There seems to be a constant debate about the role of gender in movies recently. Should there be more female superheroes? Should gay characters only be played by gay actors? If that's the case, should the same be true of transsexual characters as well? Nobody seems to know for sure.
That's not to say that people haven't been playing around with the idea for a long time, though. The internet is a wonderfully creative place, and there are apps which can gender-swap you at the touch of a button. People have been putting those apps to good use on celebrities!
Whether it's the superheroes themselves re-imagined as the opposite sex, or just the actors who play them, we've collected a set of eye-opening transformations for you. We think some of these characters look a lot better as women than they do as men - and they look pretty good as men.
Tom Hiddleston has plenty of admirers. He's not as 'conventionally' good looking as some of the other names you'll see appear on this list, but he has striking features that make him easy to identify in whatever movie he appears in. Many film viewers will know him best as Loki from 'Thor' and 'The Avengers,' but he's also well known for his theater work. One of his early stage roles in 'Cymbeline' won him the Laurence Olivier Award for 'Best Newcomer' in 2008.
Transformed into a woman, he becomes beautiful to look at. His eyes - probably his best feature - remained unchanged, but the enhancements to his cheekbones really stand out, as do the softer lips. Also, is it us, or does he look a little like he might belong to the same family as the Olsen twins?
Landing the title role in 'Black Panther' must have been something of a relief for Chadwick Boseman, who probably feared he'd spend his whole career appearing in biographies up until that point. Boseman has played Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall on the big screen, and earned plenty of plaudits by doing so. He's a fine character actor, capable of completely disappearing into any role he's asked to play. His crossover from 'Black Panther' into the 'Avengers' series has only seen his star rise even higher.
It was a particularly joyous image of Boseman that was selected to undergo the transformation process, and that joy is reflected in his female opposite. We're not sure what she did to deserve noticeably worse teeth than Boseman has though. Aside from the need for a little dental work, she looks every bit as vivacious and engaging as he does.
Ryan Reynolds is almost universally known as one of the world's best-looking men. He's mistaken for his near-namesake Ryan Gosling surprisingly often, which is odd because they don't look particularly alike when they stand side by side. We're sure neither of them minds though; they're both excellent actors and handsome gentlemen. Marvel Universe enthusiasts will all know and love Reynolds for his appearances in the 'Deadpool' movies, where his sardonic wit shines through the strongest.
He was always likely to look fantastic as a woman, and he does. The process has narrowed his face a little too much for our liking, but we can't help but think the image reminds us of someone. If you've never checked out Reynolds' real-life wife Blake Lively before, search for her and come back to this image. It's uncanny. Don't worry; it's spooked us too.
There are many reasons that Paul Bettany sits high on the lists of 'bad guy actors' when movies are being cast. He has a way of appearing to be sinister without really trying. That isn't a great skill in everyday life, but it's perfect when you're an actor. It means you're never likely to be short of work! He also has a slightly androgynous quality, which made him the ideal person to play the character of Vision in the 'Avengers' movies.
He looks no less terrifying as a woman than he does as a man, but the gender swap reveals how quintessentially British his looks are. There's such a thing as an 'English rose,' and the pale-skinned and blue-eyed female Bettany fits the bill perfectly. We're getting a sense of a young Joanna Lumley from looking at that picture, and a hint of Tilda Swinton too. We think the most accurate one-word description would be 'willowy.'
The wielder of the most famous hammer in cinema, everybody knows Chris Hemsworth as 'Thor.' He's an old-school macho man, muscle-bound and brimming with masculinity - and, of course, his Hollywood good looks. He's come a long way in the acting world from his humble beginnings back home in Australia, where he started out in the soap opera 'Home and Away.' As well as his superhero success, you'll also have seen him in 'Red Dawn,' 'Rush,' and 'The Cabin in the Woods.'
Just as he looks like a throwback to the golden age of Hollywood as a man, the same is true of his appearance a woman. There's a classic, elegant and stylish element to his female appearance, accentuated by the golden hair. We're getting a tiny hint of a young Alicia Silverstone in this image, with a pinch of a blonde Kristen Stewart. The female Hemsworth would be every bit the pin-up poster that the male one is.
Mark Ruffalo is a wonderfully versatile actor. He's made a lot of money portraying the Hulk in the Marvel movies - and enjoyed a lot more success than his predecessors Eric Bana and Edward Norton in the role - but he can play twitchy ad delicate as well as he can play strong and aggressive. If you want evidence of that, all you need to do is look up his riveting work in 'Spotlight'; a movie that will haunt you long after the credits have rolled. We think Ruffalo doesn't get enough credit for his range as an actor.
He's getting hard done by with this gender swap process, too! The process is only supposed to turn men into women and vice versa, but the female Ruffalo looks to have shed somewhere between ten and twenty years in the process! Ruffalo is in his early 50s, but his female counterpart could easily pass for a 25-year-old.
Chris Evans was an against-the-grain choice when he was cast to play Captain America. The part seemed to call for a bulky, muscular performer in the Stallone or Schwarzenegger mold, and it wouldn't have been a surprise to see the part go to Dwayne Johnson, but instead, it fell on the slighter shoulders of Evans. If there were people who raised their eyebrows at the casting, they were soon silenced by his performances. He brought sensitivity to the character, and it was a shame for Marvel when he recently informed them that he didn't want to continue in the role.
Despite the beard, there's fresh-faced innocence and youthfulness about Evans' face, and that's only more apparent when we re-imagine him as female. The brightness in his eyes has only found more glow in the transformation, and his skin is still flawless. We're not convinced the female Evans would go for a career in the movies though; she looks more like a pop singer to us.
If you're considering getting in shape and you need inspiration, look no further than Chris Pratt. He was always an excellent actor, but until a few years ago he was carrying a little extra weight which seemed to preclude him from 'leading man' role. He totally transformed his look, got in the shape of his life and landed himself the main role in 'Jurassic World.' He hasn't really looked back since, going from strength to strength, and appearing in the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' films as Peter Quill.
Pratt is the first of the stars we've encountered so far in the list who definitely makes for a better-looking man than a woman. There's nothing especially wrong with how he looks as a woman, but he doesn't have the same 'it' factor. Even technology as advanced as this gender-swapping tool can't tone down that distinctive jawline, and it's a better feature for the male Pratt than his counterpart.
Sebastian Stan has climbed the ladder to showbiz success one rung at a time. Some performers are lucky enough to go straight into movies and stay there for their whole career; Stan had to slog his way through TV world first. He didn't have a bad time while he was there though, appearing in 'Once Upon A Time,' 'Gossip Girl' and 'Political Animals' before superhero movies came calling. You'll probably have seen him portraying Bucky Barnes. Or should that be 'Winter Soldier?'
If we're willing to overlook the fact that something has gone slightly wrong with the right eye during the swapping process, Stan makes for an elfin and very attractive woman. While it's not a dead ringer, we're picking up more than a passing resemblance to Mila Kunis in the end product. Let's hope nobody takes to shouting, 'Shut up, Meg!' at Stan in the street.
There is seemingly no end to Paul Rudd's talents. The experienced and gifted actor has credits as a performer, a writer, a director, and comedian. In his younger years, he was a classic teen heart-throb in 'Romeo and Juliet' before demonstrating his comedy skills in the 'Anchorman' movies. The way he can make a character as innately absurd as 'Ant Man' relatable and sympathetic is a testimony to his skills. Actors don't come much better than Rudd.
Rudd is another man who has textbook masculine features, and although the swapping process has managed to make him appear as a convincing woman, it's made him less attractive in a process. You know that Rudd is a star just by looking at him; nothing about the way he looks as a woman suggests celebrity status. He was definitely born into the right body.
'Wrester turned actor' used to be the sort of CV which would get you laughed out of Hollywood. Despite all his mainstream fame, Hulk Hogan never managed to crossover into a major movie star. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson changed all that by becoming the biggest box office draw in the world, and now John Cena and Dave Bautista are following hot on his heels. Whenever you need a man-mountain who looks like he could tear you limb from limb in your movie, you call on the services of Bautista.
Given how enormous Bautista is, standing well over six feet and with muscles on muscles, the idea of turning him into a woman seems faintly ridiculous, but the results are astonishing. The app has picked up on Bautista's Filipino heritage and accentuated it, making the female version of him quite the exotic beauty.
Once the wild-child of Hollywood, Robert Downey Jr has settled down as the years have drawn on, becoming one of Hollywood's most reliable box office draws. He openly spoke of wanting to find a franchise to star in after spending most of his career making one-shot films, and then found two. With the success of 'Iron Man' and the 'Sherlock' films, Downey is now the third-highest grossing domestic US box office star in history. Now that's how you make a comeback.
The gender-swap technology must have taken a dislike to Downey, because it hasn't given him the age reduction we've seen in a few other cases so far. There's nothing wrong with that - Downey makes for a sophisticated looking lady; the ideal choice for a newscaster, or perhaps a politician. The transformation isn't perfect though, and the eyes become scarier the longer you stare into them.
'YOU SHALL NOT PASS!'. If Sir Ian McKellan had a dollar for every time someone shouted that at him, he'd have made millions from it by now. He doesn't have to worry about that too much, though, as his long and stellar career on our screens has made him a fortune already. The 'Lord of the Rings' and 'X-Men' star is acting royalty, indisputably one of the greatest of his whole generation. On top of that, he comes across as one of the nicest people you could hope to meet away from the camera.
We're not sure if it's a case of McKellan having very strong features to begin with or whether he may have a slightly feminine facial structure, but not a lot has changed here from one picture to the other apart from the hair and makeup. The female McKellan looks like a charming elder lady, radiating kindness and wisdom just as he does as a man.
Feast your eyes on one of the biggest bad guys in movie history - or is he? Josh Brolin is best known as Thanos - he who wields the infinity gauntlet in the 'Avengers' series of movies - but is his character evil or just misunderstood? There's constant debate on internet forums about that topic, and that debate will probably continue long after the final movie has hit our screens later this year. With his hooded, brooding eyes and his square jaw, Brolin has the look of a man you wouldn't want to mess with.
Perhaps because those features are all so strong, our female Brolin sadly doesn't look like the belle of the ball. If we were being slightly discourteous, we'd suggest that perhaps she looked a bit like Hilary Swank on a very, very bad day for Swank. This is the first image so far where we think we've just created an image of our male actor in drag!
It would be no exaggeration to say that Michael B. Jordan's rise to superstardom has been stratospheric. He's been appearing in television and movies since the late 1990s, but his connection with director Ryan Coogler has done wonders for his more recent career. Coogler has cast him in his three best-known roles; Oscar Grant in 'Fruitvale Station,' Adonis Creed in 'Creed' and, of course, Erik Killmonger in 'Black Panther.' Despite all his fame and all his riches, Jordan still lives with his parents, albeit in a luxury home that he bought for them.
Jordan's slightly rounded features make it easy to picture him as a woman, and that comes across in the image we see here. All it's taken is a softening of the features and a little makeup, and the female Jordan looks like a completely different person. We have no idea what prompted the change in eye color, though.
We're not sure when Bradley Cooper was last out of the newspapers, but it feels like years ago. His movie 'A Star Is Born' was the talk of Hollywood in 2018, and it's just one of multiple box office sensations that he's played a part in down the years. His voice-acting part as Rocket Raccoon is small-fry in comparison to his most significant work, but it still qualifies him as a superhero in our eyes. He's also made us laugh to the point of crying in the 'Hangover' movies.
If we had to guess how Cooper felt about being turned into a woman for this picture, we'd guess 'surprised' based on the female Cooper's facial expression! He already looked fairly shocked in the original picture though, so we'll let her off. This gender-swap image pairing proves beyond doubt that good looks are good looks, regardless of sex.
Jeremy Renner first came to prominence with his Oscar-nominated performance in 'The Hurt Locker,' although he'd already been active for well over a decade before that movie was made. It turned out to be the platform for greater things for the popular actor, who went on to secure the role of 'Hawkeye' in the 'Avengers' movies, and also put in an appearance in the 'Mission: Impossible' franchise as well. These days, Renner is all about blockbusters!
Renner's genetic background is complex and diverse; he can trace ancestors from England, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, and Panama. The software used to create the gender swap must have picked up on that, because Renner's face has been transformed drastically, with an almost-Oriental appearance. She's severe and imposing with eyes that burn a hole through you, so we think we're happier looking at him as he is.
Casting a new Spider Man is always a difficult process for a director. The character is supposed to be much younger than most conventional superheroes, and also has to be wiry and nimble. Tom Holland seemed to appear from nowhere at the perfect time for the 'Avengers' series; he'll still only be 22 even when the final film has been released. He'll continue on in the role though, having already wrapped filming on 'Spider Man: Far from Home.'
Perhaps it's a consequence of Holland being so young, but almost nothing has changed about his appearance when he's been turned from male to female. Despite that, it's easy to identify one of the pictures as a man, and the other as a woman. We can't quite put our finger on what the telltale sign is, but it's definitely there. We can say with certainty that Holland would have no difficulty passing himself off as a woman if a role ever called for it!
There's no mistaking Australian actor Hugh Jackman when you see him. He's had a long and varied career, with highlights like 'Swordfish' in which he appeared opposite Halle Berry, but he'll always be remembered for being Wolverine in the 'X-Men' film series and its seemingly endless number of spin offs. Jackman has said in the past that he's done with the role, but so far Marvel has always found ways to tempt him back for one more performance.
Shorn of the beard and the more rugged elements of his appearance as a woman, he's quite the vision. The clean-shaven appearance reveals that he had fairly feminine features to begin with, but there's something about the female Jackman that just screams 'classy' to us. We bet she'd make a fine character performer, just as he does. Losing the lines around his eyes has made him look ten years younger, too.
Whether you know him from 'The Chronicles of Riddick,' the 'XXX' series or the 'Fast and Furious' series, almost everyone in the cinema-going public has seen at least one Vin Diesel picture. He's one of Hollywood's greatest modern hard men, and his image is only partially ruined when you find out that his real name is the much-less-cool Mark Sinclair. Superhero movie fans will know him as Groot from both the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' and 'Avengers' family of films.
Vin Diesel would probably be the type of guy who wouldn't look kindly upon being turned into a woman, so we won't tell anybody about this gender swap, but we think Miss Diesel looks pretty good. She still has that 'don't mess with me' glare, but she's a very pretty woman. We wonder if she would speak with his voice?
Starting with the man with the greatest name in the world, we're moving on to a new phase in our list now - famous faces who've actually played the opposite gender on screen. Benedict Cumberbatch has been hugely successful on both television and the silver screen. He's given us an era-defining interpretation of Sherlock Holmes, a convincing alternative take of Khan in 'Star Trek,' and of course his superhero movie work as 'Doctor Strange.' Seemingly a man who likes to take on challenges, he's even played controversial Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in a biopic.
We suspect he may have regretted his choice to gender-swap in front of the camera, though. Perhaps the producers and directors promised him that there would be a more convincing use of camera trickery to make him appear female, but this is very clearly just Cumberbatch in a long wig. It's not convincing it's not feminine, and no effort has been made to soften his very famously sharp features.
As the famous phrase goes, 'Irish eyes are smiling.' There's a legend that Irishmen smile with their eyes more than they do with their lips. We guess that must be true of Cillian Murphy, who rarely cracks a smile in his generally-serious performances (although he did become slightly hysterical in 'Batman Begins'). Murphy is a gifted musician and was offered a recording contract when he was younger, but turned it down to star in '28 Days Later'. Over fifteen years later, we think he made the right choice.
If he had gone into the music business instead of film, we'd have been denied this image of his role in 'Breakfast on Pluto' in which Murphy cross dressed and gave us his best take on the opposite sex. He's managed to capture the doe-eyed-beauty look perfectly, with big eyes, open lips and a 'rabbit in the headlights' stare. Also, there are plenty of women who can't pull of lace, but Murphy makes it look easy.
Most actors don't go through as many career transformations as John Travolta has. We got to know him as Danny in 'Grease,' and then he took his movie-musical talents to the next level in 'Saturday Night Fever.' Nobody back then would have looked at the sprightly Travolta and thought 'He'll make the perfect movie hitman one day,' but that's exactly what we got when he was cast as the iconic Vincent Vega in Quentin Tarantino's 'Pulp Fiction.'
Of all the transformations Travolta has gone through, though, the one which saw him play a woman in 'Hairspray' was surely the most extreme. Travolta bulked up as well as changing sex, which meant that he became almost unrecognizable in the part. There's still something about his facial features that gives him away, even under all those prosthetics. He may not have made a convincing woman, but he certainly put his whole heart into it.
It would be faster to talk about the things that Johnny Depp hasn't done in the movie world than the things he has, but if you only caught onto him late into his career and know him only from 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' you've missed a treat. To a whole generation he will always be 'Edward Scissorhands,' but there's also 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,' 'Black Mass,' and 'Sweeney Todd' among many other highlights.
Depp's often-controversial career and antics have demonstrated that he isn't afraid to try something a little different, and that includes stepping into the shoes of a female character. This picture sees him in 1994's 'Ed Wood,' looking suitably confused at the camera. Maybe he was wondering who would dare question that he was a real woman. You can wear all the wigs and wool you like, Mr. Depp, but we'd recognize your face anywhere!
When your career has been as long as Tom Hanks' has, you're bound to have cross-dressed at least once. Given the number of movies Hanks has made, this was almost a statistical inevitability. All of us will have our own favorite Hanks films, whether that's 'Forrest Gump,' Apollo 13,' 'Castaway,' war epic 'Saving Private Ryan,' or something completely different. Hanks rarely makes a bad film, nor one that performs poorly at the box office.
We have serious reservations about him in this part, though. The image is taken from 'Bosom Buddies,' and we're crossing our fingers and hoping it was played for laughs. The effect that's been achieved with the hair, makeup and outfit is more 'drag queen' than 'gender swap,' and it's not a drag queen that RuPaul would entertain for very long on 'Drag Race' either. Hanks was young when he made 'Bosom Buddies', so better days were ahead of him.
Now let's think in broader terms. Let's look at some of the most famous superheroes in history. Back in the early days of comic books, many traditionally male superhero characters also had female counterparts. Some of them are long-forgotten, while others have gone on to achieve the same heights as their male versions. For a start, here's Captain America's female equivalent, 'American Dream.'
In story terms, Shannon Carter became 'American Dream' because she grew up idolizing the Avengers, and Captain American in particular. She picked up the Captain's shield after he was killed in the alternate universe she lived in and set about carrying on the good fight in his honor. She had an excellent costume to do it in as well. We're particularly keen on those armored arm-plates. She looks a little like a character from the Netflix series 'GLOW,' but aside from that, we think she's every bit the equal of Steve Rogers.
We're not sure why Marvel decided that 'Ironheart' would make a better name for a female Ironman than simply calling her 'Ironwoman,' but that's the route they went down, and this is the look she ended up with. This is another 'alternate universe' creation, where child genius Riri Williams had to stand in for a while after Tony Stark was seriously injured and fell into a coma.
Stark would have approved of the choice if he'd been aware of it; he was already aware of Williams' brilliant mind after she invented her own Ironman suit. He took her under his wing as a 15-year-old protege, giving her his personal tutelage in how to become a superhero. As both characters are really just regular people in a suit, there would be nothing to pick between them in terms of ability. We guess it just comes down to a case of 'who wore it better?'
The female version of the Hulk is never going to win any prizes when it comes to original naming strategy, but this is one case where we can say we're sure that the female version of the character is better than the male one. The male version of the Hulk character can be something of a liability. Bruce Banner doesn't have much control over when and where the Hulk appears, and when he does, he's just a concentrated green Goliath of rage. He generally fights for the good side, but he can easily do as much harm as he does good.
She-Hulk is the Hulk's cousin and has the whole 'being green and angry' thing under much more control. She stays green all of the time, and when she's not being called upon to save the world, she finds time to work as a lawyer. She also gets a proper costume, instead of shredding hundreds of dollars' worth of clothing every time she gets angry. She sounds like a happier, more stable person in general.
If you're a real Marvel comics aficionado, you'll know that Spider Man is far from being alone in the 'Spider' family. He has plenty of relatives, including a few women, but only one definitive 'Spider Woman,' and that's Jessica Drew. She has a very close relationship to the original Spider Man, Peter Parker. In fact, you could say they share the same mind.
Drew is actually a female clone of Parker. That means the same abilities, the same thoughts, and the same experiences, but placed inside a female body. Imagine how confusing it would be if you woke up tomorrow as the opposite gender? Undeterred by the sudden gender swap, the clone quickly set about work as Spider Woman, and is every bit Parker's equal. We love the costume too, although we have reservations about how practical it is to have your long hair flowing out of the top of the mask like that.
Don't be confused by the names here; the female Thor hasn't been done the disservice of just going by her day-name. The name for the female equivalent Thor character is simply 'Thor.' You can't do better in terms of gender equality than that. There's only so much you can do with a 'mighty Viking' concept, but we can see a few tweaks and adjustments that were applied to make Jane Foster's 'Thor' outfit unique and distinct from the original.
The mask and the cape are definitely more elaborate, and the single arm-plate and strategic slits in the armor mark the outfit out as feminine. We think that there's been a little swapping to-and-from the world of Mattel here, though. We can't be the only people looking at that picture and thinking 'that looks exactly like She-Ra,' surely?
'Deadpool' is an interesting comic creation. There are those who feel that he doesn't truly belong to the superhero genre at all - he's a parody character; one who exists mostly to mock the conventions of regular superheroes. Everything about the character of Deadpool and the world he lives in is presented with a nod and a wink to the audience, and that includes his female alternative.
In the spirit of being on-the-nose, the creators of Deadpool decided that if there was going to be a version of Deadpool who was a lady, you might as well name her 'Lady Deadpool.' They didn't even try too hard with differentiating the names of the people in the costumes either; whereas Deadpool is Wade Wilson, you should properly address this lady as Wanda Wilson. To all intents and purposes, the characters are identical right down to the costume, other than the ponytail which looks as impractical here as it did on Spider Lady.
Here's an interesting story; this isn't an 'official' redesign of the original 'Iron Fist' character Danny Rand at all. It's a rethinking of the character drawn by a fan, although that fan just happens to be Paulina Ganucheau, the artist behind 'Zodiac Starforce.' Not only that, it was drawn as a response to an argument about ethnicity rather than gender.
When Netflix decided to make an 'Iron Fist' series, some people hoped that an Asian actor would be cast in the lead role. This is because the 'classic' Danny Rand character is an old stereotype - a white man who happens to be great at Chinese martial arts. Netflix stayed true to the comics and cast a white actor, so Kris Anka drew an Asian rendering of the character in protest. Ganucheau took things a step further and gave us a female 'Iron Fist,' and her Dani Rand is so good that we think she deserves a life of her own.
We did warn you that not all of the characters in this part of the list would be ones you'd never seen before, and 'Supergirl' has a strong claim to being the most famous of them all. While 'Superman' may be the most famous comic book hero of all time (and one of the most irritating and undramatic, given his complete lack of vulnerability), Supergirl isn't far behind him in the fame stakes. She's had plenty of big and small screen outings of her own.
The Woman of Steel as seen here has taken all the best elements of Superman's classic costume design and added a feminine twist. The belt wouldn't look out of place on Wonder Woman, and the skirt manages to stay in keeping with the tone without looking too girly. Plus, she gets to fly around without her underwear outside her trousers, so who's the real winner?
Allow us to introduce you to the Justice League of China. It's exactly what it sounds like - the Justice League as we know it, but based in China instead, and with all-Chinese superheroes. Most of them are like-for-like copies, so there's a Chinese Batman, a Chinese Superman and so forth. The major difference is that the Chinese Flash is a woman.
Once a mild-mannered human named Avery Ho, the Chinese Flash had a torrid time learning to control her powers after she received them accidentally during a storm. Don't you just hate it when that happens? She managed to get it all figured out though, and was welcomed onto the team with open arms. We like the way her suit is purple rather than the Flash's usual red. It's womanly without resorting to pink, and that's a positive.
Unless you're very familiar with comic book lore, you probably don't know the backstory to how Kate Bishop became a superhero. To cut a long story short, Clint Barton decided he was bored with being Hawkeye and started moonlighting as a ninja called Ronin instead. It was a strange time, fans hated it, and everything soon went back to normal. In the meantime, though, we had a new Hawkeye in the shape of Kate Bishop.
Bishop didn't just rock up at Avengers HQ and pick up the title; she was a promising Young Avenger who caught the eye of Captain America, who awarded her the bow and the name by his personal decree. The outfit as seen in this image couldn't be more 1960s if it tried, and it's more civilian than it is 'superhero,' but then Hawkeye doesn't have super-powers, so that's understandable. We're less happy with the 'adorable archer' nickname that they tried to push on her, but she was a product of her time.
Batman's boy-wonder sidekick Robin has had a tough time from superhero and comic book fans over the years. That's not without good reason - Batman isn't a 'real' superhero himself, and all Robin amounts to is a lesser Batman with an unfortunate line in annoying one-liners. He doesn't serve many purposes beyond giving Batman someone to rescue, and it wasn't a coincidence that the character was largely ignored in the Christopher Nolan film trilogy.
The female alternatives to Robin are far more interesting, but they don't tend to stick around very well. Both Carrie Kelly and Stephanie Brown have taken on the position of Bat Man's assistant, but moved on quite quickly. Kelly had to audition for the role before eventually being taken on as hired help, whereas Brown was once 'the Spoiler' before replacing Tim Drake as Robin. She and Bruce Wayne didn't see eye to eye, so she left to become Batgirl.
This is another of the better-known female alternates. Just as Superman has Supergirl, Batman has Batwoman. It should be noted that Batwoman and Batgirl are not the same character; they're different interpretations of the same basic role. Batwoman is a groundbreaking character; her human alter-ego is Kate Kane, and she was kicked out of the military on the grounds of being gay. As she had the mindset to protect and serve, she became a vigilante in Gotham, apparently thinking that vacancy wasn't already filled.
Batwoman's costume introduces red to the Bat-person palette and does it in style. The red accents on her outfit match perfectly with her hair, which is actually a wig attached to the outfit. It's impossible to say whether she looks better than Batman, as there have been too many Batman outfits, but we'll take this over the blue and gray look from the 1960s.
The problem with X-Men and all X-People is that everything comes down to genetics. Genes are spliced, swapped, cloned and mutated everywhere, and that means new characters can appear on any day, at any time. X-23 is one of them; she's a female Wolverine clone, complete with claws. Depending on which Wolverine or X-Men timeline you subscribe to, you could even class her as the 'current' Wolverine (although that will depend on your take on whether the original male Wolverine is dead or not).
Aside from the gender, not a lot has changed between the male and female versions here. The outfit is the same, the skills are the same, and even the genes are the same. X-23 is neither an upgrade nor a downgrade from Wolverine, just more of the same. It's great to have a female Wolverine, and we love the basic concept, but we can't help but feel that more could have been done with the idea.
Let's look at some more fan art, because sometimes fans have better ideas than the people behind the comics! In this case, we have Blue Beetle and Booster Gold re-imagined as women. You get bonus points if you recognized the character names straight away, but if you didn't, they're lower-ranking members of the Justice League (seriously, there are more superheroes than there are days of the year. It's a wonder anyone ever commits a crime at all).
This fan art is the work of Maya Nord, who places her creations on an alternative world where all the men are women, and all the women are men. Booster's thigh-high boots are totally in keeping with the male version's flirtatious character, and when it comes to Blue Beetle, we don't think there are enough superheroes out there wearing cute shorts. We accept these female alternates into our head canon.
If you recognize the name 'Holly Conrad' straight away, you get even more bonus points than the people who recognized Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. Conrad is one of the internet's most well-known cosplayers, having managed to make a career out of her hobby. You might know her better as 'Commander Holly,' which is also the name of her YouTube channel. At last count, she had over a quarter of a million followers.
Conrad has dressed up as many characters from the comic book world over the years, but here she gives us her take on Doctor Strange. A female Doctor Strange will be as controversial in some quarters as a female 'Doctor Who' was last year, but you can't deny that she looks fantastic. The basic costume is the same, but something about the way she wears her hair and the use of contact lenses makes this look a winner in our eyes. If there's ever a movie vacancy for a female Doctor Strange, she's got our vote.
We can't even work out how many bonus points we'd award you for recognizing cosplayer Kendra Abbott here, so let's just say 'a lot.' Abbott is another prominent member of the cosplayer community, with plenty of people following her Instagram account 'thelegendofkendra.' This photo is a little old now, dating back to a time when there were no female Saiyans capable of going Super Saiyan. We're not going to explain how that works; if you love 'Dragon Ball' you already understand, and if you don't it will take longer than we have here.
Goku's hair has always been the most absurd thing about his appearance, and yet here we're pretty sure that Abbott has somehow managed to replicate it using her own real hair. Maybe Goku would always have looked better as a woman? He wouldn't have worked the skirt look as well as Abbott does in this picture, but he could least have gone out of the house without being laughed at for his hairstyle.
If you're not familiar with the characters of Captain Marvel or Carol Danvers you soon will be; there's a 'Captain Marvel' movie on the way this year, and the early signs suggest that it's going to be a blockbuster. Here's Danvers in comic book form and looking truly resplendent.
The story behind how Danvers became Captain Marvel is a little complicated, so we'll break down the basic facts for you. Once upon a time, Captain Marvel was a man named Mar-Vell, and Danvers was Ms. Marvel. Then Mar-Vell died, and Danvers decided that the best way to pay tribute to Mar-Vell was to become Marvel, and so she took on the mantle and became the new Captain Marvel. She paid tribute to her own past as a pilot in the Air Force when she designed her outfit, and made sure she didn't put her underwear outside her pants. That was an unfortunate style choice that Mar-Vell shared with Superman.
So, a little backstory as to how this depiction of Aquaman came together. There's a website called 'Project Rooftop' which is all about superhero designs and encourages people to submit their own. A while ago, they did a special project on gender-reversed superheroes, and asked people to not only flip the gender of superheroes, but also to cast a well-known celebrity in the role. That attracted the attention of artist Jordan Gibson, and this is his bold vision of a female Aquaman.
We think the celebrity can be identified from the image, but in case you're unsure it's Charlize Theron. What we think Gibson did so right was to make the design simple and effective instead of going overboard with costuming. There are tiny elements, like the harpoons used as earrings, which bring the whole thing to life. Who wouldn't want to see Theron give her take on this classic superhero?
Returning to the world of 'Dragon Ball' (because if you can't class the 'Dragon Ball' characters as superheroes then what else would you call them?), this is the main male character from that cartoon world re-imagined as a female. For the uninitiated, the Great Saiyaman is the ultimate force for good in the 'Dragon Ball' world, a Zeus-like figure who lives a double life, often living unnoticed among his peers as a normal civilian.
The female take on the costume is actually a lot more interesting and coordinated than the male equivalent. Deciding to match the gloves and boots isn't exactly revolutionary, but it's effective and makes you wonder why it wasn't considered for the original. The character's face is genderless, as 'Dragon Ball' characters tend to be, but there's a distinctive air of femininity about the whole look.
Given the unlikely origin stories of some superheroes, it's somewhat puzzling when they turn out to have relatives who share in their abilities. In the case of Martian Manhunter, he has a cousin called Miss Martian. There's quite a strong family resemblance, but given the fact that they're shapeshifters, we suppose they could choose to look like identical twins if they so desired.
Martian Manhunter's costume (and general appearance, for that matter) are very alien. He borders on hostile in the way he presents himself, so his cousin makes for a significant departure from his approach. Her costume shares many design elements but definitely has a more human touch. It makes it much clearer whose side she's on. She retains the elements of mystery and enigma that work so well for her male cousin, but she makes them more relatable and accessible. To be frank, we find her more interesting as a character.
We're back in the cosplay world now, and this time it's 'Guardians Inferno' from Tumblr showing us her best take on a female Daredevil. If you only know the character from the 'Daredevil' movie or TV show, you might be looking at this picture and considering the costume to be way too basic. That would suggest you haven't seen the first season of the show on Netflix, in which the hero is operating with a basic costume. The armored red look is yet to come.
While it is somewhat true to say that this is just black cloth worn well, it is an accurate representation of what the character wears in the show, so it counts. It also has solid links with the original version of the character from the comics; this is how Frank Miller drew Daredevil in 'Man Without Fear,' with the whole idea being that anyone would be able to make a version of the costume and wear it at home if they wanted to.
If you've been reading these descriptions closely, you'll know that we've already come across a few female characters who just so happen to be 'clones' of their male originals. It's something of a superhero trope, and here's another entry into it with Dani Phantom. She is, as the name suggests, a female clone of Danny Phantom. The original Phantom initially believes that the new girl is his cousin, but she later turns out to be a clone, purpose-built by Vlad Plasmius.
There's a little drama as the heroes try to work out whether Dani is stable enough to be trusted, but once that clears itself up, she's sent out into the world on her own to forge her own superhero destiny. The costume isn't elaborate, and the nature of the cartoon means that it will never win any design awards, but it's different enough from her clone brother's to make her easily identifiable.
Cosplayers come up with the greatest creations, don't they? Here's Dorasae Rosario giving us her vision of Static Shock. The old comic book character has never looked so good. Rosario turned heads as ComiCon in San Diego back in 2015 with this outfit, and it's easy to see why. Rosario gave a few interviews about why she specifically chose Shock and explained that it was down to a lack of black superheroes when she was younger, and therefore the character meant a lot to her on a personal level.
In terms of accuracy, the costume takes the best of the original version and adapts it for the female form. Wearing large, roomy trousers never seemed like a great idea for a superhero (what if they snagged on something?), so replacing them with tighter shorts just makes better sense. The studded belt makes for a great accessory as well, even if it may have been borrowed from Batman.
There are so many great cosplayers out there that it's hard to leave anybody else, and in the case of Linda Le, it would have been criminal. Here she is styling out her take on the Nightwing costume (or one of them, anyway). Most comic characters that have been around for more than a couple of decades have been through at least one or two redesigns, but the version that Le used for inspiration came from the world of videogames.
Nightwing and Batman are intrinsically linked. Nightwing is Dick Grayson, who actually filled in for Bruce Wayne under the bat-hood for a while when Wayne needed some time up. That meant Nightwing appeared as a character in the 'Arkham Asylum' game, and this is the outfit he was wearing when he did. Needless to say, it looks a lot better on Le than it did on a digital man.
We've all heard of art imitating life, or vice versa. This is a case of fan art that eventually became a reality, although it's a little more complicated than that. The original 'Invincible' character was the work of Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker. Kirkman wrote the stories, and Walker drew the pictures. Eventually, Kirkman left and was replaced by Ryan Ottley, but Kirkman stayed on right through to the end of the series.
Kirkman and Walker remained on good terms, with Walker even returning on occasion for special issues and features. In his spare time, he responded to a fan request to re-interpret his original Invincible design as a woman. 'Invincigirl' was the result of that process, and Kirkman both saw it and liked it. He liked it so much, in fact, that in the very final issue of the comic books, he brought the character in as the daughter of Invincible, leaving things open ended for a possible continuation. How cool is that?