Baldness. Decades before it became de rigueur, it was a popular look in superhero comics. Marvel has killed off two bald figures in the past couple of years (Professor X in Avengers vs. X-Men and Uatu in the forthcoming Original Sin), but that barely scratches the surfaces of the legions of smooth-scalped characters in the hairless history of superhero and sci-fi comics.
In this installment of Six by 6, we take a look at six standout members of the bald brigade — hero and villain, male and female.
Lex Luthor may have been born bad, but he wasn’t born bald. In 1960, his co-creator Jerry Siegel revealed a story in which Luthor lost his hair in a laboratory fire and blamed it on Superman’s meddling. It’s become a signature look for the classic villain, in comics, film and television.
Ming the Merciless
He’s one of the big bads of the comics medium, and one of the earliest examples of follicly challenged foes. Known for his bald head and magnificent mustache, Ming has long been viewed as an embarrassing example of the Yellow Peril villain that populated so many stories of that era. However, comics have tried to update the character, while keeping the trademark smooth dome. Ming has been parodied across the modern landscape, from Sally Forth to a columnist for The Onion, and even served as inspiration for both Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars. Hail, Ming!
Trained by alien monks, Moondragon learned control over her body — including her hair follicles, according to The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. She’s had tours of duty as an Avenger, a Defender and a Guardian of the Galaxy, and at one point possessed the Infinity Gem governing the Mind. That’s cool and all, but control over your hair? That’s cooler.
Arguably the most famous bastion of baldness in superhero comics, Professor Charles Xavier lost his hair when his mutant powers emerged — quite a trade-off. Since then he’s displayed his bald head with pride, even if it made him look older than he actually is.
Spider Jerusalem didn’t go bald, he made a choice. In the first issue of Transmetropolitan he’s shown with a Alan Moore-like cascade of dark locks, but shaves it all when he descends back into modern civilization.
Uatu the Watcher
The enigmatic Uatu the Watcher never had a chance to style his hair; his entire race is born to be bald. His father once carried a mean-looking goatee, but Uatu has never been seen with even a 5 o’clock shadow. For Uatu, his baldness propagates the alien “other-ness” of his persona as a hands-off observer of the human race. He’s set to be murdered in next month’s Original Sin #1, but should he ever come back, perhaps it will be with a stylish new ‘do.