X-Men ’97 has been killing it week to week, giving us an animated series that evokes the best of a certain era of Marvel Comics. Meanwhile, Batman: Caped Crusader, premiering this summer, looks to return to the Dark Knight’s roots in a 1940s noir detective world. Realizing this is a trend that may last, here are a few other comic book heroes that could translate perfectly to period-specific animated shows.

The X-Men '97 heroes (L) and the Dark Knight from Batman: Caped Crusader (R)
Marvel Animation/Warner Bros. Animation

Blade (Set in the 1970s)

Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics originally introduced Blade in Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula series in 1973. The vampire hunter very quickly became the breakout character, headlining comics like Vampire Tales. Like Luke Cage, he was part of Marvel’s response to the ’70s blaxploitation craze with movies like Shaft and Superfly. Blade was much like those iconic ‘70s cinematic heroes, only instead of fighting criminals he was fighting some down-and-dirty vampires.

Everything about the original Blade aesthetic is very of its time, from the hair to the jacket to the catchphrases. We think a series featuring the Daywalker fighting the undead (and other supernatural creatures) in the groovy ‘70s would be incredibly fun. The ‘70s was an iconic time for the horror genre after all. It saw the emergence of Stephen King, alongside movies like The Exorcist and The Omen. Exploring the horror tropes of that era through the character of Blade could be a blast, especially as a bloody, sexy, R-rated animated series.

Wonder Woman (Set in the 1940s)

DC Comics

It’s difficult to convey now what a departure Wonder Woman was, not just for comics of the 1940s, but for culture in general. When William Moulton Marston created her in 1941, women had the vote in America for a mere two decades, still largely confined to roles as wives/mothers. Diana Prince showcased strength and power greater than men, representing an Amazon culture more advanced than the world of patriarchy. Wonder Woman was a feminist icon before the term became widely known.

For these reasons, we think a Wonder Woman animated series set in the ‘40s, perhaps evoking the fashion, aesthetic, and politics of the era, would be amazing. Especially if it really dealt with what it would mean for a woman like that to appear in the deeply puritanical and sexist America of the 1940s. Besides, that setting would ensure Diana Prince punching Nazis in World War II, which we all need to watch right now as cultural catharsis. James Gunn has hinted that a Wonder Woman animated series is long overdue. So why not a period piece set in her era of origin?

Spider-Man (Set in the 2010s)

Marvel Animation

We’re not sure that many other old superhero cartoons could pick up right where they left off like X-Men ’97. At least not at the same level of success. Yet there is one show that deserves similar treatment – the 1994-1998 Spider-Man: The Animated Series. We know that the same Spidey from that show exists in the X-Men ’97 universe, thanks to his recent cameo. But we would actually love for Christopher Daniel Barnes to return to the role of Peter Parker, and tell stories of a middle-aged wallcrawler years later.

An elder Spidey is how you differentiate this version from the teenage Spidey from the upcoming Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man show. Imagine the story 15 or more years later, with Peter now the father of teenage May “Mayday” Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Girl. It would be less “Spider-Man ‘98” and more “Spider-Man 2014,” but rooted firmly in the events of the ‘90s show. We could even finally have Spidey fight Sandman. He was the one classic villain the old show couldn’t use, as he was meant to appear in the never-made James Cameron Spider-Man movie.

Teen Titans (Set in the 1980s)

DC Comics

X-Men ’97 has been perhaps the best iteration of Marvel’s mutants in any media outside comics. Part of the reason is that longform, serialized melodrama is perfect for X-Men in a way movies aren’t. But in the ‘80s, Uncanny X-Men had a true rival for “best superhero soap opera” in DC’s New Teen Titans. That series had as much interpersonal drama, plot twist reveals, and out-of-this-world adventures as X-Men, and sold almost as well as Uncanny X-Men too.

So far, Teen Titans has had two cartoons aimed very much at young kids, and a live-action show that was brutally violent and dropped f-bombs. Neither has really captured the tone of the comics. Although a recently announced movie might, an animated show set in the ‘80s, the team’s heyday, could finally do the Titans justice as a series. Besides, with the ‘80s setting, you could do things like Starfire as a fashion model, Beast Boy as a former sci-fi TV star, and other very ’80s conventions. Just as long as they don’t get too Stranger Things with it.

Black Widow (Set in the 1960s)

Marvel Comics

When Black Widow first appeared in 1964, she was a very different character than the one we know in the MCU, or even the one from modern Marvel Comics. She first appeared as an Iron Man villain in Tales of Suspense, as “Madame Natasha.” She didn’t even have a last name yet. Natasha was a Soviet femme fatale spy, in the style of a Bond girl. Natasha had short black hair, a cape, and fishnets. It wouldn’t be until 1970 that she’d get the iconic black catsuit and flowing red hair, and became a notable fighter, not just a sultry spy.

In those original ‘60s stories, Widow gets romantically involved with Tony Stark, Hawkeye, and later Daredevil. Eventually, she defects to the U.S. and trades super spy for superhero. Those early adventures always showcased her as an appendage to male characters, and were quite very sexist. But an animated series for Natasha Romanoff where the male heroes are in support of her and not the other way around? Now that could be incredible, especially with a James Bond-style, Cold War spy backdrop of the ‘60s.

Justice League (Set in the 1970s)

DC Comics

The Justice League of America first appeared in 1960, but those early DC comics were rather simplistic and intended for very young readers. Every hero acted largely the same with little deviation between the team in terms of character. Things started to change in the ‘70s for the JLA, when DC Comics started to get “Marvelized,” for lack of a better term. The League started to have interpersonal drama that evoked issues of the day and moved to a satellite HQ orbiting above the Earth.

In those ‘70s JLA comics, Hawkman was staunchly conservative, while Green Arrow was a “hippy liberal,” which caused all kinds of tension which found heroes like Green Lantern caught in the middle. Black Canary was a wave one feminist ass-kicker, while Zatanna evoked the ‘70s fascination with all things occult. Of course, the ‘70s is also when the concept of the JLA went mainstream mainly thanks to the Super Friends cartoon. This is something a modern animated series could touch on in a meta way. It’s been far too long since we’ve had a proper Justice League animated show. Setting it in period could be the key to making a new one work.

Fantastic Four (Set in the 1960s)

Marvel Comics

Current rumors hint that the MCU live-action Fantastic Four film is at least partially taking place in the 1960s. Why is this particular era so linked to Marvel’s First Family? Because Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s 1961 origins for the series are very inspired by Atomic Age ideas. Things like the American/Soviet space race, and Johnny Storm being a teenage “hot rod” enthusiast were all cultural staples of the mid-century era. Even today, the Lee/Kirby 100-issue run of Fantastic Four from 1961-1970 remains the best run for the FF ever. Because of this, a ‘60s-set animated series seems like a no-brainer.

Similar to the way Mad Men used the time frame of 1960-1970 to reflect on the rapid changes in American society over that decade, an animated Fantastic Four set in this exact time period could do the same. This time, via a superhero/sci-fi storytelling lens. We know that both a 1960s Fantastic Four film and an animated series at the same time might be overkill. However, we can’t help feeling the series would be the superior product. Oh, and the most important reasons for a ’60s Fantastic Four series? The music! Who doesn’t want to see the Beatles pop up, and have the Fab Four meet the Fantastic Four?