The success of Marvel Cinematic Universe is obvious, the Fox-Marvel films continue to garner praise, and even Sony is looking for a slice of the action with their own universe of Spider-Man characters. Not only are Marvel films box office-friendly, but they shape the audience's perception of these age-old heroes. When people talk about the likes of Captain America or Thor, they no longer think of the art in the comics — they picture the films.
The Marvel fan community has always been rife with amazing art and talented artists. Considering the influence of the films, we thought it would be fun to explore some different takes on today's most popular superhero characters. For this list, we have assembled some of our favorite fan-designed looks that are better than what Hollywood has given us so far.
Any of the Marvel films are fair game, regardless of what studio they're from. If one of your favorite characters makes this list looking totally different, don't worry. These alternate designs don't mean the official ones aren't good too; it's just fun to see some talented artists reimagine our favorite Marvel characters.
Without further ado, here are 15 Crazy Marvel Fan Designs Better Than The Movies.
15 Armored Thor
While the Thor: Ragnarok look is a refreshing one, this high-fantasy Thor design by artist Reza Ilyasa is extremely awesome. Thor never really embraced his ridiculous roots. He might be theatrical, but his over-the-top Asguardian wardrobe never got more outrageous than his bright red cape — although he did wear his silly winged hat in the first Thor film for a few seconds.
This redesign still maintains Thor's classic look, but with added touches of extravagance and, of course, protection. The spiked gauntlets, boots, and high shoulderpads are great for defensive purposes, but they also just look downright cool. Mjolnir, Thor's hammer, also got an upgrade of the sledge variety. Even the helmet, which emulates Thor's winged headgear, boasts functionality.
With this armor, Thor is fashionable and combat-ready — though to be fair, he's always combat-ready.
14 Bucky Barnes, Captain America
Superhero mantles are constantly passed down from character to character, and Captain America is no different. With rumors of potential deaths surrounding the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, perhaps Captain Steve Rogers will be the first to go. This piece by Boss Logic sees the fan-favorite Bucky Barnes as Captain America — something comic fans await, and MCU fans might want to get used to.
Cap has died in the comics before, but he's also shared his mantle with other heroes. Bucky did take over for many years and Sam Wilson, the Falcon, has also taken up the shield and stripes. Regardless of who ends up replacing him eventually, this comic book-inspired design feels right at home in the MCU.
Bucky's Captain America outfit is mainly black, but still sports the accent colors. His metal arm is even painted red, white, and blue for good measure.
13 DIY Spider-Man
Everybody has to start somewhere. The MCU's Peter Parker started out wearing a hoodie and ski-mask before Tony Stark gave him some real Spidey duds. Tobey Macguire and Andrew Garfield both had similar pre-Spider outfits to the one in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but this design by artist Ro Stein has them all beat. Fresh, simple, and just edgy enough for a teen with superpowers to love, this is an awesome redesign for the casual, on-a-budget Spider-Man.
The hoodie makes a return with some added flair, the lower body is dressed for safety and mobility, and his face is... uncovered? Part of what makes this design so great is the no-brainer solution to that boring red ski mask. Instead; the hood goes up, he puts on some wide-eyed goggles, and pulls a spider-scarf over the lower half of his face.
Sure, it's not the most practical costume ever made — and it probably takes a while to put on — but this youthful design is totally cool and thematically spot-on for our friendly neighborhood web-slinger.
12 Bold Black Widow
Black Widow's design rarely deviates from the black leather jumpsuit. Other than the length of her hair and her neckline, her outfit usually consists of a black suit, a belt, some gauntlets, and a handgun or two. The redesign by zacharyxbinks keeps Natasha's usual fashion sensibilities, but with subtle changes and a more vibrant color palette.
Of course, that color palette remains black and red and nothing else but the red rarely overpowers the black as it does here, with accents on her top and bottoms. Her hair is uncommonly short as well, perhaps tied back or in a that pony tail we can't see. She also wears a jacket over her stealth suit, which is also uncommon, and yet a surprisingly refreshing choice.
The artist intended for this design to suit someone other than Natasha Romanov — a new, replacement Black Widow, with a "thermal jumpsuit" possessing enhanced physical resistance and strength. Even still, this would be a welcome aesthetic change for Scarlet Johansson's MCU heroine.
11 Modern Scott And Jean
Since the X-Men franchise seems to be ashamed of colorful costumes (those last-minute suits in X-Men: Apocalypse don't really count), these designs are a wonderful improvement. Peter V. Nguyen's redesign for Cyclops and Jean Grey is extremely unique, and takes these characters' designs to places even the comics rarely go. This is a slightly more armored take on classic X-Men costumes, and the jackets are a nice touch.
There are two major changes to signature character traits: Jean's hair and Cyclops' visor. Usually Jean is depicted with excessively luminous, flowing hair, rarely short or tied back — a potential allusion to her restrained powers before her time as the Phoenix. Even more shocking is the fact that we can clearly see Cyclops' eyes. This would greatly help actors express themselves as the character and would prove to be an inspired change.
These designs may not have been made for the films per se, but they're infinitely better than bland black leather jumpsuits.
10 Iron Girl
This gender swapped redesign of Iron Man by Mars seems like a natural evolution for Tony Stark's collection of armor. Much like the comics, Tony's suits only get more advanced as he creates each iteration, and it's only a matter of time before we see an armor as sleek and complex as this one.
As comic fans know, an "Iron Girl" already exists: Riri Williams as Ironheart — Tony's most recent successor. While this isn't necessarily based on Williams or Tony's most recent armor, "Model 51", the similarities are apparent. Model 51 (or Model LI) is made of many moving, shifting armor panels so that the suit can change shape for different combat situations. While it's unclear if that's the case here, the design above shares the same level of complexity.
Seeing a look along these lines in action, with an expensive CGI budget behind it, would be just plain awesome. A sleeker design for the MCU's shell-head is inevitable, regardless of whether it's Tony or Riri in the suit — we just hope it's as cool as this.
9 Steampunk Ant-Man
The Ant-Man costume is one of the silliest comic outfits in history, but the MCU managed to adapt it with some dignity. Hank Pym introduces the suit to Scott Lang in Ant-Man, and audiences are even treated to some top secret Cold War footage where Pym himself acts as the titular hero. Both suits are the same model, but even Pym must have had a prototype. This steampunk redesign by Julian Wong might be the perfect example of that.
Since Ant-Man's powers only rely on Pym particles, his helmet and his belt, the leather suit is technically unnecessary. It would make total sense for an early version of the Ant-Man suit to look a bit more rudimentary, consisting of separate pieces of basic tech instead of one skintight suit. The added steampunk fashion sense is just icing on the cake.
Ant-Man and the Wasp will likely explore Pym's history as Ant-Man, but we can only hope his early designs are has dapper as this one.
8 Miles Morales, Avenger
Peter Parker's Spidey suit looks decent, and the Iron Spider looks even better... but what about Miles? Miles Morales is the second Spider-Man and already exists in some form in the MCU. He's not yet Spider-Man or an Avenger, but that day will eventually come. Artist Justin485 depicts what that may look like, as this Avengers-sanctioned suit inspired by Miles Morales would make for a great change to Spidey's aesthetic.
This large, sharp-eyed design harkens back to Tobey MacGuire's costume, but would possess all of the tech-based features Tom Holland has at his disposal. Even the artist had intended for this to be a Stark-produced costume, with new features and a vibranium lining - not to mention the fresh and distinct black and red look.
We've had a lot of Spider-Men over the years, but a design like this would be the perfect way to change it up.
7 Old(er) Man Logan
When the first poster for Logan was revealed, this zoomed-out fan art went viral. This piece, another entry by BossLogic, was an awesome depiction of how Jackman would have looked as Old Man Logan — and more along the lines of how he should have looked. In Logan, Wolverine isn't necessarily an old man so much as a broken one. The movie focuses more on the loss of his abilities, and while that is tied to his age, he's just the usual Wolverine with some gray hair and a beard.
This long, white-haired take on Logan is more in line with the Old Man Logan comics. Although similar to the final film, this art adds just enough of an animalistic quality to the character to make our list. In Logan, he's depressed and tired. Here, he's old, scarred, and determined to protect young Laura. It's a smaller change and not a total redesign, but it's still a totally welcome one.
6 Heavy Armor Cyclops
Here is another vibrant and unique alternative to the X-Men's black jumpsuits. This Cyclops redesign by Joseph Canedo is a hi-tech take on Scott Summers' classic costume, and comes with a surprising amount of heavy armor. Both in the comics and films, the X-Men's leather doesn't exactly qualify as "armor", despite the fact that they constantly anticipate combat. For a paramilitary group primarily made up of young teens, you would think their suits would be designed more like this.
This design isn't necessarily as bright as colorful spandex, but if the films continue stay away from comic book aesthetics, perhaps this tactical look would be a fair compromise. Scott's visor stands out nicely against the suit, and the advanced technological build would likely boast some other unseen features.
As the leader of the X-Men, it would only make sense for Scott to wear something like this. Unfortunately, the film franchise rarely features cool costumes for any of its characters. Why haven't they learned from Deadpool?
5 Ultron Unparalleled
For many fans, Avengers: Age of Ultron didn't do its titular villain much justice. If James Spader's Ultron wasn't what you expected, check out the radical redesign by ChasingArtwork. Artist Justin Currie even gives his rendition its own backstory; one's that's way more powerful than the MCU's evil artificial intelligence. While the Avengers fought a dry, quippy robot who had a penchant for Pinocchio, this version of Ultron is basically a god.
Instead of a silver, humanoid body, this design resembles more of a plant-like totem. He is apparently fused to the center of the Earth, which he uses as a power source. He's completely omniscient, and in the artist's lore, has already destroyed the superhuman presence on Earth. Even the design itself is more intimidating, looking almost like a robotic Eye of Sauron. It's a major shift in tone, and way more imposing than the Ultron we got.
4 Steampunk Mark I
Iron Man has made Tony Stark's first suit iconic. Forget the fact that it's made of rusty metal he found in a cave — his first moment as Iron Man is a standout in the MCU. This Mark I redesign by artist norbface takes Tony's original suit and makes it more advanced while keeping the rustic look. Of course, this is thanks to the steampunk aesthetic, as the primitive, industrial style is appropriate for Tony's first build.
Seeing as Tony is a genius, it would only make sense for him to be able to construct an even more complex suit out of the simplest materials. This armor demonstrates just that, being a bit sleeker and likely more mobile than his clunky Mark I. It looks more like an exoskeleton than a shell — especially on the outer limbs — but what it lacks in protection, it makes up for in style.
3 Retro Cap Redux
It's about time somebody brought back those little wings!
This redesign by Guy Borraine Jr. is a delightful amalgamation of classic charm, and the modern functionality of Cap's newer suits. It's armored and padded like his more recent costumes, but adds a bit more color (despite the sepia-toned image). Aside from the old school helmet and the retro wing-tips, it has some nice patriotic touches; the seals on the shoulders, his title around the shield's star, and an eagle on his belt buckle.
As Cap has become disillusioned with the modern world, his MCU outfits have gotten darker. This makes sense for his characterization, but eventually Marvel's shining moral star will reveal himself again. It might be a bit old-fashioned for the grit of the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, but just as Agent Coulson said: "With everything that's happening, the things that are about to come to light... people might just need a little old-fashioned."
2 Dormammu, Lord of Chaos
The psychedelic visuals of Doctor Strange took care in realizing some of the more bizarre characters in Marvel's collection - not least of which is the powerful Dormammu, an demonic entity from the Dark Dimension set on on consuming every reality in existence. To bring such an imposing villain to life, the creatives behind Doctor Strange depicted him as a giant, formless being — well, almost: he does have a face.
However, that was Dormammu's form in the Dark Dimension. What could he look like in the physical world? Probably something like this.
This design by uncannyknack takes inspiration from Dormammu's comic book roots, but with enough sharp details to fit appropriately into the MCU. The cinematic universe's lack of memorable villains won't be fixed by a cool design, but having Doctor Strange fight this horrifying and spiky fire-entity might help just a bit.
1 Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch is one of the most powerful heroes in the Avengers, and yet her design is the one of most unremarkable of all. Other than a red trench coat, Wanda Maximoff doesn't have the same flashy presence in the movies as she does in the comics. Artist Daniel Kamarudin takes her core visual traits and amps them up to eleven with this fantasy redesign - one that feels more in line with her immense power level.
The interpretation keeps her color scheme and classic robes, adding some accents like leather straps, belts, and shoulder pads to make her seem more combat-ready. Most importantly, it incorporates her comic book headdress that the MCU hasn't tried to make work.
Marvel has some powerful women, but it needs more. Until then, the powerful women in the MCU need to look the part. Scarlet Witch should be a priority, and a redesign like this makes her look like the reality-manipulating goddess she is supposed to be. Besides, she needs to have that comic headdress.
There's tons of fan art out there, and lots of Marvel characters we didn't cover. Feel free to share some of your own, and leave your thoughts in the comments section down below.