Gone are the days when it was seen as being an “uncool” thing to be a comic geek. Comic book readers were once frowned upon by the “cool” sections of society, but now it’s the readers themselves who are considered cool. This is, of course, in no small part thanks to the meteoric rise of the comic book movie into becoming one of the most successful genres in Hollywood.
A frequent result of people being fans of the big movie franchises is that they often want to follow their on-screen heroes in the source material. As a result, they end up reading comics.
With that in mind, countless celebrities are now very open about the fact that they read comic books. The likes of Jonathan Ross, CM Punk, Wil Wheaton, Simon Pegg, Seth Green and Nicolas Cage (he named his son “Kal-El” after Superman for goodness sake!) are famously fans of the medium – but there are also loads of celebrities that aren’t so famously fans of comic books who actually love them.
This article will take a look at those high-profile individuals that you might not be aware were openly geeky when it comes to superheroes and the like. Here are ten celebs you didn’t know were comic book nerds.
10. Jaimie Alexander
It is, of course, common knowledge that the gorgeous Jaimie Alexander portrays Sif in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She has appeared in 2011’s Thor, 2013’s Thor: The Dark World and the MCU television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as the character – but that doesn’t mean she immediately strikes people as a comic book fan (because she certainly doesn’t). However, she is!
She famously appeared in costume as Sif in her spare time to visit a children’s hospital and, in a recent interview, she proclaimed a rather controversial love for Marvel’s biggest rivals. Speaking about it, she said “I always had a cape, but shhhh, it was a Superman cape, don’t say anything, I’m a fan of DC comics.”
9. Freddie Prinze, Jr.
Freddy Prinze, Jr. – famous cool kid actor of the 1990s and husband of stunning Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress Sarah Michelle Gellar – is actually a huge geek. A fan of WWE wrestling (and someone who has worked prominently within the company), Prinze, Jr. is also a huge fan of comics and the epitome of the notion that they have gone from uncool to cool in the blink of an eye.
Speaking about it, Prinze, Jr. said “When I was in school I read a lot of comic books and pretended I was in them and kids would tease me and call me names. But now I do the same things and people say that I’m artistic and cool and I’m doing the exact same thing I did in high school. It wasn’t a very artistic school.”
8. Howard Stern
Howard Stern is best known for being a shock jock radio presenter (as well as a television presenter, America’s Got Talent judge, actor, producer and author etc) and his personality is such that you really wouldn’t expect him to be a geek (especially given that he’s made a career out of mocking such people) – but he’s actually a huge comic book fan as well.
Such is his love of all things comic-related, in the sixth grade he briefly fronted a band called Electric Comic Book, he has had his own comic called “Orbit” and Robert Downey, Jr. recently said that he would only sign on for a fourth Iron Man movie if Howard Stern was to direct it!
7. Elvis Presley
Although it was quite well known at the peak of his success, these days, when you think of Elvis Presley, you think of the coolest man who ever lived and one of the biggest musical stars of all time – but the fact is he was also a massive comic book geek and, in particular, a big fan of Captain Marvel, Jr.
In fact, his look was inspired by Captain Marvel, Jr. – his hair, the cape-like garments he often wore on stage etc – and his band, the TCB Band, were represented by a lightning bolt-esque symbol that was heavily influenced by Captain Marvel, Jr.’s own symbol. In fact, the attic at Presley’s famous home of Graceland still contains his huge comic book collection.
6. Gene Simmons
Wild rocker and KISS bassist Gene Simmons might seem like the kind of guy whose only interests would be equally wild women, wrecking hotel rooms and consuming drugs and alcohol, but he’s actually a huge geek.
Not only is his entire rocker look based on characters from the superhero genre, he actually heads up a number of his own comic books under the Simmons Comic Group name and has influenced his own son Nick to become a comic book writer. Moreover, he’s hugely knowledgeable about the subject of comic books in general and has actually described Marvel legend Stan Lee as “The Shakespeare of modern times” – going as far as claiming that “Dashiell Hammett, Hemingway… they can’t hold a candle to Stan Lee.”
5. Rosario Dawson
The beautiful actress and singer Rosario Dawson has indeed starred in both instalments of the comic book movie adaptations of Sin City, the equally geeky Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and the Daredevil television series on Netflix, but she is hardly someone who you would expect to be a comic book fan in her private life – though she actually really is.
She enjoys reading Wolverine and Watchmen titles, but also enjoys lesser known titles like Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. She’s even released her own comic called Occult Crimes Taskforce (on a slightly related geeky note, she can also speak fluent Klingon!).
4. Karl Urban
Karl Urban is an actor who has starred in a number of very geeky productions on film and television; Dredd, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, two Star Trek movies and Xena: Warrior Princess, just for a few examples. That being said, like some others on this list, thanks to his “hunk” image he doesn’t necessarily strike you as a comic book fan in real life – he is a massive one, however.
Urban has specifically listed the very comic one of his movies was based on – Judge Dredd – as one of his favourites, as well as Frank Miller’s Batman classic The Dark Knight Returns.
3. Megan Fox
Megan Fox is, without any shadow of a doubt, one of the sexiest women on the planet. The actress has appeared in some movies that certain people might consider to be geeky – the Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchises, for instance, and the movie adaptation of comic book character Jonah Hex – but she certainly doesn’t have the real-life image of somebody who would be into geeky things. She does, however, enjoy comic books very much.
It isn’t just the well-known stuff that Fox likes either. She explains “Fathom was one of my favorites. Danger Girl can be ridiculous, but sometimes it’s funny. Midnight Nation is really interesting” and she likes plenty of others too.
Eminem‘s image has long been that of a bad-ass gangster rapper who, frankly, wouldn’t hesitate to hurt you if you crossed his path – but the fact is he has long been a fan of comic books like a number of other rappers (the likes of rap stars Ghost Rider and Iron Man being comic book fans should come as no surprise, given their aliases).
The 8 Mile star and performer of hits like “My Name Is,” “The Real Slim Shady,” “Without Me” and “Sing For The Moment” has a comic book collection that Shady Records executive Riggs Morales has described as “otherworldly” and it includes hundreds of titles, including some ultra-rare issues like Amazing Fantasy #15 – the first appearance of Spider-Man. Eminem has also actually starred in a Marvel comic book fighting alongside The Punisher.
1. Barack Obama
The President of the United States of America isn’t all about politics – his rather unorthodox “cool” image should tell you that – but it should still come as a surprise to you that the Honolulu-born leader is actually quite the avid comic book fan.
In a mass email to his supporters in March 2015, he spoke of his love for the medium, saying “I grew up loving comic books. Back in the day, I was pretty into Conan the Barbarian and Spider-Man [sic]. Anyone who reads comics can tell you, every main character has an origin story – the fateful and usually unexpected sequence of events that made them who they are.” He has also appeared in a number of comics published by a variety of companies himself – Marvel, Image, IDW and Dynamite Entertainment to name but a few – and famously met Spider-Man in one of them.