In the world of cosplay, it’s common practice to take your favorite character and replicate one or more of their iconic costumes to wear to comic-conventions. Cosplayers play around with different ideas, and frequently come up with new and creative ways to represent the character they are most drawn to. In cosplay, there is no age, gender, or race restrictions and you will frequently see females cosplaying as male characters and vice versa. It’s a technique that is referred to as genderbend or gender-swapped cosplaying.
One of the most prominent fandoms where you can see cosplay diversity and gender-swapped roles is in the Marvel Universe. Despite the fact that so many of the traditional heroes were originally male, female cosplayers routinely rework Marvel’s classic superheroes into female variations. Sometimes the ladies will procure an exact model of Captain America’s suit, while others will play around with an idea and style their Captain America cosplays in a more feminine routine. The same can be said for males who have proven that they’re not too shy to cosplay as female superheroes such as Gamora, Black Widow, or Mystique. So buckle down and get ready to see 15 gender-swapped Marvel cosplays that shouldn’t work, but totally do.
15 CAPTAIN MELODY AS SPIDER-MAN
Spider-Man fans have probably seen more versions of their friendly neighborhood hero than they care for. From Tobey Maguire's interpretation in Raimi's trilogy, Andrew Garfield's short-lived career as Peter Parker, and now with Tom Holland's Spidey introduction into the MCU, you would think that we've had enough interpretations of Spider-Man. But it seems the only thing more demanding than seeing Spider-Man on the silver screen, is cosplaying as the web-slinging hero. Surprisingly, females are saturating the Spider-Man cosplay field, and CaptainMelody is one such cosplayer who is giving Holland a run for his money.
Melody is a cosplayer from Puerto Rico, whose fans applaud her on her seductive Spider-Man cosplay. Here she dons the rarely seen Spider-man suit worn in the PS4 game set to release later this year. Melody is a gamer herself and is clearly excited to get her webs on in the game.
14 JENNA BELL AS QUICKSILVER
Pietro Maximoff is the twin brother to Wanda, or Scarlet Witch. The male-female twin dynamic works in the comics to create a strong relationship and this pair is easily a comic fan-favorite. However, if we were to re-imagine these siblings as a same-sex pair, then Jenna Bell's Quicksilver is probably close to how a female version would appear in live-action interpretations.
Under the pseudonym Rumplepigskin, Jenna shows off her casual Quicksilver cosplay by donning the tell-tale silver hair and goggles. This one is specific to the Quicksilver played by Evan Peters in the X-Men films. Among her other X-Men cosplays have been Jean Grey and Phoenix. When asking for further X-Men cosplay suggestions, she adds that there is, "no need to limit it to just the girls either!" Jenna has a knack for cosplaying Disney princesses, but she's also done a fair share of other genderbent cosplays, including Buzz Lightyear.
13 KIINKY KYLO AS DOCTOR STRANGE
Sometimes, cosplayers will exceed expectations. We all enjoy Stephen Strange's finesse and wit, especially when portrayed in the MCU by Benedict Cumberbatch. So who would have thought that we would love this gender-swapped Doctor Strange even more than the original? Kiinky Kylo is a Dutch cosplayer, who claims that Doctor Strange has been her most expensive cosplay to date. And from the looks of the details in her cape and suit, it looks to be money well spent!
Kiinky Kylo is notorious for her gender-swapped cosplays. Besides her brilliant female Doctor Strange, she has portrayed both Kylo Ren and Director Krennic from Star Wars. Each one of her genderbent cosplays is reworked to be completely unique and feminine and we wouldn't have it any other way. She manages to make these original male characters look fierce and fabulous!
12 JAYMCEE AS CAPTAIN AMERICA
On Earth-932, in an alternate reality set in Marvel Comics, Shannon Carter represents the first female Captain America. She’s the cousin to Sharon Carter, who briefly appears as Captain America’s love interest. Sharon bears the alias, American Dream clad in red, white, and blue. Captain America himself even decides that Sharon is worthy to don his colors after she saves the Avengers, and he gives her her own Captain America shield.
One cosplayer who is also worthy of Cap’s shield is Jaycee or Jaycee Cosplay. Her pin-up Cap is an eye-catching alternative style of Captain America, that also is reminiscent of Cap’s original time era, dating back to the '40s. Besides her drop-dead gorgeous Cap, Jaycee embodies a fantastic Rogue cosplay and even does a great Scarlet Witch.
11 ERIC SCOTT AS GAMORA
It takes a certain personality to be able to pull off a character as demanding and complicated as Gamora. The Guardians of the Galaxy character is played professionally by Zoe Saldana, who is among today's A-List actors. And with the MCU changes in her costume, Gamora has become one of the most well-represented characters in the cosplay community.
Among those cosplayers is Eric Scott, whose boldness in taking on a character of Gamora's status shows his worthiness. Gamora's attire in the MCU is an overall gender-neutral look with her heavy trench coat, vest, and boots. However, Eric took on the challenge and was able to replicate every detail of Gamora's garments, including the intense green body paint. Eric is a fan of genderswap cosplaying as he has also taken on other female roles such as Teen Titans' Raven and X-Men's Psylocke.
10 STEPHANIE MOON AS THE HULK
We all know that She-Hulk was introduced in Marvel Comics in the '80s. Most female cosplayers will typically reclaim this version of the Hulk, however, we can all appreciate Stephanie Moon's female version of Bruce Banner here. One of the toughest mediums in cosplay creations is picking a character that requires full body paint -- and then getting that paint to last an entire convention. Stephanie's cosplay may look simple, but the overall body paint work is seemingly flawless and undeniably stunning.
Besides her incredible Hulk cosplay, Steph as mastered the art of body paint, as can be seen in her Hellgirl and LilyMunster cosplays. She claims to be obsessed with Spider-Man, and has a few different Spidey suits of her own. Not to mention, she crushed it in her latest cosplay as Domino from Deadpool.
9 KYLE AS SCARLET WITCH
While Elizabeth Olsen plays an electrifying Scarlet Witch in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kyle's gender-swapped take on the Avenger is truly unique. It looks as though he used the comic's original scarlet costume color as opposed to the subdued red we see worn by Olsen in the films. The overall wardrobe is definitely derived from the MCU's style, but Kyle made the concept a bit more debonair.
On one of his many Wanda Maximoff photos, Kyle claims, "I'm no Elizabeth Olsen but I'm super happy with my Scarlet Witch cosplay!" As he should be! Kyle also cosplays other Marvel characters, such as Doctor Strange and Iron Man. Both of which are ridiculously impressive. Scarlet Witch marks his second gender-swapped cosplay, having previously worn the attire of Rey from Star Wars.
8 LORI LYNN AS THOR
Opting out of simply creating a Female Thor cosplay from the Marvel series, "The Goddess of Thunder," Lori Lynn came up with this spectacular version of Thor's traditional wear. Except instead of steel armor, Lori expertly crafted hers from craft foam and some spray paint. Talk about impressive! Everything from the headdress, the chest piece, to the belt is made from everyday household items -- and the result is outstanding.
Lori has been a guest cosplayer at comic conventions around the country, and she is well-known for this Thor cosplay. Her armor builds is what sets her apart from other cosplayers. Alongside Thor, you can see Lori in Lady Death, Machiko, and Jasmine cosplays. Her one-of-a-kind Anck-Su-Namun (The Mummy) is also a cosplay you won’t see every day!
7 CIAO BIRDIE COSPLAY AS THE WINTER SOLDIER
While a slough of female cosplayers are picking out black spandex suits for Black Widow cosplays, Ciao Birdie takes the time to turn herself into one convincing Winter Soldier. Ciao Birdie first debuted her femme Bucky Barnes at Anime Boston in 2014, after completing the ensemble in 2014. She still represents this gender-swapped female soldier today, and has even taken to giving instructions on her blog.
She made the impressive Bucky armor with just duct tape, paint, and worbla (a cosplay must-have). Her ensemble is especially powerful as her weapon props help play a key role in representing the Winter Soldier. Ciao Birdie is a New England Award winning cosplayer. This young lady shows off a lot of cosplay talent, having created costumes for a variety of characters such as Princess Leia, Lady Bug, and Supergirl.
6 MALE MYSTIQUE
Having the capability to transform into any person, Mystique is one of the X-Men's most dangerous enemy. When she's not impersonating another human being, Mystique's typical form is a blue physique, with fiery orange hair and yellow eyes. Little is known about Mystique's age due to her ability to eliminate any signs of aging, making her an enigma and a character with unlimited personas.
Because of Mystique's mutant powers, seeing a male Mystique isn't out of range for this character's capabilities. This cosplayer decided to take Mystique's shape-shifting abilities to represent her powers mid-transformation. With just one hand and half of his face displaying Mystique's distinct blue form, it's definitely a creative way to dip into gender-swap cosplay! It's a simple, yet, enticing cosplay that is guaranteed to turn heads.
5 WOMAN WOLVERINE
X-23 (otherwise known as Laura Kinney) is the infamous female counterpart to Logan's Wolverine. She made her debut in the X-Men storyline for the television series X-Men Evolution in 2003 before appearing in the NYX comic series in 2004. X-23 is said to be the cloned daughter of Wolverine, giving her the same ability to self-heal with her accelerated healing powers. Her costume is typically depicted in an all black attire with a simple bra and leather pants in the more risqué versions. Other times, X-23 is shown wearing the Wolverine's typical colors of yellow and blue.
In this genderswap cosplay, we see this cosplayer representing the latter. While she did incorporate her own custom look to Wolverine's traditional colors, it's very clear who she's cosplaying as. This cosplayer created the same paradigmatic look using a corset to go with iconic winged mask, giving it a more delicate look.
4 THE COLLECTED MUTINEER AS LOKI
Almost 60 years after Loki’s introduction into Marvel Comics in 1949 in Venus #6, Marvel decided to introduce a gender-swapped version of Loki. In 2008, Thor volume three presented a female Loki after the events of Ragnarok, appearing in the form of Thor's former lover, Lady Sif. It was eventually revealed to be Loki in disguise as he tried to free the villains of Asgard.
Nina, also known in the cosplay community as the Collected Mutineer, took this concept and made it into her own cosplay. And she pulled this Lady Loki cosplay together in only a few short days. Besides the handmade golden headpiece and Loki’s staff, her Lady Loki includes a corset, cape, and the fur shawl. Nina has been cosplaying since 2014, and says that Lady Loki is her absolute favorite cosplay. She also does an impressive Merida, Han Solo, and Winter Soldier cosplay.
3 DOCTOR COSPLAY AS STAR-LORD
Peter Quill is depicted as the charismatic leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Fans were delighted to see Star-Lord come to life when the Guardians hit theaters in 2014, with Chris Pratt at the helm. Pratt is able to impersonate the full extent of what we imagined Peter Quill to be like, with his tongue in cheek commentary and overall quick-witted charm.
Doctor.Cosplay does Pratt and Star-Lord justice when she personified the Guardians leader. This cosplayer holds nothing back when she's in character, and her delight at portraying one of Marvel's newest, adoring heroes shines through. This North Texas cosplayer is vastly celebrated for her happy-go-lucky genderbent Star-Lord cosplay, though she is well-versed in a variety of cosplays. Besides Peter Quill, she's also spent time in gender-swapping roles by cosplaying the Winter Soldier, Loki, and Superman.
2 ROYAL COURT COSPLAY AS DEADPOOL
Lady Deadpool is a staple in the cosplay community for any woman who wants a full-uniform cosplay. Some may incorporate Wade Wilson's facial scars into play, while other cosplayers simply stick to the Deadpool's classic red and black suit. Besides the suit, the major factor in spotting Lady Deadpool is the long blonde ponytail as depicted from the comics. The amount of creativity left in making a unique Deadpool cosplay is still up for debate, however, Royal Court Cosplay certainly strayed from the norm when she did this gender-swap Deadpool cosplay.
This female Deadpool cosplay can't be simply labeled as Lady Deadpool, as Royal Court took deliberate steps to stem away from the popular character. Instead, she opted to stick with a darker demeanor, while still maintaining Deadpool's significant red and black costume and necessary artillery. Recently, Royal Court also decided to cosplay as a Mary Jane Deadpool.
1 LARISSA PAIGE AS VISION
While Vision's appearance in the MCU was toned down to a simple gold, red, and green, his original comic design was vastly more colorful. The iteration of Vision we are most familiar with paints him as an Android who is an ally to the Avengers according to the 1968 comic The Avengers #57. His demeanor bore a bright red face, heightened by his green and yellow costume.
Vision's vibrant costume and pretense would make him a difficult for anyone to cosplay, but Larissa Paige stepped up to the challenge and outdid herself. Her Vision cosplay holds a brilliant display of colors, using comic writer J. Scott Campbell's rendition of Mary Jane Vision from Avengers #8 for inspiration. Larissa is a professional cosplayer who has been seen cosplaying other editions of Campbell's work such as Mary Jane Thor.