With the exception of skintight costumes and flowing capes, no item of apparel screams "superhero" (or "supervillain") like a mask. In fact, proto-superheroes like the Lone Ranger and Zorro were donning masks to hide their identities years before doing so became fashionable among the superhero set. Comic book masks provide not only anonymity but often protection or even special powers - not to mention that the right mask on the right hero can "strike terror into [the] hearts" of evildoers. Add the fact that masks just look cool, and it's easy to see why so many comic book characters sport one.
Of course, a case can be made that masks are often the most impractical and uncomfortable part of an already awkward ensemble for most heroes and villains. When fighting for your life against overwhelming odds with the fate of the universe at stake, one would think a pretty high premium would be placed on simple things like seeing, hearing, and breathing properly, but apparently, no one bothered to tell the characters on this list - because they wear the most uncomfortable masks in comic book history.
- Photo: Fantastic Four Vol. 3: The Herald of Doom / Marvel Comics
Despite his genius-level intellect, his mastery of magic, and the enormous wealth, power, and diplomatic immunity he has at his disposal as the monarch of the sovereign nation of Latveria, there is no contentment to be found for Victor Von Doom and likely never will be, as long as he holds onto his resentment of Reed Richards for scarring his face during an accident in college. Clearly, any combination of his gifts would be enough to fix his face, but instead, Victor hides behind the cold steel mask of Dr. Doom. Given the many psychological problems he must have, it's likely that Doom designed the mask, which sits flush against his face, with discomfort in mind, to chafe and irritate his scarred skin and serve as a constant reminder of the injustices done to him by Mr. Fantastic.
Honorable mentions: Madame Masque, Rage, Steel (John Henry Irons), Destro.38050Uncomfortable?
- Photo: Detective Comics Vol. 2 23.3 / DC Comics
When Dr. Jonathan Crane inevitably escapes Arkham Asylum and returns to menace Batman and Gotham City again as the arbiter of fear, it's unlikely he'll have the wherewithal in his psychotic and delusional state to go out and buy or even take the materials he needs to make himself a new Scarecrow mask - which means he's likely cramming his noggin into a dusty old sack stinking of sweat and blood and infested with mites. Even if he does make a new one or has a spare lying around, burlap and straw are two of the itchiest materials to have pressed up against your face and neck for any length of time, not to mention the fact that the mask is secured in place with a throat-chafing rope fashioned into a noose. Crane might be afraid of Batman, but he clearly has no fear of discomfort.
Honorable mention: Marvel's Scarecrow.31547Uncomfortable?
- Photo: X-Men: Black - Juggernaut #1 / Marvel Comics
With the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak in his possession, Cain Marko channels the power of the entity Cyttorak to become the immortal Juggernaut, an unstoppable force of destruction with an equally uncomfortable pair of masks. He may be able to go toe-to-toe with the Hulk, but Marko has limited peripheral vision inside of his inverted-wok of a helmet, not to mention diminished hearing, and is not even able to turn his head because the outer shell of his mask is bolted to his costume. Under the outer shell, Marko wears a second, skullcap-style, mask to protect him from the psychic maneuvers of his step-brother, Charles "Professor X" Xavier, which must get doubly hot and sweaty considering how little ventilation it gets through the outer shell's eye and mouth holes. Unstoppable? Usually. Uncomfortable? Always.
Honorable mention: J2, Avalanche.19184Uncomfortable?
LashinaPhoto: Female Furies / DC Comics
You have to be a special kind of tough to survive a childhood spent in an orphanage that trains children to be killers on the hellish planet of Apokolips, let alone rise in the ranks of Darkseid's elite warriors, the Female Furies. Still, even Lashina must get pretty uncomfortable at times in her strappy metal mask.
Looking every bit like some sort of medieval torture device, the mask encircles Lashina's head like a cage, with one metal strap crossing just above the tip of her nose. Even if it doesn't rest on her nose, all it would take is one good sock in the face from Big Barda and Lashina's nose would be mutilated by the strap as it dented inward. Not only that, but her primary arms are galvanic lashes, which no doubt send stray arcs of electricity towards the metal of her mask as she whips them around herself, resulting in low-level electrical burns on her face, if not worse.16281Uncomfortable?