Readers sometimes get sick of the same tropes and formulaic storylines that seem to always follow superheroes, so writers and artists like to shake it up once in a while. Since comics first found their way onto shelves in the 1940s, almost every popular title has seen a momentary break in the overarching narrative. Sometimes this is to show depressing future versions of superheroes. Other strange versions of popular comic books will continue for some time until their sudden, but inevitable, apocalypse.
Some of these alternative versions of comic characters find their way into the mainstream universe, adding depth to a background that could be seen as lackluster. Other times, these heroes and villains are just weird and depressing, and really don't have a place in their distributor's expanded universe.
The weirdest alternative versions of Marvel and DC heroes and villains may not be the most conventional, but they are certainly fun to read about.
If you were thinking that Centaur Superman must be a byproduct of some magical nonsense brought on by one of Wonder Woman's rogues, you'd only be half right. This version of Superman finds his way across the Elseworlds pages in a universe where the Allies lost WWII. In Chris Claremont's Whom Gods Destroy, Superman goes behind enemy lines to rescue Lana Lang with the help of Lois Lane. Lois has recently learned, as a result of her investigative journalism, that the Greek pantheon is on the side of the far right, and she ends up gaining powers gifted to her by Athena, which transform her into a new Wonder Woman.
Circe, a sorceress with a history of turning men into animals, turns Superman into an evil, far-right centaur at the end of the day.
Peter Parker, Mary Jane, and Aunt May go to the circus and are seated next to the Fantastic Four. An emergency occurrs, leaving Aunt May, MJ, and the Richards' child, Franklin, to fend for themselves against Galactus, devourer of worlds.
Galactus tries to turn Franklin into a new herald. Franklin deflects Galactus's attack and Aunt May is hit instead, turning her into the Golden Oldie, who is charged with finding food for Galactus. She brings Galactus Twinkies to curb his appetite until she can bring him a world to consume.
In an alternate universe, Frank Castle goes back in time to kidnap baby Thanos and raise him as a hero. Thanos still ends up becoming a tyrant, however, and takes over Earth and forces decanters into ghettos.
Juggerduck, AKA Howard Duckson, joins Cable's Guardians of the Galaxy on a mission to take out baby Thanos before he grows up to rule the Earth. Everyone, including Juggerduck, is unfortunately slain by Galactus, leaving Cable to fix the mess on his own.
Following the effects of M-Day, when Scarlet Witch decimates the mutant population, Pope Henry McCoy of Earth-7144 channels all of his efforts into saving the powered people. He receives a vision telling him to seek the help of the Inhumans and their Terrigen Mists, but they decline to lend their assistance.
Doctor Strange and Hank McCoy of Earth-616 witness this scene during an astral projection as they, themselves, try to fix the effects of Wanda's spell.