Marvel announced today a shocking change for one of their biggest characters: the new Ghost Rider is a woman. Except, if you know your comic book history, a superhero sex change isn’t that surprising. Here are six of our favorite characters who turned in their man-card:
6. Dr. Fate
The bearers of the mystic helmet of Nabu have almost exclusively been dudes… Except for that one time the original owner – Kent Nelson – and his wife Inza were resurrected in younger bodies, and found out that only Inza could wear the helmet. Inza was more reckless and proactive than the Dr. Fate’s who came before her, and eventually was stripped of the helm while being aged into an old lady. Oh, comics.
Stephanie Brown may be better known as the current Batgirl (and former generic hero The Spoiler). But for a very brief time, she was also Batman’s sidekick, Robin. As Robin, Brown disobeyed direct orders from Batman, and was fired. To prove her worth, Brown steals one of Batman’s long term plans for solving Gotham’s gang problem… Which leads to the biggest gang war ever, and Stephanie’s apparent death. Oops.
The sister of T’Challa, the original Black Panther always wanted to follow in her brother’s footsteps. But when an attack by villain Doctor Doom leaves T’Challa in a coma, Shuri is forced to don the mantle of the Panther sooner than she expected. T’Challa has since redonned a version of his costume in current continuity, but Shuri remains both the heroic Black Panther, and the leader of the African nation of Wakanda.
3. Doctor Light
The original Doctor Light is an insane, villainous rapist with the power to channel and blast pure light rays. The second Doctor Light, introduced in DC Comics’ Crisis on Infinite Earth was an actual doctor, named Kimiyo Hoshi. She went on to be a hero, a member of the Justice League, briefly forgotten, and then remembered fondly by current writers who like using her to remind people that Doctor Light isn’t always a drooling maniac.
2. The Question
For decades, Victor Sage was The Question, a faceless crimefighter/detective… Until he died of lung cancer, passing on his legacy to former Gotham City cop Renee Montoya during DC’s series 52. The current Question continues to travel the globe, investigating crimes, and asking all the right questions.
Kate Spencer is Gotham City’s DA by day, and the super-powered (well, super-equipped) crime-fighter Manhunter by night. There are actually a ton of different heroes throughout DC Comics history who have had the name Manhunter, from robots, to clones – but all of them have been male. Spencer, fed up with villains getting let go on technicalities, decided to take matters into her own hands, donning various weapons and taking on the guise of the Manhunter. She balances her job, her super-job, and raising a child as a single parent, making her one of the most complex and interesting characters in comics, regardless of gender.