Some characters exist long enough in popular culture that they become mythic. They have so many stories told about them that, like oral tradition, they can be changed generation to generation—they’re an infinitely flexible and protean concept. Batman is unquestionably one of those characters. Inspired fans have long created artwork of the Dark Knight, translating him into different settings and time periods, remaking him into something familiar but ultimately new.
Thanks to DC’s Elseworlds stories, we’ve seen Batsy reimagined many times before in the comics. Now, with Warner Bros. interesting in standalone films exploring the infinite variations of DC’s extensive characters, comic fans have been more fueled than ever to publish their own artwork. Like fan fiction, fan art can be hit or miss. It can also lead you down a rabbit hole of previously undiscovered perversion. However, if that doesn’t accidentally wake something up in you, then you’ll also find some diamonds in the rough; truly inventive Batman redesigns made by incredibly talented artists. These imaginative creations run the gamut from nightmarish to bombastic to realistic. Their designers would all be deserving of working in the industry, and their alternate takes on the Caped Crusader may even deserve adaptations of their own.
Here are 15 Fan-Designed Batsuits That Would Look AWESOME On Screen.
Okay, this one’s a bit of a cheat, but we had to add it because of the skill and expertise it took to create. Also, come on, like you’ve never wanted to be Batman. Julian Checkley wanted to be Batman, and now he kinda is. Checkley, an effects designer in the film industry, created a functioning batsuit based on the Arkham Asylum video games. It even won him a Guinness world record for Most Functional Gadgets On A Cosplay Suit (which is totally a thing, apparently).
Checkley listed the working accessories: fireball shooter, video screens on the gauntlets, bat-shaped tracking beacon, bat sign projector, folding batarang, grapple gun, cowl respirator, pneumatic tranquilizer gun, ultrasonic anti-dog device, four bat shuriken, UV lamp, two ball bearing grenades, a gauntlet flashlight, medi-kit, battery pack, laser designator, bat-cam, strobe stun-gun, gas dispenser, two smoke bombs, the bat flask (we all have our vices), concealed laryngeal microphone, and of course, a two-way radio. He forgot the shark repellent, however, which is why he lands at the back end of our list.
Of all of the batsuits on this list, Nebezial’s design is the one you would most likely see in a Batman film. Borrowing aspects from previous adaptations seen in Batman Begins, Injustice, and Arkham Asylum provides a sense of history and legacy to this suit, but Nebezial still offers plenty of originality to his rendition. The boots and gloves are streamlined, and the gauntlets added an extra scallop, adding to Batman’s aggressive capabilities.
In returning to the jet-black design from the live-action movies, Nebezial’s Batman seems to embrace more of the fear-inducing and stealth-heavy strategies that he doesn’t rely on much these days. The uniform is svelte for greater mobility, and the redesign of the bat-emblem adds more detail while reminding us all how heavily the bat signifies terror and trauma to Bruce Wayne.
Jason Kang is a prolific artist with an unbelievable imagination. He creates highly detailed original work and superhero fan art that can be photorealistic or from the deepest, strangest outskirts of a dream. His redesign of Batman has a Game of Thrones feel—a dark fantasy come to life (and that Robin addition is sweet too).
The highly articulated but functional armor largely moves away from the recognizable Batman symbols save for a mask with ears and the gauntlet scallops. The deviation is audacious but only adds to the alternate universe Kang developed in this single frame. You could easily see this Batman in a fantasy setting, riding that redesigned Ace the Bat-hound into battle alongside Etrigan the Demon against Morgaine le Fey or Felix Faust.
Well, this would make just about anybody crap their pants. In a cross between Batman and Mass Effect, this armored Dark Knight carries a rifle that would make Rob Liefeld squeal with glee. Despite being heavily armored, it looks like Batman would still have a decent range of motion. However, since he’s carrying a cannon and has armor that could probably withstand the Trinity test, we’re not too worried about him anyway.
Designed by ISIKOL, this Bat-armor succeeds where most fail. It looks realistic enough to work and scary enough to be Dark Knight-worthy. While off-model—the only thing that screams Batman about this design is the cape and symbol—the suit works because it makes the most sense. In an emergency where you need special battle armor, you’re going for functionality and purpose more than the need to brand everything with your copyright.
Digital art and Batman Beyond match perfectly. Yvan Guinet adds Nomex textures, and a vaguely Christopher Nolan-era look to Terry McGinnis’ batsuit, while the electric, computerized white eyes finally give Batman the comic book feel that Noland and Zack Snyder and have attempted to replicate in the past. Guinet’s changes are perfectly sensible for the advanced weapons and threats the Batman of Neo-Gotham would be dealing with, while also living up to our expectations of what a future superhero would look like.
Most importantly, he doesn’t change the suit on an elemental level. This is still clearly Batman. Or rather, this is still clearly the future Batman. Guinet merely upgraded Batman Beyond to where he would be if our technology continued to advance in the direction it seems to be going.
Who doesn’t love some good old fashioned steampunk? Batman is a surprisingly versatile character; there are very few genres he can’t be adapted into, and even fewer that he couldn’t fit into (Grant Morrison even once produced a caveman Batman story...somehow).
Here, artist Jason Lee merges Batman with the nerd-favorite steampunk genre. Featuring more elaborations and mechanics (including the requisite and all-important goggles), this is a busy batsuit, but necessarily so. Steampunk is elaborate and metallic, which works for the Dark Knight. Despite his sometimes streamlined designs, Batman is a naturally theatrical character—if dressing up in leather all the time doesn’t give it away, the fact that he took the time to give himself bat ears is a dead giveaway.
Given Warner Bros.' interest in exploring Elseworlds and out-of-continuity one-off films, nobody would be particularly surprised by a steampunk Batman movie, and if produced, Jason Lee’s Batman would be a great template to work from.
Ben Affleck’s Batman suit is damn fine, but Adam Fisher’s might be a bit better. Perfect for an aging Caped Crusader, this suit is armored but still mobile, it has also been tactically upgraded with extra weapons and iris sensors that give Batman’s eyes a look similar to the one he has in the comics. The armored flanks have an Arkham series appeal to it, which, going by Zack Snyder’s fight choreography, makes for a fitting tribute.
Some may not go for the blue LEDs scattered on the suit because of Batman’s usually stealthy approach, but considering he’d be going up against Superman—well, the guy can hear heartbeats from a continent away and see atoms split. Subtlety and stealth are non-factors in that kind of fight. You might as well go all-in and look cool doing it.
Batman v Superman was a controversial film, but everybody seemed to respond well to Ben Affleck’s Batman (minus, you know, the mass murders). His batsuit was bulky but didn’t encumber his movements in action scenes the way they had in past films. Towards the end of the movie, the warehouse scene allowed us to see how great this Batman was at fighting and how much free movement this batsuit allowed him. To most, that scene was like watching a live-action Arkham Asylum movie.
Habjan81’s redesign takes it one step further. His Batman is ready for the silver screen, combining elements of both the Miller-influenced Batman v Superman and the one seen in the Arkham video game franchise. The suit maintains the gray and black tones that modern bat-outfits have adopted, but has added heavier armor. Thankfully, he’s also replaced the splayed and stretched Miller bat emblem that made it seem like Batman could stand to do some sit ups with something more conservative and traditional.
Daniel Araya’s artwork reflects an animated feel. He’s also a fan of The Venture Bros., so we know he has good taste. Araya’s Batman is angular and jagged, creating a little edge that makes him seem more dangerous. The lightly armored textures are perfect, giving him more protection that decreases at the joints, so he has more mobility. The design is very modern with tech additions for the cowl and a sturdy belt for Batsy’s armory of gadgets.
The final product is a hybrid of Pixar, Bruce Timm, and Araya’s own moody, future-forward processes. Back in the '70s, when Neal Adams was the primary artist for Batman comics, he said that when a new Bat film was created, they would look to his redesign for inspiration. If Warner Bros. wanted to spend the money to compete with Pixar in the animated department, this would be (and should be) the style they should adopt.
Switching gears a little bit, we come to Adnan Ali’s Batman Beyond. Embracing the future-tech of the series’ setting, this off-model version of Terry McGinnis’ batsuit is both impressive and terrifying. The suit itself has a kind of liquid-metal feel to it, something that he might use in a battle against Blight where he would need extra protection from radiation, or from Inque, who enjoys strangling him.
Ali’s highly detailed design would make it perfect for live-action adaptation, while the major alteration would be a jolt to longterm fans and casuals who are looking for something bold and new. Ali often reimagines superheroes like he created them himself, and offers exciting new takes that make you reconsider your view on even the most straightforward characters.
Created by CGI artist Mark Vick (also known as Ritorian), this Batman Beyond concept art accomplishes several things. It’s detailed, original, terrifying, and feasible for film; probably something directed by Darren Aronofsky. Considering that Batman Beyond normally didn’t focus on the scarier elements of Batman—instead spotlighting the futurescape of Neo Gotham—this would be a breath of fresh air.
Here, Batman looks like a techno-demonic hybrid with Kirbyesque appeal; this is also the most villainous-looking of any fan redesign we have on this list. The use of LEDs and splashes of red don’t really gel with Batman’s stealthy approach, but that’s what the cloaking device Terry McGinnis has is for. Also, coming face to face with this version of Batman, does he really seem like the type of guy you want to criticize?
Created by concept artist Worasak Suwannarach, this Batman is pretty far from expectation, so we have a different idea for him. The black-on-black design and the nearly featureless mask reminds us of the Batman from DC 1 Million. This could easily be the robotic Batman from the 853rd century, battle worn and damaged.
However, if you look closely, you can see that the damage done to the uniform around the mouth shows some jacked up teeth and face like he was burned, or maybe supernatural. Maybe he could work as a live-action Barbatos—the underutilized demon that has plagued Bruce since 1994, and is currently the main villain in Scott Snyder’s Batman: Metal miniseries.
If anything, this speaks to the elastic nature of the Batman character. Given an open design, you could see him as a future entity, a modern demon, or a reimagining of the regular Caped Crusader we know and love.
Gotham by Gaslight is one of the most celebrated Elseworlds stories DC Comics has ever produced. Featuring a Victorian-era Batman on the hunt for Jack the Ripper, it is just the right kind of insane. Despite being nearly thirty years old, the story has remained incredibly popular; so much so that it is being adapted into an animated movie for next year and perhaps more in the future.
Insane Polygon’s artwork could easily pass for studio-commissioned concept art for the rumored live-action adaptation. As cool as this would be, some fans have wondered if the costume design would translate well outside of comics. Polygon’s near photo-realistic incarnation allays that worry. Polygon even adds some steampunk flourishes to the Gaslight Batman, which makes the suit safer and allows us to reuse the Simpsons goggle clip again!
Let’s play a game of What Could’ve Been—except this time you won’t be calling up an ex-girlfriend from years ago out of the blue because you've had too much to drink. No, this one is much simpler. We know that the upcoming Justice League movie will feature Batman wearing some armor. Unfortunately, Batman will look like Nite Owl for some reason, when he should look like David Sun’s more effective and creative rendition.
Most artists who draw an armored Batman give him either a bulky mechsuit or make him look like Iron Man, but let’s be honest—Batman’s better than that. Unlike Tony Stark, he’s never had a mullet or Clark Gable mustache. Sun’s armor is enforced without being bulky and unique, while still being instantly identifiable as Batman. The helmet just makes good sense if he’s going against a superior force, rather than still leaving his jaw out as an easy target like certain others would have him do.
Well, this is the best kind of nightmare. Focusing on how inherently scary Batman is, John Aslarona created a medieval Batman who embraces the villainous aspects of the character’s design. One of the hero's best and most effective attributes is his ability to instill fear, and it’s rarely been as naturally displayed as it has here.
With the maturity of the art, you could easily imagine this Batman fighting hordes led by the immortal Vandal Savage. Aslarona’s solid linework gives the Dark Knight a realistic look, and the oily textures give it a sense of historical drama.
Aslarona also understands the importance of the Batman symbol, creating large designs on his chest and shield, making it less of an emblem and more of a sigil. Imagine the entire Bat-family geared up like this taking on a medieval Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins. That’s money right there.
What are your favorite Batman fan designs? Let us know in the comments!