Gender bender: Where are the male versions of female heroes?
Casting an eye over the expanse of superhero comics, you’ll find yourself looking at a number of heroes so popular that they’ve spawned spin-off characters that are either younger, pluckier or, more often than not, of the opposite sex. From DC’s Supergirl (tied to Superman) to Marvel’s Ms. Marvel (connected to Captain Marvel), this has been a trend going on longer than most of us have been around. But in this world of male heroes sharing their costume designs with women, I’ve always wondered why there isn’t much going the opposite way: heroes who base their costumes and names on heroines.
One of the key reasons is that by sheer number there are far more popular male superhero characters than female characters. By my unscientific estimation, the only female superheroes the general public could name would be Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Invisible Woman, Catwoman, Jean Grey and Storm. Compare that to the male heroes most people know, and you’ll get the picture. But even then, where are the male counterparts to those female heroes I mentioned?
The closest thing we have to that is DC’s Catman, the lone example of an in-continuity character borrowing his style from a female character — Catwoman. There’s also the rare alternative universe where all genders are switched, such as Earth-11 as seen in Teen Titans Spotlight #11, or other unique circumstances.
I’m not saying DC should bring back Wonder Man (or Captain Wonder) as a counterpart to Wonder Woman in the New 52, but she does have a pair of star-spangled pants she’s not using.