We’re in our second season of Agent Carter, so lets take a look at the characters who are from the comics. Now, this show has enough to bring a tear to a comic geek’s eye, so I’ll break it into categories, and we’ll just look at season one. Don’t worry, I’ll do a season two one later.
The Strategic Scientific Reserve itself is not strictly founded in comic lore, but some of the agents are. It almost goes without saying that Peggy Carter is from the comics, first introduced as Captain America’s nameless World War II love interest in the 60’s (in a manner not-too-far-off from the radio drama that plays throughout the season). Little known fact, the late chief Roger Dooley, the guy who dove out a window and exploded in a perfect metaphor for Monday, was originally an incompetent S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in a She-Hulk comic.
On a small but related tangent – while Li, Ramirez, Yauch, Krzeminski, Thompson and Sousa are inventions for the show, you can spot Enver Gjokaj, our own Daniel Sousa, as a cop in The Avengers, years before Agent Carter but decades later. Grandson, perhaps?
Almost everything from Stark Industries is straight from the comics, including brilliant engineer and womanizer Howard Stark, who is of course the father of Iron Man, Tony Stark. Stark’s butler Edwin Jarvis is also a comic mainstay, being the long-time butler of Iron Man and eventually the Avengers, even being considered an honorary Avenger.
Howard Stark’s business partner Anton Vanko helps direct Peggy and Jarvis to Roxxon Oil in an early episode. Aside from being the father and motive of Iron Man 2’s Whiplash Ivan Vanko, Anton Vanko is a comic villain known as the Crimson Dynamo, who inspired Iron Man 2’s villain. Roxxon Oil itself is a fictional company that has popped up in every Iron Man movie, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daredevil and even some of the short films. In both film and comic universes, they are a large always-present corporation run by Howard Stark’s rival, Hugh Jones.
Colonel Fury and the Howling Commandos are the group that eventually formed S.H.I.E.L.D. in the comics, and they first showed up in Captain America: The First Avenger led by Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes. In Agent Carter they are back, led by the returning “Dum Dum” Dugan, as well as a host of new recruits who are all from the comics: “Junior” Juniper, “Happy” Sam Sawyer, “Pinky” Pinkerton. They earn the name the “Howling Commandos” in Agent Carter, presumably due to the iconic war cry that Dugan repeats in the show: Wah-Hooooooo!
The secret Russian organization Leviathan is a fairly new addition to the comics – however, they have been merged with aspects of another Russian agency from the comics: Department X. This is where the Red Room Academy, the training facility for Black Widows, is located in the comics. Our resident Black Widow Dottie Underwood doesn’t appear to be based on an existing Black Widow from the comic – but until we know her real name, we can never be sure.
The villain of the season, Dr. Ivchenko, is revealed to actually be named Dr. Johann Fennhoff, presumably taking his name from an anagram of a patient he saved in a flashback (Ovechkin). Fennhoff is the real name of Marvel supervillain Doctor Faustus, the infamous mastermind behind the death of Captain America. After Fennhoff meets other Marvel supervillain Arnim Zola in prison and joins HYDRA, he would later contribute to the HYDRA brainwashing technique used on the Winter Soldier, Agent 33 and Sunil Bakshi known as the “Faustus method”. Where does this name came from in the MCU? A play Fennhoff is seen reading during WWII.
Last but not least, Leviathan defector Leet Brannis steals a load of nitromene with the help of some Roxxon employees. Brannis is a petty criminal in the comics and villain of forgotten hero The Whizzer. (Fun fact: His name is an anagram for Stan N. Lieber, Stan Lee’s real name). Brannis hires Jerome Zandow as some muscle to keep Peggy and Jarvis from poking their nose in things. Zandow the Strongman is also in the comics – a circus strongman who works as a hired muscle on the side.