Friday, August 15, 2008

Doug says: Hey, dude... nice chapeau!!

You see hats all the time – sometimes for practical reasons, other times they are fashion accessories. Some hats are designed with functionality in mind, others just scream, “Hey, look at me!!” I’ve even seen lately in a media piece that men past the age of around 24 shouldn’t wear baseball caps! Jack Kirby, the King of Comics, was known for many things over the course of his career, but was designer of haute couture one of them?

Let’s start with the God of Thunder, Thor himself. Thor’s helmet has a simplicity to it – a plainness, if you will. Until you get to the wings on the sides. Of what purpose are they? And what are they made of? Are they really feathers? Or are they some type of silver ornamentation? Is the helmet functional? Does it protect him should a blow of some sort get past the mighty Mjolnir? And isn’t it a fashion faux pas that it doesn’t match the color of anything else he’s wearing? Oh, and one more thing: you ever notice how strange a baseball player looks the first time you see him with his cap off? Thor’s like that for me. Just doesn’t look right. He might as well be nekked…

Staying in the family tree, let’s have a look at Thor’s wicked half-brother Loki. Loki’s dome is usually covered with one of two headpieces – the standard long-horned lid and the more ornamental deal with the short horns or the “flying F’s” on the sides.

You know, when I’m watching those Africa shows on Animal Planet or whatever, I just once want to see some water buffalo stick it to an attacking lion. I mean, what are those horns for if not to give somebody the business? Same thing with Loki’s main helmet. That thing has got to hinder him getting through doors, turning to speak to someone… So there must be some reason to run around with that deal perched atop his cranium. And how about the weight pulling you forward? A chiropractor’s dream, if you ask me. The smaller version seems to be more ceremonial, but not nearly as imposing. I’ll admit – goofy as the long-horned version looks, I much prefer it. And with really long horns, like John Buscema would draw it (see above).

Next up on Mr. Blackwell’s list is the All-Father himself, Odin. Wow. A peak inside this guy’s closet would be simply overwhelming. Furs and feathers, but fashion probably wouldn’t complete the triad I’m afraid. Kirby seemed to pull out all of the stops when giving the Omnipotent One his headgear. Many have discussed Kirby’s imagination often being confined or limited – he never seemed to let that happen when drawing Odin. I recall many a Thor (by Kirby as well as his successors) where Odin’s entrance was almost always after a page-turn, no doubt for the shock-value his clothes would bring (speaking of shock value, you have to seek out Journey Into Mystery #116 for Odin in a bathrobe, furry cap, and slippers!) as well as the “presence” he always brought to a page.

While still under the title Journey Into Mystery, Kirby provides a look at a really interesting hat worn by Odin. It has a couple of Texas Longhorns framing a large bird (see below, right). It looks sort of like some hunter took his two best trophies and decided to turn them into a wardrobe accentuation. The most curious aspect, though, is that a few issues later the All-Father is wearing the same hat, but the bird is obviously moving! Wow! Finally, a chapeau that’s good-looking and functional!

Other good-looking hats show up on the heads of Seidring the Merciless, the Queen of the Flying Trolls of Thryheim, Karnilla the Norn Queen, and of course Hela, Goddess of the Underworld.

Karnilla (thanks to -- cool-looking dragon-lid, babe!!:


And, although not an Asgardian, how could we leave out one of our favorite Kirby big-domers – Tana Nile of the Rigelians! I am totally digging the wild hairs she’s sportin’ on the outside of her helmet!!

Anyone need an interstellar tuning fork? The Big G is your man…

Kirby made a major distinction amongst his immortals; the one major difference between the pantheons living in Asgard and living on Olympus is that the Greeks seem to eschew headwear. Apparently, as Don Henley once sang, “The Greeks Don’t Want No Freaks!”


Dr. Pym said...

The part about Galactus's legendary fork on his head made me laugh for what seemed like FOREVER! Fantastic post!

Dr. Pym said...

Looking at that Thor cover again, it just cracks me up that Galactus looks like he wants to make Thor into his own personal shish kebab!

Of that list, though, I think the title of "Lamest Hat Ever" belongs to Loki. While it's sort of a helmit, but still a hat, it just doesn't look like it belongs on a man who is known as "The God of Evil". Maybe back when he was "The God of Mischief" it seemed fashionable, I don't know!

DLW said...

Doc --

Glad you like the post! Stay tuned, as we've got some more "appreciation"-type posts coming up, as well as a little series based on some classic Amazing Spider-Man issues!!

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