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Off My Mind: Female Characters Made From Male Characters

Why do we have so many male/female versions of the same characters?

I would imagine it is a difficult thing to create a new character in comic books. Especially since pretty much every idea has already been used. If you're looking to make a new superhero, what can a publisher do? How about make a female version of an existing character? 
 
This was a topic that came up between me and Nightwatcher. Why do we have so many male and female versions of the same character? It could be to attract more female readers to comics. It could be that guys like seeing women in tight clothing in their comics. Maybe it's to add a "softer touch" to all the superhero action. Or maybe it's just to cash in on a successful idea. 
  

   
What are your thoughts on male and female versions of the same character? Are there any that you like more than the original? Do you think the 'new' character should have the same traits and goals as the original or are they better off doing their own thing?

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Posted by Undeadpool

I think it's just a matter of wanting to trade on the popularity of an existing character (Supergirl, Lady Deadpool) mostly to give their initial popularity a little boost, most new characters fail pretty miserably after all, but that's a WHOLE other discussion.

Staff
Posted by Mainline
@Rheged said: 
You are missing the point that I and others brought up.  We are getting more of these female knock offs now, and less "original" work now, and more recycling of dead / established heroes.   
I didn't miss it, I don't think it's factually accurate at all.  There's no decade without derivative characters and there's no decade without original characters.  I think you're taking a pretty small sample set of data points and trying to make more of it than is there. 
 
At the end of the day, most of the creators worth giving a damn about are professionals who do their job.  If there are those "hoarding" creativity such that they're not doing their jobs then they won't have jobs, it's just that simple.  Nor is it an all or nothing proposition... plenty of creators do both and allow their works to inform both and, in fact, benefit from the cross pollination of independent creation without restraints and the more structured storytelling within limits.  There are creators who's bread and butter is essentially telling us the same story over and over (cough, Millar, cough) where I'm skeptical as to whether "hoarding" made any difference in terms of his storytelling one way or another. 
 
You can study and train for the NBA.
Posted by Solitaire

This is actually something that I've been contemplating for quite some time.
 
Speaking of which; Has anyone else noticed that Huntress' costume is pretty much a female version of Hawkeye's?

 
Edited by Michiel76
@WW-Fan:  ha i just beat you to it my friend, look 4 posts down (from yours)
Posted by cbishop

It's not about anything except copyrights/ trademarks.  DC has Superman, Supergirl, Superboy, Superwoman, and several "____ the Super(pet-type)" to monopolize the "Super" names.  If you look at the Price Guide, the very first magazines for some of the derivative characters were rushed to the copyright office with mock covers and the insides of a completely different title.  For example, the cover might say "Supergirl #1," but the insides are "Action #40" (just an example - that's probably not the actual combo). 
 
Now, that's really securing rights to a title, not to the character, but I've always heard that DC has teams of lawyers that exist simply to copyright character names.  The only reason derivative characters exist though is so the competition doesn't jump on the name for themselves.  The Wonder Woman/ Wonder Man thing that several have mentioned is the perfect example. 
 
To another degree, there's the Captain Marvels at both DC & Marvel, and their counterparts Mary Marvel/ Ms. Marvel.  That's nothing except competing companies trying to outdo each other.  I mean, has Marvel ever really made good use of the names Marvel Boy or Marvel Girl?  I am a firm believer that the only reason Marvel's using those names is so DC can't give Mary Marvel and Cap' Marvel Jr. better names.  They want to own all "Marvel" names, and can't because of DC's Marvel Family, so they used up every "Marvel" name they can. 
 
It's that kind of namegrabbing by competitors that keeps the derivative characters coming.  I mean, c'mon: there's even been a Lady Punisher. o.O

Online
Posted by Mainline
@cbishop: Bingo! 
 
It's not about creative bankruptcy but typically legal rights for economic reasons.
 
In the end it's economics, as I point out X-23 (not named "She-Wolvie") as an economic attempt to capitalize on Wolverine, but played out as a creative decisions (the execs would have been just as happy to have Wolvie suddenly frolicking with teens as with the creation of X-23) that makes the same amount of dollars and cents (pun intended).
Posted by Rheged
@Mainline said:
" @Rheged said: 
You are missing the point that I and others brought up.  We are getting more of these female knock offs now, and less "original" work now, and more recycling of dead / established heroes.   
I didn't miss it, I don't think it's factually accurate at all.  There's no decade without derivative characters and there's no decade without original characters.  I think you're taking a pretty small sample set of data points and trying to make more of it than is there. 
 
At the end of the day, most of the creators worth giving a damn about are professionals who do their job.  If there are those "hoarding" creativity such that they're not doing their jobs then they won't have jobs, it's just that simple.  Nor is it an all or nothing proposition... plenty of creators do both and allow their works to inform both and, in fact, benefit from the cross pollination of independent creation without restraints and the more structured storytelling within limits.  There are creators who's bread and butter is essentially telling us the same story over and over (cough, Millar, cough) where I'm skeptical as to whether "hoarding" made any difference in terms of his storytelling one way or another. 
 
You can study and train for the NBA. "
Of course, you are welcome to believe whatever fancy you like.  However, the facts are, there were more original characters created for Marvel and DC in any decade of the era of non-Independent books, than there are presently, in this decade.
 
I never said professionals aren't doing their job for Marvel and DC -- but that job doesn't seem to include making hordes of original characters.  I said many are choosing to expend their creativity for original concepts and characters on their own creator owned projects.  Warren Ellis has said repeatedly that he does this and doesn't seem to have any problem getting a job.  And yes, I agree.  It isn't an all or nothing proposition.  You can work at the Big Two AND do creator owned work.  Jason Aaron is another good example.
Posted by ArtisticNeedham
Posted by Rheged
@Mainline said:
" @cbishop: Bingo!  It's not about creative bankruptcy but typically legal rights for economic reasons. In the end it's economics, as I point out X-23 (not named "She-Wolvie") as an economic attempt to capitalize on Wolverine, but played out as a creative decisions (the execs would have been just as happy to have Wolvie suddenly frolicking with teens as with the creation of X-23) that makes the same amount of dollars and cents (pun intended). "
Well, at least we all agree it comes down to money.
Posted by G'bandit

I enjoy the girl versions O_O
 


 I enjoy them very much O_O

But I don't think Spider-woman counts... Her powers are different that Spidey man.
 
 In Spider-man's case the girl version would be Spider-girl 
 

 That's not Spider-man, I can clearly see the difference O_O
Posted by blaakmawf

A bit of a cop-out but, as long as it is interesting, I don't see why not.

Edited by Mainline
@Rheged said:


Of course, you are welcome to believe whatever fancy you like.  However, the facts are, there were more original characters created for Marvel and DC in any decade of the era of non-Independent books, than there are presently, in this decade. "

What "facts"?  Stating it doesn't make it a fact.  The only difference between Wolverine and, say, the Authority or Great Ten or Dennis Sykes is that 1) Wolverine is older and 2) Wolverine has more investment.  Of course, you're going to think there are "more" original characters of the past because they made it through the past to the present for you to know about them.  There are tons of new characters being made right now they just haven't had the time to build up steam (both Wolvie and Punisher were one-off characters developed for other books... becoming big was not a product of originality but of investment creators going back and redeveloping an existing character).  In terms of investment the rule has always been the same... characters who get invested into do better and older characters get more investment than new because it builds the trademark. 
 
Basically, you're arguing that there is creative bankruptcy or creative hoarding when we've had just as many original and derivative characters as ever with respect to creativity.  If you want to argue there's less investment or risk taking due to the state of the industry as as whole that's a more reasonable position, but that's got nothing to do with creative limitations and everything to do with trademark development / investment.  If anything, the creative restraints on character development have been lifted far beyond what you've presented as a period of "original" character creation... mainstream creators can make gay characters, MAX characters, morally ambiguous characters, scientifically sophisticated characters, etc. far beyond anything permissible or genre-friendly in the past. 
 
You're saying that at conception independents are draining originality.  I'm saying 1) They were never that original to begin with and 2) Only character development really matters (post-conception) and there's been no evidence of drained creativity there. 
 
The other problem might be reading Marvel. :P  Consider.  In last decade, Geoff Johns easily tripled the Flash's rogue gallery, added entire hosts to the GL mythos, and gave us another Legion.  Grant Morrison has been going nuts with new Batman characters.  Superman saw the introduction of 100,000 kryptonians and surrounding supporting characters, villains, etc.  You might argue they're not fully developed, but was Wolvie?  Was Punisher?  Was Deadpool?  Of course not, they were all half-baked but came into their own later.  There is absolutely no shortage of characters being created (only maybe developed, and that's a TM thing rather than a creator incentive thing). 
 
Wolvie, Punisher, Deadpool... they all started out as villains.  Villains are always being generated.  The genre requires it.  It's only when someone goes back and develops them they become a meaningful property and that's happening irrespective of the independent publishers.
Posted by DarkSyde79

I think initially a lot of the female (and children) version of characters where created during a different time in comic books where a child, female and family dynamic in comics was wanted in order to serve the vision of the companies. So I throw those characters (who haven’t been retcon’d) out of this discussion as dinosaurs of the industry. On the other hand, I do have a problem with the newer school cloning (with stipulations) and alternative universe introduction of female characters because we should have learned from the bad decisions of yesteryear. 

Posted by InnerVenom123

SHE-THING?!

GOOD GOD! WTF!?

Posted by ComicMan24
@InnerVenom123: From what I know Venom had gender swapped version as well.
Posted by GT-Man

This is cool actually Deadgirl or whatever her name is with deadpool NICE
Posted by darkwolverineUSMC

It's alays kind of a given. The more famous heroes usually tend to have a female counterpart. Heck, Spider-man had to different Spider-women, and Arana, another Spider based hero. Captain Marvel has Ms. Marvel, who has really budded into her own hero than just a female counterpart.

Posted by Grouchy224

Except that Spider-Man and Spider-Woman are really only similar in name only. Spider-Woman does'nt even have the same powers.

Posted by Midnight Monk

I cringe everytime I see Lady Deadpool especially one time someone showed me her one shot...I felt like vomiting. This trend is not for me although I'm always glad to see X-23 & Thor Girl

Posted by InnerVenom123
@ComicMan24 said:
" @InnerVenom123: From what I know Venom had gender swapped version as well. "



Well aware, bud. Ann Weying (The better, more interesting one) and Patricia Robertson (The "OMG, WTF WAS DANIEL WAY THINKING" one.)
Posted by ComicMan24
@InnerVenom123: Patricia Robertson looks weird.
Posted by InnerVenom123
@ComicMan24 said:
" @InnerVenom123: Patricia Robertson looks exactly like Venom. How is she female? WTF is this?! "

Fixed.
Posted by ComicMan24
@InnerVenom123 said:
" @ComicMan24 said:
" @InnerVenom123: Patricia Robertson looks exactly like Venom. How is she female? WTF is this?! "
Fixed. "
lol True. If I didn't know she was a woman, I could have easily thought of her as a man.
Posted by elayem98

namora and namorita or whatever. and she-thing. and lady deadpool. those are stupid, and just trying to reproduce the same character for girls. but harley quinn? not at all. the only simialrity to her and joker is they are crazy and pull pranks. i dont think she was made as a female joker, she was made as jokers sidekick/girlfriend.

Posted by haydenclaireheroes

I think it is great because some of those characters that were made from other characters are great. My favorite character Spider-girl would not exist if this happened. So, some characters I do not think they should have another character. But Spider-girl, She Hulk, Batgirl I think are strong characters that we need. So, in my opinion some characters are good and some are not so good. 

Edited by batman_is_god

I agree, Zatanna and Storm are my favorite female super heroes for this reason. I actually am in the middle of making a list of my favorite "minority" heroes. 
Because of characters like supergirl (who are just rip-offs) and wonder woman (who is a terrible character, but you can't say so without being called sexist) it's gonna be a short list.
Posted by karasu_

That ending caught me off guard xD
I feel like the problem with female versions of characters isn't there gender... Some of them are just being unoriginal...

Posted by Icarusflies

What I REALLY hate is when they kill the male character to replace them with a female. I don't care if both versions are alive, leads to some nice rivalry.

Moderator
Edited by Vance Astro

She-Hulk,Spider-Woman,Ms.Marvel,Phyla Vell,Goddess,Lady Bullseye,X-23,Thor Girl, & Supegirl are awesome characters.That's just to name a few.I think G-Man first statement really sums up why this keeps happening.Everything is already done so it's hard to do something new.I think writers have done a good job though of making these characters their own characters.Bendis' Spider-Woman motion comic was amazing.Every She-Hulk series i've read has been good,I love Power Girl's book and Supergirl.Manhunter was a really good book before it got cancelled.i think a character like Lady Deadpool is an unnecessary addition to Marvel's roster as so with the female MODOK that G-Man mentioned and there are other ones that seem forced like that too, like She-Thing and Abominatrix.Those types of characters aren't needed.

Moderator
Posted by N7_Normandy

I don't mind as long as the two characters are distinct in some way.

Posted by Deadcool





Hello!! Spider-women!!!
Posted by MagusMaleficus

If the male/female incarnation is uniquely characterized, sure, go for it. If not, screw that.

Posted by Rheged
@Mainline said:
" @Rheged said:


Of course, you are welcome to believe whatever fancy you like.  However, the facts are, there were more original characters created for Marvel and DC in any decade of the era of non-Independent books, than there are presently, in this decade. "

What "facts"?  Stating it doesn't make it a fact.  The only difference between Wolverine and, say, the Authority or Great Ten or Dennis Sykes is that 1) Wolverine is older and 2) Wolverine has more investment.  Of course, you're going to think there are "more" original characters of the past because they made it through the past to the present for you to know about them.  There are tons of new characters being made right now they just haven't had the time to build up steam (both Wolvie and Punisher were one-off characters developed for other books... becoming big was not a product of originality but of investment creators going back and redeveloping an existing character).  In terms of investment the rule has always been the same... characters who get invested into do better and older characters get more investment than new because it builds the trademark. 
 
Basically, you're arguing that there is creative bankruptcy or creative hoarding when we've had just as many original and derivative characters as ever with respect to creativity.  If you want to argue there's less investment or risk taking due to the state of the industry as as whole that's a more reasonable position, but that's got nothing to do with creative limitations and everything to do with trademark development / investment.  If anything, the creative restraints on character development have been lifted far beyond what you've presented as a period of "original" character creation... mainstream creators can make gay characters, MAX characters, morally ambiguous characters, scientifically sophisticated characters, etc. far beyond anything permissible or genre-friendly in the past. 
 
You're saying that at conception independents are draining originality.  I'm saying 1) They were never that original to begin with and 2) Only character development really matters (post-conception) and there's been no evidence of drained creativity there. 
 
The other problem might be reading Marvel. :P  Consider.  In last decade, Geoff Johns easily tripled the Flash's rogue gallery, added entire hosts to the GL mythos, and gave us another Legion.  Grant Morrison has been going nuts with new Batman characters.  Superman saw the introduction of 100,000 kryptonians and surrounding supporting characters, villains, etc.  You might argue they're not fully developed, but was Wolvie?  Was Punisher?  Was Deadpool?  Of course not, they were all half-baked but came into their own later.  There is absolutely no shortage of characters being created (only maybe developed, and that's a TM thing rather than a creator incentive thing). 
 
Wolvie, Punisher, Deadpool... they all started out as villains.  Villains are always being generated.  The genre requires it.  It's only when someone goes back and develops them they become a meaningful property and that's happening irrespective of the independent publishers. "
Agreed.  But just because you state something, doesn't make it a fact either.  I would only consider the Great Ten original characters out of your 3 examples.  And the team idea of the Great Ten is derivative of any other country based teams that have been in existence for decades, but the characters are an attempt at new original characters.  The Authority was originally created for an independent company, which has since been acquired and executed by DC.  Plus, the Authority is made up of derivative characters like Apollo and Midnighter, who are variations on Superman and Batman respectively.  Dennis Sykes is a new character, but he's dying in his mini-series, isn't he?
 
Interesting idea on investment that I'll have to ponder.  Though my own personal experience isn't based on characters that made it through the past to the present, so much as my memories of them being created in that era.  I started started collecting on the cusp of the Bronze Age, which was an amazing era for new characters.  And no, I'd have to argue there is MORE "investment" in characters now.  In previously created characters.  Creators are content to mine the past for characters and, as you say, invest in them.  Bendis said recently he was mining the old Avengers stories.
 
Where are you getting character limitations and restrictions?  I haven't said anything about either.  The only limitations that I still contend are in place, are the ones creators impose on themselves, or as you say, creative hoarding.  I don't think creators are creatively bankrupt, again, something I didn't say.  I think creators are smartly considering WHERE they want to spend their creativity and efforts -- and if they have that option, it is on independent creator owned work.  Which, again, is not to say they aren't working at either of the Big Two also.  Plenty of people hold a day job, while working on something of their own off the job.
 
I admit, you might be correct regarding DC vs. Marvel, as I don't read much DC so I not familiar enough with Flash's rogues or any ones that Johns has created.  However, the examples you've offered seem more like what you are talking about, investing in known properties, rather than creating new characters.  While I think the concept of adding different colored lanterns and their respective emotions is an original idea, I tend to see the horde of Lanterns created as somewhat more of the Green Lantern.  Ditto the Kryptonians as more of Superman.  I don't read Batman.  What are the new villains he's created for the book?  I was under the impression, which could be entirely wrong, that he was mining obscure Silver Age characters.
 
At Marvel, the only new characters I can name off the top of my head that are not legacy characters or derivative or female versions of established characters are Sentry (who barely makes this decade) and Blue Marvel ... oh and the horde of New X-Men kids.  And the Runaways.  As far as villains  ... each of those series had at least one of their own created villains.  As far as villains for other established characters .... I'm going to have think on it more.  I can't think of anyone off the top of my head right now.  Cap is fighting Zemo, Iron Man was fighting a legacy villain and the Mandarin, Avengers are fighting Kang, Thor may have a new villain in Fraction's run. 
Edited by DarkbeatDK

I think the real question is, what about all the superheroes who has a dog version of them. Eh? eh?
 

Posted by pentagram

 g-woman, duck for cover!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by TheMess1428
@G-Man: Lady G-Man looked kinda creepy. Don't ever do that again.
Posted by Rheged
@darkbeatdk said:
" I think the real question is, what about all the superheroes who has a dog version of them. Eh? eh?
 
"
LOL!  Good point.  Does this mean G-Man is going to dress up, or down, with a dog collar? :)
Posted by CATMANEXE--defunct

This makes me think of an issue of MAD Magazine I used to have with a story called " Ex-Men " where they we're all women.
I think even Onslaught was.

Posted by Sobe Cin
@Solitaire:
well maybe so but Huntress was created a good 17 years before Earth's Mightiest Marksmen graced the pages of Tales of Suspence.
Posted by difficlus

I thought babs was lady G man...lol  
i think they do it out of copyrights so a rival company wont try to make a character like that in the case of super girl and spider woman...

Posted by Sobe Cin
@Rheged:
What do you call M-Day? Ever since Grant Morrison's run on the X-Men books, marvel created a slew of original characters (all mutants mind you). But original characters. M-Day just took away a crap ton of powers from characters; but those new characters are still around. 
Posted by Sobe Cin
@GT-Man:
not as nice as you may think. she's supposedly a female version of him from an alternate universe. The picture that has Lady Deadpool kissing Deadpool is kind of gross from that standpoint.
Posted by Rheged
@Sobe Cin said:

" @Rheged: What do you call M-Day? Ever since Grant Morrison's run on the X-Men books, marvel created a slew of original characters (all mutants mind you). But original characters. M-Day just took away a crap ton of powers from characters; but those new characters are still around.  "

I believe I did say, "oh and the horde of New X-Men kids."  But I'm not sure if that qualifies as a slew compared to previous decades.
Posted by Rheged

Ah, here's the quote from Warren Ellis that I was looking for ... 
 
 The tenor -- and, frankly, the informedness -- of online comics conversation over the last five years has changed to the point where I probably need to explain once again why I don't stay long on company-owned works.
 
 It's as simple as this -- if I don't own it, I'm not going to spend my life on it. Joe Quesada and Dan Buckley know that, they're fine with that, and they hire me on that understanding. EDITED TO ADD: I am work-for-hire exclusive to Marvel, and I move between projects at Marvel with their agreement. I think a few people forgot that.

Or, if you like: you can only paint someone else's house for so long before you start thinking that it might be nice to own your own house one day.

I'm okay with painting other people's houses for short periods, because I'm good at it and it pays well and on nice days it's fun. But I never ever confuse painting a house for owning that house. And if I spent every waking hour painting other people's houses, I wouldn't be able to build houses of my own.

The more creators who only took on housepainting as a part-time gig, the healthier this medium would be.
 
 For those of you who harbour a wish to write comics, consider this today: you're either on this side of the line, with me and Brian K Vaughan and Garth Ennis and Grant Morrison and Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction... or you're not.

 
From Whitechapel  about the time Ellis left the Thunderbolts.
 
Of course, I think Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction and Grant Morrison have moved a bit off Warren's side of the line, since they are doing substantially more work for the Big Two today, than not.

Posted by Sobe Cin
@Rheged:
wrote the statement before I read your latest. SO I didn't catch on that you had mentioned it yet.
Posted by Journey Into Chaos
@Illyana Rasputin said:
"
It Could Happen!
"
I would mind to see this... Anywho I don't know,  it may be redundant but it could just to show female support?
Posted by Sobe Cin
@Rheged:
kind of happy that Ellis left the Thunderbolts. They were getting delayed too often. That annoyed the piss out of me. Plus to honest didn't much care for the writing while he was on board.
Posted by Cafeterialoca

Simple.
Original female characters don't sell as well as these knockoff characters because fans are scared s****less of characters they don't know.  Outside the X-Women, they just don't venture off to explore new characters, and really, it's just sad.
X-23 would not have 3/4ths the popularity she has now if it weren't for her connection with Wolverine.  Really, it's just naive fans that don't explore the characters out there and stick with what they now, and it pisses me off.

Posted by Mainline
@Rheged: I'm pretty sure you don't catch my meaning.  Wolverine, Punisher, Deadpool, etc. were not created out of some anti-indie creative surplus.  They were stock badguys made to order with all the inspiration it takes to dress a Canadian weasel in yellow, put a skull on a hitman, or give Spider-Man guns, pouches, and a mutant healing factor. 
 
The indie creativity has nothing to do with the new production (or investment) of characters at all.  I mentioned the Authority because it proves that creators will create for corporately owned properties out of the Big Two.  I mentioned the Great Ten because it shows they can create them inside as well.  And I mention Sykes because he represents exactly the same potential that the Joker (who died in his first appearance mind you), Wolvie, Castle, or Wade did... all "disposable" characters who made it big after ownership was already clearly established.  Anyone can dust off Sykes, decide he didn't die, and start investing. 
 
I didn't say there was less investment.  I said that would be a better argument than trying to argue creative hoarding, but I don't believe there's less investment at all... that's contrary to the whole idea of trademark and the speculative value of character IP. 
 
I feel like you're moving the goal posts with the words of Ellis... he's still saying he paints other people's homes and I've said, it's the development that matters because homes are being continually built (again, the genre demands the creation of one-off villains, minor supporting characters, etc... any which have the potential to explode once invested into)... whereas you seem to be arguing that Ellis won't build houses when that's never been the argument... it's about painting them... fleshing them out and making them marketable... and he's doing that irrespective of whether its his house or not. 
 
Anyways, this is a major derail.  Even if you assume you're right.  Somehow all of mainstream comicdom is suffering from creative hoarding because they're all waiting to jump ship to independent publishing... it basically has no bearing on the lady characters which are all trademark land grabs having nothing to do with the creative process.  X-23 doesn't even fit your pattern because it wasn't like they said "Make a girl" they said "Exploit Wolvie" and the creators made a girl... not because they were trying to hold back creativity, if anything, creating a girl cost additional creativity and that carried on into the book.
Posted by ReverseNegative

meh, seems like a lazy way to create "new" characters.

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