Masked, Unknown Characters
Fiction, certainly in the movie/TV/comics visual mediums, are full of characters whose identities are hidden by masks.
On The Mandalorian, the title character follows a strict creed that says he is not supposed to let another living being see his face, so he always wears a helmet (except for the few extreme situations that demand he take it off). We see him only once in season one, bloodied and bashed, and I think twice in season two as far as i remember.
His forebear, Boba Fett, was fully masked throughout his existence in the original Star Wars movies. Because he was capable, tracking down Han Solo and the Rebels, and had a cool costume and helmet, he became massively popular as a character. RiP to the original actor to play him, Jeremy Bulloch, who just recently passed away.
While there are other masked Mandalorian-types in the show, almost all of them take their helmets off regularly. they follow a different creed, and while it might possibly annoy the actor who plays Mando, I think he stands out and is iconic because of the helmet nearly always staying on. He's the exaggerated version of the ‘mysterious stranger’ archetype in old Westerns.
It's a powerful thing, a character whose face is never seen.
There is a reason why Snake Eyes, in the old GI Joe comics, cartoons and toys became the most popular character. And why slasher killers like Jason, Michael, and the killers in the Scream movies capture our imagination so powerfully.
The power of MYSTERY and the Unknown.
To have their true face obscured can make a character more iconically terrifying, or noble, or intriguing. We WANT to know what's hidden under that mask – or at least, we WANT to want to know, if you catch my meaning. We might not actually want to know - but we want that experience of being intrigued.
The Friday the 13th scenes where Jason takes off his mask are often my least favorite moments in those movies. The Scream films unmask only for the grand finales, where we learn, Scooby-Doo style, whodunnit and why. Snake Eyes and Doctor Doom have rarely, if ever, revealed their faces to us, and they're all the more powerful for it.
I have a quick shot of a full-face masked character in my comic, Chatterbox, and I'm looking forward to seeing if it's a successful character. I intend for the mask to stay on for the forseeable future of that character.
What do we love about the masked ones? Do you have a character like that?
Have a good one!
Banes at 12:00AM, Jan. 7, 2021
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