3. Duela Dent, Joker's "daughter"

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Noticing a theme here? She-Venom, MODAM and now the Joker's "daughter," are all female versions of supervillains (or at best, anti-heroes). The reason that you won't see Supergirl or Spider-Woman on this list is because they're good guys who have been around long enough to the point where someone fleshed them out into something resembling a human being. Rule 63 supervillains, on the other hand, are often just products of creators running up against a deadline. "Shit Hank, we need a new villain this month. What're we gonna do?" "I dunno, how about a character that makes the audience contemplate a world where someone is willing to have sex with The Joker and carry his baby to term?"

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And so we had the Joker's "daughter," a mischievous scamp with The Joker's sick sense of humor and access to the Golden Girls' wardrobe. The "daughter" is in quotes because eventually she was outed as Duela Dent, daughter of Two-Face. From then on, Duela's persona shifted as often as her name, from Card Queen to the precursor Harlequin. Her identity and power set changed constantly because no one knew what to do with her, but she was still too weird an anomaly to ignore. Eventually she was put out of her misery by a god-like being who killed her because she shouldn't exist.

Cue the dark and gritty reboot:

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That's Duela Dent as seen in DC Comics' New 52 universe, less Bea Arthur and more Ed Gein. In current continuity, Duela dug up The Joker's actual disembodied face in the sewers (long story) and decided that she liked it more than her own. She uses her new persona to rule the underground and make the local men subservient to women. You could explain anything away with "Well, she's crazy!" but her whole mega-feminist schtick is undercut by the fact that she owes her name and personality to a dude, down to wearing an ironic "Daddy's Grrl" t-shirt from Goodwill. Duela would probably be better off as Lady Howard the Duck.

 

2. Vendetta, the Lady Punisher from the future

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Like Venom, we're sadly spoiled for choice when it comes to female versions of The Punisher. This one actually comes from the Punisher 2099 universe, which centers on a different vigilante named Jake "Subtlety" Gallows, set in the year when Google Fiber finally comes to your town. Previously a Venus 8 Gene Doll, Vendetta revolted and reprogrammed herself to have superstrength, mega-intelligence and more 90s 'tude than Sonic the Hedgehog on a Surge commercial. Though she modeled her outlook and costume after a male hero, Vendetta at least had the dignity to give herself a unique name so that she would be known as something other than "a female Punisher."

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The only thing more shocking than someone saying "Shock!" out loud is that anyone would be surprised that someone came up with a female Punisher. What separates Vendetta from her less bodacious counterparts is the insane world of Punisher 2099, which is like Dredd meets Demolition Man meets really big shoulder pads. Instead of a vigilante who happens to be female, Vendetta is essentially a full-blown man-hating feminist psychopath, bent on destroying space sex trafficking and the space male pigs behind it.

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She's so extreme that she borders on parody. Now that you mention it... Vendetta was previously a clone made for the explicit purpose of sex, which is not terribly different than the reasoning behind the creation a female version of a male superhero. And she worked offworld, serving lonely miners -- which is one letter away from a sexy female superhero servicing lonely minors, like the teenage boys getting off on a sexy female Punisher. Damn. Vendetta could actually be a brilliant parody of the Rule 63 characters so common in comics. Or maybe Punisher 2099 is just one of the best-worst comics ever made. It's possible those don't have to be mutually exclusive.

 

1. Earth-11, DC's gender-swapped universe

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Rule 63 is a Rule for a reason. Even if there weren't official, hard-canon gender-swapped superheroes and villains, the internet would make sure that they were reblogged into existence anyway. That kind of inevitability is what drove Stan Lee to create She-Hulk, as Marvel feared that the old Incredible Hulk TV show would make her first and thus own the rights to the character. Around the same time, DC decided to get all of their Rule 63 characters out of the way in one fell swoop, using Mr. Mxyzptlk to send Superman to a parallel universe where boys are girls and girls are boys.

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It's almost innocent by today's standards. Everything is so matter-of-fact, from Batwoman's impractically long hair jutting out from under her mask to Black Condor completely owning those leather hot pants. Superman is surprised, but not shocked. Crazy shit like this happens in Metropolis on the regular; a dude wearing a tiara and star-spangled underwear pales in comparison to being turned into a baby and forced into underage marriage. You could even consider it as light social commentary, like that Sliders episode where they go to a universe where women were the dominant gender. Remember Sliders? It's on Netflix. You should watch it after we get through with this depressing survey of one of comic books' worst tropes. Anyway, where were we? Right, Wonder Man.

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Sure, putting a buff hairy dude in Wonder Woman's costume is hilarious. But the humor is derived from subverting the double-standard in comics -- if a male wore an outfit like that, there's a good chance he'd have a super-wardrobe malfunction. See how his foot kind of already looks like a Wonder Weiner peeking out from underneath his skirt? Now you'll never un-see it. So hey, what was the problem with Earth-11 anyway?

Oh, right. Batwoman's ass.

Any thought-provoking subtext, any statement made by illustrating a world run by female superheroes goes out the goddamned window when you point the butt of the World's Greatest Detective at the reader like a presenting baboon. Batwoman is shown in the comic to be just as intelligent and capable as Batman. Batwoman's single weakness is a light breeze blowing her cape, revealing a bow-legged stance that both shows off her juicy Bat-donkadonk and makes it look like she really has to pee. But other than that, they're both equals who deserve the same amount of respect.

 


 

Tristan Cooper might be obsessed with comic book butts. He's also on Twitter.