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AI Reimagines Marvel & DC Superhero Actors As Cowboys & It's A Gosh Dang Hoot

Artificial intelligence has proven quite adept at depicting famous characters in various "What If...?"–style situations, from reimagining John Wick in different countries to reimagining Disney's "Aladdin" as a sci-fi movie. Meanwhile, Instagram user @esheffects has turned their gaze to various live-action Marvel and DC characters — and how they might look as cowboys.

The post kicks off with Henry Cavill's Superman, whose experience on the Kent family farm has made him comfortable enough with the Western theme to simply wear his cowboy gear over his superhero costume. Ben Affleck's Batman wears a fairly normal Western getup — though, true to form, he's attached a bat symbol to his chest. The sole DC villain here is Joaquin Phoenix's Joker, who rocks a huge cowboy hat and wears a nice leather duster over the character's classic purple suit.

On the Marvel side of things, there's Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark, layering an appropriately opulent fur-lined Western overcoat over a leather breastplate holding his miniaturized Arc Reactor. Chris Evans' Captain America appears as a bearded cowboy on horseback, with a cool Stetson and a "Yellowstone"-style coat complementing the large gold star pinned to the middle of his chest.

Next is Chris Hemsworth's Thor, whose cowboy version is dressed for warmth but still brandishes Mjølnir to remind the viewer that he's in control of the weather, not the other way around. The cowboy version of Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury is, of course, dressed in black, while Mark Ruffalo's Western Hulk has opted for jeans, a thick beard, and a vest lined with green fur. Meanwhile, Ryan Reynold's Deadpool is channeling Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name, and Josh Brolin's Thanos has opted for a cowboy hat and a vaguely Western-themed space coat.

Cowboys and superheroes are a classic pairing

Superheroes and cowboys are both classic hero archetypes, and these AI visualizations are hardly the first example of the two shaking hands. Sometimes, one character directly draws from the other, such as the masked vigilante Zorro serving as inspiration for Batman ... both in-universe and behind the scenes. Other times, existing superheroes get the cowboy treatment, like in the 1997 DC Elseworlds story "Justice Riders," which reimagines members of the Justice League in the Wild West.

Of course, even without such makeovers, neither DC Comics nor Marvel Comics has a shortage of heroes and villains influenced by the history and aesthetic of the Wild West. For some reason, live-action versions of cowboy-inspired superheroes have been rare, but arguably the most prominent is Sam Elliott's Caretaker in 2007's "Ghost Rider." After all, he turns out to be Carter Slade, an Old West-themed Ghost Rider known in the comics as the Phantom Rider.