While we all enjoy the work of superheroes and are rooting for them, what would these comic books, films or video games be without the archenemies? Together, the superheroes and supervillains give fans a thrilling experience that keeps them craving more of that adrenaline rush. In spite of the characters possessing superpowers that are out of this world, the creators seek to make them relatable. The masterminds behind all this creativity are inspired to generate these characters by a myriad of experiences and people. Let’s get into some of the real people who have inspired supervillains.
Kingpin and his alter ego Wilson Grant Fisk, is a supervillain; one of Marvel Universe’s most dreaded, dangerous and strong crime lords. This character appeared in comic books published by Marvel Comics and in films. Kingpin was created by writer Stan Lee and artist John Romita Sr. and made his debut in the 1967 book “The Amazing Spider-Man.” This character was inspired by Sydney Greenstreet who played The Fat Man in “The Maltese Falcon.” Kingpin is an overweight villain with a stature like Sydney Greenstreet, the three hundred plus pound actor.
Thaal Sinestro is a character from the 1961 comic book “Green Lantern” volume two and was brought to life by Gil Kane and John Broome. Sinestro was hailed as the best Green Lantern member for his numerous heroic actions, however, he was corrupted by his own power and became a tyrant and a threat to the galaxy. Sinestro was based on the appearance of David Niven, a British actor. Sinestro possesses a mustache and a suave sophistication similar to that of Niven.
The Joker is a supervillain who first appeared in the comic book “Batman” in 1940. He was based on the 1928 film “The Man Who Laughs” with Conrad Veidt who starred as titular Gwynplaine whose mouth was permanently altered into a grin. The Joker was given a similar smile, hairstyle and make-up as Gwynplaine in Batman volume one. Gwynplaine was actually inspired by the writing of an eighteenth century Parisian chronicler named Edmond Barbier who spoke of seeing a man with a grin from ear to ear walking the streets.
4. Poison Ivy
Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley with the alter ego Poison Ivy, is one of the characters of the DC Comics American comic books. In the Batman stories, Poison Ivy is an enemy of Batman. She is an eco-terrorist who has the unique power to control all plants. Robert Kanigher and Sheldon Moldoff are said to have created this character because they were inspired by the growing feminist movement at the time and wanted their work to be relevant. They based this character’s abilities and demeanor on the novel Rappacini’s Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, written in the nineteenth century, while Bettie Page, a 1950s pinup model, served as their model for Poison Ivy’s appearance.
5. Harley Quinn
Harley Quinn was first shown in 1992 in the episode of the animated series of Batman called “Joker’s Favor.” She was originally shown as the Joker’s prison psychiatrist and later his devoted and obsessed girlfriend and partner in crime. She was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Trimm who revealed that she was inspired by Arleen Sorkin, an actress on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” Their inspiration was a scene of Sorkin, dressed as a court jester.
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