Most everyone who was planning on watching the Netflix Iron Fist series has finished it now (thanks to the modern magic of Netflix binge-watching.) Many of the reviews are disappointing, especially in comparison to the other Marvel Netflix series, including Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones. It might not be a badly-made show overall, but casting decisions left many fans apathetic to the release. When Iron Fist was announced, there was a strong call from the comics fan base to audition Asian actors, to develop The Iron Fist beyond the detrimental tropes of his inception. Executives instead cast Finn Jones, who many, even those not supportive of a more diverse casting choice, feel is not at all suited to the role of Danny Rand.
Due to Marvel’s decision to stick with the original, 1970’s concept for the evolution of Iron Fist, we lost out on a modern redesign that could have changed the course of this series. Talented artists took to Twitter to show us the Danny Rand we could have had- and man, these redesigns all deserve a comic series (and maybe a TV series) of their own.
It all started with Kristofer Anka, well-established Asian-American Artist currently pumping out some of Marvel’s best comic covers, and apparently changing our perspective on who Iron Fist could be with the power of a single warm-up sketch.
warm up – danny rand – the iron fist pic.twitter.com/d9URHD93sE
— Anka00 (@kristaferanka) December 8, 2015
Artist Jen Bartel, the genius behind the bright, pop-punk art of Jem and the Holograms, was the first artist on Twitter to take a turn at re-creating Kris Anka’s redesign.
Iron Fist ??? pic.twitter.com/MLlnIGO8Iv
— Jen Bartel (@heyjenbartel) March 19, 2017
The reinterpretations of Danny Rand spread through the comics community like wildfire, with many artists demonstrating how cool it would be for Anka’s Iron Fist to exist.
(I mean, look at him. He’s excellent.)
Kevin Wada, another notable cover artist who gained fame for his watercolor redesigns of Marvel characters, contributed this painted headshot to the mix:
— Kevin Wada (@kevinwada) March 21, 2017
While Kris Anka’s muscular, detailed version of an Asian-American Danny Rand gained traction on Twitter, another redesign was rising in popularity as well. Paulina Ganucheau, a star quickly rising in the comics industry thanks to her amazing work on books like Another Castle and Zodiac Starforce, released a beautiful gender-swapped redesign, coining her “Dani Rand”.
It's ya girl Dani Rand here to kick your ass. ??? pic.twitter.com/uWaBevlxS1
— Paulina Ganucheau (@PlinaGanucheau) March 20, 2017
Artistic interpretations of Paulina’s new design started popping up on Twitter alongside Anka’s, including Kris himself!
— Anka00 (@kristaferanka) March 20, 2017
Artist Steenz Stewart, co-creator of Archival Quality (coming from Oni Press in 2018), plays with Paulina’s design in her own style:
I kind of like it better with a white bg… pic.twitter.com/oLDk6CH0HE
— Steenz! @ Wedding Con (@oheysteenz) March 21, 2017
Rahzzah, who also works as a cover artist, combined the 2 redesigns in this beautiful piece, which could easily be a variant cover for a Danny/Dani series someday:
— Rahzzah (@Rahzzah) March 20, 2017
Other artists contributed their own redesigns, including re-imagingings of other characters alongside Iron Fist.
— ???Shannon Manor??? (@shannonmanor) March 21, 2017
Whether you’re a fan of Danny Rand, Iron Fist, or the Netflix show (or not!), these redesigns do a great job of showing that there can be different interpretations of every character. Comics is a diverse space, and making changes can be a great thing, especially when the creation and execution of outdated stories proves to be problematic and culturally insensitive. These new interpretations of Iron Fist are a great example of how a change in perspective can yield really excellent results.
Chime in with a comment- which Iron Fist redesign is your favorite? Let us know!