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Our favorite comic book characters are originally drawings after all, so it's no wonder they have gone through many different iterations. However, many folks out there don't know this, and they might be shocked to discover just how some of their favorite characters looked in the past.
Some of our favorite heroes have so many alternate versions that it can be hard to keep it straight in your head. Over the years, time has brought us a multitude of different Batmen, Spider-men, Green Lanterns, etc.
This list of best alternate art of comic book characters includes heroes, anti-heroes, and villains— some that even turn into heroes. Heroes don't necessarily have to have superpowers, but they must do heroic deeds at some point in the comics. Check out some of their lesser known art here.
Batman movies sometimes fool us as to what Bruce Wayne really looked like in certain comics. But if you are into Batman trivia, you know that The Dark Knight Returns version of Batman, or broody Batman, is a hit with the diehards. Frank Miller’s broody Batman features some of his best art, and the older, broken-down Batman introduced here became one of the most recognizable versions of the character.
This cynical Batman is always ready to throw his fists, and it's one of the best alternate art of comic book characters. This style of Batman would be great for a darker movie — a film that might even garner an R rating.
Zombies are everywhere, so of course the webbed hero has his own version. Spider-Man, infected but still human, witnesses the pandemonium and destruction caused by the virus and rushes home in order to get his wife, Mary Jane, and his Aunt May to safety.
However, the hunger becomes too much for him and he ends up killing and devouring both Mary Jane and his Aunt May. Consumed with guilt but a slave to the flesh-eating virus, Peter Parker is helpless to stop himself from killing others. It's a pretty dark take on a hero, but it's some of the best alternate art of comic book characters.
In an old version of the comic, Batman has become a vampire from a fight with Dracula, and, of course, he gets bitten. It's a tragic moment, because even though he ends up killing the Joker with his new found fangs, it's seen as a corruption of one of our most beloved characters.
Eventually, Batman is staked at his own request — so he can't do anymore damage to the city. Gordon and Alfred later have to bring Vampire Batman back to life after the city gets overrun with ruthless criminals. Batman starts killing the villains one by one, feeding on their necks and strengthening himself during the process. It's a twisted take on the Dark Knight's mythology, as he's one of the most violent superheroes in this comic.
Guy Gardner's Green Lantern
DC's Green Lantern comics are some of the biggest in the world of comic books. Most people think about Hal Jordan when they think the Green Lantern, but Guy Gardner's version from the 60s actually features some of the best alternate art of comic book characters.
A significant member of the Justice League family, he usually appears in books featuring the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic police force in which Gardner has usually been depicted as its leader.
He appears in numerous Justice League comics throughout the years, and almost made it into the Green Lantern 2011 live-action movie — he was written out during the final version.
This version of Peter Parker exists in the Great Depression era of New York in the 30s. Aunt May is a speaker of equality and spends time standing on a soap box shouting her beliefs. Uncle Ben was killed by a crime syndicate run by Norman Osborn — the Goblin.
Peter is bitten by a strange and powerful spider, and he becomes endowed with mystical spider powers. He has a crawling ability, increased agility, strength, spider-senses, and can shoot nets of webbing from his hand. He then puts on a black mask, gloves, and a trench coat. He sets out to stop Norman and his gang in an old-school noir manner.
Batman fits in pretty well as a steampunk hero — changing all of his standard technology, such as the Batclaw, to more creative tools that do more realistic things. It's some of the best alternate art of comic book characters, and one of the best steampunk comic books.
The Dark Knight takes on such villains as the famed Jack the Ripper, to highly enjoyable results. Another reason why it's such a well respected rendering of Batman is that the art was done by the great Mike Mignola of Hell Boy fame.
However, steampunk can be a fairly divisive genre for diehard comic fans, usually creating a love it or hate it feeling among readers. Steampunk is a genre of science fiction that has a historical setting, and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology, in case you were wondering.