Admiral Buzzkill wrote:
Mickey Mouse is more widely known in the world than anything associated with Star Trek, and he doesn't look or sound much like "Steamboat Willie." For that matter, the same is true of Superman - also better known than Kirk or Spock.
If one must use the silly "icon" word, outside a certain local cultural set it's probably the iconography associated with the characters that's recognized, rather than the faces of the actors - Spock's ears, Superman's costume and "S" shield, the Enterprise (which is essentially identical in Abrams's films to every other version).
Elmer Fudd started out as an offensive stereotype of a black man, but very few people even know about that today. Even though that was his "original" form, I don't see anyone arguing that he should be changed back to what he was, because it would not work in today's society (it didn't even work for very long after that cartoon was aired, and has been banned for a long time). Same with Kirk and Spock...their original characters don't fit into today's entertainment, and evolving them was the best thing to do. Example of the original Elmer Fudd