10 Subtle Changes That SAVED Iconic Comic Book Characters

Wally Wood's Daredevil redesign changed EVERYTHING.

Daredevil Yellow Red
Marvel Comics

When it comes to superheroes, the devil is in the details.

There are about a bajillion things that can go wrong when designing a superhero, whether because there are just so many of them out there that not enough stand out features on a new character will make them fade into the crowd, or because you overlook a bunch of tiny little details that don't work, which end up making the entire house of cards crumble.

Or sometimes you get the design right but there's something about their powers, or their origin, or their supporting cast, that just flat out does not work, and needs to be changed. And it seems like something small, but when a writer comes along and DOES change it, the whole thing starts working like a switch watch.

Sometimes changing just one or two details, no matter how subtle, is all it takes to take a character to the next level. This list is a tribute to those decisions, the parts of our favorite iconic heroes and villains that we all take for granted now, but back when they first debuted, didn't really exist..

10. Discovering Philosophy - The Question

Daredevil Yellow Red
DC Comics/Denys Cowan

Steve Ditko, as revolutionary as he was throughout the silver age, was one of those writers who was best kept on a leash. You take him off that leash, and you get stuff like his original run on The Question, which debuted in Charlton Comics alongside his other creation, his reboot of Blue Beetle.

The main problem with his original Question series was the same problem that cropped up in certain issues of Spider-Man and even Blue Beetle - that being that Ditko was a sucker for Randian Objectivist philosophy. And if you've ever read a single sentence written by Rand, you'll know why it's almost impossible to get through an issue of that original run without your eyes rolling out of your skull.

The solution to this was as simple as just changing writers. So when The Question came to DC Comics post-crisis, the reins were handed to writer Dennis O'Neil.

Overnight, O'Neil metaphysically killed off the original Vic Sage and started anew. And thus, the Question became more of a philosophical figure instead of just a paragon of objectivist philosophy.


John Tibbetts is a novelist in theory, a Whatculture contributor in practice, and a nerd all around who loves talking about movies, TV, anime, and video games more than he loves breathing. Which might be a problem in the long term, but eh, who can think that far ahead?