From Kick-Ass to Superman: A History of Ford and Comic Books

With New York City’s annual comic convention just around the corner, we’ve decided to celebrate the intersection of two worlds of hardcore fan-boys – comic books and cars. And what better way to do that than with the brand behind New York City’s ubiquitous taxi — Ford.

From Kick-Ass to Superman: A History of Ford and Comic Books

Action Comics #1: 1937 Ford Sedan

Thanks to the first appearance of Superman, Action Comics #1's cover has become one of the most well-known images in the world. But, although often overlooked due to the blue-and-red spandex-wearing superhero, there’s one other star on the cover — what could be a 1937 Ford Sedan. People argue to this day about that iconic car's make and model (cars from the 30's looked a lot alike), but, seeing as Fords ruled the road at that time and that the '37's "hot rod" V8 engine made it the perfect getaway car, I tend to give it to Ford here.

From Kick-Ass to Superman: A History of Ford and Comic Books

Archie: 1916 Ford Model T “Betsy” / Ford Model A

Fords don’t just grace the pages of comic books featuring superheroes all about truth, justice, and the American way. The prized possession of one of the most iconic – and hapless – characters in comic book history, Archie, was his beloved “Betsy.”

“Betsy” is clearly a 1916 Ford Model T (although at one point in the 1960s, Archie calls it a “Model A”).

From Kick-Ass to Superman: A History of Ford and Comic Books

Archie: mid-1960s Ford Mustang

Despite Archie’s unreliable mechanic work, his baby held up for decades until being permanently destroyed in issue #238 of Life With Archie. Archie continued to show his love for American muscle, replacing it with a mid-1960s Ford Mustang. You know, for kids!

From Kick-Ass to Superman: A History of Ford and Comic Books

Batman: 1972 Mach 1 Ford Mustang

For a short period in 1973, Batman set aside his normal Batmobile for something a bit more fun — a 1972 Mach 1 Ford Mustang. As you’d expect, the color he choose was black.

On a side note, the Mach 1 Mustang wasn’t the only time Batman caught the “Go Further” bug. The George Barris-designed Batmobile from the campy 1960s TV show was actually built off a Lincoln Futura and had a small Ford badge on either side.

From Kick-Ass to Superman: A History of Ford and Comic Books

Sin City: The Big Fat Kill: 1957 Ford Thunderbird

Every issue of Sin City, Frank Miller’s neo-noir comic book series, was a masterpiece. But the highlight for any lover of cars is the ’57 Thunderbird in The Big Fat Kill – mostly for its capacious trunk. I mean, two sets of golf clubs? Screw that – I want a car with a trunk big enough to carry five bodies!

From Kick-Ass to Superman: A History of Ford and Comic Books

Mad Max: 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT

Mad Max’s car started life as a standard 1973 XB GT Ford Falcon Coupe, a car exclusive to Australia. The “last of the V8 Interceptors” has survived countless comic book adaptions into the upcoming video game, where, soon, you will be able to take this modded-out Falcon “Beyond Thunderdome” – in the digital world at least.

From Kick-Ass to Superman: A History of Ford and Comic Books

Transformers: Ford Mustang Saleen S281 Extreme

Yet another example of a big screen star hitting the pages of the comic books, was the character of “Barricade” from Michael Bay’s Transformers. While not what I’d call the pinnacle of story-telling, it did have some impressive car porn, including this bad-to-the-bone looking baddie – mostly thanks to his alt-vehicle mode, a Ford Mustang Saleen S281 Extreme. Thankfully the look has carried over to the comic books.

From Kick-Ass to Superman: A History of Ford and Comic Books

Kick-Ass: 2010 Ford Mustang GT “Mist-Mobile”

Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.’s Kick-Ass tells the story of Dave Lizewski, a teen who sets out to become a real-life superhero. Along the way, he meets up with the son of a bad guy trying to lure Lizewski into a trap. The son’s name is Red Mist, and the heavily modified 2010 Ford Mustang GT is his "Mist-Mobile." The best part is seeing the car come to life as a Galpin-built concept car in the 2010 film of the same name.

From Kick-Ass to Superman: A History of Ford and Comic Books

Gunsmith Cats: 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500

Fords have played a starring role in more than just the U.S. comic book world, they’ve even made their way into the Japanese world of manga. Irene “Rally” Vincent, one of the main characters, drives a gorgeous blue GT500 with white racing stripes. She loves the car, until it’s destroyed in Gunsmith Cats Burst, when it’s then replaced by a heavily-modified Mustang II Cobra.

Images courtesy of Ford, Galpin Auto Sports, and Ray Wert

Ray Wert is the former editor-in-chief of Jalopnik and is the founder of automotive advertising studio Tiny Toy Car.