In what seems to be a growing movement, comic book publishers have made a recent push toward gender neutrality in the portrayal of their key characters. With the introduction of Spider-Gwen, a new female, Gwen Stacey driven Spider-Man spin-off, and the decision to make Thor a woman, Marvel has been leading the race. DC has its long share of strong female alternative characters as well. In response to this movement, we take a look at which characters in the comic book industry could easily make the gender bend.
The Punisher, Marvel Comics
The key to the gender-bending movement is to remind readers that female characters are just as strong and compelling as male characters. So if Marvel were to reintroduce The Punisher as a female lead, readers would definitely get one badass female as a result. Frank Castle has become the quintessential gritty Marvel character for most. If Marvel were to make Frank Castle a woman, her hardened attitude, impressive skills with guns, and her unrelenting thirst for vengeance would makes her a truly despicable and compelling antihero. She would never be unwilling to cross the line of right or wrong to make sure the bad guys pay. That seems like a pretty awesome female character, and one readers could get on board with. Excluding Marvels attempt at introducing a female Punisher in the form of their Punisher 2099 storyline, it seems like the gender bending of Frank Castle/The Punisher would make for an interesting read.
The Joker, DC Comics
Who says a woman couldn’t take on the persona of The Joker? I mean, we’ve all seen movies like, “Misery” and “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle”, so we know that women can truly be portrayed as crazy and creepy but entertaining. The Joker should be no exception. Yes, we get a little taste of crazy in the form of Harley Quinn, but Harley has always been more of a groupie and follower, rather than a leader like The Joker. If we ever got to see a truly menacing female Joker on the pages of DC comics, the audiences would love it. The key to Joker’s persona is the crazy factor, and that transcends genders.
Daredevil, Marvel Comics
The Woman Without Fear? It wouldn’t be too far of a stretch. In fact, a female-driven Daredevil comic series might be refreshing. Given how Daredevil’s popularity is on the rise, a broadening of comic book content is inevitable at this point. A decision to run a female-led Daredevil series would certainly be welcomed by most fans of the franchise. Minus DC’s Oracle, there aren’t too many female characters with disabilities in comics, so a blind, female lead character would be very interesting to see brought to life.
Cyborg, DC Comics
We’ve seen certain attempts at creating compelling female cyborg characters before, but none have really prevailed to the point of mega stardom at this point. Why not make DC’s quintessential robot/human hybrid into a woman? Cyborg would be an interesting gender bend choice. Creating a woman who is both tech-smart AND a great fighter would make for a refreshing read. If we overlook DC’s attempt at creating Cyborgirl, the niece of the scientist who created the original Cyborg, the choice to turn Victor Stone into a woman might translate well.
Spawn, Image Comics
Not too often are we familiarized with a female driven demon story, and this would be the prime opportunity for Image comics to introduce a new take on their classic Hell-driven character, Spawn. This anti-hero is one of the most hardcore badass characters in comics, and making him a female would certainly help broaden readers’ perspectives when approaching female-led story arcs. Having a female character who has the powers of Hell and who isn’t afraid to kill to solve her problems certainly bends the barriers a bit from what readers are used to seeing on the page.
Silver Surfer, Marvel Comics
There are a handful of female alien-led comic series in publication, but seeing a female Silver Surfer series on mainstream shelves would definitely create a buzz. The dynamic between Silver Surfer, Galactus, and the rest of the universe really plays well, but if Silver Surfer were a woman, that dynamic would only be concentrated. By gender bending Norrin Radd, we might get more of a clashing relationship between Galactus and the Surfer, one that brings gender equality into the mix. Plus, as we’ve seen with plenty of female extreme sports athletes, women can shred up a surfboard just as impressively as guys can.
The Riddler, DC Comics
Riddle me this, riddle me that? Why can’t Edward Nigma undergo a gender bend? If we exclude the character Enigma, who briefly was a member of Teen Titans, and daughter of the Riddler, this choice seems to be a great option for the folks at DC to consider. If there is one thing we have learned from the Batman series, female villains certainly can be compelling and convincingly deceitful. In fact, this whole article and argument could probably be applied to every single Batman villain. Gender is secondary to a great character like The Riddler. A female Riddler would certainly add more tension to a Batman storyline, as it seems like most of Batman’s female villains have a flair for the flirts. But if this female Riddler went dark, like the version of the Riddler we have seen in the Arkham video games, we could get a truly scary and intellectually intimidating female character that readers have been craving.
Hellboy, Dark Horse Comics
If there’s one thing Hellboy has proven to readers and audiences, it’s that he is a force to be reckoned with. If Dark Horse were to play with the gender bending movement and create a female driven Hellgirl comic, we could see an interesting take on the renegade demon. Plus, who doesn’t agree that she’d probably look pretty badass.
The Vision, Marvel Comics
The success of Marvel’s Age of Ultron is still yet to be displayed, but unless something goes terribly unexpected, the film will launch the fame and public interest of Marvel’s The Vision. What would make for an interesting take on the character would be to see the portrayal as a woman, instead of a man. A female perspective would certainly add an interesting element to the character and her relation to the Avengers. As we’ve see The Vision and Scarlet Witch grow to form a love over the years, it would be interesting to see which male Avengers might be considered love interests for a female Vision.
Lex Luthor, DC Comics
This one is the cream of the crop, and the ultimate choice if comic book publishers want to portray a world of gender neutrality and acceptance. Lex Luthor is arguably the greatest leader, businessman, and smartest man on the planet. So by making Lex Luthor a woman, we would have a female character who defies all glass ceilings, and who is a true force to be reckoned with. Yes, Lex Luthor is a villain, but his smarts, power, and accomplishments are a thing to be respected.
Who else do you think should would make a great gender bend? Tell us in the comments below!