Animated adaptations of superheroes are usually a bit different from what we see in the comics; the concepts are updated, the stories are streamlined and the designs are changed. The designs in particular are usually what change the most, since the heroes’ iconic costumes either need to be updated or simplified, becoming uniquely stylized in the process. Sometimes it’s because the superhero’s outfit hasn’t changed for decades, sometimes the art direction of the cartoon calls for something different, and sometimes it’s just to make it look cooler.
Whatever the reason, superhero cartoons redesign costumes and characters quite a bit, to both good and bad results. Sometimes the designs alone are enough to turn a superhero cartoon into an instant classic, and other times they can weigh down an otherwise fantastic cartoon. Animation is difficult, as is art direction and being in charge of redesigning what is usually a beloved character with fans that might not be happy with what is produced. This is to say that some superhero redesigns in cartoons might not go over how their designers expected. With that, we’ve decided to explore 8 times superhero redesigns worked in cartoons, and the 7 times they didn’t.
15. WORKED: NIGHTWING (BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES)
Make fun of the mullet all you want, you gotta admit this version of Nightwing is easily one of the greatest redesigns in superhero cartoon history. This design took notes from the feathery costumes Dick Grayson wore, as well as the classic black and blue suit. The BtAS suit has the simplicity of the black and blue suit, but with the bird and wing imagery of the earlier suits.
Even the mullet has its merits! It still works really well for the overall design and it’s hard to imagine any other kind of hairstyle going with this look. Heck, we saw a short-haired version of the design in Batman and Harley Quinn and it just didn’t have the same ring to it. Without a doubt, Nightwing’s appearance in The New Batman Adventures was one of the best costume overhauls in superhero cartoons.