The 9 Most Badass (And Random) Historical Versions Of Superheroes

Captain Leatherwing

If you’re not in the know, you may be surprised to find out that superhero comic books (and various other forms of superhero media) tend to have many different universes tied into them. If you’re looking for medieval superheroes, there’s Earth-311 of the Marvel 1602 line of comics. If you’re jonesing for some alternate-universe takes on some of DC’s various superheroes, we would recommend their numerous Elseworlds tales. There are reimaginings aplenty when it comes to superheroes: Superman and Batman alone have had so many different incarnations that it is genuinely hard to keep track of all of them. 

1. Captain Leatherwing

Captain Leatherwing

As if the mask wasn’t enough of a giveaway, Captain Leatherwing is an Elseworlds version of Batman. In the pages of 1994’s Detective Comics Annual #7, readers are given the tale of Leatherwing, his trusty first mate Alfredo, and a stowaway named Robin Redblade. Along the way, Leatherwing runs into Captain Felina, the Laughing Man, and Admiral Cobblepot (versions of Catwoman, the Joker, and the Penguin, respectively).

All in all, it’s a fun romp and as writer Chuck Dixon states on the second page, “Aye, the ocean’s a home for the dead, me lads, for those who’ve crossed Leatherwing.”

2. Hellhawk


There have been plenty of Ghost Riders throughout the long history of Marvel Comics. From Johnny Blaze, to Danny Ketch, to Alejandra Jones, to Robbie Reyes, the list goes on and on. There may not be a cooler Ghost Rider than Hellhawk, though – the guy rides a horse with flames coming out of its eyes, mouth, and hooves.

Not much is known about Chief Hellhawk, as he’s only shown up a few times since his debut in 2009’s Ghost Rider #33 and his appearances are generally pretty brief in nature. He does get a bit of old-fashioned revenge on some low-lifes who are looking to score big on some bounties with scalps of Native Americans, though.

3. Tengu


In 1994’s Robin Annual #3, readers are told the tale of Tengu, a Robin-like young man who is the young apprentice of the Bat-Ninja, protector of the Toyotomi clan. Though the Bat-Ninja is slain at the opening of the book, this story does a great job of mirroring the classic tale of Batman and Robin as it flashes back to the rigorous training Tengu goes through under the tutelage of the Bat-Ninja.

By the end of the issue, Tengu commits seppuku, taking his own life for breaking his promise to his mentor to not avenge his demise.

4. Superman: Kal

Superman: Kal

Superman: Kal tells the story of Kal-El falling to Earth during the Middle Ages, as opposed to his normal origin of landing in Kansas during the current day. This story is extreme, with the evil Baron Luthor assaulting and ending Kal’s love interest Lady Loisse before Luthor and Kal finish each other.

The entire story is told in flashback, and on the last page, it is revealed the old man telling the story is talking to a young Merlin and that Kal’s blade is actually the legendary Excalibur. 

5. Sheriff Diana Prince

Sheriff Diana Prince

There are other Wild West versions of DC heroes in the pages of 1997’s Justice Riders (Kid Flash and Booster Gold come to mind), but it is clear that the real star of the show is Wonder Woman herself, Diana Prince.

This Wonder Woman is the sheriff of a small town called Paradise that is completely wiped out at the beginning of the book. Vowing revenge, Diana sets off to bring those responsible to justice. She may not be the traditional Princess of Themyscira, but this Diana slings side arms with the best of them and uses words like “saddletrash.” It’s clear she rules, nonetheless. 

6. Pilgrim Punisher

Pilgrim Punisher

This version of the Punisher lasts all of three pages in the second issue of the 2015 Secret Wars crossover tie-in Battleworld: Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies. There isn’t much to say about this Punisher except for the fact that he revels in offing zombies with a saber, musket, and old-fashioned incendiary devices.

At one point, he severs the head of a zombie while exclaiming, “Come one! Come all! Let’s dance a merry jig!” 

7. Peter Parquah

Peter Parquah

Peter Parquah, AKA the Spider, has a story with plenty of familiar beats to fans of Marvel’s webhead. In various 1602 comic books, Parquah attracts the ire of journalist Jonah Jameson, has his first love ended by Norman Osborne, and subsequently falls in love with Marion Watsonne.

Yes, it’s all a bit familiar, but seeing Peter romp around the Middle Ages with a frilly version of his costume is still fun for everyone. 

8. Lord Iron

Lord Iron

When it comes to Marvel superheroes, there aren’t many more popular than Iron Man. And while the character doesn’t seem like a natural fit for the Marvel 1602 line at first glance – it’s not like there was a lot of electricity going around in 1602 – Greg Pak and Greg Tocchini somehow figured out a way to make him work in that timeline with a severely powered-down suit.

This Anthony Stark spends the majority of his time in 1602 on a quest for revenge against David Banner after he spends weeks torturing Stark before becoming the Hulk. In classic hero-versus-hero Marvel fashion, the two bury the hatchet and Stark decides to start his life over in the New World at the end of Marvel 1602: New World Vol. 1 #5.

9. ‘The Last Man’ Catwoman

'The Last Man' Catwoman

The Catwoman of “The Last Man” storyline in the pages of 1994’s Catwoman Annual #1 is not Selina Kyle, but Talia al Ghül. The story opens in the 14th century with the Black Knight, AKA Timon, Vicar of the House of Lords, on the hunt to off Rä’s al Ghül, the Cat-Man and ruler of the evil Selenite people, for the ninth and final time. Eventually, Timon runs afoul of Talia, who can morph her bodily form on command.

It is a pretty lengthy issue that sees Talia help Timon return home and subsequently show him that the Selenites are not evil no matter what Timon’s father, Emperor Maddox, would have him believe. The two fall for each other, but it is not meant to be, as Talia ends Maddox for slaughtering her people and is subsequently slain for doing so.