Distaff Counterparts

This is a list of characters who are essentially gender reversed versions of pre-existing characters. In addition to straight counter-parts, includes alternate reality versions, cross-company ersatz versions, legacy mantles, and in-continuity gender swaps.

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Posted by knighthood

Awesome work. I might have overlooked these, but howzabout...

Talisman from Shaman

Vindicator from Guardian

Persuasion from Purple Man

Posted by fodigg

@knighthood: Good suggestions! I had Vindicator but I'll add the others, thanks!

Posted by The Mighty Monarch

Sir Ystin is transgender, female in body only.

Edited by fodigg

@The Mighty Monarch said:

Sir Ystin is transgender, female in body only.

I'm pretty sure he revealed that she was a hermaphrodite--male and female at once--in one of the more recent issues of Demon Knights.

Posted by The Mighty Monarch

@fodigg: Either way Shining Knight clearly prefers to be treated and referred to as male.

Edited by fodigg

@The Mighty Monarch said:

@fodigg: Either way Shining Knight clearly prefers to be treated and referred to as male.

It raises a some good questions on gender identity certainly:

  • Does male-to-hermaphrodite constitute a "gender swap"?
  • Should trans characters be listed by their self-identification or by their physicality?

I'm going to leave him on this list because tracking characters by cis vs. trans perspectives could potentially make it a lot harder to maintain, however, I think it's good these comments stand as a clarification about the issue and on his inclusion.

Posted by The Mighty Monarch

@fodigg: I mainly stuck my nose in here because not only am I a huge fan of the character, but I have two close friends who are fans partially because they themselves are transgender, and FTM to boot.

I also wonder if, just maybe, since back then there'd be next to no awareness of the issue, he's just referring to being born physically a woman, but mentally a man. That being of both natures is his way of saying he is a man, but in a woman's body. MAYBE. But I'm speculating at straws on that point.

Posted by dokkoidah

Speaking of:

Born a man,

Reborn a woman.

Sort of.


I enjoyed the comic while it lasted. ^^ Shame Marvel isn't doing anything with her.

Posted by fodigg
Posted by PCN24454

Wiccan's costume is actually based off of Thor's.

Posted by LenSnart

super woman shouldn't really be there

Edited by fodigg

@lensnart said:

super woman shouldn't really be there

Why's that? I'd say she's exactly the type of character I had in mind when I made this list.

EDIT: Wait, I just realized you probably meant the Earth-3 version, which is basically an evil Wonder Woman, which is a legit argument. My issue is that there are a number of other 'Superwomans', none of which are listed as such on CV:


However, I bet I can list them individually.

EDIT 2: I listed the 3 "central continuity" Superwomen individually, but still couldn't find a listing for the genderswapped "Earth 11" version, so, I changed the Superwoman listing to "Earth 11, NOT Earth 3". Hopefully that's clear enough. Thanks for pointing the issue out!

Posted by KeliaC

i would have to argue that a few of these don't belong on the list

wasp is arguable because she actually had a somewhat different powerset derived from the same source as her partner-in-crimefighting. also they were both established at the same time, and a true distaff counterpart always comes along after the main character is established (superman/supergirl later, batman/batgirl later, spider-man/spider-woman later, etc)

hank pym when he took over the wasps name believing she had died. males cannot be distaff counterparts as the word distaff means female. the reversed equivalent is spear counterpart.

power boy for the same reason as hank pym.

darwin for the same reason as hank pym and i wouldnt really say he became helas male counterpart, he became her equal as a deathgod but as a result of his own power which he still retained. if you count him as a spear counterpart for his power copying hela as a deathgod even briefly, then you must also consider rogue is a distaff counterpart of every man she has ever absorbed powers from.

hawkeye as ronin, again for same reason as hank pym.

vampirella is not a dracula counterpart. their origins, powers, and even motivations are more than different enough to merit her being her own character rather than a distaff counterpart; seems like you chose this one only because of the vampire connection and both of their names ending in the same.

rikki barnes does belong on the list but for her connection to bucky and nomad, not winter soldier and nomad. yes i know that winter soldier was bucky, but she never wore a winter soldier costume, so that identity is wrongfully referrenced.

nocturne is not a distaff counterpart of nightcrawler; she is his and scarlet witch's son with an appearance similar to his but powers from both. since she inherits some of her power from another woman, she cannot by definition be a distaff counterpart.

huntress, but this one is arguable. he has the whole bat-theme, gadgets and martial arts going for him. she has similar skills but doesnt rely on the bat-theme and uses a lethal weapon --the crossbow-- whereas he does not. she is different enough from batgirl to be her own character rather than a distaff counterpart.

lady deathstrike is very arguably not a distaff counterpart. they both have claws, but they are strikingly different in appearance and function. wolverine has a bunch of powers that she does not and she is a cyborg which he is not. they are just two opposite gender characters who oppose each other and share one thing in common, which is they fight with claws.

clea he is a sorcerer and she is a sorceress? that is really reaching for the distaff counterpart connection. he is the sorcerer supreme of the earth dimension and she is the daughter of the sister of the sorcerer supreme of her dimension, and only briefly usurped that title for herself. there is nothing common about the visual appearances or names of the characters or any other criteria to define the distaff counterpart role.

olympian, again, for the same reason as hank pym.

xavin really doesnt count as a distaff counterpart because he is a male shapeshifter who can take on male or female form and chose to become female to appease his betrothed. acting female and looking female does not change what he is; a skrull male in disguise.

ms. thing really doesnt belong on the list because she is only wearing a thing exoskeletal armor suit unlike sharon ventura who actually became a female version of the thing.

oliver raven, like hank pym, is a spear counterpart --not a distaff counterpart. just thought i would clarify that again since i moved a little ways down the list from pym to keep referencing him.

mystiq is also a spear counterpart rather than a distaff counterpart.

northstar is, again, a spear counterpart.

zan and jayna, aka the wonder twins, dont really belong on the list because they are not counterparts of each other since their power both requires the other. a true distaff or spear counterpart should be an equal and independently capable character. without each other, zan and jayna would be just ordinary people.

don allen is yet another spear counterpart rather than a distaff counterpart.

darkfire also is another male version of female character, making him a spear counterpart. really, there are enough of these to merit their own list.

mary janewatson is arguable as the core character was only spider-powered briefly... along with almost everyone else in manhatten. considering that luke cage and jessica jones baby also gained spider powers, even little dani cage is a distaff counterpart. except no they arent. a distaff counterpart should resemble the original in name, appearance, and powers. powers alone, and as a short term gimmick, does not make someone a distaff counterpart.

inza nelson was doctor fates wife/girlfriend, wasnt she? unless she bore the helmet of nabu for a length of time and used the name doctor fate in his place, i dont think magical girlfriends should count as distaff counterparts of their magical boyfriends.

courier is not a distaff counterpart of another character. he is a man who got locked into a gender-swapped form.

sasquatch a gender swap, whether permanent or temporary, isnt really a distaff counterpart.

mikey dowling is, again, a gender swap and not a distaff counterpart.

lyra shares dna and some of hulk's power, but she also has strong traits from her mother in her appearance and skills, making her not a true distaff counterpart like the other she-hulks.

shade is just another temporary gender swap.

valkyrie is not a true distaff version of thor; she shares similar traits due to having the same mythological background, but comes with her own powers and equipment. to say she is one is to say all asgardian characters are either distaff or spear counterparts of each other and that dilutes the very meaning.

kitty pryde using the same name as red hood in an alternate reality really does not qualify as a distaff counterpart as she has nothing else in common with the other character.

young marvelman would be a spear counterpart rather than distaff, which --again-- means female.

spike, though i am not familiar with the story in question, it sounds more like a temporary gender swap rather than a distaff counterpart version of him.

shvaughn erin, if she was changed to sean erin as a reveal, then its actually a gender swap and not a distaff or spear counterpart.

aunt may does not belong on the list any more than mary jane does.

lucifer from the dawn series; as changing gender does not make one a distaff or spear counterpart.

jean dewolff because she is the main character and there is a male version in a little seen alternate reality.

i would also cite that any alternate reality version of a character with a different gender shouldnt really qualify as a distaff or spear counterpart unless they have an opposite number within their own reality or if they frequently cross over into the mainstream reality. mad thinker, example, is a woman in the ultimate universe but there is no male version there for her to be a counterpart of. same deal for starbuck of battlestar galactica; in the rebooted continuity, she is the one and only starbuck, so she is not a distaff counterpart.

damn, i am not even halfway through the list. but i think you should be able to get my meaning with the above stuff. remember distaff means female, and counterpart means someone else rather than the same person changing gender.

Posted by fodigg

@keliac: Fair. But I explain that the list includes far more than the narrowest definition in the description, so I don't feel that I've misled by being character-inclusive of variations on a theme.

"This is a list of characters who are essentially gender reversed versions of pre-existing characters. In addition to straight counter-parts, includes alternate reality versions, cross-company ersatz versions, legacy mantles, and in-continuity gender swaps."