They say clothes make the man, and in the comic books and movies, well the costume makes the superhero. Just about every superhero wears a costume, and some of the greatest pop culture artists in history are responsible for creating some amazing superhero outfits. Visionaries like Jack Kirby, Bill Finger and Steve Ditko all worked with talented writers to design some colorful, unique creations. Every superhero is very different, some have capes and some don’t, just like some have masks and some don’t.
However, it is the mask that is perhaps the coolest aspect of any superhero costume. The original superhero, Superman, doesn’t wear a mask, but many heroes created after him feature a cowl, helmet or even a full face mask. Which ones are the best? Here’s a look at the 12 coolest superhero masks.
Ol’ hornhead has one of the coolest and most menacing masks in all of comic book history. Daredevil was created by Stan lee and artist Bill Everett – Jack Kirby also helped with the character’s design. The first incarnation of Daredevil’s costume was black and yellow, but soon his costume was made all red.
The all red look is more fitting and substantially cooler. Comic book artists use shadows very effectively when drawing the character. The mix of red and black across Daredevil’s face makes this mask heroic and terrifying. The mask wouldn’t be complete without the tiny horns on the Man without Fear’s forehead.
Deadpool needs an iconic mask to hide the horrific scars that cover his face. Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld created the Merc with a Mouth for Marvel when the pair was working on X-Force. Liefeld developed Deadpool’s mask, but when he submitted the design to Nicieza, Nicieza noted that the character looked an awful lot like the villain Deathstroke from DC Comics’ Teen Titans.
Nicieza gave Deadpool the alter-ego Wade Wilson as a nod to Deadpool’s look being almost identical, except for the colors, to Deathstroke’s costume. Deathstroke’s alter-ego is Slade Wilson, so perhaps the two are related.
10 Captain America
Captain America was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby all the way back in 1941 for Timely Comics. His iconic blue mask is emblazoned with a giant A across the forehead. Tiny wings adorn the side of the mask. Cap’s famous mask is almost as iconic his shield.
After the Second World War, Captain America’s popularity decreased significantly and eventually his books were cancelled, but Stan Lee brought back Cap in 1964 to join the Avengers and become the group’s leader. His iconic mask and many of the variations have shown up in both Captain America and The Avengers movies.
You wouldn’t know it unless you are a regular reader of the comics, but Wolverine has one of the weirdest and coolest masks ever. Of course if you are only a fan of the X-men movies you might not even know about this mask since Ol’ Canucklehead never wears it on screen.
In fact, the only time Hugh Jackman came close to wearing a mask was in The Wolverine. Wolverine’s traditional costume including his iconic mask made a cameo at the end of the film. Wolverine’s look has evolved over the years. At first his mask made him look like a kitty cat when he showed up in Incredible Hulk #181.
8 Iron Man
It wasn’t until the Iron Man movie came out that the character became really popular. Before that, Iron Man was simply a second tier character, but now he is the most popular comic book character in film. His cool costume and mask certainly have something to do with that.
The first mask Ol’ Shellhead wore was a clunky metal bucket, but then he was drawn with a flashy red and yellow mask. The modern version of the helmet Iron Man wears in both the movies and comic books is a cool gold and red number. The gold and red mask is the most iconic, but Iron Man has thousands of suits of armor, so he has many different colored masks, too.
7 Dr. Fate
This magical DC Comics superhero sports a cool gold helmet. The character may not be as well known as Dr. Strange – which is basically Marvel’s version of Dr. Fate. However, Dr. Fate arguably has a much cooler costume than Dr. Strange – and one of the reasons is that awesome mask.
Dr. Fate’s golden helmet gives him magical powers. The mask literally makes him a superhero and he’s a superhero that’s so powerful that he can actually beat up Superman due to the Man of Steel’s vulnerability to magic.
The original Flash didn’t actually wear a mask, but he wore a huge silver dome-like hat instead. The Flash went from having one of the stupidest looking costumes of all time to one of the coolest simply by ditching the weird hat and replacing it with a cool mask.
The red mask has yellow lighting bolts on the side of it which make the Flash look as fast as he can actually run. The Flash has yet to appear on the big screen, but both live action TV shows starring the character actually featured pretty decent looking and comic book accurate costumes.
Ant-Man’s cool helmet gives him the ability to communicate with the tiny creatures that help him be the best superhero he can be. Not only is Ant-Man’s helmet incredibly useful, but it is also incredibly powerful.
Both the recent movie and numerous comic book storylines have shown what can happen when this technology gets into the wrong hands. Ant-man's helmet is truly one of the coolest looking superhero masks of all time, and the movie version might just be even cooler looking.
4 The Mask
Of course a superhero whose powers and abilities come from a magical mask would make this list. When this wooden mask is placed on the wearer’s face he or she gains cartoony abilities and has his or her inner personality traits heightened.
The Mask comic books, which were published by Dark Horse, were never particularly popular, but the Mask gained mainstream appeal when the live action movie starring funnyman Jim Carrey was released. It may be silly and even creepy looking, but the Mask’s mask is one of the better pieces of any superhero costume out there.
Orion is one of Jack Kirby’s creations for DC Comics, and of course Jack Kirby – who was perhaps the greatest comic book artist of all time – would be able to create a truly cool looking cosmic superhero with an awesome mask.
Orion is one of the New Gods and the son of Darkseid, who is one of the greatest foes of Superman and the Justice League. Orion looks like a total bad a** on his flying device and in his red suit, but it’s that cool silver helmet that really makes him look awesome.
Even though Bob Kane gets all the credit for creating Batman, Bill Finger was the one who came up with Batman’s signature look. The first mask Batman wore featured huge angled ears, and he also wore purple gloves. Soon Batman’s masked evolved to feature straight ears, which have changed in length considerably depending on who is drawing the Caped Crusader and which director wants what look on the big screen.
Batman’s costume have many unique features from a beveled cape to a utility belt to a bat symbol on his chest, but it’s his cowl that completes the look and makes Batman truly menacing.
No matter if Spidey has huge white eyes when he’s drawn by artists like Mark Bagley, or if he has smaller ones like the way he was drawn by Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko, one thing is for certain, and that’s that spider-man has the coolest costume and coolest mask of any superhero ever. The red and blue color was Stan Lee’s idea, and it certainly takes a lot of artistic skill to create ol’ webhead’s iconic mask simply because of the sheer intricacy of all the webbing in the mask.
Spider-Man’s mask is also incredibly important from a story standpoint. He is one of the few heroes with a full face mask. This means that anybody could be Spider-Man underneath the mask. That fact, along with Peter Parker’s image as an average Joe make Spider-Man the most relatable superhero in comic book history.