Gender Swap Meet: The Strangest Female Versions of Male Characters
When we rounded up a list of our favorite comic book cliches, we mentioned that there are a whole lot of female versions of male characters out there in the world of comics. Whether they were started out as a means to secure a copyright (like Supergirl and She-Hulk), attempts at taking a legacy character in a new direction (Dr. Midnight, Dr. Light and Wildcat II), or just attempts at shutting Frederic Wertham up (Silver Age Batwoman, we're looking at you), there are a ton of gender-swapped versions of male characters out there, and some of them are just strange.
That's why we've gotten ComicsAlliance contributor Chris Sims to take a look through the archives and round up the best and outright weirdest female versions of male comic book characters!
Unlike the time that the Punisher was an angel, or that time the Punisher was black, or that time the Punisher was a Frankenstein's Monster, this one actually isn't one of Frank Castle's stranger transformations. Instead, Lady Pun here is actually Lynn Michaels, a cop who decided to moonlight as a vigilante to catch a serial rapist and was then caught up in the fast-paced world of black leather pants and skull-patterned bustiers.
She was actually one of many ersatz Punishers running around towards the end of his '90s run (including Outlaw, the motorcycle-riding British Punisher who seriously needs a comeback), but just in case you forgot that she's the girl, she's the one that found Frank's diary (well, "War Journal," but let's be honest) and was very upset to see that she wasn't mentioned.
Created by Adam Warren and Elsevilla for this year's Assistant Editor Spectacular, Galacta appears to be a young woman in a "Sexy Galactus" costume, much to the delight of hat fetishists everywhere. In reality though -- or at least as close to reality as the Marvel Universe gets -- she's Big G's daughter, who has given up on eating planets and instead subsists on "alien microfauna," mostly in the form of space-diseases that are out of place in Earth's ecosystem.
What's more, Galacta -- who even has her own sadly idle Twitter account -- won a reader vote to get a follow-up story, beating out "Nextwave's" Elsa Bloodstone, who is herself a female version of a male character, the Bronze Age monster hunter Ulysses Bloodstone!
Superwoman, Batwoman and the Rest of Earth-11
First appearing in "Superman" #349 (and revived as an official alternate Earth), Earth-11 was originally a version of the DC Universe transformed by Mr. Mxyzptlk, whose unhappiness after his marriage to Ms. Bigbznz left him seeking revenge on Superman (who had encouraged him to get married) by sending him to a world without Lois Lane, because the Silver Age was freakin' weird.
We do have to give Mxyzptlk credit though: Not only did he give us a world with a Superwoman, a Batwoman, and even Wonder Warrior (whose arms and legs were colored in in an effort to make it look like he wasn't just straight up wearing Wonder Woman's costume), but he went the extra mile and hit the supporting cast too...
...and gave us Penny White, Louis Lane, and our favorite, Jenny Olsen!
This idea proved to be so popular that Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness brought it back in "Superman/Batman"--leading to its newly minted status as Earth-11 in the post-"Infinite Crisis" multiverse--giving us the added bonus of seeing McGuinness draw gender-swapped Kirby characters:
...Miss Miracle and Big Bard!
The issue was even parodied by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely in "The Authority"...
...when the Wildstorm characters crossed over into the world of The Meritocracy, their gender-swapped counterparts who were led by a pregnant Jackie Hawksmoor!
We've mentioned X-23 before, but when it comes to listing off bizarre female versions of male superheroes, the teenage girl clone of everyone's favorite X-Man who appears to exist for the sole purpose of giving confused fanboys a more socially acceptable outlet for their crushes on Wolverine, and who not only first appeared as a "gothic lolita" teenage prostitute but was then stuck almost immediately into Cyclops's murder squad in one of the biggest jerk moves in comics, she's always worth mentioning.
Mickey Musashi, alias Turbo, is sort of along the same lines as X-23, but with the whole child-prostitution thing swapped out for a tour of duty in the New Warriors and the Loners -- yes, a team of characters called The Loners. We know. Unfortunately, she hasn't had the staying power of other characters, probably because she's the female version of a character nobody really cared about in the first place, ROM: Spaceknight's old buddy Torpedo.
And that's a shame, because as you can see above, her super-power includes kicking people with jet boots.
Matter-Eater Lad--Er, Lass!
The future is a strange, dangerous place, full of hazards like evil alien races, sinister masterminds, and of course, Gender-Reversal Disease.
First spotted in the "Legion of Substitute Heroes" special, when CA favorite Infectious Lass accidentally dosed a hapless Color Kid with it, but it was later used on an unsuspecting Matter-Eater Lad so that he could infiltrate an all-girl gang of space-pirates, which was significantly less sexy than it might sound.
Where to begin with "Babewatch?" A special event that ran through a handful of Image titles in 1995 -- notably Rob Liefeld creations like "Youngblood" and "Supreme" -- this one kicked off with an enemy of Image's Wonder Woman stand-in Glory deciding to get her revenge by turning all of Glory's male friends into women, which is how Shaft, seen above, ended up with twig-like arms and trunk-like calves. How exactly this was supposed to be revenge, we have absolutely no idea, but there actually is an in-story comment from one of the characters sporting a Liefeldian female physique about how his back is killing him.
The best part though, comes from the fact that there was a member of Youngblood named Cougar...
...whom we can assume developed an interest in much younger men around this time.