Five Real-Life Inspiration for DC Comics Characters

By Miguel Lauresta | 3 years ago
Five Real-Life Inspiration for DC Comics Characters
DC Comics booth. July 22, 2008. Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

Whenever we read or see a DC Comic character on comic books or TV shows and movies, we are always in awe at how good those characters are written. These writers often find inspiration from a myriad of things and people, from the very basic to the slightly weird. Here are some of them.


Superman’s early background story was an arduous road. He was first conceptualized as a villain out to conquer the world with telephatic powers. As time goes by, Superman’s creators, Siegel and Shuster, redesigned and rewrote the Man of Steel and turned him into a hero. They took inspiration from the Bible and its characters like Moses and other mythological figures like Hercules. They molded Superman’s look to that of famous movie star Douglas Fairbanks, while his alter ego Clark Kent was inspired by Harold Lloyd.

Lois Lane

Superman’s lady love Lois Lane was also inspired by a real-life person. The creators molded her character to that of every working girl in that time. Movie star Glenda Farrell, who starred as Torchy Blane, was their inspiration for Lois. Lois’ character as a reporter was inspired by Blane as a knowledgeable reporter who appeared in a series of films centering on her exploits.


The creators of the caped crusader Bob Kane and Bill Finger were inspired by the early silent film “Zorro.” The hero of the poor’s costume along with his mask, his secret hideout, his double persona  and more importantly that of an affluent entrepreneur were all used to conceptualize Batman. They also drew inspirations from Sherlock Holmes and Doc Savage for Batman’s scientific know-how and sleuthing acumen.


Batman’s archenemy was inspired from a silent movie called “The Man Who Laughs” by German actor Conrad Veidt.  The movie, which was an adaption from Victor Hugo’s novel, was about the character and his face who was formed into a unsightly grin.

Harley Quinn

Joker’s equally crazy girlfriend appeared in one of the episodes of  “Batman: The Animated Series” and became an instant hit to the fans of the show and the Batman universe. DC Comics tasked Paul Dini and Bruce Timm to create her character. The two was inspired by actress Arleen Sorkin, who was dressed as court jester in of the dream sequences in the soap opera “Days of Our Lives.”

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