6 Best Male Derivative Characters in Comics
This past weekend, millions of women from across the world marched in solidarity to show everybody that they mean business. Were I not such a lazy schlub of a man, I would have joined them. I regret not going out and marching. But I do have a blog! And I’ve decided that the best way to honor those women is with a list about men!
But not just any men! These are the only male comic book characters derived from female characters! I’m both surprised and not surprised that there are so few.
Female derivative characters are all over the place in comics, and they’re usually great characters in their own right. You’ve got Batwoman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Superwoman, She-Hulk, the new female Thor, the new female Iron Man, two different Spider-Women; but there are almost no characters of the reverse. Where are the male characters who derive from the original female superheroes?
They’re on this list! What few I could find! Join me after the jump to celebrate the female characters awesome enough to get male knock-off versions!
Superman and Batman have had female derivatives for decades now, but surprisingly, Wonder Woman doesn’t get that luxury. She’s got a couple Wonder Girls hanging around, but why not something more? Turns out, she sort of did! But not really! In Superman #163, published in 1963, Superman came up against the heroic Wonder-Man! He didn’t have anything at all to do with Wonder Woman (kind of like Spider-Woman in that regard), but there’s no way DC Comics publishes a character named ‘Wonder-Man’ without the reference being deliberate. Woman-Man was actually a Superman robot named Ajax, who was reprogrammed by the Superman Revenge Squad to defeat the Big Blue Boy Scout. But Wonder-Man betrayed his masters and helped Superman defeat them. Then his robot body expired, and Superman laid him to rest. He’s never been heard from again.
And weirdly, his costume looks more like the Wonder Twins than Wonder Woman…
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of characters in the Legion of Superheroes, and one of them just happens to fit my list! Dream Boy was the team’s replacement for Dream Girl in the 2000s-era Legion. She died in the line of duty and Dream Boy showed up to replace her and provide future vision for the Legion. He wasn’t around for long, and really only long enough for a prediction or two before the writers dashed him away to ‘off duty’ service. Poor guy. He was also visited a lot in his dreams by Dream Girl, who wasn’t totally dead.
Cheetah is one of Wonder Woman’s oldest and wickedest arch enemies, and maybe if we’re lucky she’ll show up in the new movie this year. But once upon a time, a bad dude named Sebastian Ballesteros appealed to the cheetah god to take the power away from the regular Cheetah and give it to him. The god was fine with that, and Sebastian became a pretty hairy and spotty guy. He battled Wonder Woman as an agent of Circe until the original Cheetah came back and killed him good for daring to usurp her power! Short-lived, but check out that guy’s bodacious hair…not that cheetahs have manes.
This is an interesting one, and honestly the only example not from DC Comics. The Wasp was one of the founding Avengers, and was the wife of Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man. Through his career, Hank went through a lot of identities, from Ant-Man to Giant-Man to Yellowjacket to a bunch of others. But when his wife died, Hank decided to honor her memory by becoming the new Wasp! It was a pretty sweet costume and he did a lot of good work as the Wasp; it was probably one of Hank’s better periods. But then, of course, the real Wasp came back from the dead and Hank went on to be a Skrull, or something. I dunno, hard to keep track.
2. Power Boy
Power Boy is a despicable character, but he’s one of the best fits for the trope in all of comics. The previous entries on this list were a bit of a stretch, but Power Boy is exactly what I was looking for. He’s clearly modeled after Power Girl, right down to the boob window. That’s a nice touch. Power Boy was an escapee from Apokolips, home of Darkseid and all the evil in the universe. He came to Earth with general strength and super powers, and for unexplained reasons, he modeled himself after Power Girl. I don’t think the two of them ever met. Power Boy started dating Supergirl, but he was an abusive jerk and she kicked him to the curb. He later got inducted into a new Teen Titans East, but that team only existed so that they could all be violently killed a short time later. So yeah, he dead.
I love the idea of Catman. Here’s a bad guy whose name not only rhymes with ‘Batman’, but he basically looks like Batman, too. It’s insane. In truth, Thomas Blake designed his costume and identity after Catwoman and went into burglary, just like her, and she started getting blamed for his crimes. So Catwoman teamed up with Batman to put a stop to him, but Catman just got crazier after that. Then he became a total badass with the Secret Six. Unfortunately, he and Catwoman don’t hang out very much even though he hasn’t given up on stealing her gimmick. That would probably cause some raised hackles.