Comic books are more popular today than ever before, and while there’s no shortage of celebrities taking on roles in comic book adaptations, the celebrities on this list, have all appeared as themselves actual comic book titles. Several famous actors, musicians, athletes, and even politicians have popped up in various comics over the years. Some of these stars appeared in special edition comics that cater to the events in their own lives while others are actually tied into the storylines of classic series like Superman and The Amazing Spider-Man. Here are 12 of the most prominent celebrity cameos in comics.
12. John F. Kennedy (Superman)
President Kennedy was one of the biggest American cultural icon. As such, it makes sense that he should meet with other American cultural icons like Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, and, of course, Superman.
Months of planning and writing went into creating a unique story in which the President — informed of Clark Kent’s secret identity — requests Superman’s help in promoting physical fitness to the inactive youths of the nation. Kennedy later returns the favor by pretending to be Clark Kent in an effort to draw suspicion away from Superman.
11. Anderson Cooper (Black Widow)
Released in November 2014, Black Widow #12 featured Anderson Cooper delivering a news report that became a catalyst for a major event in Black Widow’s story. In an interview with Marvel, series writer Nathan Edmondson said, “It’s Anderson doing what he does best: looking for the truth and reporting on events. We imagine that in Black Widow’s world, as would be the case with many other Avengers, things she does can’t be ignored by the media.”
10. David Letterman (The Avengers)
When Marvel decided to give the assistant editors a shot at running the House of Ideas for a month, somehow Late Night host David Letterman ended up making a cameo appearance in issue #239 of The Avengers.
The story involved several members of the Avengers appearing as guests on Letterman’s talk show but, unbeknownst to them, a villain known as Mechano-Marauder has packed the set with booby traps. When the traps are set off, chaos ensues and Letterman springs into action knocking out the evildoer so the Avengers can cart him off to jail.
9. Charles Barkley (Godzilla vs. Charles Barkley)
In 1992, Nike ran a TV commercial that featured a giant-sized version of NBA star Charles Barkley challenging Godzilla to a game of hoops on the streets of downtown Tokyo. The concept was later adapted into a comic book and published by Dark Horse. In it, giant Barkley takes on Godzilla again only this time its on the street of New Jersey. It’s a no holds barred game of street ball in which Sir Charles needs to pull out all the stops to defeat the King of Monsters. But happily the two end the match on good terms and the comic concludes with Barkley giving Godzilla a pair of Nikes as well as few pointers to improve his game.
8. Barack Obama (Spider-Man)
When Barack Obama defeated John McCain to win the 2008 presidential election, Marvel knew that had to get on board the hype train and deliver a politically driven storyline to coincide with the 2009 inaugural address.
In the story, an imposter Obama arrives on the scene just as the inauguration is taking place. With the Secret Service agents thrown into a state of confusion, Peter Parker — who was in attendance taking pictures for the Bugle — transforms into Spider-Man and starts questioning both Obamas. When one of the Obamas fails to remember what his middle name is, its revealed that he’s actually the Chameleon and Spider-Man promptly hands him over to the authorities. The president then thanks Spidey and admits that he’s always been a big fan of the wall crawler.
7. Eminem (The Punisher)
Eminem has always made a point of being honest and divulging all the details of his hard road to success. But even some of his biggest fans are probably unaware that he once crossed paths with the Punisher.
In a special issue of The Punisher, Frank Castle is hired to protect the rapper from a villain known as the Barracuda. After a misunderstanding leads Castle to kill off most of Eminem’s crew, the artist becomes convinced that Barracuda is his real ally and sets out to making things a lot more difficult for Castle. After a scuffle in which Eminem knocks the Punisher out, the Barracuda takes the opportunity to capture them both. But in the end Eminem manages to get free and he cuts Barracuda in half with a chainsaw before apologizing to the Punisher for the misunderstandings.
6. Tim Gunn (Models, INC.)
Most people probably know attire aficionado Tim Gunn best for his part on the fashion reality show Project Runway. But, as it would happen, he also teamed up with Iron Man in Models, INC. #1 — a limited series set in the world of high heels, high drama and high fashion, and featuring the likes of Marvel fashionistas Mary Jane Watson, Patsy Walker, and Millie the Model.
The story takes place during New York Fashion Week, where Iron Man is participating by putting his various armors on display. During the event, a fashion set designer is found murdered and Millie the Model is wrongfully implicated as the primary suspect. This leaves Hellcat and Mary Jane Watson to combine forces to prove her innocence but, when the murderer starts sending out hit men to kill the people conducting the investigation, Tim Gunn steps in and dons the famous Iron Man armor to save the day.
5. Muhammad Ali (Superman)
When an alien going by the name of Rat’Lar claims that he’s going to invade the planet unless Earth’s greatest fighter bests his champion in one-on-one combat, both Muhammad Ali and Superman step forward. To decide who’s the greatest fighter, Ali challenges the Man of Steel to a boxing match. But in order to keep thing fair, Superman’s powers are taken away and then Ali teaches him how to “float like butterfly and sting like bee.”
The epic battle causes quite a turnout, with both real celebrities and other fictional figures appearing in the audience as if it were an actual Las Vegas prize fight. It’s only after Ali knocks out Superman and wins the match that the rest of the world learns that the fight was all part of some elaborate plan to save the planet from an alien invasion. Ali then goes off to battle Rat’Lar’s champion, Hun’Ya and, although he once again proves victorious, Rat’Lar decides to go ahead with his conquest of Earth anyways. This is, until Hu’Yan decides to usurped Rat’Lar for the dishonorable move. In the end, the three competitors make peace and Ali proclaims that both he and Superman are the greatest champions.
4. KISS (Howard the Duck)
Roughly halfway into Howard the Duck’s 27-issue run, Howard becomes tormented by nightmares and journeys to Cleveland in an apparent attempt to rid himself of the bad dreams. While on the bus, he meets Winda Wester, a girl who’s being sent by her parents to get an unnecessary exorcism in Cleveland. They soon become friends but things take a turn for the worst when Howard’s enemy The Kidney Lady steps onto the bus and starts causing trouble. After a fight breaks out that causes the bus to crash both Howard and Winda get sent to jail.
After hearing their story, the prison doctor agrees to perform the exorcism on Winda himself. To everyone’s shock, Winda’s thoughts manifest themselves physically during the exorcism and they take on the form of American rock band KISS. It’s later revealed that Winda has latent psychic abilities which include the ability to project illusions.
Though the cameo was certainly a strange one it actually led to the KISS getting their very own comic book series.
3. Uri Geller (Daredevil)
For anyone not familiar with Uri Geller, he became super famous in the 1960s and 70s when he claimed to have telekinetic powers. Despite being exposed as a fraud by Johnny Carson on live TV in 1973, to this day he still claims that he can use his mind to bend metal objects.
Being a big fan of magic, Stan Lee decided that he had to have Geller somehow incorporated into the Marvel Universe and called on writer Marv Wolfman to figure out the best title to put him in. The result was Daredevil #133, where The Man Without Fear finds himself in need of Geller’s special abilities after the villain Mind-Wave sends an army of psychic beings to attack New York.
When Geller meets Daredevil, he reveals his fantastic origin story which involves being abducted by aliens as a child and imbued with the amazing power to bend the living hell out of kitchen utensils.
Once the battle starts, Gellar proves just how useful he can be by bending a metal pipe that one of the psychic goons was going to use to bash Daredevil with. Of course, a bent pipe is still perfectly suitable as a weapon, but Daredevil was a good sport about it and thanked Uri for his contribution anyways.
2. Geraldo Rivera (Count Duckula)
Ok, first off let us just clarify that we have absolutely no idea why this crossover happened or who it’s meant for. Even though Count Duckula ran for four seasons it would hardly be considered one of the more popular cartoons of the time. However, it did manage to spawn a comic book series, and perhaps that’s all it takes to attract the attention of talk show host and conservative political commentator, Geraldo Rivera.
The story involves Rivera spinning one of his episodes into a feature about Count Duckula’s life. Unfortunately, the episode is interrupted by Duckula’s archenemy Dr. Von Goosewing and, in the ensuing chaos, the entire production gets destroyed.
Unsurprisingly, the appearance of Geraldo Rivera didn’t do much to boost fan interest in Count Duckula and the series was cancelled after 15 issues.
1. Stephen Colbert (Spider-Man)
As a comedian and talk show host, Stephen Colbert is known for getting a little crazy with his publicity stunts at times. In one of his more memorable antics, Colbert decided to run for president in 2008 and, although it seemed very much like a joke, he insisted his campaign was serious and even went so far as to put up the $2,500 fee so he could be included on the South Carolina Democratic ballot. But despite being denied entry on the ballot and dropping his bid, Colbert was still presented as major candidate in an October 2008 issue of Spider-Man.
In the comic, he partners with Spidey to run as a third-party candidate against John McCain and Barack Obama. In the end, even though Obama wins the presidency, Colbert gets the popular vote among the superheroes. Now he’s even got his own official character bio in the Marvel database where his powers and abilities are reported to include average human strength, journalism, fear of bears, and immortality.