It’s hip to be square. Or at least, it is when you’re a high-grossing celebrity. We all knew that geek culture had escaped the confines of parents’ basements and dusty comic shops, but we didn’t realize just how vastly it permeated popular culture. Comic books and science fiction properties are so common now, that famous celebrities openly gush about their geek love. And we’re not talking about industry heroes like Kevin Smith here. Marquee, red carpet- walkers are now comic book fans too, able to name-drop their favorite Uncanny X-Men arc with the same ease as you or I.
While some could call the celebrities bandwagon fans, we like to think of them as ambassadors. When someone with social clout says that comic books are cool, people are more likely to listen. They help legitimize the industry to the naysayers, while giving us closet geeks the courage to wear our Green Lantern T-Shirts proudly. Below, we run through the celebrities we geeks are proud to call our own.
1) Seth Meyers
The latest Late Night With… host and Saturday Night Live alumnus is an unabashed comic book fan who’s even dabbled a bit in the industry. A Marvelite through and through, Meyers co-wrote a humorous one-shot, “Spider-Man: The Short Halloween” a few years back, and even attended a Marvel holiday party in New York City. But with a comedian’s blood running through his veins, Meyers is also a fan of the Keith Giffen and Kevin Maguire-era of "Justice League International," complete with a Maguire-drawn picture of him as Bluee Beetle. When he’s not hosting Late Night, Meyers is working on his tribute to super-powered teams with The Awesomes. An animated comedy that’s exclusively available through Hulu, The Awesomes follows a group of inexperienced and dysfunctional superheroes. While it’s great to have celebrities advocating comic books, we’re extra appreciative of ones like Meyers who contribute something back.
2) Megan Fox
Behold, the white unicorn. On top of being a, well, babe, Megan Fox also holds a ton of respect for the comics medium. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles star may not exactly wow us with her acting chops, but we’re more than impressed with her comic book cred. Besides starring in nerdy tentpoles like Ninja Turtles and the Transformers series, Fox routinely discusses her passion for comic books, especially when it comes to the art. A voracious reader of the "Fathom" series, Fox is a studied fan of industry icons like J. Scott Campbell and Michael Turner. She’s even dabbled a bit in comic artistry herself, drawing superheroes on late night shows like Late Night With Jimmy Kimmel. We’d certainly let her illustrate a variant cover or two.
3) Rosario Dawson
But wait, gents, there's more geeky bombshells where Fox came from. In many ways, Rosario Dawson is actually a bigger dweeb than Fox. Her comic book resume certainly runs deeper, with roles in Sin City, Clerks, and even the DC Animated “Wonder Woman” feature (she voiced Artemis). Her next comic role as Marvel’s Night Nurse is her biggest yet, tending to the wounds of Netflix’s Daredevil—and eventually—all of New York City’s costumed vigilantes. But hey, that’s just how she spends her working hours. Dawson is an outspoken fan of classic Wolverine comics and Watchmen, can speak Klingon, and even released a comic series called “Occult Crimes Taskforce.” The sooner she can adapt that into her next headlining film, the better.
4) Robin Williams
In honor of Williams' passing earlier this year, we had to include him on this list. One of Hollywood’s greatest actors was also one of its greatest geeks. Williams tried landing a big screen role for The Riddler not once, but twice throughout his acting career. He first auditioned for Jim Carrey’s role in Batman Forever, then told Christopher Nolan to call him if the director planned on using the Riddler in his third Dark Knight film. Williams also has a refined comics palate, noting acclaimed titles like Brian Wood’s "DMZ" and Warren Ellis’ “Transmetropolitan” as his favorites. Williams was even a Wednesday Warrior, paying frequent visits to his local comic book shop, Golden Apple Comics, in Lost Angeles. We hope that wherever he is today, there’s plenty of great comics for him to read.
Nic’s not the coolest celebrity geek out there, but he’s certainly the most…passionate. Even his name is a tribute to comics. While he was born Nicolas Coppola, he legally changed it to “Cage” in honor of Marvel Comics’ Luke Cage, a.k.a. Power Man. Not to be the only comic book tribute in the family, Cage also named his son Kal-El, after Superman’s native Kryptonian name. We’re sure that always went well for the young Cage during middle school roll calls. Cage is also a serious comic collector, once owning more than 400 comics, including Action Comics #1 and Detective Comics #38 (Robin’s first appearance) before selling them off. Bankruptcy will do that to a man. And of course, there was that time Nic Cage almost played the Man of Steel in Tim Burton’s failed Superman film, Superman Lives. Not one to take “no” for an answer, Cage once again tried his hand at comic book acting with 2007’s Ghost Rider—and it’s sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. You have to give credit to man who’s so passionate about comic books, he’ll play Johnny Blaze twice.