Inspiration works in strange ways. Sometimes, our favorite characters look exactly right the first time their creators debut them, but other times, it takes a whole bunch of people decades (or centuries) to figure out that Dracula probably shouldn't be balding, or that the Iron Giant shouldn't look like one of the possessed toys from the end of Poltergeist. To whit ...
9 Gollum Was Accidentally Gigantic For A While
New Line Cinema
When he was writing The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien introduced an amiable fellow named Gollum who offered the hero, Bilbo Baggins, a magic ring in exchange for solving a riddle. In later editions, Tolkien changed Gollum into an aggressive ring-junkie to avoid contradicting his new trilogy, The Lord Of The Rings. Thus was born the conniving, possessive little wretch we all know and love!
Well, not quite little. Since Tolkien never specified Gollum's size, the artists all assumed he must have been a giant, and also ridiculous. Here's Gollum reimagined as a sad eggplant in the Swedish edition of The Hobbit:
Raben & Sjogren
Instead of a riddle, he forces Bilbo to sit through his minstrel show.
The Soviet version wasn't any more flattering:
He has the sickly, deformed look of he who has fallen prey to material greed and capitalism.
The German artist, meanwhile, drew a morbidly obese toad and called it a day:
"GIVE ME BACK MY PRE-- shit, I'm stuck again. Can you call the fire department?"
It got to the point that, when Princess magazine wanted to publish The Hobbit as a serial in the '60s, Tolkien's only condition was that he could "see the illustrations and that Gollum should not be made a monster." The results are debatable, considering he ended up looking like Darrin from Bewitched wearing flippers and a turtleneck:
Bilbo's afro is presented without comment.
8 Most Batman Villains Started Out Looking Hilarious
In this age of gritty movie adaptations, it's easy to forget that comic books are frequently the dumbest things in existence. This was especially true in the '50s, when "looking like a cheeseball goofus" was the status quo, particularly for Batman villains. For example, before he was an ice-blue Terminator, Mr. Freeze looked like Yul Brynner playing astronaut in his backyard:
"And by 'that' I mean my warm, friendly smile!"
"Gosh dang it, he's right!!!"
Meanwhile, here's modern Deadshot (Will Smith's character in the Suicide Squad movie), seen wasting a bitch:
And he had the nerve to give Carlton that speech about guns.
And here he is in 1950, looking like a rapist at a costume party:
Up to precisely 1950, hats were more valued than human lives.
While not strictly a Batman villain, Boomerang is another Suicide Squad member who has been on the receiving end of a Batarang. Until shockingly recently, he was Captain Boomerang, and dressed like he'd just accepted the vacant position teaching Hogwarts' Defense Against the Dark Arts class:
You'll never guess his nationality.
But the weirdest one by far is Catwoman. You already know her as a woman in a hooded leather catsuit with ears, which is an entirely different kind of confusing. Back in the day, though, she put a cat's face on top of her preexisting human face. Fur and whiskers and everything.
The world wasn't ready for a full-bodied furry yet.
She didn't even change her dress. This disguise resides at the intersection of lazy and terrifying. But hey, at least we're reasonably sure she's never molested a feline, which we can't say about her incestuous also-supervillain brother.