There are times when your favorite geek franchise does something so amazing that it gives you everything you want and more. The announcement of a brand new movie, the appearance of a beloved character cameo in the latest TV show or video game, or the release of a long-awaited comic book crossover can fill a nerd’s heart to bursting. What happens, though, when what you imagined in your head isn’t exactly what you get? What happens if what you actually want to see is something that will NEVER make it to the big screen? That’s where fan art comes in.
If unlikely character relationships, impossibly terrifying monsters or twisted takes on super-teams don’t turn up in the media you consume, what are you to do? What if, no matter how much you love what you get, and you watch/read/play everything that comes out, you still want more? Why, you make your own, of course! When you open the floodgates to the inner hearts and desires of millions of fans, the results are going to be… varied. While there’s no denying the talent on display here, there’s something both amazing and truly disturbing about these 16 pieces of Marvel Superhero fan art!
16. FURRY SPIDEY/BLACK CAT
We’ll start by saying unequivocally that there is nothing wrong with the furry community. The world would be a much better place if we all learned to live and let live, and can you honestly say that the things you love and the way you love them don’t get freaky from time to time? The furry community is a substantial presence in fan culture; no more so than in the fan art on display when you carry out an image search of beloved superhero characters.
Take this image from LadySunny16 on Deviantart, depicting Spider-Man and Black Cat engaged in a little light, consensual, bondage. This well-drawn image takes on a bunch of fetishes all in one freaky bundle, including cosplay, BDSM, furries and probably one or two we may be too naive to notice. There’s something about “Spidey’s” face, however, that makes this a little more scary than sexy.
15. POWER SWAP
This… this is not how this is supposed to work! This (unfortunately) unsourced piece of X-Men fan art shows a glimpse of a world where Logan and Cyclops swap powers and it does not end in the way that either would have expected. Admittedly, there’s something pretty cool about a Wolverine with laser claws, but Scott’s adamantium vision? Not so much.
This is the fun kind of thing that not only makes you wish you could draw even half as well as the talented individual that produced this, but opens up a whole world of power-swapping possibilities — although, if they come with the disturbing, “monkey’s paw” style consequences that afflict these two X-Men, maybe it’s a world best left to the imagination. That’s the beauty of fan art, however: anything you can imagine is only a click away… for better, or worse.
14. PREGNANT IRON MAN
Speaking of worlds that we’ll never get to see realized in any way beyond a fan’s wildest dreams, take the pregnant male superhero fan art community. It’s a corner of the web that’s surprisingly prolific, and anyone from Batman and Superman to Thor and Loki appears in conditions that suggest they are only days away from one of the happiest moments of any loving couple’s lives.
Some of them, like this one — depicting Tony Stark suffering from similar lifestyle restrictions that any expectant mother could sympathize with — lean more towards the humorous. There are, however, many images out there that are very loving, attempting to bring to life a situation that, while highly genetically unlikely, still captures the beautiful act of bringing a child into the world. It’s still a little jarring to look at, however.
If there’s one Marvel character that has inspired the twisted, dark side of thousands of artists’ imaginations across the globe, it’s Venom. The evil alien symbiote is already a disturbing concept — an invasive being that seeps into your very being and fundamentally changes who you are isn’t something that needs much tweaking to become truly terrifying.
Artists like Austen Mengler, however, have found a way to push the popular Spider-Man villain from scary to horrific. The endless, jagged teeth, the blood and the violent strength that clearly surges through this image are enough for even hardened fans to lose sleep. What makes it scarier is the knowledge that there is some poor soul (more than likely Eddie Brock, who gave himself willingly) trapped underneath all that, screaming and trying to escape.
12. M.O.D.O.K (VIA H.R. GIGER)
The Alien franchise is undoubtedly iconic. The movies have a style that echoes back to an almost primal, instinctive fear embedded deep into the foundation of mankind and the terrifying sci-fi universe has garnered praise and fans for nearly 40 years. All of this is in no small part down to the intricate, Lovecraftian stylings of designer and artist H.R. Giger.
It’s only natural that Giger’s vision would inspire talented artists to adopt and emulate his style for their own work. When you mix that with the fan art community, you get stunning work like this from Giorgio Comolo. Despite the many lighthearted interpretations, when you actually sit and think about it, M.O.D.O.K is a scary villain. His twisted presence is elevated tenfold in this image, where he looks like the tribal drawing of an ancient alien culture, warning of the large-headed monster that’s waiting to consume us all.
In the current political climate, the threat of invading fascism feels scarier than ever. This threat is all over the news, but currently, it’s also in our comics. Take Marvel’s latest major summer event, Secret Empire. In the controversial series, the evil “nazis-that-aren’t-nazis” organization Hydra has overthrown the Western world and, through an altered Captain America, they rule the United States with an iron tentacle.
Hydra was also present in the 2014 movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier and infiltrated the highest levels of S.H.I.E.L.D. That proved the inspiration for this ethereal and unsettling piece depicting Bucky Barnes, the titular Winter Soldier, being metaphorically blinded by Hydra’s ghostly hands. It’s a powerful piece which, taken on its own, isn’t that disturbing, but the underlying message of the corrupting and blinding strength of fascism is one that makes this image especially powerful.
In his second entry on this list, Venom is proving himself no stranger to disturbing fan art. While his previous entry was a realistic, horrifying recreation of his comic book persona, this image takes a slightly more abstract approach that in its own way is even more disturbing.
Created by Deviantartist Richisawesome, there’s no denying that portraying any character as a tarantula would automatically scare a significant portion of the viewing population. After all, who isn’t even a little bit freaked out by the eight-legged creatures? Seeing that Venom is firmly entrenched in the Spider-Man family, it makes a little more sense. Still, taking the arachnid aspect of his characteristics to its more logical conclusion, especially in such an effective way as this, is entirely creepy.
An octopus Hulk is a scary creation and no one can convince us otherwise. Just imagine if you were suffering from an alien invasion and the heroes that swept in to save the day were these eight-legged freaks from the deep. You’d probably feel a sort of sinking, out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire sensation where there wouldn’t really be any winning scenario.
Still, artist Meg Lyman has done a fantastic job of combining the worlds of superhero and octopus, and there’s no denying they look the part. Each of the heroes has a determined look on their face that tells you they mean business. Plus, if it’s a little too disturbing, just think of the person that had to make those adorable little costumes! Sure, we don’t envy them, especially with all those arms to accommodate, but it’s preferable to contemplating any of these characters carrying you to safety in their slimy super-tentacles.
8. AVENGERS ASS-EMBLE
Now, this is what the crowd came here for — gratuitous butt-shots! Although “gratuitous” implies unwarranted or uncalled for and who can say butt-shots are ever considered gratuitous?! OK, lots of people; especially in the depiction of female superheroes over the years. Still, this piece is taking a decidedly more light-hearted approach to the subject matter and even taking a pop at the more serious poses adopted by comic book artists.
Artist Kevin Bolk has created an homage of sorts to the original posters for the 2012 Avengers movie with one “sexy” difference: namely the exaggerated booty poses of the entire cast. It’s an image that rewards you the more you look at it, too! Hulk looks like he’s trying to talk with his cheeks while Captain America is just owning it. The most disturbing part of this image is just how right it feels.
7. TOXIC AVENGERS
From one extreme to the other, this is a fun play on words to boot. For the uninitiated, The Toxic Avenger was a 1984 B-movie about a nerd that falls into a vat of toxic chemicals and is transformed into the monstrous being called Toxie. The part-comedy, part-horror, part-superhero movie gained a bit of a cult following, spawning sequels and even a cartoon, so it makes sense that someone would mix the world of the Toxic Avenger and Marvel’s Avengers into one disturbing creation.
Thanks to Zach T. Jordan, we no longer have to wonder what that unlikely combination would look like and it’s just as unsettling as you’d imagine. Someone falling into a vat of chemicals and emerging with superhuman powers isn’t a new trope, but what’s rarely explored is what would happen if a superhero fell in. We get an answer of sorts here and it’s not what you’d expect.
6. SEXY RACCOON
There’s a lot that can be forgiven in fan art, and while this hasn’t quite crossed that line, it’s definitely pushing the limits. If there’s one thing you can always predict when scrolling through the doodles, paintings and digital creations of passionate fans, it’s that if something exists, there will be a sexy version of it out there. There’s even an internet rule dedicated to the concept.
Even with that in mind, it’s hard to imagine that Rocket Raccoon would be the first Marvel character you’d think of when deciding to turn to the internet to indulge your dark, superhero-based fantasies. If that’s your thing, though (no judgment, you know we love you), then you could do a lot worse than this admittedly well-crafted DeviantArt creation. It’s so well done that it might awaken something in you that you never knew was there.
5. HULK SNOW WHITE
No matter who you are, there’s a part of you that never got over playing dress up as a kid. For some of us, that goes no further than a pair of cat ears or a spooky mask every Halloween. For millions of people, however, that love of wearing the outfits of your favorite characters evolves into the wildly impressive cosplay culture. So if you can do it, why not Hulk?
In this Photoshop competition entry, user Thomas Berg has considered what classic character Hulk would cosplay as and landed on perhaps the most unlikely of them all: Snow White. While that image is disturbing on its own, perhaps it’s even more unsettling to imagine that this is a completely alternate universe where the beloved Disney princess actually is an eight-foot gamma irradiated beast with anger issues.
Peter Parker has always suffered from a clone problem. During the ‘90s, however, that problem became an overcrowded nightmare. Spidey’s clones included Ben Reilly, Kaine Parker, Spidercide, Doppelganger, and that’s not even counting the symbiotes Venom and Carnage that filled out the roster. Of all the clones, Doppelganger was possibly the most terrifying, so it makes sense that he would work his way onto this list.
Already an animalistic, demonic beast with multiple pairs of clawed hands and razor edged webbing, Doppelganger was disturbing as hell before Deviantartist Ahrrr got their talented hands on him. In this awesomely scary image, the hellish clone is clearly happy to have you wrapped in his webs and advancing on you in the kind of way that gives you chills. In a scene with many creepy elements, it’s the six glowing eyes that seem to be the worst of all.
3. TUBBY SPIDER-WOLF
Taking a different, yet perhaps equally disturbing approach (albeit in a completely different way) is Deviantartist NightCrestComics’ Spider-Man, showing him in a world where he is both a werewolf and absurdly tubby. To say that there’s a lot to unpack in this image is somewhat of an understatement. It’s safe to say that a lot of choices were made and certain liberties with the character taken, but in an unusual move for pictures like this, the artist supplies a detailed explanation for their stylistic vision.
Spider-Man was turned into a werewolf “at some point in his life” which, OK, that part’s fairly self-explanatory. Why the comically large belly though? Well, there’s actually a pretty compelling, five-point argument for that which ranges from the cryptic (“50th Anniversary”) to the entirely reasonable (Aunt May’s cooking.) So now you know!
2. RAGING WOLVERINE
With his intrinsically violent nature, it’s surprising that Wolverine hasn’t made it onto this list a lot more frequently. Still, when he does show up, you know it’s going to be good. And by “good” we mean bed-wettingly terrifying, like in this image by Fsantibañez Santibañez. In his horrifically exaggerated pose, Logan looks poised to spring straight out of your screen and right into your nightmares.
Santibañez’s style is reminiscent of McFarlane’s early Spawn issues, Wolverine’s hellish grin seems lifted straight from the demonic Malebolgia and his extreme, unsettling proportions wouldn’t look out of place in the Image comics of the ‘90s. It’s a picture that’s as stunning as it is disturbing, which is the magic combination for thousands of people looking for that next tattoo. If that’s you, then you’re very welcome for the inspiration!
1. SEXY HAWKEYE
For a lot of people, the unfortunate truth of misogyny in superhero comics is one that, while unpleasant, is unavoidable. Thousands of women have learned to look past that creepy aspect of their favorite comic franchises, but a lot of fans can’t even seem to see it at all. Enter The Hawkeye Initiative.
Created entirely from an offhand comment on Tumblr by the talented creator Noelle Stevenson, The Hawkeye Initiative takes images of “Strong Female Characters” (heavy quotes there) and reimagines what they would look like with Clint Barton striking that exact same pose. It’s a funny idea tackling a serious message. After all, the results are often unsettling or even disturbing, but always eye-opening. If it doesn’t look empowering for Hawkeye to be posed like that, or wearing as little as his female counterpart, then maybe it’s not the strong, body positive image you think it is?
Have you seen other unsettling Marvel-inspired fan art? If so, let us know in the comments!
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