Marvel Pixel Art Tribute Charts Superhero Evolution from 1939 to 2022

After 2 years a dedicated Marvel Comics fan has finished an iconic art project creating a pixelated history of Marvel Comics from its debut in 1939.

The Marvel Comics’ shared universe is one of the longest running media franchises in world history, remaining as popular and beloved as ever more than 80 years after it’s creation, and a new piece of of art catalogs all the major heroes, villains, and gods of the Marvel Universe throughout its decades of evolution. Dan Hainsworth is the dedicated Marvel fan who took 2 full years to create a pixelated version of most major Marvel characters, in the order they first appeared in the comics, ending with a massive pixelated poster celebrating the cosmic history of Marvel.

Fans of the Marvel Comics universe make gorgeous fan art of their favorite characters all the time, but it’s certainly another level of dedication to spend two full years creating such a masterpiece of Marvel’s evolution. Dan Hainsworth’s art is incredibly fun to look at, but it also provides some fascinating insights into the evolution of Marvel’s character design over the years, with character designs getting increasingly more complex and showing an obvious increase in Marvel’s representation of racial and gender diversity over the decades.

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Marvel Comics began in 1939 and was at the time known as Timely Comics, which is where Marvel’s first ever heroes were printed, the iconic android Human Torch, Angel, Namor the Sub-Mariner, and Ka-Zar, all of who can be seen as the first 4 characters in Hainsworth’s pixelated tribute. After nearly 20 years as Timely, and then Atlas Comics, the publication became known as Marvel Comics in 1961 around the same time that Stan Lee revolutionized superhero comics and introduced Marvel’s first heroic family The Fantastic Four. Hainsworth’s awesome 8-bit style art was shared by him on Reddit (@dthains_art) and is titled “Marvelous,” a piece of art that he describes as, “… an evolution of Marvel Comics from 1939 to the present. “ Of course, if anyone attempted to include every character in a piece of art like this the project would probably never end, but Hainsworth made sure to highlight almost every single major character introduced since 1939’s Human Torch, and even uploaded updated versions of the poster after Reddit commenters found some “major” characters missing .


“Marvelous” by Dan Hainsworth is a fabulous piece of art because it does not just layout every popular character in chronological order, but Hainsworth took the time to make characters, particularly monsters, creatures from other realms, or Marvel gods different sizes than the everyday human or metahuman characters. While the sizes are of course not comic accurate, the fact that massive characters like Ego the Living Planet, the Celestials, Fin Fang Foom, and Eternity are enlarged makes the art so much more dynamic. The seemingly endless sea of ​​characters also provides long time fans a fun “Where’s Waldo” -esque searching game, where random characters like the Runaways pet dinosaur Old Lace, Kate Pryde’s alien dragon Lockheed, and the new Krakoan mutant Cosmar all appearing within the piece. Impressively, Hainsworth also attempted to include major character design upgrades, like including the new Professor X from the Krakoan Era, as well as many of the newly introduced Arakkii mutants who only just became canon in 2020.


Dan Hainsworth’s of art is the perfect way to honor the 80+ year legacy of Marvel Comicsso fans of the Marvel Universe and creative 8-bit art should be sure to give “Marvelous” love on Reddit.

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Source: @dthains_art

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