Character Contest 16: Progression

We're all familiar with the way characters are "revamped" from time to time, with their original costumes and character backgrounds being radically revised to suit a more modern audience. The most classic cases came when DC took its stable of pre-existing "Golden Age" characters and ushered in a new "Silver Age":


Your challenge for this week -- and it is going to be a challenge, I readily admit that -- will to be the same. Give us two designs for the same character concept, one that was (supposedly) introduced in the Golden Age and then its modern reinterpretation. You can either post the images separately, or put them together like I did above.

You have one week, starting today and ending next Tuesday. All entries must be left as links to an image or images in the comments to this post, and all images must be 100% HeroMachine-generated. The winner will get to choose either any item he or she wants, or their caricature, put into HeroMachine 3 for all to see and love.

Good luck everyone, I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

134 Responses to Character Contest 16: Progression

  1. darkvatican says:


  2. Hakoon1 says:

    Sorry, I hope I’m not being a pain, but my generation weren’t really born into the comic book age. Can someone just clarify what the Golden and Silver age are? Is it kind of like a Classic look, and then a modernised look?

  3. Jeff Hebert says:

    Right, it’s sort of an old-school traditional style and then something more modern. The three figures on the right in the sample image are all Golden Age Characters, and the three on the left are their modern redesigns.

    Really though, the point is to do two versions of a character, one “old school original” and one “cool new twist”, don’t get as caught up in the labels.

  4. Hakoon1 says:

    Ok, thanks Jeff! I just wanted to check ;).

  5. MartianBlue says:

    very nice choice jeff. I was wanting to do this anyways, with the intention of building a superhero museum in a fictional universe.

  6. Collex says:

    Oh cool. Guess I’ll have to free some time to do that one! Just to clarify, does the “new” super-hero has to be the same guy than the old? Or could it be someone who has taken on the mantle?

  7. Jeff Hebert says:

    It could be the same guy, or it could be a totally different guy, either way.

  8. Hakoon1 says:

    I’m not sure if I did this right…I may have changed too much. But here is….The Igniter!

  9. Matt says:

    Jeff, could you do a diffrent form altogether for the character? For example the “Golden Age” version a person wearing a suit that gives him his ability (eg.Firefly, Mr.Freeze or someone with a special type of suit that lets him conduct electricity) then in the “Modern Age” a more monsterious version (eg. instead of a suit that conducts electricity, he is transformed into a Deamon and can control lightning of his own free will). Sorry for all the writing I just wan’t to make sure because I have already made the “Modern Age” as a “Deamon” type monster guy.

  10. Jeff Hebert says:

    Absolutely, Matt. Some of the transformations were pretty radical — see Blue Beetle for one.

  11. Danny Beaty says:

    @Jeff: Does it have to be a character in the public domain?

  12. Hammerknight says:

    Fire Ash is my entry. I made three ages of him because I grew up seeing more then just one change to a Character, and wanted to show that.

  13. Worf says:

    @Danny Beaty: I’d say either public domain OR make your own up… We don’t want to get Jeff into litigation just because we used copyrighted material, now do we?

  14. Jeff Hebert says:

    Oh, yeah, sorry if that wasn’t clear — they should be your own character, was my thought. I didn’t think about PD characters, but if that’s what floats your boat go for it.

    Preference given to two original conceptions, though, since that’s what I was going for in the first place.

  15. kyle says:

    so its a redesign character contest
    dose it have to be dc? what about marvel,dark horse,image

  16. Jeff Hebert says:

    Kyle, ideally both would be your own characters. If you don’t want to do your own original Golden Age character, pick someone in the Public Domain. Do NOT choose an existing DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image, Daffy Dilly Comics, or any other copyrighted character, for anything.

  17. John says:

    For what it’s worth (and that probably ain’t much), silentbilbo’s got the right idea here. I think too many of you guys are doing variations on a theme. Contrast! The Golden Age version should probably be very simple, very basic. The Modern version can be more conceptual, more complex, off the wall, whatever. Stretch that thinking!

  18. J says:

    I dunno if your example picture really fits. With the exception of GA all are completely different characters and have appeared together from time to time. If you are just talking about costumes though ,then yeah ,vast differences there.

  19. J says:

    oh and just had to say. Kaldath, Jersey Devil looks awesome.

  20. Jeff Hebert says:

    @J: The sample picture is of three different characters, each duo of which is an example of what the contest is about. Golden Age Flash – Silver Age Flash. Golden Age Green Lantern – Silver Age Green Lantern. Golden Age Green Arrow – Silver Age Green Arrow.

    Yes, DC also puts the two versions together from time to time in some sort of parallel universe crossover, but that’s neither here nor there. Taking a Golden Age character and showing what they would be like revamped and revised for a modern era is exactly what the contest is about.

    They’re completely different people in completely different costumes who share the same name and general concept. That is the point.

  21. kyle says:

    what dose the Public Domain mean?

    how do you put the sliver or golden age and modern character together?

  22. TopHat says:

    My entry:

    Golden age on the left,modern age on the right.

  23. LargeFormat says:

    Entry 1- Indigo Eagle

    v.1 Highlights- Famed superhero being called upon to protect the citizens of the city.

    v.2 Highlights- Level of fame has dropped drastically due to the uprising of new heroes. Armor technology improved. Bow technology enhanced.

    (Version 1)-

    (Version 2)-

  24. Iago_Valentine says:



    Alec Crane worked for the city power company servicing power stations. One night, in the wrong place at the wrong time, he was caught in a freak overload of the city’s nuclear power plant caused by an abnormally powerful solar flare. When he awakened, he found pure plasmic energy flowing through him. After a fateful run-in with a spree killer, Crane became Quantum, the fearless warrior of justice. Unfortunately, Quantum sold very poorly, and was canceled in 1954 after a run of just three years.


    Resurrected in 2002, Alec Crane became a physicist at an engineering firm, working to develop new energy technologies to battle the rising crisis. This new incarnation met his destiny when he agreed to test a new bio-electric generator by allowing the device to be tapped into his own body energy. The circuits overloaded, again caused by a freak solar storm, magnifying Crane’s bio-electric energy. At first, his power was uncontrollable, but he was able to work with an engineer who fitted him with inhibitors that allowed him to regulate the energy. He turned to crime-fighting after one of his colleagues made a crack about Crane having become a superhero.

  25. Whit says:

    LargeFormat–You used my UGO ID for your character name–very cool! Unfortunately, UGO still has several of our accounts messed up so I can’t see your pics. 🙁

  26. Kaldath says:

    @J – Thanks I certainly like him Jersey Devil is a character I have been working on for a long time, and those are the original HM2.5 pic I did of him and the most current HM3 version, figured it would fit well with the contest concept

  27. MartianBlue says:

    I give you the Warden
    During the late 20s the great depression struck, for years crime rates grew as the economy failed, and with no end in sight america ran rampant with fear. Suddenly stories of masked defenders of justice broke out all over the country, at first they were mocked, grown men and women galavanting around in bed sheets, pajamas, and cloaks, but soon after something strange happened, the masked crusaders began to gain praise for their works, and just as quickly the economy began to heal. During the 40s the depression was over, but crime continued to grow, as did the number of masked vigilantes, one such vigilante heeded the call to justice in the mid 30s, his name The Warden. The Warden fought crime with superhuman strength, the ability of flight, and a resolve never before seen, catapulting him to the height of popularity in the new and fascinating hero craze. As The Warden his name was loved by the people, feared by the villians, and known to all. Which sent america into a frenzy during the mid 60s, with his sudden, and unexplained disappearance, in which he left behind a wife, three daughters, and a son. During the late 90s a strange package arrived at his son’s house, addressed to The Warden’s grandson, with no return address. Upon opening the package the boy found The Warden’s Metal he had worn all those years with such honor and pride, and a note, “Make Me Proud.”, was all it said. Soon after the boy possessing the same abilities as his grandfather set to work designing his own costume, in honor of his grandfather. Upon completion the boy noticed something was missing, he looked down at The Warden’s metal, Thinking, “Ah, the finishing touch” The boy reach for the metal, but then paused, remembering his grandfather’s note, he picked up the metal and pinned it to his chest, Starring into the mirror, The Warden was reborn as Warden.

  28. Danny Beaty says:

    @Everyone: Lots of good characters! Minute Man and Jersey Devil are both really good.

  29. chase says:

    Angel Past-

    Angel Modern -

    Angel Future-

    Hope you like them

  30. chase says:

    oh sorry hold on

  31. Xavier Kain says:

    This is martyr, made one of the images before contest announced made others after, decided to throw him for the heck of it.

    Real name:(Currently Known as) Verrill Baron
    Height: 6 ft
    Weight: 175 lbs
    Hair: Brown, Dyed Black w/red sections.
    Age: appears to be in his mid 20s to 30s but is much older, few now how long he has really been around at least since world war 1 & 2, served in both aswell as other major military conflicts.
    Style of costume/dress:WW2/Golden Age: often wore a mid length coat, shirt and cargo pants
    :Current: Goth/emo

    Powers: Accelerated healing,sympathetic healing(Essentially Martyr is able to heal any wounds on his subject instantly, that’s the healing part, the sympathetic part is that Martyr actually absorbs the healed injury into/onto his own body which then heals itself, rumor has it though that he can give his own injuries to others by touch as well though no one has seen him do this. He also seems to have a case of longevity the theory is that he is either immortal or that his healing powers slow his aging.
    he is also considered to be more then human in his strength, agility, endurance and other attributes.

    Martyr has lived a long life and has had to watch friends and family die over many, many years, he can heal simple wounds to catastrophic wounds and some believe he can cure disease but he cannot stop people from aging. He has utilized his powers of healing in both world wars as well as other wars and military conflicts, he is currently no longer in the army and has been helping people and fighting crime his own way. Martyr prefers a life of solitude and lets very few people get close to him, but those who know him as a friend, know him to be caring, understanding, affectionate, and fiercely loyal.
    Left:GA ww2.
    Middle: GA after WW2.
    Right: Current.

  32. Firecracker says:

    This is the incarnation of Time. The older version controls time (and space) with his hourglass which is the source of his power.
    The newer version controls time by the force of his will (the power is IN him).

    Golden Age:
    Modern Age:

  33. kyle says:

    fly boy
    Real name:Tommy jay Johnson
    Height:5’11 ft
    Weight: 165 lbs
    Hair: light brown
    Age: appears to be in his mid 20s

    gadget:grappling hook

    fly 2.0
    Real name:john Kirby
    Height: 6’3 ft
    Weight: 179 lbs
    Hair: gray
    Age:late 30’s early 40’s

  34. LargeFormat says:

    Entry 2- Coldwing

    Version 1 Highlights- Down U.S. Fighter Pilot, was shot down while on a supply run for U.S Forces on the Seigfried line (Battle of the Bulge) during World War 2.

    Version 2 Highlights- Now dons full fledged “costume”, which pertains highly cold and penetration resistant armor. Has honed his icy powers, granting him the ability to cause crystal-like wings to protrude from his back.

    (Version 1)-

    (Version 2)-

  35. MegaGoober says:

    Heyy, wait up – i’m still getting mine ready, since I don’t have full access to any computer right now. I’m planning to get mine in by Saturday at the most, so don’t announce the winner yet!

  36. Brons says:

    I didn’t do quite what was asked. Rather, here is “The Man in Red” down through the Ages, Gold, Silver, Bronze and modern, more or less.

    We start with the pulp hero, Brick Brannigan, The Man in Red of 70 years ago, the dawn of the Golden Age. Brick, a district attorney by day, dawns the mask and distinctive garb of The Man in Red to put away those criminals that manage to evade the law.

    Twenty years later, as costumed heroes returned, a new Man in Red, returned Korean War veteran, Russ Mann, chose the one costume theme that no one would ever expect him to wear–the Red that so many associated with the Russians and teh Red Chinese. Russ, though, knew that it also stood for the red blood shed by his brethren in defense of their nation. The new Man In Red fought to redeem the city streets from the gangs and costumed ne’er-do-wells that plagued his great city.

    Two more decades passed, and the new Man in Red appear, a mystic figure, rumored to be the shade of the original Man in Red, a figure of dark mysticism, set on avenging those who were wronged. No one knew if he was human, let alone whether he maintain a secret earthly identity.

    Another twenty years finds us on the eve of a new century, and Rufus Dunn, a professional football player whose life was nearly ended when a stray bullet fired in a drive-by shooting severed his spine. Little does the world suspect that, clad in powered body armor, Rufus became a new Man in Red for a new Century.

    With apologies to the character who may have been the first super-heroine, The Woman in Red.

  37. darkvatican says:

    All righty then, my second entry! Bwah ah ah ah…!

    The Raven

    Golden Age (toon style :P) –
    Modern Age (comic style) –

  38. RJ McD says: jeff i goofed with my entery i put two versons of the same guy here is a an updated one

  39. MartianBlue says:

    This is somewhat of a re-entrant. I wasn’t completely satisfied with my modern version of Warden, so I reworked him a bit. The blue on his arms and legs broken by the black and gold give the illusion of a W build into his costume scheme, and I added wings to his mask, it seemed to plain to me


    Post 45 Alternative

  40. MartianBlue says:

    The following is a complete list of my entrants thus far, and all variations of the same creation, But if I had to pick just one, I think it would be 1-4, my second choice would be 1-2
    The Warden

  41. Brons says:

    Martian, I rather like your 1-2 more. I don’t thin reversing the color scheme added anything. Jus my 2 bits.

  42. Al says:

    Here’s my entry, Gemini.

    The color of the background represents what age they’re from obviously(left golden, right silver for the colorblind).

  43. TitansFan says:

    This is the One-Eyed Jack through the years.

  44. TitansFan says:

    Let’s try this again.

    This is One-Eyed Jack through the years.

  45. MegaGoober says:

    Jake Raice, Golden Age, a stubborn and cold war veteran who serves as a personal bodyguard and professional gunmaster for the Temple of Doom adventurers.

    Modern Age Jake Raice, the potential saviour of the universe and master gunner of the Temple of Doom. He is more equipped and is has a looser personality than that of his ‘younger’ self.

  46. MartianBlue says:

    Thanks Brons. I actually think the color change did quite a bit. It opened my eyes to what I actually want. I’ve just recreated the 1-4, and prettied him up, now I’m going to recreate my 1-2 and modify him just a bit. I will then re-enter those two, and that’s all. The 1-4 will fit in silver age, and the 1-2 will with into modern age. 1-3 will be 1-4 future past, but I won’t be re-uploading him. And just incase anyone is interested 1-4 is now the son of The Warden, and the Grandson’s appearence will be pushed back another few years

    Let me apologize in advance to you jeff for changing and posting the same guy so much, At first I just wanted to get an entrant in, but for some reason I really like him, and can’t quite tinkering with him. But no worries, one last post with my two entrants in a bit, and that’s all I’ll post. And the’ll be my only two entrants.

  47. Al says:

    Darn, I realized that I needed to do 3! The silver age one for mine was the modern one; I’ll make a new silver age one now and put them together.

  48. MartianBlue says:

    @ Al, you don’t have to make 3, Just the 2. Golden age & New Version. New version Can be modern, or silver age, whatever. Jeff’s own words, “Really though, the point is to do two versions of a character, one “old school original” and one “cool new twist”, don’t get as caught up in the labels.”

    Ok, this is my only post that matters.
    1.) Warden & Son (Golden Age & Silver Age)
    2.) Warden & Grandson (Golden Age & Modern Age)

  49. Al says:

    Ok, here’s all 3 versions of my character, Gemini(whom I poster earlier but was confused).

    Golden Age:

    Silver Age:

    Modern Age:

    Tell me what ya think! 🙂

  50. The Imp says:

    Here’s a couple (don’t know if I’ll have time to do any more; I just started a new job):

    1. M.A.N.I.A.C. (Mathematical Analyzer Numerator Integrator And Computer); version one from 1951 is a Brainiac-type alien robot, while version two from 2009 is Skynet-like artifical intelligence that’s able to create cyborg bodies to get around in.

    2. Lightning is one of the characters from my own superhero universe. This one’s a triple progression, showing the same character at three different points in his career.

  51. The Imp says:

    Okay, I lied. Here’s another one.

    Shadowman (Golden Age) was Nathan Harlan, college archeology professor. While on a dig in Tibet in the 1930s, he unearthed an urn containing an ancient shadow spirit (mostly benign…) which inhabited his body.

    Shadowman (Silver Age) was Marcus Harlan, grandson of the original Shadowman. This version is a mutant, due to the mixed shadow/human traits of his grandfather being passed on down to him.

  52. song_bird2103 says:

    Is it just me, or is my contest entry not showing up????

  53. song_bird2103 says:

    This is Black Betty, inspired by the song “Black Betty” by Spiderbait. I wanted both designs to look like they were on the cover of comic books to show even further progression through the font. Also, notice the dull colors and lack of shading in the golden age version. The golden age outfit is sexy, but shows a lot less cleavage when compared with the modern age outfit (female supers in the golden age usually seeming more conservative when it came down to outfits and all). Black Betty also carries her flintlock pistols (way more polished in the modern day version), and the weapons are also in relation to the song. The song was about flintlock muskets, however, not pistols.

  54. TitansFan says:

    I don’t know if your allowed to enter twice or not, but here is a second character that I did, Red Wing.

  55. MartianBlue says:

    @dementedtheclown, The bronze and modern age comics(overall layout) are great, nice job on those.

  56. vampyrist says:

    how do you post characters

  57. Hammerknight says:

    I believe that this really truly show the advancements that comic books have made over the years.

  58. mercwithamouth2 says:

    sorry if i do something wrong this is my first time
    ok so here i go

    Wraith the much loved vigilante of the 1960’s protector of the weak and bane of bad guys everywhere.

    Flashforward to the year 1987 all hell brecks lose in a fight against his archnemisis *name withheld*. Which ends with wraith accidentally killing *name withheld*.
    Now hunted by the police and hated by the public. he still continues his vigilate career do to the fact that the death of *name withheld* unhinged him.

  59. vampyrist says:

    My charactr is called anansi and both can manipulate illusions to trick people. The first one fought axis forces and the second one fights crime.

  60. vampyrist says:

    second entry:Griffin
    Hes an immortal and first is his WWII costume and then his modern costume

  61. vampyrist says:

    If i need to clarify the left ones are golden and the right ones are modern age

  62. mercwithamouth2 says:

    alright so the first is commrade nyet who was the guy killed by my other character named wraith.

    the next is his son he is a russian super soldier how will stop at nothing to kill wraith

  63. Gene says:

    “Back in the day…..The Hammer protected the innocent, and was a guardian of the People”

    “Today, his Grandson,known to the world as the Defender, carries on the traddition”

  64. dementedtheclown says:

    @MartianBlue Thanks Alot, Those Are My Favorite Too. I Tryed To Make Modern Ago More Like A New Comic, With Watchmen Inspiration. But Was Tired So Guess It Suffered A Little.

  65. dementedtheclown says:

    @Lawrence Love The Silver Age, Great Job On The Pose Of The Women

  66. Matt says:

    Ooops! Forgot to upload my entry…
    Fern Aise, Aka. Furnace…
    Golden Age:

    Modern Age:

    I decided to use the military body on this one because they are rarely used and I thought it would be diffrent to actually use it.

  67. kyle says:

    opps i posted the same one twice my bad.

  68. Jarred says:

    These are some guys I did a while back

    Golden age Dreck

    Futuristic Dreck (Dreck 3000)

  69. The Imp says:

    And one more:

    Templar golden age & silver age (roughly 1935 & 1985).

  70. Fishpants says:

    Weird, my comments aren’t showing up either. Something to do with the links maybe?

  71. Fishpants says:

    Wow, great stuff everyone! @brons, I really liked your background for the Man in Red. Even the names seemed spot-on for the time period.

  72. Fishpants says:

    Here’s mine, Commander Justice:

    GOLDEN AGE Commander Justice’s powers derive from his “mystical amulet which glows with an unearthly light when criminals are near.”

    In the SILVER AGE retcon, the amulet is gone and Commander Justice’s powers come from his “mystical training in the Far East.”

    1990s Commander Justice is reimagined as a superpower-less vigilante. Roundly rejected by hardcore Justice fans, this is later revealed to be an alternate-reality version.

    2010 sees the Commander with a film adaptation and a new look for a new generation of fans.

    Commander Justice through the years:

  73. Fishpants says:

    Here’s mine, Commander Justice:

    GOLDEN AGE Commander Justice’s powers derive from his “mystical amulet which glows with an unearthly light when criminals are near.”

  74. Fishpants says:

    In the SILVER AGE retcon, the amulet is gone and Commander Justice’s powers come from his “mystical training in the Far East.”

  75. Fishpants says:

    1990s Commander Justice is reimagined as a superpower-less vigilante. Roundly rejected by hardcore Justice fans, this is later revealed to be an alternate-reality version.

  76. Fishpants says:

    2010 sees the Commander with a film adaptation and a new look for a new generation of fans.

    Commander Justice through the years:

  77. song_bird2103 says:

    My second entry for the contest before Tuesday hits…

  78. drummergirl4 says:

    I hope I’m not too late. I’m not quite how to do this, but here I go.

    Grey Knight-a swordsman and computer nerd with super-sensitive touch
    Age 20
    Age 25

    Crimson Arrow-a skilled hunter with healing powers
    Age 21
    Age 30

  79. Zyp says:

    Jeah, it already is tuesday but I’m still going to post my entries as the winner hasn’t been announced yet.

    Flyman golden age:

    And his modern age successor getting used to his new jetpack:

    I didn’t give name for my second entry due to the lack of time so


  80. kyle says:

    the green eagle.

    golden age:
    Eddie Johnson:

    name:Sarah Johnson=daughter of Eddie Johnson
    alias :kiddie pool,green eagle

  81. dementedtheclown says:

    I Keep Checkin Every 20 Minutes For The Results lol

  82. Jeff Hebert says:

    I’m workin’ on it! I’m agonizing over the winner right now, I have about five of them that are all so good I am struggling to choose. Sigh. Why are you guys so talented?!

  83. dementedtheclown says:

    Cause You Give Us The Means