''You have the right to remain inconspicuous."
"Black coat, white shoes, black hat, Cadillac, yeah
The boy's a time bomb!"
, "Time Bomb"
The good counterpart to the Conspicuous Trenchcoat
: Mask Power
meets Badass Longcoat
A conventional costume (qualifying as a Grandfather Clause
since it recurs from the 1930's to the present) consisting of a suit, a conservative overcoat, a Nice Hat
and gloves, and some form of face covering such as the classic Domino Mask
A character dressed this way conceals his identity in two ways. Up close, he is noticeable but not identifiable. From afar, he is not even noticeable, because he's basically dressed like everybody else. As might be expected, this mode of dress is most often seen among urban Non powered costumed Heroes
; its resemblance to stereotypical Hardboiled Detective
garb is no coincidence.
On the other hand, some characters combine a tuxedo (or even white tie and tails) and a mask with no intention of blending in; they just prefer formal-wear for intimidation. Often, this type will wear a cape instead of the coat.
Sometimes a form of Civvie Spandex
This is a common form of costume for the Superhero
archetype known as The Cowl
A Super Trope
to Gas Mask, Longcoat
Compare Superheroes Wear Tights
; Spandex, Latex, or Leather
; Badass Longcoat
Contrast Malevolent Masked Men
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Anime and Manga
- Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon is the ur-example of the flamboyant, caped type in Japan.
- While it's not always apparent, a close look at the Zero costume of Code Geass reveals that, along with a mask and cape, the main outfit is essentially a flamboyant business suit of the type the Chairman from Iron Chef might wear and as it happens the same kind of flamboyant, vaguely 18th century styled nobleman's outfit that the Britannian nobility wear in the series.
- While no hat is involved, Hei's "costume" in Darker Than Black is a creepy-looking mask along with modified black ops style clothing. The pants he wears are typical of a tuxedo, whereas the coat conceals a military style harness which holds his daggers.
- Note that, in episode 2, he is almost identified due to him going out wearing just the overcoat over his civilian style jeans and shirt.
- Phantom Renegade of Medabots is a parody of the flamboyant cape-wearing Gentleman Thief character type, sporting a ridiculous expressive smiley mask, having a tendency to trip, fall out of trees, and generally be an accident magnet (fumbling with a rare medal in the first episode puts the entire series' plot in motion), and frequently gloats to himself about how good he is. This fact is lamp-shaded in Medabots The Abridged Series, where he denies being "a ripoff of the main character from V for Vendetta or Tuxedo Mask".
- And he sort of continued on in this fashion as Space Medafighter X, in the sense that he wore his Phantom Renegade costume under the newer one and even wore another mask on top of the original. "Who is Space Medafighter X? !!! It's the Phantom Renegade!"
- The mystery player on Japan's All-Star team in Eyeshield 21 dresses like this. Apparently he even plays football with his face bandaged up.
- Captain Bravo pulls a version of this. His Arms Alchemy Silver Skin takes the form of a long coat and hat with the hat tilted forward and the collar sticking up to hide his face quite effectively. The entire getup is a self-repairing suit of armor to boot.
- The Kaito Kid has a white tuxedo, top hat, and cape, and a monocle which serves as a mask
- Turkey from Axis Powers Hetalia uses a long coat, a half-mask and a fez hat.
- The trope originator was The Shadow, first published in 1931.
- The Spirit, in most of his over 60-year run, has worn a fairly ordinary business suit, trench-coat and fedora, a Domino Mask and gloves. Creator Will Eisner added the mask only as a token submission to his publisher's belief that a comic book hero is always a costumed hero.
- Likewise The Phantom Stranger achieved the effect by always being shown with his hat shading his face, rather than actually being masked.
- In Vertigo Comics' Madame Xanadu, the title character meets the Stranger at various points through history, each time wearing a historically appropriate variant of his standard suit, cape and shading hat. In Arthurian times, he's a druid in a hooded robe; at the court of Kublai Khan, he wears robes and a keffiyeh; in Revolutionary France, he wears a 18th century long-coat and a tricorne; in Victorian London he wears evening dress, an opera cloak and a top hat; and in 1930s New York, he wears the familiar blue suit, cape and fedora.
- This attire was adopted by Mr. A and The Question in the late 1960s. Both characters were created by the legendary Steve Ditko, and bear a few more similarities to each other besides their mode of dress.
- The Question's style of dressing was later adopted by Renee Montoya in 52 as the new Question.
- Possibly the forerunner of The Question, the Blank from Dick Tracy also wore a trench coat, fedora and faceless mask. The difference was, he was a villain, and ugly as sin underneath.
- Rorschach of Watchmen, an Expy of both Mr. A and The Question, sports the basic outfit, but with a head-covering mask (as opposed to the standard domino) with a shifting black-and-white pattern that initially inspired his moniker.
- In the 1940s, the original "mystery man" costume of the original Sandman (Wesley Dodd) was a suit, long-coat, fedora and gloves — with a gas mask. This uniform was subconsciously inspired by the look of(Dream of the Endless) who wore a robe and mask into battle and who granted Dodds his prophetic dreams. Dodd's costume later became more colorful to match the other superheroes of the Justice Societyof America. No relation to the spandex-wearing Garrett Sanford or Hector Hall, save being derived from Dream of the Endless somehow.
- The Crimson Avenger (shown here as he appeared in Justice League Unlimited) and Wing, who were closely modeled on The Green Hornet and Kato, started out with the trenchcoat-and-fedora look.
- Again, it was a cape over a suit, rather than a trench-coat, or at least it certainly was at some prominent point. Also, a Domino Mask. Classy.
- V for Vendetta. Possibly more like Cloak Hat Mask, but it fits.
- Midnight, a Captain Ersatz of the Spirit, originally published by Quality Comics and now part of The DCU.
- Ed Gorman created a new version of Midnight as a back-up strip in Ms. Tree Quarterly.
- The Marvel Universe has a couple currently appearing in The Twelve (a series about revamped Golden Age characters): the Phantom Reporter and Mr. E. The artist mentions in interviews with Newsarama that he had to tweak both of their designs just a tad so they didn't look so much alike.
- Another Golden Age hero, Dr. Nemesis, wore a trench-coat, a fedora and a surgeon's mask.
- "There are times when The Phantom leaves the jungle, and walks the streets as an ordinary man"... except for the sunglasses, coat, and hat. Only in a couple of stories has he been this way for the entire adventure.
- Even better are the "historical" adventures featuring his ancestors: It's still the same concept, but it's much funnier when he's dressed in 18th century knee-hoses and wig.
- Finnish newspaper comic Fingerpori poked a fun at this, showing him with heavy tan-lines in parts where the mask covers his face. Holding a secret identity in a tropic environment is a tough job.
- Abe Sapien is first seen going to a mansion in a trench-coat, hat, and disguise beard.
- The Ur-example of this trope (in comics) is the Clock, the first original costumed hero to appear in comics. He wore a blue suit and a black "curtain mask" that covered his entire face.
- The King, a Golden Age character from The DCU, was a Master of Disguise. But, when he wasn't disguised as someone else, his 'costume' consisted of white tie and tails, an opera cape, a top hat and a domino mask.
- Deadpool, in the Cable & Deadpool arc A Murder in Providence, dons a trench-coat and fedora over his usual spandex, whilst "investigating".
- DC villain Deadshot wore a tuxedo, top hat and domino mask while posing as a hero in his first appearance.
- Benjamin J. Grimm, The Thing from Marvel's Fantastic Four, usually gads about NYC wearing a fedora and longcoat while wrapping a scarf about his chin. A pair of sunglasses completes the ensemble. While not altogether concealing, the outfit tends to attract less attention than him walking about in his shorts.
- Masquerade from Project Superpowers.
- In the French comic Tif et Tondu, their resident villain Monsieur Choc wears evening dress and a full-face medieval helm; in occasional panels he's shown taking off or putting on the helm, but his face never appears. In one story they fight a character who wears a hazmat suit with dark faceplate throughout: in the last frame, after he's escaped and they learn he wasn't who they thought, someone finds a tailcoat and helm left at the scene.
- This sounds like the hero of Monster Men. He always wore A tuxedo and knight's helmet when fighting monsters.
- Greyshirt, a Captain Ersatz of The Spirit, created as part of Alan Moore's America's Best Comics line. In his case, though, it's a bandit mask and a billycock hat.
- Spider-Man: Noir
- Golden Age Fawcett Comics hero Ibis the Invincible didn't wear a mask but otherwise fit the trope with a black suit and a red turban.
- Gary Gianni's Corpus Monstrum (originally called Monstermen, was originally published as a side-feature to Mike Mignola's Hellboy) featured Lawrence St. George, who wore a tuxedo and a medieval knight's helmet.
- Dan Garret, the Golden Age Blue Beetle. Or at least at first. He eventually gained superpowers and tights after a massive Genre Shift.
- Lady Luck, a Golden Age Distaff Counterpart to The Spirit, wore a feminized equivalent of dress-hat-veil.
Films — Animated
- Francoeur goes for this look in A Monster in Paris with his stage costume. At the point he dons it for the first time, the populace of Paris is under the impression he's a dangerous monster, so the whole concealing piece really helps.
- The Toy Taker in Rudolph And The Island Of Misfit Toys disguises himself this way.
Films — Live-Action
- Darkman employs the mask, hat, and coat, due to hideous burns, and also because it looks bad-ass.
- The false faces he wears (sometimes with a hat and coat) also count.
- Kroenen in the Hellboy movie has a variation of this in his first appearance; he later loses the coat and hat.
- From the Abe&Kroenen comments: "All of [Kroenen's] intimidating bulk comes from his coat!"
- Judex, of the silent-era Feuillade serial films and Franju's 1963 homage, relies on a mask, hat, and cape.
- The title character of Van Helsing dresses like this for his introduction shot, although he quickly loses the scarf/mask.
- Doc in Back To The Future Part II tells Marty to wear something "inconspicuous". Cue Gilligan Cut to him in this type of get-up.
- The Shadow dresses in a black and red suit, cape and fedora. The only unusual garment is a silk mask over his lower face — which, oddly, doesn't hide his extremely recognizable hawk nose. ("The Shadow Nose")
- "Clouding mens' minds" probably prevents recognition. Some versions of The Shadow could also alter their facial features to a degree. Early stories strongly indicated that the Shadow's true face had a serious disfigurement, which his mastery of disguise hid - notice the denouement of the novel The Shadow's Shadow, where someone sees the Shadow's true face and feels alarmed - obviously he did not just see Kent Allard sticking his tongue out. (Kent Allard, the true identity of the Shadow, an aviator who faked his death before the start of the series.) The novel Dead Men Live indicates that he has little facial mass left.
- The Movie indicates any facial weirdness is the result of The Shadow's powers of hypnosis and SFX makeup.
- Older than Television: H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man (1897) uses this trope early in the book, and his portrayal on film and in numerous cover illustrations may have helped codify the image.
- The most enduring perception of the eponymous character in The Phantom of the Opera is that he is dressed in a hat, a coat and a mask that covers half of his face. First film to feature this combination was the 1943 Universal production.
- The pulp hero The Black Bat wears a mask and, while not spandex, flexible yet all-covering black clothes to allow him to sneak around and fight. However, if he has to show himself and not just spy, he adds a coat and a wide-brimmed hat on top of his ninja-esque outfit.
- French pulp villain Fantômas wore this kind of outfit from time to time, the most iconic being a tuxedo, hop-hat, and domino mask.
- The Gray Seal, Jimmy Dale
- The Spider, Richard Wentworth
- The Phantom, Curtis Van Loan
- In George Mann's Ghosts of Manhattan and Ghosts of War, the eponymous Ghost wears a black coat and fedora, along with goggles that glow red.
- Overcast in Relativity. He basically kept his stereotypical private-eye garb and added a mask.
- The Green Hornet and Kato, in the 1960s TV series, dressed in normal clothes (The Hornet's "costume" is pretty much a dark green overcoat, matching Fedora of Asskicking, and suit/trousers; in Kato's case, a chauffeur's uniform) and masks.
- The Phantom Flan Flinger from Tiswas wears a cloak, a hat and a mask.
- Walt Disney made a TV miniseries based on Doctor Syn ("The Scarecrow"), in which the titular protagonist wore a hat, mask, and a cloak (pretty much the equivalent of a trenchcoat for the 18th century). The book version of this character actually wore makeup.
- The Game Show version of The Perils of Penelope Pitstop has the usual stuff for H.C. for the original run.
- When the show got revived in 2007 with a wild success, H.C.'s outfit was updated to look more modern with a hood in place of a hat, making H.C. look more like a man in the Middle Ages about to execute someone.
- The Live-Action Adaptation of The Flash had Dr. Desmond Powell dress like this to fight crime as the Nightshade.
- The Jon Heder Show had Jon & Bill uses these when they go undercover.
- M.A.N.T.I.S., but only in the TV Movie.
- Trilby in the Chzo Mythos dresses like this in the first screen of the first game, but discards the mask afterward and is never again seen in it in any of the four games. He does, however, wear the mask in The Art of Theft.
- The hero of Exit wears a black suit, a red cape, and a red scarf.
- Q from Street Fighter 3rd Strike. Coat, hat, and metal face-mask.
- Sly Cooper, with caveats: He wears a Domino Mask over his natural raccoon mask, his hat is a flat-cap that completes his Blatant Burglar look, his coat is short enough for acrobatics, and he has no pants.
- Pokemon Gold And Silver has Will, a member of the Elite Four. He wears a black mask which actually covers one eye with blank white material, white gloves, and a purple vest-suit-tuxedo thing. Though whether or not he is covering his eye or if his eye actually is blank is subject to debate.
- The Spy has the suit and the mask, and a variety of nice hats and suit jackets are available as DLC.
- Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask: Say what you will about the Masked Gentleman, but you have to admit that he is one hell of a snappy dresser.
- The protagonist of Watch_Dogs wears a variant updated to modern fashion sensibilities, with a baseball cap instead of a fedora and a scarf pulled up over the lower half of his face by way of a mask, and jeans and a sweatshirt under his Badass Longcoat rather than a fancy suit. It looks a lot more badass◊ and less Hipsteresque than it sounds.
- The Red Panda of Red Panda Adventures is a homage to characters like the Shadow and the Spirit, and thus, shares their style.
- Josiah Brimstone, Mister Magic, Foreshadow and the Mask of Justice of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. Mask of Justice, particularly, is an homage of the Question and the Spirit.
- The Magnificent Kamen is described as this at one point. Usually, he's without the mask, but it was mentioned in one chapter.