The Justice League, or, as it was deemed in its first appearance, the Justice League of America, has been an integral aspect of DC’s incredibly vast universe since 1960. Over time, the League has grown, disbanded and rotated several of its core members throughout numerous tenures in comics and animation. Because of its enduring and rich history, the League and its rotating cast of heroes has undergone a myriad of redesigns. Some of the more inventive recreations are those which push the beloved super-team in a fresh and unexpected direction — Kingdom Come and Justice League 3000, with art by Alex Ross and Howard Porter respectively, are arguably the most well known.
With art of their own, fans have also explored alternate versions of the League. Many pieces of fan art further grounds the team in today’s modern world, envisioning them in a variety of scenarios. Meanwhile, other redesigns add anachronistic elements to the characters’ long established origin stories, allowing a few unlikely alternatives to receive their due attention. As the team prepares to officially unite for the first time on the big screen this fall, we’ve compiled a list of the 15 most insane pieces of Justice League fan art.
15. JUSTICE LEAGUE: KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE
TheComicFan, a Colombian illustrator and board game designer, took the World’s Finest to the medieval period, depicting them as Knights of the Round Table. Wally West’s Flash represents freedom, Martian Manhunter embodies wisdom, Superman is power, Aquaman, being a king himself, sits at the head of the table as King Arthur’s representation of duty, Wonder Woman signifies truth, Batman symbolizes justice and Kyle Rayner’s Green Lantern is the personification of order.
Assigned to each hero is a practical depiction of their individual designs meshed with medieval armor. TheComicFan accomplishes this without sacrificing any League member’s known color schemes or the symbolism typically emblazoned on their normal garb, such as the Bat-symbol or GL’s lantern, which appears to be cleverly incorporated into his chest piece. Visiting TheComicFan’s Deviant Art page offers a few other looks at the artist’s take on different League members, as well as several sculpt designs.
14. JUSTICE LEAGUE OF NINTENDO
Artist Peter Townsend not only converged the worlds of Mario, Metroid, DC and Sonic in the above piece of digital artwork, he also gave each of the characters a name befitting their cross-universe titles. Furthermore, there exists a story behind the union of these seven heroes and it is quite interesting. Should intrigue compel you to learn more, which it certainly should, details about the artist’s Nintendo/DC mashup can be found on his DeviantAge page.
Aqua Kong, Luigi Lantern, Wonder Samus, Super Mario, Keese Man, Sonic Flash and Yoshi Manhunter are all banded together to thwart the attempted conquest of Shroob alien invaders. This version of the Justice League is admittedly an unlikely bunch, but Donkey Kong with blond hair and Link in a Batsuit is too perfect of a combination. Of course it works, and of course we wish such a team up was a reality.
13. JUSTICE LEAGUE UKIYO-E
Boosh-Master depicts Green Lantern, Flash, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl in ukiyo-e — a Japanese style of art dating back to the early 17th Century. There is notably in-fighting within the League, as Bats and GL duke it out with the Speedster ninja and Samurai Superman. It’s difficult to discern which side Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl battle alongside, but that is one of the more fascinating aspects of this piece. Similarly, there’s no way of knowing what specifically is happening, leaving a lot to interpretation.
The attention to detail is also noteworthy. Regardless of what they’re at war over, several of the League members’ garments are tattered, and it appears Hawkgirl has been heavily bandaged. This reimagining of the heroes is about as disparate from the norm as it could get, and that is exactly why the Japanese-inspired piece secured a spot on this list.
12. ANIME LEAGUE
Artist Armycom’s anime rework of the Justice League juggles several ideas in one beautifully crafted and colorful image. Chief amongst them happens to be the teenage theme. To match the age range of the six young heroes, their behavior is equally heightened. Green Lantern uses his ring for in-air skateboarding, Flash races across a bridge railing, and Batman (Batboy) rides a giant robot — it could not possibly get anymore teen anime than that.
Each character design is unique from the next, while simultaneously paying homage to the look fans are used to seeing them save the world in. Superman’s blue hair, which color coordinates with is blue shirt, is an especially noticeable touch. And so too is Flash’s short-set and Batman’s hair that stands in place of his usual cowl-equipped bat-ears. More of this artist’s incredible work can be found on their Deviant Art page.
11. YOUNG JUSTICE LEAGUE
What would happen if the League were in their teens, finishing a shopping spree at Urban Outfitters and Hot Topic? The curious need look no further than Doretetsu’s “Young Urban Justice League” to find out. Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman look familiar. However, with this twist, their attire teases more than their age.
The Bat is clearly the bad boy of the group. Arthur stands at the opposite end of the line, looking as though saving the world isn’t in his repertoire. Meanwhile, Flash and GL appear to be token nerds. And it’s difficult to see Superman as anything other than the cool kid; the same could probably be said of Wonder Woman, whose lasso is drawn as a yo-yo. How this iteration of the team could accomplish anything is one of many questions, yet it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility.
10. WILD WEST JUSTICE
Gunslingers, bounty hunters, cowgirls and distinguished gentleman are not the last groups of people expected to form the Justice League. They aren’t at the top of the list either. But something about this redesign from Denis Medri feels right. Each League member resembles their classic look, maintaining something about their character that is incorporated into this westernized design. For instance, Batman’s cowl is substituted with a bandana, Wonder Woman’s lasso is… a lasso, and no one could better don a long duster-cape than Superman. And who knew John Stewart was capable of rocking mutton chops?
In a Justice League Unlimited episode, “The Once and Future Thing, Part I: Weird Western Tales,” the team travels to 19th Century Oklahoma territory. They don’t dress for the period, but Denis’ work hints at what could have been. Hopefully, one day either the comics or an animated project will explore the idea fully.
9. JUSTICE LEAGUE 10 1/2
Illustrator and character designer Carlos Silva introduces different species of aliens to the DC universe with his Ben 10/Justice League crossover. The Ben 10 art style, along with the artist’s use of vibrant colors, stands out brilliantly. However, it is the creative manner in which the characters of the Ben 10 universe are depicted donning the garb of League members that makes this piece of fan art particularly special.
From left to right, alien (and for some, more alien) versions of The Flash, Blue Beetle, Cyborg, Green Lantern, Superman, Firestorm, Deadman, Green Arrow and Martian Manhunter are pictured. Batman, who sits, dare we say adorably, perched atop Superman’s left shoulder is an especially nice touch. Four-Arms standing tall as the Man of Steel and wearing the Kryptonian’s famous the curl is an additionally incredible detail. To see more of Carlos Silva’s work, head over to his ArtStation portfolio.
8. DRAGON BALL LEAGUE
Crossovers are fun when done right, and this Dragon Ball Z and Justice League fusion is no exception. Italian artist Massimiliano Bellisario captures the intricacies of both universe’s characters. In doing so, he combines the two admirably as the DBZ characters don what appear to be New 52 versions of the League member costumes.
Goku standing in Superman’s stead, especially since discussions of which character would best the other in a battle continue on, is almost too fitting. The pairing of Vegeta and Batman is similarly apropos, considering the DBZ character’s desire to be the best warrior in the universe. Son Gohan as the Scarlet Speedster is an additionally near perfect fit for both characters. Given the skills and abilities of the DC heroes, it would be interesting to see how the Dragon Ball characters put them to use. But that will likely have to be left to our imaginations.
7. JUSTICE LEAGUE OVERHAUL
There is seemingly no specific theme that digital artist Alex “Rize” Golden aimed to convey. Thus, this redesign of the Justice League is just that, a redesign. What Rize accomplished is far from a simple case of altering each League members’ costume. Many of the characters themselves also received new looks, independent of costume adjustments.
The more notable of such changes are the female Green Lantern, which is no longer a foreign idea, and a slightly more monstrous looking Martian Manhunter. Hair also gets a major overhaul on some of the characters, see The Flash (Jesse Quick, or perhaps a female Impulse?) and Wonder Woman. It wouldn’t be right to continue on without at least giving notice to Batman’s purple gloves, not to mention the intimidating full-faced cowl he’s wearing. Visiting Rize’s portfolio on DeviantArt is a must for anyone looking see more of his creative work.
6. JL ELSEWORLDS
DC’s Elseworlds line of comics has paved the way for many creative story arcs like Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. For his redesign of the Justice League, artist Michael takes a few liberties with their backstories as well. Flash gained his powers as a thief, Wonder Woman was raised under Ares’ tutelage, Superman landed on a Grecian island and was also trained by the God of War.
Batman’s origins aren’t too dissimilar from the norm. However, Alfred raised him in poverty after the death of the Waynes instead of allowing the young boy to rely on his wealth. Finally, Green Lantern, following a familiar crash, is approached by a company to police Sector 2814, before ultimately founding the League. All of the above and more provides insight into this insane redesign. For more details on Michael’s version of the League, check out his DeviantArt page; it won’t disappoint.
5. FANTASY LEAGUE
Artist Renz RubPen took reimagining the Justice League to incredible heights with his “Fantasy Tribute” to five of the League’s members — Green Arrow, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. All of the characters, barring The Amazon, are depicted bare-chested, symbolism of their respective identities emblazoned on them in some fashion.
Character design is not the only aspect of the work that sets this fan art from others. The use of color, though minimal in some places, is artfully employed. The muted colors making up Superman’s “S” mesh well with the blue and purple tone that adorns his torso. Background designs aid in ensuring each character stands out as well; on that front, Renz’s use of color is also managed elegantly. Individual character works were put together to make this insane fan art all one piece. The separate images can be found in the artist’s DeviantArt portfolio.
4. PUNK BAND OF AMERICA
A remake/remodel for a contest held by Warren Ellis, now professional artist Annie Wu accepted with an incredible piece. Her submission can be seen above, and it’s a remarkable feat. This is exactly what a punk rock Justice League of America would wear on stage — it’s a sight that can never be unseen. But why would anyone want to? If nothing else, the image looks as though it belongs in an ’80s grunge magazine as an advertisement for a one-night only event.
The band members featured are The Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, who could be easily mistaken for Harley Quinn, Batman and Aquaman. Apparently, Wonder Woman provides lead vocals with the speedster on drums. Clark Kent is on guitar and the Bat, whose hair acts as bat-ears (clever!), is the JLA’s bassist. Arthur’s role is relatively unclear, but he looks to be having a good time.
3. THE JUSTICE LADIES
In art depicting some heroes as a female versions of male League members, Rob Nix captures the essence of each character and successfully merges the designs with a gender bend. Superwoman’s costume is a lighter blue that’s also incorporated into the inside of her cape. The sleek designs of the women donning Green Lantern and Flash outfits are beautifully crafted too. The Batwoman’s bat-inspired knee guards and boots would make even the most badass of Batmen jealous.
A female version of the Martian Manhunter design runs the risk of mimicking the many iterations of Miss Martian, yet Rob Nix succeeds in achieving something different but familiar in comparison to past designs of both J’onn and M’gann. Overall, the piece itself merits praise. The imagery from one hero to the next flows nicely, as each one appears in front of a backdrop unique to their character’s origins.
2. THE RETIRED LEAGUE
Taking inspiration from the Justice League of the original animated series, Australian artist Gabi French explores what retirement may look like once old age slows down the Leaguers. We have to say, the seven in their later years don’t look half bad. They’re still getting around, albeit Barry’s pushing an obviously frustrated Diana in a wheel chair, while Clark barks orders from behind a walker.
Akin to other fan art pieces listed above, the little details stand out as strongly as anything else. Bruce is evidently asleep, because of course an elderly Batman can sleep while standing upright. Clark’s wearing his underwear on the outside of his shorts, and J’onn’s head is afloat in a jar on wheels. Another notable detail, that helps sell the piece as a whole, is that they are all standing in a line just as they would were they headed out for official League business.
1. CHAMBARA JLA
This piece is the arduous work of Alex Mitchell. Inspired by the tropes of jidaigeki heroes seen in Japanese films, Alex’s JLA reimagining retains the core characteristics of each League member. Most impressive is that all have backstories and unique names that suit their identities. Aquaman is Ningyo, the Fishman, Martian Manhunter goes by Morokoshi Shugenja or Chinese Mountain Man, Wonder Woman is dubbed Kaiketsu no Kimi aka Lady Incredible, Superman bears the title of Hagane Hito, Steel Man, Batman is referred to as Koumori Yasha, or Bat Demon Warrior, Shiden Yuu, Lightning Yuu, is the title given to The Flash and finally, Chōchinmochi, Lantern Bearer, aptly describes Green Lantern.
Furthermore, fine details are hidden within each character page. Without a doubt it would be awesome to see these unique stories explored in an Elseworlds tale. To read more in depth information on Alex Mitchell’s Chambara JLA, visit his portfolio page.
Which version of the JLA would you like to see happen? Let us know in the comments!
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