people that struggled for social injustice.
J. Jonah Jameson – Stan Lee
It sounds pretty silly to model the man that hates Spider-Man the most after the man that loves Spider-Man the most, but that’s what happened. Stan Lee imagined what he’d be like if he were grumpy and irritable and that’s how the character of J. Jonah Jameson was born.
Bucky Barnes – Bucky Pierson
Bucky Pierson was nothing more than just an athletic friend of the original Captain America creator, Joe Simon. As soon as he conceived the character of Captain America, he imagined Bucky right next to him. That just makes me sad that I don’t have friends that design superheroes for a living. Well, and that i’m not athletic too.
M.O.D.A.A.K. – Donald Trump
A bit on the nose, but this is a version of M.O.D.O.K. where Donald Trump actually becomes that universe’s Mental Organism Designed as America’s King, only to then get beat up by a diverse version of Captain America. If the authors were trying to send us a message with that storyline, I sure can’t for the life of me imagine what it is.