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Why Spiderman has mask ?

 
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Today I have some free time so ...
Why all *hero* characters (and bad too) in comics strips wear 'mask' (I mean why do they hide there real identity)
pick any character Phantom, Batman, Spiderman etc will be wearing mask.
What is the difference between Good and Bad when both are wearing mask ?
From <WhoAmI>
opsss I am not logged off
and Second thing I notice that Anerican slang get more attention Why ?
[ May 20, 2002: Message edited by: Ravish Kumar ]
 
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Superman didn't where a mask.
 
R K Singh
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he was not from this planet
Tarzen lives in *jungle*. He even does not have clothes
[ May 20, 2002: Message edited by: Ravish Kumar ]
 
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Is it the macho-concept of 1970s that gave all super-heros a mask?
But I wonder why do they all wear thier underwears outside their toursers? :roll:
 
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Originally posted by Paul Stevens:
Superman didn't where a mask.


But Clark Kent wore glasses.
 
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Is it the macho-concept of 1970s that gave all super-heros a mask?
Masks on super-heroes were standard long before the 70's. For that matter, masked hero-vigilantes (e.g. The Shadow, Zorro) predate the concept of "super-heroes" as exemplified by Superman, etc. The concept seems to come from the Scarlet Pimpernel, who apparently didn't have a mask, but did have a secret identity. (I'm not very familiar with the pimpernel - does anyone know how was the identity concealed?)
The usual in-story explanation for masks and secret identities is to protect the hero's friends and families from retribution. These guys tend to make a lot of nasty enemies. Plus they usually have rather questionable legal status, and would have (more) problems with established law enforcement if their activities were publicly known.
Outside the story, I think the other main reason writers and artists choose for the hero to have a secret identity, is to allow greater audience identification. Stories of super-heroes are more appealing to kids if the kids can imagine that they themselves might be such a hero. This in turn is a bit easier to imagine if it's established that super-heroes can hide among the standard populace. Plus, secrets in general are fun - it's nice to think that you know something other people don't. Excepting of course all the other millions of kids who have read the comic. :roll: But the kid may often imagine that this secret knowledge is not widely shared by adults at least.
Superman didn't where a mask
Superman's a special case - he has no mask, yet somehow manages to have a secret identity despite the worst excuse for a "disguise" in the history of comics.
The best-known super-heroes I can think of who do not have secret identities (and never did) are the Fantastic Four. There are a number of other examples out there. Generally such characters are full-time super-heroes who are members of a team. The loners are more likely to keep secrets, probably because they have fewer resources to protect their friends and family - or themselves when they're alseep.
[ May 20, 2002: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
 
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:

Masks on super-heroes were standard long before the 70's. For that matter, masked hero-vigilantes (e.g. The Shadow, Zorro) predate the concept of "super-heroes" as exemplified by Superman, etc. The concept seems to come from the Scarlet Pimpernel, who apparently didn't have a mask, but did have a secret identity. (I'm not very familiar with the pimpernel - does anyone know how was the identity concealed?)


Another example of hiding in plain sight. He and his band assumed such foppish (dare I say effeminate) mannerisms in public that no one would ever confuse them with acts of daring and heroism.
This notion of the mask in 20th century American comics follows two strains of theory. The one I find most intriguing stems directly from the Scarlet Pimpernel -- that the mask itself represents shields not identity but sex/gender confusion. Roughly translated, there are certain homoerotic anxieties located in the superhero concept that the mask diffuses.
Notice the superheroes who are not masked: Superman, Captain Marvel, Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) -- all paragons of virtue, leadership, team work and intense work ethic. Then take a look at Spiderman, Batman as examples -- both living on the margins of society (one humble, one rich, but either way a marginalized relationship to 'normal society'), unambiguous in their intentions but ambiguous in society's perception of their role.
If you've ever seen 'The Ambiguously Gay Duo' animated sketch on Saturday Night Live, you can see this 'theory' turned into some really funny bits.
[ May 20, 2002: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
 
Jim Yingst
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Interesting. Doubtless there are numerous dissertations on this. :roll: Not to mention several good chapters of "Under the Hood" within Alan Moore's Watchmen. But the list of examples seems rather thin to me. Fawcett's Captain Marvel was basically a Superman clone, so you're just counting him twice. Citing Reed Richards conveniently ignores the other 3/4 of the Fantastic Four, who don't seem to follow this model at all. And characters like Captain America and the Hulk seem to reverse it entirely, as a masked paragon and an unmasked outsider, respectively.
So, what's the other popular theory from academia on this topic?
 
Michael Ernest
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JY: Interesting. Doubtless there are numerous dissertations on this. :roll: Not to mention several good chapters of "Under the Hood" within Alan Moore's Watchmen. But the list of examples seems rather thin to me.
ME: It's been 9 years since I read anything on the subject, so I don't remember that many examples, but there is indeed a fair amount of stuff written on the topic; it falls in the category of 'gender criticism' usually. Off the top of my head, Iron Man fits into that mold pretty well, as does the Prince Namor (The Submariner).
JY: Fawcett's Captain Marvel was basically a Superman clone, so you're just counting him twice.
ME: No, you're just counting them both once. Your observation strengthens my point, as I see it. They're cardboard cutouts of the same idea; no depth to speak of.
JY: Citing Reed Richards conveniently ignores the other 3/4 of the Fantastic Four, who don't seem to follow this model at all.
ME: Well right; he's the paragon. Now a guy masked in flame who hangs out with another who's always rock hard? C'mon. A woman who becomes invisible in fight to assert dominance, always coming in from the sidelines, with those protective wombs, I mean force fields? Is it so far-fetched? And Doctor Doom? Don't get me started.
JY: And characters like Captain America and the Hulk seem to reverse it entirely, as a masked paragon and an unmasked outsider, respectively.
ME: Captain America is widely misunderstood as a paragon. He's about as clear a model for gay anxiety as you can get. He's ridiculously over-the-top in the way he expresses virtue. Go back and look at the way he's drawn, especially in the 70's; Iron Man is even worse: bulging muscles in an iron suit? What? And their dialogue. If that isn't gay camp drama, I don't what is.
JY: So, what's the other popular theory from academia on this topic?
ME: That superheroes help vent social pressures that might otherwise fuel vigilantism, xenophobia, Cold War anxiety, etc. Superheroes thwart bad guys so our young boys can see "problems solved" in a manner they can understand (which is to say in a manner real society doesn't tolerate, but also doesn't try to explain to boys except through the threat of punishment for acting inappropriately).
These aren't one-size-fits-all theories, of course. As with any body of literature, these theories highlight prominent aspects of the work, and don't intend tie them all up with one neat thematic bow.
[ May 20, 2002: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
 
R K Singh
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even "Chacha Choudhary" does not wear mask.
Mask add fantasies to thrill and adventure. And other thing is that the secret only you know and one knows that masked man is not doing wrong.
And then masked man also wants to live normal life too. He does not want in normal life to act as SuperHero.
 
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I saw WWII propaganda cartoon. A big fat pig called "USSR"! Boys, I could recognize it! It was called "USA" on our side, but all the details were the same. What an economy of resources! One person paints it, and then both sides can use it for their own propagandistic needs. Awesome. Truly awesome.
Sorry for hijacking this thread
 
R K Singh
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It was my wish that some day *Map* replies to my thread .. what is date today ??
Hijacking own thread
 
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WOW!!!
And here I though they just wore masks to keep from having people camp out at their houses for autographs all day and to prevent the badguys from dropping by and interupting dinner whenever they felt like it.
I thought it was also a good way to protect their loved ones to make sure the evil doers didn't kidnap them and use them against the goodguy.
boy I guess I was wrong ....
 
R K Singh
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OH No Dave you are getting senti ...
Most of the time they are saving there loved ones from there enemy
 
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Originally posted by Dave Vick:
WOW!!!
And here I though they just wore masks to keep from having people camp out at their houses for autographs all day and to prevent the badguys from dropping by and interupting dinner whenever they felt like it.
I thought it was also a good way to protect their loved ones to make sure the evil doers didn't kidnap them and use them against the goodguy.
boy I guess I was wrong ....


You're telling me. How was I to know all this time that they were just all ambiguously gay. Well Batman and Robin I can understand ("Quick Robin! To the Bat Pole!"), but that's it.
If you have seen the movie Unbreakable, it presents some interesting theories into what purpose superhero comic books may really serve.
 
Michael Ernest
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Originally posted by Dave Vick:
WOW!!!
And here I though they just wore masks to keep from having people camp out at their houses for autographs all day and to prevent the badguys from dropping by and interupting dinner whenever they felt like it.
I thought it was also a good way to protect their loved ones to make sure the evil doers didn't kidnap them and use them against the goodguy.
boy I guess I was wrong ....


Did I mention that I worked in a comic book store for a year while I was in Ohio (Kent)? You watch the hard core clientele long enough, some of those theories make a little sense.
 
Jim Yingst
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Especially if your store has a "hard core" section.
 
Michael Ernest
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badumchish!
 
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I thought Spiderman wore a mask so that we wouldn't know that it was really Michael Ernest.
Mark
 
Michael Ernest
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Intriguing -- this will of course inspire another thread...
 
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Originally posted by Ravish Kumar:
It was my wish that some day *Map* replies to my thread .. what is date today ??


I would reply earlier, but I do not understand what all these guys are talking about. Who are the Fantastic Four, The Shadow, and especially Scarlet Pimpernel???
 
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Who are the Fantastic Four, The Shadow, and especially Scarlet Pimpernel???


Me too
Thats why I talked abt 100% indigenous Indian chracter Chacha Choudhry so that they can feel that we are talking abt only famous (rather say world Famous) comic charcters.
But I fail to pass the message
 
R K Singh
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Because..
He does not want to show his real face
WHY do they wear underwear over trouser ?
And Why female character shows its rift ?
[ May 23, 2002: Message edited by: Ravish Kumar ]
 
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I was never into comic book super heroes when I was a kid but I loved the Scarlett Pimpernell stories.
For Map: The Scarlett Pimpernell takes place during the French Revolution. Sir Percy Blakeney is a foppish, inept twit more concerned with his clothes and food then anything going on in the world around him. Or so it appears... In truth, Blakeney is the Scarlett Pimpernell, a fearless man who rescues French aristocracy from the guillotine right from under the nose of the French!
I saw the 1935 movie (Leslie Howard, Merle Oberon, Raymond Massey, Nigel Bruce) on TV when I was about 10 and I thought the Pimpernell was so cool. He was a lot like Zorro in that he was the fearless do-gooder who pretended to be a foppish twit. In the Pimpernell's case what made him the tragic hero was that he was madly and hopelessly in love with his wife who he believed had turned over an aristocratic family to the dreaded Committee of Public Safety. His actions as the Pimpernell were to atone for her sins. The story leads Blakeney's wife to help trap the Pimpernell in order to save her brother from the guillotine. Of course, in the end, true love conquers all!
The Pimpernell doesn't wear a mask but rather takes on various disguises, including that of an old woman, to smuggle the aristocrats out of France. His disguise is really his act while he is Percy Blakeny as no one would ever think that a man whose only concerns were how he dressed and what perfume he wore could ever be a hero.
 
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