Friday, October 5, 2012


Doug:  Man, it's wide open today, kids -- masks, hats, helmets, cowls, goofy make-up looking disguises...  You name it, we're discussing anything that our favorite heroes and villains wear on their noggins.

Doug:  Who has a good-looking get-up?  One would have to take a step back and admire Daredevil's cowl -- the color is befitting his name, and the horns on the top front finish it off smartly.  Shoot, there's even a nostalgic coolness to the yellow version, isn't there?

Doug:  But on the other hand, how silly are we to think that young Dick Grayson is even the least bit disguised when wearing his little black mask?  Or Dinah Lance in her wig?

Doug:  Hats?  Ever see Green Arrow's fall off?  And does anyone beat the All-Father Odin in the outrageous chapeau department?  Let's hear it for lids!


Anonymous said...

I guess it divides into the functional versus the purely for show – Cyclops visor, Shell-head’s shell head, Hank’s antennae vs Thor’s head-wings and Galactus’s side-handles.

I suppose the ultimate in iconic headgear is Doc Doom’s mask, because it’s not just headgear, it links to his whole back story and is the physical representation of his tortured mind.

I loved the fact that Ororo had lock picks in her head dress. I suppose it was a bit deus ex machina, but it linked beautifully to her back story and Byrne’s drawing of her pulling one out with her teeth is indelibly printed on my brain. Anyone can’t see that in their mind right now?

The Bat ears in the Kilmer/Clooney days were VERY pointy, although nothing compared to Hawkman’s helmet, which I’m sure must actually be COUNTER aerodynamic.

Oh...and Doug....the ultimate in ‘silly disguise headwear’ has surely got to be Supes.

“Let me just put my glasses on”

“Oh, hi Clark. Where did Superman go? He was here just a moment ago.”


Edo Bosnar said...

Man, coming off of that Kirby creation discussion, you could have just limited the topic to cool headgear designed by Kirby: first and foremost, Thor's iconic winged helmet, Loki's cool horned helmet, Volstagg's feathery-ribbon helmet, and, esp., Hogun's horned ushanka; then there's his designs which should look ridiculous, but don't - think Galactus, Hela or Big Barda. Also, does Omac's awesome mohawk count as headgear?
Outside of the Kirbyverse, Nova's helmet is pretty cool, and I love that helmet worn by Acroyear in the Micronauts.
Oh, and Richard, an arguably worse example of a poorly disguised identity is Green Arrow after he grew that distinctive goatee. Seriously? A domino mask and nobody can tell that's actually Ollie Queen in a Robin Hood suit?

david_b said...

Richard, too funny (and true) about Supes, much like Edo's comment on Ollie.

Ah, the suspension of believe in comics is truely, truely amazing.

(On a side note, yet another wonderful Lee/Kirby FF innovation in doing away with alter-ego's all together.. Brilliant.)

I guess if I had my pick of costumes this Halloween in terms of headgear, I'd definitely do Galactus.., it's just pure attitude walkin' in with that.

Otherwise, I'd be pleased wearing Antman's helmet (NOT the bubble Garrett Morris wore to the superhero party on SNL), or perhaps a flaming top like Ghost Rider. Certainly would make lighting up my cigar's easier.

Comicsfan said...

I have an obvious bias toward Galactus, of course, but Hela could seriously take out a regiment just by glancing sideways. She's awesome.

Inkstained Wretch said...

For best headgear I'm going with the original mask of the Golden Age Hawkman which had a full beak and tongue on it. Roy Thomas brought it back for All-Star Squadron and it was was both bizarre and glorious.

For worst, I'm going with Storm's ... tiara, I guess you'd call it. What was that thing and why did she wear it? She would have looked much better without it in my opinion.

humanbelly said...

There are so many notable ones, all up and down the respectability scale--!

Electro was always just barely this side of absurd looking-- looking an awful lot like an electified starfish.

The Man-Ape (T'Challa's nemesis,M'baku) had his big, hefty face emerging from the over-stretched jaws of a white bull gorilla (I feel like that must have been murder to draw).

Ha! I STILL vote for Mysterio, though! Nothin' beats the opaque fishbowl, baby!

Those are just a few quickies. But hey, as an aside-- does anyone know who inked the Odin image included in the post? That is a HECK of a labor of love. My first guess would be. . . Wally Wood, maybe?


Anonymous said...

From the face & beard, I'd say it was Vinnie. R

Garett said...

During the costume contest I mentioned Dr Fate, the Rocketeer, and golden age Flash for their cool helmets.
-Moon Knight's cowl, with just his eyes appearing in the darkness.
-Jon Sable's warpaint/mask. This was appropriate for his mercenary background, and looked part superhero, part real life.
-Sandman's gas mask. Something about combining it with a hat makes it great. I know the character mostly from covers, but recently picked up Sandman archives. Cool character and good drawings by Bert Christman and Craig Flessel.
-Starfire's hair! When she flies it looks about a block long.

Dougie said...

A couple of Kirby designs: The Wingless Wizard's bulbous headgear and Magneto's helmet with its stylised devil-horns.
It almost seems to have a malevolent life of its own ( like the Helm of Nabu)and it's a fantastic motif in its own right, whether bobbing on the waves or popping into shot like a paperweight.

Anonymous said...

I always liked Spider-Man's mask...I like how it covers his whole head, instead of leaving his mouth uncovered. It even hides the colour of his eyes...practical AND cool!

As for goofy headgear, I never cared for the original Flash's winged helmet...or for that matter, the one worn by Travis Morgan in Warlord. I love the character, but the winged helmet was a little much.

I always wondered how Zatanna's top hat stayed on (when she was in her "Playboy bunny" phase) while she was running and flying around...she must have used magic to keep it on!

Mike W.

humanbelly said...

Okay, here's my nomination for the WORST use of headgear:

Nelson Rockefeller wearing the Serpent Crown in Avengers #147. Especially w/ the horn-rimmed glasses.

The Serpent Crown should maybe have its own lifetime achievement award, in fact, because it has NEVER in my memory risen past the level of looking almost distractingly comical and definitely kind of stupid. (Sorry to any SerpCrown boosters out there.) It's always been portrayed as being one of the super-heavyweight interdimensional mystical objects of evil in the Marvel Universe. . . and yet as soon as some mastermind world-conquerer plonks it down on his/her head, you have the feeling that his/her minions are suddenly overcome by fits of spontaneous coughing in order to cover their snorts and guffaws. It's kind of small and lumpy and looks like a pile of bloated worms more than anything else.

"Dude, ya got a nest of salamanders on yer head, man. Hope their housebroken. . . ! *snort*"

And the effect is even worse when someone like Cap puts it on over the top of their own cowl/hood/mask. It's just. . . silly, y'know? Wouldn't that, like, negate the contact or something?

A few others that have caught my eye:

Grim Reaper's twin tuning forks right at ear-level (nope).

Doc Ock's big, triangular shades (love 'em-- iconic).

Dazzler's disco eye-paint early on (a horror).

Ultron's whole face. A truly great, frozen, abstract screaming visage. It becomes a neutral mask simply because it never changes. As with Spidey, it invites the reader to attach emotion and expression to the figure that isn't being depicted directly, which I think has the effect of investing us in that character a bit more. (Love Ultron)

Black Knight's helmet was always used well. It's a great-looking practical piece, and artists were always mindful that, to him, it was indeed a helmet, and he tended to remove it most of the time when not in direct combat. When you think about it, many, many superheroes used to give the impression that they pretty much slept in full regalia (I often point out Cap early on in the Avengers. . . eating dinner at the mansion. . . alone at the dining table. . . in full costume, gloved, w/ mask on.).

Okay, I'll let up w/ that. . . !


Anonymous said...

Personally, I've always been fond of Magneto's helmet. I think it's one of the most unique headpieces in all of Marveldom.

It's so distinctive that he seems almost out of character without it, sort of like Batman without his cowl or Superman without his cape. The helmetless 'good guy' Magneto I first read back in the 80s just doesn't do it for me. Bring on ol' buckethead and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants!

Odin's wardrobe was a testament to Jack Kirby's wild imagination. He must have had a blast coming up with those crazy outfits!

- Mike 'simple baseball cap' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Graham said...

I always liked Dr. Fate's helmet (before they cut it in half) and the Flash's helmet, though I wondered how it stayed on when he was running.

Maybe it's just me, but Galactus' headgear always made my neck hurt. Seemed like it would be pretty heavy and it would be hard to turn your head without losing your balance.

Dougie said...

Graham, the Surfer used to give Galactus a soothing neck rub every night before spooning. That's why he was so hurt by Norrin's betrayal.

El Lass said...

Ok, for the worst...The Charlton "The Peacemaker" character. Before DC brought him out of mothballs, I had never heard of him. That is the worst design ever.

For the best, I have always liked Judge Dredd.

Rip Jagger said...

Let me rise in defense of Peacemaker. The helmet is a bit unusual, but the original design is certainly distinctive and memorable.

As for headgear, I first though of Ditko's revision of Blue Beetle and all the attention he put into the costume. One detail was making much of the strap and latch which Beetle had underneath his chin to make sure his headpiece would not come off in battle. It's a great idea, but Ditko really seemed to point it out a lot.

Rip Off

vancouver mark said...

Just to be clear, Dougie, that's the Lee/Englehart Surfer you're describing, not the Kirby original.

Pat Henry said...

Red Skull.

'Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

I like everyones's suggestions, so many too choose from, esp. Dr Fate, Hawkman, Magneto...

I always liked the Hawkeye, Wolverine "masks" with the pointy things. Not practical/kind of impossible/ but an awesome look.

My favorite (don't know if anyone mentioned yet) is Havok's weird- thingy-mask. I think he's going to join the Avengers with the new Marvel reboot, but without the old mask. BOO!


humanbelly said...

Thumbs-up to Havok, there, SF. I was hoping someone else would toss him into the ring! I do wonder what you call his headpiece? And, hmm, how the heck does it stay on? His more recent costume does look like it's still designed to serve as focal point for his powers, which is cool, but one does miss the head-rings.

I wonder if they ever got broken, or slipped sideways, or got things tangled in them, or something?


Graham said...

Dougie, RE: Silver Surfer/Galactus...I guess that explains all the hurt feelings between the two. Thanks for the "Behind the Scenes" info.

five panel hats said...

Thank you so much for making us a part of this whole thing. I'm a longtime fan of different and unique headwear and I always will be. This is such a luxury for me. Great work you guys!

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