‘Mad Men’ Characters and Their Comic Book Counterparts


Today is Free Comic Book Day, which promises exactly what it advertises: you get a free comic book just for showing up at your local shop. The offerings have been specially selected, but nothing is preventing you from browsing while you’re there and spending a few dollars to support an oft-overlooked art form that has brought joy to many. To celebrate the occasion, and with a new Mad Men episode approaching, we wanted to combine two of our favorite things: 1960’s ad execs crippled by existential angst, and awesome comic book heroes and villains. The resemblance is greater than you think. See our pairings, and leave your own suggestions, below.

Don Draper = Superman

For a while, rumors were swirling about Jon Hamm donning the cape for a Superman movie. The steely-eyed actor is an obvious physical match for the comic book character, but they have a lot more in common apart from their chiseled features. Both men have a secret identity, they each work an office gig (dealing with the media), and the ladies love them — though they don’t always know how to cope with the attention and ensuing emotions. They lost their parents at a young age and grew up on a farm (at least Don did before he ended up in a brothel), and each man grapples with their own Kryptonite.

Megan Draper = Dazzler

Dazzler was created as an icon of the disco era, but later gravitated toward other contemporary music genres. Megan also keeps up with trends. The Marvel superheroine is a performer that does it all (acting, dancing, singing), but struggles with her own insecurities and career ambitions — just as Megan does with her devotion to Don and her acting career. Both women battle with others not taking them seriously. Dazzler is usually viewed as a laughable character by comic book nerds, and Megan’s good looks and relationship with Don have colored opinions of her — but they share likable personalities and are sympathetic to others.

Pete Campbell = Riddler

Scheming, manipulative, overwhelmed by their over-inflated egos, obsessed with proving their own cleverness, and overly concerned with outward appearances.

Trudy Campbell = Supergirl

Trudy and Supergirl are seen as angelic and sunshiny, but their quick-witted and sometimes defiant, brash personalities reveals a complexity that is often overlooked. The Park Avenue-turned-suburban housewife and former Krypton resident can appear egotistical, but it’s usually a mask for their insecurities as they struggle to find their place. Supergirl may not share Superman’s glory, but like Trudy, she’s a key member of the family whose savviness rears its head.

Peggy Olson = Lois Lane

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Daily Planet and the Creative Director at Cutler Gleason and Chaough are confident (most of the time), assertive, career-minded women who always have their eyes on the prize. Plus, we all know who Don Draper is really in love with.

Stan Rizzo = Wolverine

Mainly for the epic beard, but the loners are similar for their abrasive and rebellious personalities.

Joan Holloway = Wonder Woman

One of Mad Men’s feminist icons, Joan’s compassionate, bold personality is a perfect match for the heroine that fights for peace, love, justice, and sexual equality.

Betty Francis = Emma Frost

Her hair may be black now, but she’s still Mad Men’s reigning ice queen — and we can’t think of a better name to symbolize that than Emma Frost. It also helps that Jones portrayed the cold-hearted character in X-Men: First Class. Both women came from wealth and have always relied on their looks to get what they want. Each spent a brief time with psychiatrists, but remain extremely manipulative.

Roger Sterling = Iron Man

Man Men’s playboy with a bad heart is Tony Stark. The fast-talking charmers inherited businesses from their fathers and struggle with their biggest vice: the bottle. Despite their cynical chatter, they’re optimists at heart. We’d like to think that’s the reason Roger keeps getting married.

Sally Draper = Jenny Sparks

We can totally see Sally as the “Spirit of the 20th Century” character — a foil for the time period she navigates. Jenny was a World War II spy, a 1950’s space explorer, and a 1960’s British superheroine. Sally has the wits to accomplish all that and more. Jenny is usually described as a chain-smoking, hard-partying blonde, and her distinctive personality separates her from most of the superuniverse. The Draper daughter’s dysfunctional parents have already inspired some rebellion. Sally, is this your future?

Herb Rennet = Penguin

The sleazy Jaguar dealer manager wants to dominate his account at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, and the company’s most attractive partner, but his shady business dealings aren’t the only thing Herb shares with the repulsive supervillain from the Batman comics. The grotesque men look like twins separated at birth.

Bert Cooper = Batman

Don’t question it. It just makes sense.