I admit it—I often like comics characters who wear those crazy helmets!
HELMETS, HELMETS, AND MORE HELMETS
Every so often, when I am enjoying a comics story with a certain character, I try to examine WHY I like that person, be it hero or villain.
For instance, I know I’m interested in those who wear a cape or have wings. I’m big on angelic characters, for instance. The Angel was my favorite X-Man, for example.
Batman is my best guy, and a lot of that is because of his cape. I remember in the late 1960s when they changed his cape from just a piece of cloth laying on his back to what seemed to be a living thing, swirling around the Caped Crusader, making it look like it was something as alive as he was. I remember being stunned the first time I saw that done.
I often believe that it’s art that draws us into a comic, but it’s the story that keeps us coming back for more… at least, that’s how I seem to buy comics!
Granted, how a helmet looks on paper is a LOT different from how they would appear in real life. For instance, Peacemaker is riding high at the moment, and they’ve simplified his “toilet seat cover” helmet quite a bit. However, he’s one of the heroes I like a lot just because he wears a “bad ass” helmet, as someone else once described it.
Let me point out the heroes I like who wear “different” helmets.
THE ONES I LIKE
I don’t necessarily put heroes in “top 10” order. I just list them as they come to me. So here goes!
Hawkman. You knew that was coming if you have read my columns! It’s functional, cool-looking, and represents the character! Yup, a favorite!
Black Knight. Again, he’s my favorite Marvel character. Love that headpiece! I don’t like when they add Hawkman’s wings to it, though.
Rocketeer. Yeah, I dig that strange and wonderful headpiece he wears! It draws my attention to his head, which is an important part of the character. I guess it’s saying something that I like helmets because they often protect the brain, the part of most heroes I admire most!
Ant-Man. He’s worn several different helmets, but my favorite remains that very first one. You know, the one with the microphone over his mouth so he can communicate with the ants. I liked it because it was different from the red-and-blue outfit he wore (didn’t every hero in that era wear that kind of costume?). I like the later ones fine, but that first one really drew me in.
Dr. Fate. Oh, yeah! I liked that golden helmet! I’ve actually stopped to take photos of cosplayers who have worn an excellent Fate helmet to cons! I’m sure this is a tough wear in real life, but I still like it!
Judge Dredd. Those weird eye slots always made me pay attention! It made sense that, as a future cop, he’d wear something strong to protect his head. And those Judge helmets certainly did that!
X-O Manowar. Oddly enough, I don’t care for Iron Man’s helmet—any of them! I do, however, like X-O Manowar’s headpiece. It lets us see who’s in there, which I prefer. Cool story, too—a barbarian wearing high-tech armor! I always have found that fascinating!
Rocket Red. Of course someone who is wearing armor would have a helmet on his or her head! I liked the way Pushkin’s helmet looked, particularly when Bart Sears drew it! Nice!
Some people consider masks in the same category as helmets. I don’t. If I did, I’d put Batman’s mask at the top of the list. But that’s just me, a long-time Dark Knight fan.
THE ONES I DON’T LIKE
Magneto. I’m sure Jack Kirby designed this, but it’s one of the few things The King made that never worked for me. What is that weird little crab-like shape there just above his eyes? Ugh!
Doctor Doom. Granted, he’s an evil genius and scientist, but armor design wasn’t one of his strong points. I just didn’t care for the weird shifting of the Doctor’s face.
Guardian. I don’t know how his helmet stays on his head! Does he glue it there? I like the simplicity of it, but it’s like a poor man’s Dr. Fate helmet. Ugh!
Wildfire. I know he’s pure energy in there, but personally I found it tough to like the guy when there’s no personality being shown there. Yes, I know… that was the whole point of his helmet! It just didn’t work for me no matter the version he’s wearing!
Nova. My brother enjoyed the character a lot, but his helmet kept me from liking him as much. That’s supposed to be a red star on his head, but it looks like a crab or starfish grabbing his face. I could never get past that!
Juggernaut. It’s too generic for my tastes. I know a lot of mutant fans like it, but it lacks imagination, seems to me.
I also struggle with characters who keep changing their helmet, like Steel and Thor. And is that really a helmet that H.I.V.E. people wear? It looks more like anti-virus protection when that was about people, not computers!
There are certainly others I could mention, like Blue Beetle (DC), Pepper Potts, The Beetle (Marvel), Man-At-Arms, the recent Captain America, and the Wizard. They’re okay, I guess. They just don’t appeal to me nearly as much.
As I’ve mentioned previously, the function of these helmets mostly seems to be protecting the head from injury. I actually think that it’s smart, particularly if one is a superhero, to shield the most important part of your body. Really!
Like Jim Lee’s armor that the DC Justice League wore when the New 52 came along, I think a helmet is a smart addition to a superhero costume given that once that part of the body is hurt, you’re likely down for the count! And it does help keep your identity secret, after all!
If you’re creating a new superhero, you just might consider making a cool helmet… at least, if you want me to like it!