2) In many instances, superhero origins have been inspired by celebrities and pop culture.
The comic book industry has always had an organic, symbiotic relationship with the rest of the culture; sometimes giving, sometimes taking. Along the way, many superheroes got their look or attitude from popular actors, and many stories were loosely inspired by popular films or books. For instance, originally Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) had his appearance modeled after Paul Newman. What I find interesting about this is that Paul always played more of the anti-hero character (Hud, Harper, Cool Hand Luke) whereas Green Lantern, in the early days, was a straight-up hero, although in recent years he’s been made into more of an antihero, constantly shown playing by his own rules. I think some of Hal Jordan’s recklessness owes something to Newman’s characters.
Another example: Captain Marvel (SHAZAM) was modeled after Fred MacMurray, star of famous films like Double Indemnity and The Apartment. At the time of Captain Marvel’s creation though, he was mostly known for screwball comedies.
A more recent example: Popular Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis is said to have been inspired to create a new black Spiderman for the Ultimate Universe after seeing Donald Glover wearing Spiderman pajamas on the NBC show Community (which is on TV tonight).
Plus, many celebrities have participated with comic writers and artists to recreate their likenesses in comics. Alice Cooper hired Neil Gaiman to write a comic about him. The band KISS have been turned into comic characters. Rashida Jones (Ann Perkins on Parks and Recreation, which is also new tonight on NBC by the way) plays a large role in the comic called Frenemy of the State.
Go to #1.