Sunday, April 21, 2013

Discuss: Bald Guys (and Gal)

Doug:  Any follically-challenged characters are fair game (Professor X, the Gladiator, Dr. Sivana, and Egghead are additional examples) -- these are just some nominees.


Rip Jagger said...

There's something science fictional and futuristic about bald noggins I think. As if the expanding brain of the future man is so brimming with notions that mere hair cannot find purchase.

That's supported by the visual trope of evil baddies often having bald heads. Lex Luthor is the king of the brood, but there's also Thaddeus Sivana, Egghead, Ming the Merciless, Hugo Strange, Dr.Zinn and others.

In the primitive days of comics, it might've been a easy shorthand to distinguishing between a healthy haired hero and the bald baddie in small panels at the distance. Easy to draw too.

I keep thinking of that Outer Limits episode, "The Sixth Finger" in which David McCallum head keeps growing and he lose more and more hair.

I remember fondly Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor. His toupe was a hoot in the original Superman movie when his bald head was at last revealed in all its glory.

Rip Off

david_b said...

Agreed with Rip, you typically saw bald folks in the future or signifying some intellectual superiority, such as Ilia in Trek:TMP. I didn't really find that very sexy at all, but we're made to believe that some day in the future it would be.

Or Balok in TOS 'Corbormite Manuever' for that matter.

I never really got Luthor in the comics. I suppose you can say this about a lot of long standing intellectual bouts, but you really kinda wonder many decades of time-travelling, 'sent from the future' type plots can be conceived which ultimately fail before you get the picture Lex is really just a boasting blowhard...?

Funny, they all get defeated in the end by the nice hairy-types.

Well, at least we have Vish, Prof X, Red Tornado, plus later-day versions of Luke Cage and Nick Fury on our side...

And the dashing Captain Picard.

Rip Jagger said...

Patrick Stewart is an interesting figure in all of this. His role as Piccard was not originally what it became. It's clear to me that he was early to have been the older and sometimes wiser stay-at-home Captain while First Officer Riker went down to the planets. But something about his innate charm made them put him out front until Riker often seemed an appendage.

When Stewart logically took the role of Professor X, he brought that same oddball charm and gave us an Xavier who was clearly the good guy despite his consorting with the likes of Magneto. In the early X-Men comics, I think Professor X is bald for the very reasons already mentioned, to indicate his advanced intellect and mental abilities and also to add a hint of the nefarious to his covert operation.

Professor X is pretty nasty in early X-Men episodes, rather Machiavellian with his charges, not necessarily the nicest of guys. His later tricks to pretend to die are indications of his blended moral nature.

Professor X is not a baddie, but he could have made a beaut. Stewart is the perfect choice to play him.

Rip Off

Comicsfan said...

Good grief--I'm not up on my DC, but is that Lex Luthor in a costume and rocket boots? That just seems--wrong. Get this man a desk and some subordinates!

Doc Savage said...

I like old-time Luthor: no first name, bald, and always wearing prisoner clothes. The mogul version seems
too contrived...especially when I read that D.C. has (had?) his a president of the U.S.A. Departures from reality like that kill stories for me, plus I don't believe Superman and Batman and the gang would have failed to expose Luthor before he even secured the (presumably Democratic?) nomination, much less got elected. Yeah, way off topic!

Can anyone tell me why it seems every black superhero is now required to shave his head? I can't even look at Luke Cage or Jefferson Pierce anymore with their ugly new costumes and hairdon'ts.

vancouver mark said...

Definitely my favorite bald character ever was Old Skull ("not... not Numbskull!")
from Amazing Adventures.
Hope some of you remember him?

BAB should do a spotlight on Old Skull, and on some of the other memorable people from Earth after the Martians.

Anonymous said...

IIRC, Luthor's green-and-purple costume (with rocket boots) is from the 1970's. Sometime around 1983-84, he had a flying armored battle suit, which was used for the Super Heroes action figure. The CEO/mogul version of the character came about post-Crisis. He was president of the US for a few years, but, the last I heard, he had been exposed as a villain and deposed. I don't keep up with new comics, but I think the current DC universe reflects the real world by having Obama as president.

Anonymous said...

Right on Vancouver Mark, I remember Old Skull and of course Killraven, M'shulla, Hawk and Carmilla Frost all too well too!

Rip Jagger was right - no one but Patrick Stewart could have portrayed Professor X like that. It's one of those magical pieces of casting just the right actor to the part.

Bald guys always seem to be the baddies whether in comics or the movies. Kingpin and Lex Luthor are the poster boys for bald baddies.

As for Moondragon, probably the most famous Marvel bald heroine, what really sticks out in my memory oddly enough isn't her bald head but rather her classic bathing suit type green costume with the green cape she had in the 70s. It boggles my mind that she called herself Madame MacEvil in her very first appearance in Iron Man #54! It looks like she was invented to be a campy stereotypical evil scientist. I'm glad they changed her character afterwards.

- Mike 'hmm gimme a few more years and you can add me to this post!' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Doc Savage said...

Yeah, Luthor as president is just so jarringly stupid. Might as well have Kingpin as president of Marvel U.S.A. 'Cause we all know how far you get in the primaries with even an inkling of anything being amiss in your background.

Doc Savage said...

Madame MacEvil = greatest villainess name ever!

Edo Bosnar said...

Can't agree with david_b about Ilia in the TMP; after I saw her I gained a new appreciation of Moondragon...

And yes, I love Old Skull and thought of him immediately when I saw today's topic.
Otherwise, everybody seems to have covered the villains quite well, but I thought of several heroes besides Prof. X whose lack pate-covering gave them a certain gravitas and/or charm: the Silver Surfer, J'onn J'onzz and Puck.

Doc Savage said...

Persis Khambatta was gorgeous with or without hair...

Doc Savage said...

Geez, did we ALL forget Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man? What a great villain he was!

And the Vulture now comes to mind!

Inkstained Wretch said...

The best Nazi villains always seemed to be bald: Baron Strucker, the Red Skull (although that was originally just supposed to be a mask), Col. Klink...

Anonymous said...

Totally agree about Madame MacEvil...but we all agree it’s the random ‘Mac’ that elevates it to pure genius, right? One of the few things I liked (or at least remembered as distinctive) in the last 100 issues of the Defenders was that Dragon-Of-The-Moon story that explains her origin and why she’s such a bitch and what’s lurking inside her.

Most beautiful baldy in a comics-related role.....gotta be Natalie Portman.

I think there was a subversive challenge to expectations in bald heads in that the associations were all to disease and decay (cancer treatment, concentration camps, old age) or monastic peacefulness, so a bald ass-kicker was a new thing.

I also agree that it’s meant to make you seem brainy.....the less there is ON your head, the more we focus on what is IN your head.

There’s also an interesting contradiction associates people who care too much about their hair with vanity, and people who are happy to shave it all off with a lack of vanity, but, of course, most super villains are raging egomaniacs....just not about their hair.

Not Technically Bald? Dept.......Ghost Rider, the Surfer....also...what happens to the hair of characters like Iceman and the Torch when they power up? Presumably it powers up with them, but you never see Johnny with a mop of flame or Bobby with a crystalline coif. They look bald when they’re on the job.


Anonymous said...

Wow, i've never seen that Moony image before---nice!


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