With the recent release of Black Adam, the latest superhero movie from DC, we want to point to a recurring look within the supe community: heroes come clean shaven. There are no two-ways about it.
Superman is the obvious go-to pin-up. Clark Kent sports no stubble on his day job at the Daily Planet. The style holds true for other baddy-beating world savers: Batman, Captain America, Green Lantern. You guessed it - all clean shaven. Even the earliest incarnation of Thor: a Norse God without a beard!
Why could this be? Is it aerodynamics or something else? There is likely a heritage aspect – it’s always been like that so we expect our heroes to appear well-trimmed. No shaggy beard, scraggly stubble or five o’clock shadow for our saviour. We all want him to be well-turned out, clean, dependable.
And just because actor Dwayne Johnson prefers a close shave, it does not mean Black Adam could not sport a beard. But this is just not the case. The original comic creators Otto Binder and Charles Beck bring to life a character with a smooth, chiselled jaw line. Cool. Always clean. It’s part of the look.
We recognise many of these comics were initially created when beards were not popular. It was a golden age reflecting the best of the everyday gentleman. Their creators defined a cast of clean-cut characters that could blend into the crowd, only to emerge as superhero in our moment of need.Our interpretation is surely not complete. We could debate whether Wolverine’s mutton chops constitute a full beard or simply a deviant shaving style. A similar query could be raised of Tony Stark’s iconic goatee – but he wears a helmet to disguise the confusion. So we’ll let than one pass.
In line with many superhero story lines, we may never know all the detail. Is there a reason for no beard or not? It’s another mystery to add to the script.