Fan art is a tradition that far pre-dates the inception of internet and has existed since long before popular gallery sites like DeviantArt. Fans have always taken control of beloved characters by creating their own renditions of them, changing costumes, animation style and settings. Among the traditional fan art changes is the genderswap; taking an existing character and changing their gender. There are a host of reasons to genderswap characters, but it is oft born from the desire to see more of a less used or differently used gender in the mainstream. There is so much importance in the ability to see oneself in popular characters as evidenced by the massive success of recent comic book film giants like Wonder Woman and Black Panther. Since there is a bevy of mainstream male characters, there are a tonne of characters ripe for the picking to be bent into the opposite gender.
Not just reserved for fan art, there is a long tradition of comics creators who have genderswapped a host of characters over the years. They have created characters like Natasha Stark, the female Iron Man of an alternate universe, to female counterparts of characters such as She-Hulk and Lady Thor. But these characters are standalone players who have unique stories and features, and often exist in the same universes as their original male counterparts. We wanted to explore the genderbent iterations fans created of existing characters, so here are some of our favourite genderswapped versions of otherwise male characters, as created by the fans.
Joker’s interesting for a ton of reasons, but the mystery of his identity is a defining characteristic. His unknown origin makes him fluid. Expanding on this tradition, fans have often genderswapped the popular character.
We have seen feminine Joker types, like recently in Gotham with Lori Petty’s “Jeri,” head of Gotham’s Maniax with a Mr. J inspired look. One of our favorite versions of the Clown Prince is Jen Bartel’s. Bartel is known for her glowing illustrations and work on Blackbird, and we can’t get enough of this banging Puddin’. Hard to say which addition to Joker has been the most beneficial, piercings or tattoos.
The internet was taken by storm when someone posed the idea of a Peach and Bowser hybrid. The trailer for Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch introduced “Peachette,” a character created when Toadette wears the “Super Crown,” becoming a hybrid of herself and Peach. Fans considered what might happen if Bowser got his hands on this item, and Bowsette was born.
Known for her work on Nancy Drew, Jenn St. Onge took the approach that Bowsette and Peach were in a relationship, imagining them as a flirtatious couple in matching crowns, and as a pair co-parenting a baby Bowser.
15 CAPTAIN AMERICA
Chris Evans’ portrayal of the star-spangled man with a plan is arguably the seminal performance associated with the character. With his retirement on the horizon, it’s almost impossible to imagine anyone else in the uniform.
But as fan art often imagines, Cap in life and in print can be stunningly restyled. That’s what NYC artist, Daniel White, an artist who still draws and inks by hand, ran with. In restyling the well known Marvel favorite, he gave this Captain America not just a genderswap, but a new uniform just as rife with patriotism as the classics associated with the character.
14 BLACK PANTHER
The success of the MCU's Black Panther was amazing. Fans were excited to see a black superhero lead an MCU film, and enthused by its commercial success. One incredible element of the film was the powerful women. There were literal superwomen like the hyper-intelligent and a technology master Shuri, fierce warrior women Nakia and Okaye, and Romanda, a literal queen.
While there is no shortage of women in Black Panther, it’s still fun to consider T’Challa’s alter ego as another gender. Artist Marcus Williams did just that in his “Swaptober,” piece, genderswapping the king and creating this stunning iteration.
The 2018 remake of the 1990 mini-series based on Stehpen King’s infamous novel took the horror community by storm. The iconic original left massive shoes to fill -- more massive than the clown shoes of Tim Curry who embodied the iconic horror clown. Bill Skarsgard is no stranger to the creepy, but fans waited on bated breath for the new look, which came with billowing white and red and makeup from Halloween dreams.
Since Pennywise is a fluid creature, it stands to reason he could embody any gender. That’s what Sydney Nielsen considered in creating this female version of the sewer dweller.
12 BATMAN, SUPERMAN AND WONDER WOMAN
The tradition of Bats, Supes and Wonder Woman loving and liking each other is peppered throughout DC lore. With their physical attributes seldomly fiddled with, there is a breeding ground for swapping the well-known traits of such heavyweight heroes.
We’ve seen female counterparts or iterations of Batman and Superman before with characters like Batgirl, Batwoman and Supergirl. But these are standalone characters with similar namesakes to their male counterparts. Artist, Jarsic, has a portfolio of original projects and fan art, and amongst her fan art is this beautiful rendition of genderbent and power oozing Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.
11 MR. FREEZE
Freeze hasn’t always been flawlessly adapted, but we are happy to defend Schwarzenegger’s version of the pun-spewing Batman villain. Rick Cellis is an artist known for his on the nose Batman: The Animated Series drawing style. He has remade popular Batman comic covers in the TAS style, done uncanny celebrity sketches and movie scenes in the same vein, and imagined Batman characters in the place of other characters in popular movie posters.
In one of his recent series, he imagined Disney characters in place of other comic book characters. Naturally, his version of Frozen’s Elsa as Mr. Freeze was born. We think it kicks ice.
Thanos has lept back into the mainstream since he has taken reign as the quintessential villain for the biggest MCU movie to date. He was pit against the entire bevy of Marvel heroes in Avengers: Infinity War and with a snap of the fingers, Thanos slipped into the cultural zeitgeist as a supervillain, and as somewhat of a mainstream icon.
This inspired a host of fan art for those thirsty for the space alien baddy. There are more than three versions of him across Marvel films, it stands to reason there are even more versions dreamt up my fans. But artist Miyasaki had a different idea -- Miyasaki dreamt up Thanos as a female anime cutie character.
9 DR. STRANGE
Dr. Strange is one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel expanded universe. Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme and a master of black magic, meaning a lot of the dark magic lore surrounding Strange has oft been associated with female characters in the tradition of witchcraft.
Though this goatee clad doc is iconic for his salt and pepper hair, goatee and cape, he is ready for the genderswap taking. That’s just what artist Nakazayo did when she dreamt up this genderswapped iteration. What we love about this version of the Doc is that she looks like a modern geek girl, which makes her pretty relatable.
Many have stepped into the alias of Robin over the years. More than one gender has dawned the famous uniform, so it’s not unprecedented. Carrie Kelley famously jammed herself into the role in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Stephanie Brown briefly wore the outfit.
But this fan art by illustrator Kerin Cunningham, known for her use of bright colors and fantasy-style approach to re-imaging characters, created a version of the classic dark-haired Robin as a woman. She kept the classic Robin costume and appears to have really borrowed from classic drawings of Dick Grayson and Tim Drake. Kerin’s signature lashes look so cool peering through the Robin mask.
In her project, “Supehero Aunties,” Indian artist Kully Rehal portrayed popular comic book characters as “Indian aunties.” Rehal wanted to create something that catered to these Asian women in their 60s. As she told Buzzfeed, "It has given them a sense of importance and being part of something and I wanted to shed some humour to celebrate their success stories.”
Rehal created a host of characters reimagined as 60-something-women, from Deadpool to She-Hulk, complete with a purple suit and tie. Each one of her creations is incredible in their own right, but we can’t get enough of this genderbent Spidey, Spider-Ben.
6 KYLO REN
The 2015 installment of the Star Wars franchise spilled over with nostalgia and references to old fa- favorite characters. It also had new characters stepping into familiar roles. New character addition, Kylo Ren, seemed to be The Force Awakens’ answer to everyone’s favorite breathy villain, Darth Vader. Working for the Empire and draped in the signature black and red, Kylo stood as the new class’s villain.
In her fan art, artist Alexis Cibrian took a stab at reimagining the brooding villain as a different gender. The result is this stunning gender bent Ren complete with a glowing red three-pronged lightsaber.
5 ASH KETCHUM
We all remember fondly that first month of Pokémon Go. Each of us we were all happily cruising the streets and parks in an attempt to catch ‘em all. One of the more fun elements of the smartphone game is the ability to create your own trainer avatar, complete with varying hairstyles, tones and outfits. But none of us could be the very best, like no one ever was.
An artist who goes by LouLouVZ made some changes to the series’ lead trainer, Ash, genderswapping the character. She imagined Ash in a jean skirt with a ponytail, still hanging out with her best buddy, Pikachu.
Nightcrawler is beautiful. His character traits like the ability to climb, his grace, his coloring and striking fur and ability to blend into the shadows are beautiful. It stands to reason a genderswapped version of the character would also be beautiful.
Competing in a contest, an artist named Ivanna Matilla was tasked with genderswapping a member of the X-Men team. She chose the teleporting beauty. Naming her creation, ‘The Amazing Nightcrawler Girl,” Ivanna kept the shades of blue and created a stunning version of the crawler in the dark with recognizable details like blue skin and pointy ears.
3 THE WINTER SOLIDER
What do you say about a guy like Bucky Barnes? The Winter Soldier is arguable one of the best superhero sidekicks of all time. While the top spot is held by the Caped Crusader’s partner in anti-crime, Robin, both have at some point been brainwashed by the enemy into attacking their best bud and counterpart in crimefighting.
James Buchanan Barnes, among other things, is striking for his cyborg style chrome arm, detailed to match that of Cap, and his flowing brown locks. These are two things artist Kreugan, was sure not to leave out when he genderswapped Rocket Racoon’s new best bud.
2 GAMBIT AND ROGUE
Gambit and Rogue are the X-Men couple most recognized by the fans who grew up consuming the popular animated series. Their varying southern accents and bright costumes make them such fun standouts that their relationship has been a source of many great stories. They’ve been adapted as much as the next comic character, but their southern charm and chemistry has not yet been captured on film.
An artist going by CapnFlynn has created a host of fan art that reimagines favorite characters. Here, she reimagined the southern mutant couple with swapped genders, giving us a gender swapped Gambit who is striking in that signature coat.
1 CASEY JONES AND RAPHAEL
Casey Jones is such a fun addition to the sewer dwelling squad. For many of us, the intro to hockey mask wearing mega characters was through this counterpart to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and not Jason Voorhees. Being siblings, the Turtles can be a fun relatable group for those of us with siblings ourselves; they’re on the same team and have the same goals, but, they fight a lot. It’s this dynamic that sets them apart.
So in the vein of “Turtle Power,” artist, Nahyed, swapped the genders of the red draped turtle and Casey Jones giving us an image filled to the brim with Girl Power.