P:R Redesign: Ben Hatke’s Justice League!

Note: Showing off some great ideas, Ben Hatke comes to Project: Rooftop with some new ideas for the iconic Justice League. From the Cthulhu-an Martian Manhunter to the more tribal Wonder Woman and everything inbetween, Hatke’s designs aren’t short on big ideas (or small ones for that matter). – Chris A.

41 comments to “P:R Redesign: Ben Hatke’s Justice League!”
  1. I can get behind that Green Arrow – it’s a great redesign that stretches beyond just the outfit and gives the character a whole new feel. Kind of elfish – and also practical. For some reason the pants remind me of paint ball gear – loose for easy movement and padded knees for dropping down and taking a shot, makes sense. The strap for the quiver in slung across the wrong shoulder…it’s backwards (a knit-picky detail)

    Superman, Batman, Wonderwoman and Green Lantern – Just not feeling them, all pretty generic with details that don’t make much sense.

    Flash seems like a none superhero – he’s not a runner, he’s a speedster. There is a huge difference (in my mind, anyway).

    Martian Manhunter = awesome

  2. I like the style of most designs, mainly Superman (even without the briefs on the outside), Batman or the Flash (a real-world speedster but with the comic-book touch).
    But the best is Martian Manhunter. A really weird alien, but very recognizeable as John Jones.

  3. I can dig the new designs for the most part. some things bother me. the reversed superman logo, shorts on flash, something about wonder woman star/loin thing.

    green arrow is sweet, he was always a very different from the others. i like wonder woman pretty much from the waist up. and the martian man hunter is a pretty cool concept.

  4. Cool ideas in general but the most surprising for me is Superman. I thought “oh trunks-less once again” but I noticed that reversing the color of the symbol completely changed the balance of color of the suit and, I think, helped in taking the trunks away and give importance to the little red belt and the red sidelines. I don’t like the design particularly but reversing the colors of the symbol is a bold and wild decision. I would have NEVER thought of that and I think it works … how could I say… in the way you designed it. I don’t like it, but I think your thinking is excellent :)
    Sorry but I can’t stand the Flash, and I think it has already been done.
    Green Arrow and Martian Manhunter are excellent!

  5. I dunno; I like the Green Arrow one, taking a more crusty approach to the social justice angle, and that J’onn is absolutely magnificent, but the others aren’t really doing it for me. They’re not bad, just not terribly inspired.

  6. Martian Manhunter is awesome. I love the idea of him actually looking alien. Being bald and green may make you stand out, until you are next to all the weird other human superheroes.

    Superman is nice and Batman has a good feel, but over all every design feels like they are from 90’s with cargo pants. The lower half of most of the designs ruins them for me. Wonder Woman is wearing fancy armor for a chest piece then has a loin cloth and what appear to be jeans underneath? It just doesn’t fit. Really liked Green Arrow to, but then the pants killed it.

    Green Lantern and Flash don’t come across as super heroes. Flash has no real pop, he looks less sytlish and colorful than most Olympic runners. Green Latern is just a guy in a deep V neck and cargo pants.

    Manhunter takes the cake for these designs. Would have liked to see what Hatke could have done if he went more out with the rest of the designs.

  7. indeed an awesome martian manhunter,very cool,different,mysterious and alien.while the other members of the JL are pretty similar to the original,expecially batman and superman,I don’t like wonder woman costume,it’s a mix between an ancient greek armor and a modern design,but you or keep it ancient or make it modern,a mix between the two is a bit bad to see.
    Green Lantern,a space cop dressed as a fan of outdoor excursions is really inappropiate.
    I like green arrow a lot,cool,fresh,young,he resemble a sort of busker,much better than the robyn hood costume he has.

  8. Green Arrow is sweet, though I’m not sure about the yellow lines on his pants. Batman’s stomach area is super busy with those little gold bits. J’onn “cthulu” J’onnz looks AWESOME, but I wonder how well it’d work in an ongoing comic. And I’m really fond of his Superman. It’s kind of an updated version of the Golden Age era comics.

  9. Ben I love the thought you put into these designs. I just finished visiting your blog and was fascinated with the story potential for each of these. Green Lantern, Robin, Flash, and Green Arrow being my favorites. Your re-invention of Green Lantern as a New York cop recruit by a Men in Black style agency is brilliant. Love it. I thought of something similar a few years back when trying to re-invent the John Stewart character…I also wanted to make him British and work for MI6. Anyway I will be checking out your blog from now on. Really great work. I think everyone posting comments should really check out the blog where Ben provides detailed story info on each character. It really enhances my appreciation for the designs.

  10. Thanks Stephen!

    I’m happy to see my work on Project: Rooftop!
    It’s interesting to see which elements of these redesigns/re-imaginings go over well and which are less successful. Especially as straight up designs and without the re-imagined stories. But yeah, for those interested, I’ve done some short write-ups on my blog for each of the characters. Oh and there’s a Robin redesign there.

  11. reallly like the Batman and Supes redesigns, WW should not be made to wear pants. And Flash, I like the hood and shoes/gloves, the shorts need to go, tho. Jonn is pretty cool if its his normal alien form, he took on the more human one to not scare the crud out of us Earthlings, tho.

  12. Love the Manhunter and Green Arrow (although Arrow is almost too elfish but the tattoos and outfit are perfect)! The one that I am really surprised about is Green Lantern. I like that one just for the everyman look but the hints of green in his veins and the two rings instead of just the one is a great change. But why does he have a bag?

  13. The designs are great. Unfortunately, it’s sad to see all the feedback from the couch experts. All of the ideas are great, for every character. Some people have commented negatively on the practicality of the costumes. If people are into practicality, then don’t read comics. Its like the old saying goes “Those who can, do, those who can’t, post responses. “

  14. Of course, I prefer the Manhunter and Arrow, but I disagree about the Superman. He’s I like how simple the outfit is and how accessible he looks. I also like WW’s armored top and loincloth/sash thing. It calls back to the original outfit, without being the spangled hotpants.

    Batman and GL don’t do it for me. GL just feels … blah. It doesn’t pop and Bat’s looking special forces kind of compromises his lines. I’m just not won over

    All in all, I really like the bulk of these, but I’d send Lantern and Bats back for some refining

  15. I love Green Arrow and Martian Manhunter. The others, not so much. Thjere just doesn’t seem to be anything that innovative or interesting about them. That said, it’s nice seeing Wonder Woman wearing something that’s marginally more practical. Remember kids; invulnerability might protect you from bullets, but it won’t save you from a nip slip!

  16. After reading the complaints, I can see that there’s a problem with this post: it doesn’t have Ben’s detailed explanations to go along with each image. The issue here is that Ben has a full story for each one, but being a professional artist without a license for working with DC’s IP he only drew enough to help get his ideas out of his head rather than a full comic. He wrote their backstories up in blog posts, explaining changes that would make much more sense in the art if he’d been able to do a full book.

    Superman (and a plug for Project Rooftop): http://letflythecannons.blogspot.com/2012/11/wonder-woman-ii-and-batman.html
    Superman II and Wonder Woman: http://letflythecannons.blogspot.com/2012/11/superman-ii-and-wonder-woman.html
    Wonder Woman II and Batman: http://letflythecannons.blogspot.com/2012/11/wonder-woman-ii-and-batman.html
    The Flash: http://letflythecannons.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-flash-and-comic.html
    Green Lanternhttp://letflythecannons.blogspot.com/2012/11/green-lantern-and-poetry.html
    Green Arrow: http://letflythecannons.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-outlaw.html
    Manhunter: http://letflythecannons.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-child-stranger.html
    Robin: http://letflythecannons.blogspot.com/2012/11/boy-wonder.html
    Some sketches: http://letflythecannons.blogspot.com/2012/11/journal-comics-jl-sketchbook-and-more.html

  17. Batman nice, not particularly adventurous, but still pretty good looking.
    Superman is pretty cool, the inverted logo gives him a sort of Golden Age look, and I really like the addition of the stripe on his pants, it gives the suit a good balance, and doesn’t look incomplete the way the New 52 costume does so often.
    Kind of ambivalent on Wonder Woman. On the one hand it looks pretty good, but on the other it doesn’t really look as functional as the guys’ outfits, and I don’t generally like outfits that show midriff for no reason.
    Green Lantern looks a bit too low key for me, it just doesn’t really say “space hero” and I think it’s almost too functional. Green Lantern doesn’t to have pockets and junk, he can just make whatever he needs.
    Green Arrow is really good though, and it oozes personality. It looks very cocky and cool, and really helps to make him seem like more than a Batman knockoff.
    Martian Manhunter is really cool too, it does a great job of looking alien and weird. I could totally buy this as his natural form, it’s way more interesting than the usual grey alien-types we see in fiction. The only thin about it that gives me pause is that usually Martian Manhunter tries to make himself look less scary to humans, whereas here he looks pretty dang creepy.
    The only one I really don’t like though is the Flash. I find a lot of redesigns try to make him look like a runner, and it just never really works. He looks too mundane, he doesn’t look like a superhero at all, just like kind of a goof.

    Still though, despite the problems I have with a few of the designs, that Superman really won me over, kudos.

  18. Thanks Matthew!
    The backstory really helps to clear up some of the issues I was having with the designs, and I’m super interested in seeing how his version of the Martian Manhunter plays out.

  19. thanks for posting the blog links, Jonn works a lot better like he explained it. Still don’t care for the pants on WW and the shorts on Barry. Would love to see the Aquaman of this world.

  20. I think the problem is that most of these ideas have been seen before, on this very site. Im particular, track star Flash and creepy alien Martian Manhunter have been done a bunch of times.

    Green Arrow looks to be the most original of the lot. I don’t see elf, I see leftist radical, which also happens to be my favorite take on Green Arrow. The Superman is almost great, but ends up a bit too busy for my tastes.

    Just followed Matt Bowman’s links, and now I’m decidedly less crazy about GA. Nice Robin design, though. Still not incredibly original, but nice enough.

  21. After reading the artist’s reasoning behind the designs, I’m suddenly drawn a lot more to GL, GA, WW , MM, and SM. The only two I just can’t get behind is FMA and BM.

    While I like the idea behind Batsie, the design on the torso doesn’t look very functional or really make any sense at all. I also feel the finger-less glove would be a liability to a billionaire trying to pass off as a meta-human, aka FINGER-PRINTS!!!

    For Flash, I can see where his uniform is taking roots from, but it just looks so in-complete right now, and even less heroic. It comes more off as a Flash fan boy who’s about to race in the name of his Idol!
    And even more, (and this may not stand up to the artist’s interpretation) he doesn’t need to wear any thing aerodynamic or skin-tight due the nature of the Speed Force, or at least the common rule of how it creates a form of shielding against friction and debris.
    While I’m not saying Flash should don bulky armor and a heavy trench-coat just because his powers let him, he should maintain his trade-mark lean and mean appearance.
    But right now, it feels very undynamic and unmemorable.

    I rather enjoy all of their back-stories and the majority of these designs, I just can’t help but feel irked by how the design of BM and FMA some-what fell through on some aspects.

  22. Actually, I went back and reread all of them. My opinion stands. Lantern’s outfit us a bit weak. Batman’s lines don’t make me see “detective”. The Flash outfit is counterproductive and the illustration shows why. Other than that, I like them all.

    Mind you, a good explanation doesn’t make weak aesthetics better. The stories are nice but not everyone has to like how they look

  23. The thing that’s so wrong about Flash’s costume is that runners dress that way to help them be fast. The Flash simply is fast, so it makes him look as powerful & authoritative as a marathon runner.(which aren’t exactly intimidating)

  24. Eric: The designs are great.Unfortunately, it’s sad to see all the feedback from the couch experts.All of the ideas are great, for every character.Some people have commented negatively on the practicality of the costumes.If people are into practicality, then don’t read comics. Its like the old saying goes “Those who can, do, those who can’t, post responses. ”

    Because practical people can’t be artists or an aimed audience? Because only people that do have the right for an opinion? In a blog, you look for feedback, not just flattery.

    Batman, forensic expert super-spy, wearing fingerless glove… huh…

  25. These comments are great. And I definitely don’t want to be that guy who defends every little design choice, but the fingerless glove on Batman was one of the things I went back and forth on a bit.

    The reason I finally decided on it is because he’s a character that we would see doing a fair amount of delicate work -picking locks, disarming bombs, cracking safes, using small tools etc. All things that I imagine would be a bit like drawing – ie. crazy hard to do with any kind of gloves on, particularly kevlar or protective material. So I gave him a full gloved hand and left the other one with open fingertips for pulling and using some of the more teeny gadgets from his belt.

    I very nearly made those exposed fingers blue to try to show a latex glove underneath. I dunno…

  26. These are all new and a bit different. I read the backstoried and MM, GA, GL and Batman & Robin where the strongest Ideas in my opinion. Batman is my favourite charector in Comics and I really like seeing him interpreted by other people. So yer, Good ideas, although supes n WW are kinda weak to me.

  27. Because we should only shower artists with praise as they’re weak, easily crushed children instead of adults and professionals who not only CAN appreciate valid, tactful criticism but have come on here to answer it and thank us for our feedback. I mean it’s not like there are any professionals here contributing and providing feedback. That would be absurd

    I just realized that I really have a soft spot for Siperman designs that invoke the golden age

  28. I am in love with all of these. I especially like Practical!Bats and J’onn J’onz, Great Old One. I think I’ve seen that Green Arrow on his way to drum circle or fire jam…

  29. Some of these are more successful than others, but overall I like the general believability of the costumes. They look like real-world materials, not vaccu-formed spandex, though still retaining superheroic flair. That palpability sells these outfits to me much more effectively than their design sensibility.

    I grew up with superheroes that had their costumes spray-painted onto them. It wasn’t until Alex Ross came out with convincingly-real interpretations of those costumes that I began expecting more from those clothes. That trend finally culminated in the superhero movie costumes of the 2000s, which gave us real outfits that still projected superheroism.

    Ben Hatke’s efforts appeal to me for successfully straddling that line between flamboyant fantasy and practical realism. Though some of them (Flash, Green Lantern) lean towards the mundane, others (Batman, Green Arrow) have fantastically dynamic detailing. That Martian Manhunter is my standout favorite of the pack.

    Anyway, I’m compelled to laugh with derision at the following comment:

    Eric: Unfortunately, it’s sad to see all the feedback from the couch experts.

    Hey guys! Only cheering squads are invited to comment! LOL

    Eric:If people are into practicality, then don’t read comics.

    Okay, everyone, make sure your expectations align with Eric’s before you bother picking up comics! If you don’t read comics the way Eric reads comics, then you’re not allowed into the club. ROFL

    Eric: “Those who can, do, those who can’t, post responses. ”

    In summary, if you can’t draw and design, then your opinion is invalid. Unless you can produce something of your own, you’re just empty chatter that no one solicited. LMAO

  30. There are a LOT of art blogs that don’t allow negative comments of any sort. Perhaps as a consequence of that, most of those don’t tend to get any comments at all. I’m glad that P:R allows actual discussion to go on, even if it has resulted in angry artists on a couple of occasions.

  31. There’s a big difference between negative and rude. All the negative reactions here have bee very civil, which is great to see (though who know’s what all is being tossed).

    Thinking about the Flash design, and how it’s gotten the least positive response, has been interesting. It’s the only one of these where I used a reference. So when I look at it now I see that it is, by a small margin, a more realistic figure drawing than the others. I may have been far more into the figure than the design in that case. I remember with the pose wanting to give him a sort of greyhound look.

  32. The problem is more the outfit, Ben. Thank you for contributing to the conversation, btw. The Flash as a Speedster is moving faster than sound half the time. Your interpretation doesn’t give him the protective field that protects him from debris in the air and all sorts of other problems. You mentioned him patching himself up from nicks and bruises. A runner’s outfit is good at keeping him cool and unrestrained when he runs, but if this guy is doing what the Flash normally does, then he’s going to need something wholly different. More of his body is going to need to be covered to prevent dust from acting like sand paper on his skin. You might need to consider how he breathes when moving at that speed and what will happen if he has to get aggressive. Just some important things to imagine for the aesthetic

  33. I agree with people on Wonder Woman’s pants, but I really like her hair. It looks rather primal to me, far more Amazonian than the usual mass of blow-dried waves.

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