Most, if not all superheroes exist in modern times no matter what decade they were made in. Even though the X-Men came out in the 60s, they're always kept in modern times. Part of the reason for this is the shared ability of nearly every superhero and super villain to remain essentially ageless as time goes on, a rabbit hole of a topic that's worth of its own article. However, what we're more focused on is the fact that most superhero stories seem to take place in modern times, and save for a few elseworlds/alternate earth miniseries, we rarely get to see our favorite superheroes in different time periods. Of course, Marvel and DC characters have changed throughout the decades, but we hardly see these characters in the style the decades the preceded their creation. Good thing the fans have given us some awesome what-ifs.
From Medieval times to the wild west and even edo-period Japan, these awesome fan interpretations have placed the heroes of Marvel and DC throughout different time periods with amazing creativity. Each and every one of these fan designs aren't just merely the characters' original costumes reinterpreted in older fashion styles, they are completely reimagined to work in the time period, changing story aspects and powers to fit more with the era. Some of these pieces even include backgrounds and story pieces to go with the reinterpretations of famous superheroes. Keep reading to check out some of the coolest fan-made versions of Marvel and DC superheroes throughout time.
25 MEDIEVAL X-MEN BY NATE HALLINAN
Up first are these medieval X-Men designs by Nate Hallinan, who has reinterpreted the mutant team as "The Order Of The X." From left to right, we have a bear-like Beast, a pirate Nightcrawler, Lady Stormbringer, a blind warrior Cyclops, Lord Xavier, Lady Grey, A dwarven Wolverine and a blacksmith Colossus.
The colors and digital painting of these designs are fantastic, and they really help bring the medieval feel along with the awesome backstories that Hallinan has created for them.
24 STEAMPUNK STATIC SHOCK BY KEVILLE BOWEN
Moving over to DC, we have this steampunk Static Shock by Keville Bowen. This design appears to be based on the animated series version of the character, and Bowen has managed to translate the outfit into an awesome wild west interpretation.
The duster jacket is a smart way to turn Static's coat into a steampunk look, and we also love how the design implies that his powers come from the device around his waist, which lead into some awesome-looking gloves. The flying, steam-powered platform is also a nice, well-designed addition to this interpretation of the character.
23 OLD WEST CYCLOPS BY KARIM WHALEN
This version of Cyclops by Karim Whalen really takes the character in a different direction, and we're all for it. Whalen's wild west reimagining of Cyclops leans heavily into the theme, as he's depicted Scott as the town sheriff with little superhero theming outside his visor.
There's a lot to love about this design, particularly the way the visor is depicted, as well as the eccentric "law man mustache" and the "X" symbol made from a broken Sheriff's badge. Including an image of Sheriff Cyclops screaming "Jeanie Mae," which we presume is Jean Grey's old west counterpart, is also a nice touch.
22 DENIS MEDRIS' FANTASY DEADPOOL
Next, we have one of many alternate time-period pieces by artist Denis Medris, starting with a Medieval fantasy version of Deadpool. Our personal favorite thing about this interpretation of the character has to be the eccentric level of violence implied by the design.
Deadpool is a guy who seems to enjoy being a mercenary, so it makes sense that, in medieval times, he would be a berserker warrior who loves to be covered in the stuff he decided to take down, which is why we love the little details Medris has added to this piece.
21 BRITTNEY WILLIAMS' SAMURAI DC TRINITY
Next up are some samurai versions of the DC comics trinity by the artist Goldie Vance and Marvel's Hellcat, Brittney Williams. Williams' work is fantastic as always, especially her character designing skills, which shine through in these Edo-period interpretations of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and Robin.
Superman still looks like a farm-boy, but with a Samurai twist, and Wonder Woman's Japanese armor works perfectly for the character. We also love how Batman's costume colors are translated into samurai clothing as well as how Alfred is depicted as a pet dragon.
20 STEAMPUNK IRON MAN COSPLAY BY MATT SILVA
Moving into the world of Cosplay, we have this cool Iron Man Cosplay by Matt Silva. The costume was originally a suit made for a steampunk film which was converted into an awesome Iron Man cosplay that perfectly brings the character back to the turn of the century.
The details, and in some places lack of details, are really what make this steampunk Iron Man work, since the bolts and basic shapes of the pieces make for a fantastic steam-powered interpretation of the character.
19 MEDIEVAL BAT-RIDING BATMAN BY JASON KANG
Batman is often referred to as "The Dark Knight," a title that makes the character perfect for a medieval knight makeover. One such interpretation comes from digital painter Jason Kang, who not only designed some sweet armor for the Dark Knight, he also gave him a version of the Bat-Wing, a giant bat monster for him to ride.
The giant bat has to be the coolest part of Kang's design, but the armor — particularly the helmet and the arm guard blades — and the little robin representing Batman's sidekick are also great touches.
18 SAMURAI MARVEL TEAMS BY ALEX MITCHELL
Here we have some very well thought-out, interestingly designed versions of the X-Men and the Avengers by Alex Mitchell. These designs are another example of the artist going above and beyond to come up with concepts, backstories and explanations behind the alternate interpretations that he's designed.
There's too many to get into specifics, so we'll just mention our favorites, which have to be the fireworks-wielding Jubilee, an actual Japanese weather god Raijin as Thor, and S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents being depicted as a secret ninja organization, all of which look awesome thanks to Mitchell's amazing colors.
17 STEAMPUNK SPIDER-MAN AND DAREDEVIL BY DENIS MEDRIS
Here we have two more pieces by Denis Medris, who depicts Spider-Man and Daredevil as vigilantes of yesteryear. Though they are geared as wild west versions of the character, we imagine they're a bit more steampunk or Victorian, as they both tend to require tall buildings to travel around with.
Regardless, we love the simple, but effective changes that Medris has made to make the characters fit in the 19th century, particularly Spider-man's web-shooters requiring a larger web fluid apparatus and Daredevil's fancy-ish costume. Once again, Medris has knocked it out of the park.
16 VICTORIAN AQUAMAN ACTION FIGURE
Keeping with the Victorian/steampunk theme, but moving over to DC, we have this super detailed, super cool custom action figure by OneSixthWarriors user, Zebraten. The figure depicts Aquaman in a Victorian style in which his suit keeps his Atlantean powers working via salt-water pumped in through the water tank on the back.
There's so much to love about this design, from the tiny details to the great color choices and just the overall superb craftsmanship that went into creating the figure. We'd love to see this figure on the shelves, or maybe a version done by Sideshow.
15 80S FASHION X-MEN BY BOBBY KHOUNPHAYSANE
The X-Men were around in the 80s, but not quite like this. Illustrated by Bobby Khounphaysane, these totally tubular X-Men designs are a little less superhero and a little more flair, depicting core members of the team in the fashion of the 80s.
Some great details stick out, like Wolverine's outfit being identical to that of John Bender in The Breakfast Club, Cyclops' sweater taking the place of his costume strap and, of course, Colossus' shiny metal mullet and mustache combo.
14 FUEDAL JAPAN TEEN TITANS BY SERGIO QUIJADA
Up next is Sergio Quijada's feudal Japan Teen Titans, which keep the original animated series' style and blend it with samurai, ninja, martial arts and Japanese mythology elements. Sergio's interpretations of the character fit perfectly to their powers and skills, which is what make these designs so perfect.
From left to right, we have a ninja robin, a psychic spirit Raven, a kunoichi Starfire, a martial artist Beast Boy (who creatively can use any animal style of Chinese martial artists) and a samurai Cyborg.
13 STEAMPUNK CAPTAIN AMERICA BY ROB BANBURY
This simple, but effective piece by Rob Banbury depicts a steampunk/Victorian version of Captain America that we absolutely love. First off, the colors and sepia tones are superbly done, and help the design feel like it stepped out of the 1800s.
As for the costume itself, the first thing we noticed was that Cap's mask has been turned into something of a leather flight helmet with goggles, and the rest of the costume has been changed to leather, an interesting choice that we're curious to see in color. We also love the gear-looking shield design, a nice touch by Banbury.
12 MEDIEVAL DEADPOOL BY HUNOR FOGARASI
Here's another medieval fantasy version of Deadpool, this time by Hunor Fogarasi. Unlike Medris, interpretation, Fogarasi leaned more into Deadpool's comedic side, combining aspects of archers, executioners, and jesters to make a surprisingly adorable medieval Wade Wilson.
The dual axes in place of Deadpool's katanas are a nice touch, as are the two arrows stuck in his chest that he doesn't seem to care about or even notice. We also love how Fogarasi interpreted the character's signature mask in a fantasy setting.
11 WILD WEST JUSTICE LEAGUE BY DENIS MEDRI
Speaking of Denis Medris, we have another set of reimagined superheroes by him in the form of the wild west Justice League. The lineup includes the core team featured in the animated series as well as Green Arrow and Aquaman, each with old west versions of their costumes.
Of the whole lineup, our favorites have to be Green Lantern, Superman, Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter, the latter two translating perfectly to the old west era, especially when it comes to Wonder Woman's lasso of truth.
10 STEAMPUNK MARVEL BY ALEX MEDELLIN MACHAIN
Next up is a trio of pieces by Alex Medellin Machain, which depict a steampunk Marvel universe that we'd love to see as a comic series. Machain has given us a steampunk Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and Avengers, all of which are great spins on the characters.
In this steampunk Marvel universe, Spider-Man seems to have a rig that helps him walk on walls and shoot grappling hooks, while the Fantastic Four looks like a New York street gang (particularly The Thing) and the Avengers look like heavily armed, steam-powered titans.
9 ROCKABILLY BAT-FAMILY BY DENIS MEDRI
Here's another reimagining by Denis Medris, this time placing Batman and his various sidekicks and allies in a 1950s rockabilly setting. In this fan-made Elseworld, Batman is a mechanic by day, greaser vigilante by night, complete with his hot-rod/roadster Batmobile.
Along with him, Medris has depicted a varsity-jacket-wearing Nightwing, a mischievous-looking Robin and a 50s fashioned Batgirl, all of which are brilliantly designed. We'd love to see a rockabilly Elseworlds comic from DC with Medris doing the character designs and coloring.
8 EDO-PERIOD SPIDER-MAN BY ALEX MITCHELL
Here's another Edo-period Marvel piece by Alex Mitchell, a ninja Spider-Man called Tsuchigumo, a title derived from a mythological monstrous spider of the same name. The design and colors alone were enough for us to include it on our list, but it's the little details that make the whole thing work.
Specifically, we love the spider and web pattern on the kimono, as well as the red scarf and mask. The foot spikes to help Tsuchigumo climb walls and the grappling hook and roped blade are also great, standing as perfect translations of the character's powers into Edo-period equipment.
7 MEDIEVAL DAREDEVIL BY STEFAN GRAMBART
You have to love the poofy shoulders and pants on this one! This delightfully fancy medieval Daredevil is brought to us by Stefan Grambart, who has turned the character into a folk hero of the middle ages.
This one is great both because of the way Daredevil's costume is translated into Medieval times and because of how Grambart drew the character in a painterly style that fits with his middle ages interpretation. Additionally, we love that Grambart incorporated Daredevil's original yellow into the design.
6 STEAMPUNK CYBORG BY KEVILLE BOWEN
There are surprisingly few steampunk interpretations of Cyborg out there! Luckily, we have this sweet piece of fan art from Keville Bowen, who shows us what a half-man, half-machine might look like in the 19th century.
Bowen's steampunk Cyborg has a lot of neat little details particularly the pressure gauge on the character's chest, the shapes used for the leg mechanics and the way the sonic cannon is designed. Plus, the coloring is just plain perfect for a 19th century Victor Stone.
5 MEDIEVAL AVENGERS BY DENIS MEDRI
These medieval Avengers come courtesy of Denis Medris, who once again knocked the designs out of the park. The lineup of heroes is the same featured in the first Avengers film, and they are looking very cool as warriors of the middle ages.
From the left, we have a very classic-looking knight version of Captain America that works perfectly for the character, then there's a Viking-looking Thor, a heavily armored knight Tony Stark, an Orc Hulk (the Hulc?), a warrior Black Widow and a classic archer Hawkeye, all of which look perfect.
4 SAMURAI JUSTICE LEAUGE BY ALEX MITCHELL
Alex Mitchell is at again with his unique Edo-period interpretations of superheroes, this time with the Justice League. Like his other works, these designs come complete with backstories that help bring them to life.
Aquaman is a half-mermaid pirate, Martian Manhunter is a mutated peaceful monk, Wonder Woman is a warrior princess, Superman has the blood of dragons flowing through him, Batman is a secret ninja, The Flash is a lightning-fast swordsman and Green Lantern is a secret shogun police officer. Perhaps the best thing about these is that they're so far from the original, showing Mitchell's design skills.
3 OLD WEST DAREDEVIL BY SHANE MCDERMOTT
Though Daredevil wouldn't be one to kill, we imagine he'd be a fantastic shot with a gun when using his radar sense to aim. Shane McDermott has taken this concept and rolled it into an old west package that looks fantastic, especially with the action he's portrayed in the drawing.
We can't decide if we like the red or the yellow version better, but both designs are a fantastic wild west interpretation of the man without fear and with the truest aim in the west.
2 70S PUNISHER BY DENIS MEDRIS
Frank Castle was introduced to the Marvel universe in the 70s, so it only makes sense to give him a 70s makeover, which is exactly what Denis Medris did with this groovy redesign of the character. The result is an interesting, almost 70s mobster-looking version of the Punisher that we absolutely love.
The sweater, the plaid coat, the cool glasses and hat, the sweet car and the revolver, all of it works perfectly for a totally hip take on Frank Castle, another great piece by Medris.
1 MEDIEVAL FANTASY BATMAN BY CHRISTOPHER STEVENS
Here's another awesome knight version of the dark knight, this time by Christopher Stevens, who does a lot with this black-and-white piece. We absolutely love everything about this medieval armor, especially the shape of the helmet and the interpretation of the bat insignia.
The gauntlets and belt are also very interesting, as they keep elements from Batman's superhero costume, but are reworked into armor that perfectly translates the usual design of the character into the middle ages. Stevens' design is one that definitely deserves its own Elseworlds comic series.