Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bald Heroes: Would They Still Be Good If They Had Hair?

Bald Heroes: Would They Still Be Good If They Had Hair?
by Eilis Flynn

Last month, I was speculating whether bald villains would be as evil as they are if they had hair. Is it the hair? Hard to say. This time, I have to wonder the converse: Would bald heroes be good if they had hair?

All this musing came about originally because the hub and I were having dinner a while back when I asked if bald villains in pop fiction would be evil if they had hair. We are old-time comic folk, so these questions are not unusual in our conversation. We identified the bald villains (Lex Luthor, Dr. Sivana, Mr. Freeze, among others. Oddjob, but he’s a henchman), and pondered the amazingness of hair.

The hub then sent me a link to a website on TV tropes, so we could continue to pontificate the point.

So what about bald heroes? Yes, there’s Charles Xavier of X-Men fame (who was bald long before Patrick Stewart sat down in the wheelchair for the movies). There’s Chameleon Boy of the Legion of Super-Heroes, who’s bald, but he’s an alien. He also has antennae, but that’s another topic too. Dr. Manhattan of Watchmen notoriety? Don’t know if you could really call him a hero. An anti-hero, maybe. Bald heroes just don’t trip off the tongue. Also, he was blue and nude, but I didn’t say anything about color, so I guess he doesn’t matter. (And Chameleon Boy is also yellow, but again, he’s an alien.) Also, Dr. Manhattan destroyed the world, so he’s not really a hero. In fact, forget I mentioned him at all. Maybe if I ever do a post about bald villains. Or maybe bald hero/villains. Or maybe I should find another topic.

Anyway. Why is society so against baldies? It can’t be, you know: Think of how popular it’s gotten for men with thinning hair to decide to shave their heads, I think thanks to basketball players who do so, and then it spread like baldy wildfire. Perhaps society’s just a little slow to catch up with the nonhirsute times. Or is it pop culture who’s a little slow this time? I can’t recall reading a novel in which the hero is bald. Balding, maybe, but not completely bald. So there you go.

Do bald villains resent being cast as bald villains? Or do they relish it? Dr. Sivana always seemed to relish it, but then, I think anyone would seem like a villain compared with Captain Marvel (now known, speaking of confusing, as “Shazam”), the goodiest good guy around. With a full head of hair, but I think that goes without saying. But of course, there’s that old saying: Everyone is a hero in his own story. Lex Luthor is a hero in his own mind, although how blaming someone for turning him bald is a heroic act, I don’t know.

Now here’s a thought: Are these bald villains so evil that they couldn’t be turned for the forces of good if they had some of the diner’s apple pie? Did they turn evil after losing their hair or having bad pie at the greasy spoon down the road?

But that’s another question for another blog post.


  1. I put in html breaks between paragraphs! Why is this not taking them?!

  2. finally. Whew! That was frustrating for a minute there.

  3. Firstly I don't think society hates baldies but I do think people with a lack of hair are more LIKELY to be cast in certain roles. Look at Jason Statham and Bruce Willis. They play the tough guy superhero. A lot bouncers you see on the doors of night clubs are bald, probably because it gives them a less sympathetic look. On the other hand, I think Javier Bardem's hair in No Country for Old Men makes him look all the more menacing