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That thing on his face, it's a mask. He wears it in case some Earthling sneaks onto the Interceptor - while we're in space, mind you - and goes "Ha ha! The Green Lantern on my planet is Hal Jordan! I'm telling everyone!"
A type of mask that covers only the eyes and the area around them. Often called a "Halloween mask" by people unaware of the technical term. This style of mask originated
in Venice, Italy, for use during Carnival, but now is strongly associated with the superhero genre.
Its usefulness as a disguise
varies; people who don't know the character out of costume might be fooled, but someone who personally knows him might not, or at least shouldn't, since the mask doesn't cover enough of the face to truly conceal someone. Suspension of Disbelief
may be required when the hero is rescuing close friends or family members who aren't in on the secret.
In animation and comics, these masks will frequently be Expressive Masks
that somehow bind to the wearer's face with no means of visible support. Theatre-savvy readers might assume the wearer is using spirit gum, but the mask often goes from drawer to face without any adhesive applied.
A domino mask will often compose the third part of Coat, Hat, Mask
. For villains, a domino mask is also one of the standard accoutrements of the cartoon burglar
. For other less heroic variants, see Malevolent Masked Man
. A Sleep Mask
is generally a similar sort of shape, only without the eye holes.
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Anime and Manga
- Tuxedo Mask of Sailor Moon. Sailor Venus wore a frilly one when she was still Sailor V (and yes, she wears one in Codename: Sailor V), and Sailor Moon originally wore a similar mask in the manga but discarded it so often that it eventually disappeared from her character design entirely.
- An early prototype for the main cast also depict Sailor Mars and Sailor Jupiter with costumes that also included slimmer, pointed versions of this type of mask. These were removed when the team's uniforms were streamlined.
- Red Mantle of Haunted Junction wears a mask and costume suspiciously similar to Tuxedo Mask. A connection made even more explicit in an episode mid-way through the anime in which Haruto has to deal with a group of girls calling themselves the Sailors XO and imagines summoning Red Mantle, complete with top hat. Red Mantle begs him not to make him wear the hat. After an entire episode in which his sister, Blue Hanten, attempts to force him to take off his mask to see what's underneath (assuming he's hiding an ugly face), it comes out that he wears the mask because his beauty is so overwhelming that it will cause anyone regardless of gender or preference to fall in love with him and suffer from a massive headache as the effects wear off.
- The Kryptonbrand assassin team in Weiss Side B wear these as their trademark.
- Papillon from Busou Renkin wears a purple one of these that kind of looks like a butterfly (hence his name).
- There's not really a term for what Hentai Kamen wears...
- Characters of Hayate the Combat Butler often wear these as their Paper-Thin Disguise, although other people often see through the masks.
- Gentleman Thief Phoenix in Honey Honey No Suteki Na Bouken wears a red mask resembling a Mardi Gras mask. Almost as oddly, it is also frilly.
- Kotetsu T. Kaburagi of Tiger & Bunny wears a domino mask whenever he's on duty as Wild Tiger, both in and out of his Powered Armor.
- Ransack from Transformers Cybertron for some reason has his eyes drawn in a way so that he appears to be wearing a domino mask. Since Ransack is a Decepticon, this was actually supposed to make him look like a burglar.
- Simone (a.k.a Seine No Hoshi) wears a frilly red one, similar to Sailor V.
- The titular character of The Spirit is one of the most famous and earliest examples.
- The first issue of Darwyn Cooke's series even offers a Hand Wave for why this works:
Ginger Coffee: So what's with all your drama? I mean, the hat and mask don't hide much... Is it how you get your freak on?
The Spirit (sighs, then covers Ginger's eyes): Describe me.
: Riggght. I get it. You're a big blue average
with a distraction stuck to his face.
- In Batman comics:
- All the Robins. The original Robin, Dick Grayson, still retains the domino mask as Nightwing. He has explicitly stated that he holds it in place using spirit gum from an actor's toolkit. Tim Drake (Robin III) has also mentioned spirit gum in his persistent internal monologue.
- A villain once asked Jason Todd (the second Robin, then the Red Hood) why he wears a mask under his helmet, to which he answers:
"I did it once for dramatic effect and then it just got to be a habit."
- Harley Quinn wears one as part of her outfit. She also wears a hat and full face paint, which gives the impression of a full mask. However this might have something to do with her costume being based on that of Harlequin, a stock character of the Italian Commedia dell'arte.
- The Riddler. As The Riddler is now Edward Nygma, Genius Detective, he often wears glasses that evoke the same effect.
- In the Adam West TV series, The Joker, The Penguin and The Catwoman also wore these occasionally. One is forced to wonder who they thought they were fooling.
- And the rest of the DC Comics characters:
- Most of the human Green Lanterns, but not John Stewart. He immediately discards the mask when his ring tries to give him one, stating that he refuses to hide who and what he is. Guy Gardner also goes without mask, which is mostly an ego thing in his case. Hal Jordan's also covers and hides the shape of his nose. Simon Baz doesn't wear a domino mask. Instead he wears a mask that covers his entire head except his mouth; effectively hiding his identity.
- Kyle Rayner has a sort of... crab thing on his face instead. Despite covering substantially more of his face than the others, it seems to be less effective at hiding his identity; several people who were familiar with his artwork recognised it as exactly the sort of thing he'd design.
- Most of the Green Arrow family, including Ollie Queen himself, his son Connor [Green Arrow II], Roy Harper [Speedy I], and Mia Dearden [Speedy II]. Roy temporarily wore sunglasses during his stint as Arsenal, but he's back to the domino mask now.
- Katana in her current costume. In older incarnations, she wore fuller head coverings.
- Ghost Fox Killer of Chinese superteam Great Ten.
- Both versions of the Trickster, except for when the first did a Heel-Face Turn of a sort.
- Knockout, of the New Gods and Secret Six.
- This is less prevalent in Marvel Comics, but happens occasionally:
- Ms. Marvel. The mask's uselessness was lampshaded by her parents, who weren't fooled in the least.
- Also worn by "Dark Avengers" Ms. Marvel [Moonstone], who wears a different outfit (usually).
- X-23 and Warpath from X-Force.
- Despite the name, Domino doesn't wear one, although she has facial markings that resemble a domino mask.
- Bucky Barnes, both when he was Captain America's sidekick and when he was Winter Soldier. Barnes dropped it when he became Cap. Rick Jones wore the same mask during his brief stint as Bucky, and the Heroes Reborn version of Bucky also wore a variation of this mask.
- Another patriotic character briefly used the name Bucky but changed it due to the Unfortunate Implications (he was black) and later adopted the name Battle Star. He wore a similar domino mask.
- Lady Bullseye.
- Spider-Man supporting character Black Cat. She actually hits both types of this trope, being both a superhero and a reformed cat burgler.
- Jean Grey wore an outsize hood ornament variation with her second Marvel Girl costume.
- Young Avengers has two: Stature with the traditional black, and Patriot who wears a red one (since his costume is based on Bucky's).
- Diamondback wears a pink domino mask as does the villain Batroc. They are both from Captain America comics.
- Several characters from Watchmen, including Nite Owl I, the Comedian, and Ozymandias. Nite Owl I also points out the advantages of spirit gum adhesive versus a simple string or piece of elastic when wearing a Domino Mask.
- Every member of The Umbrella Academy.
- The Phantom Lady would wear them ocasionally in the 40's. When she bothered with a mask at all.
- The Phantom.
- The Beagle Boys, Scrooge McDuck's primary foes, also an example of the burglar Sub-Trope.
- Pulp-era character the Domino Lady.
- Any comic version of Green Hornet and Kato.
- Ditto for any comics featuring The Lone Ranger.
- Also, some versions of Zorro when it isn't a bandana.
Live Action TV
- As mentioned, The Green Hornet.
- Also as mentioned The Lone Ranger.
- In Arrow, Oliver initially averts this by using greasepaint over the eye area. Barry Allen suggests one of these, which Oliver says wouldn't work as it wouldn't fit his face right. Barry makes one and leaves it as his parting gift.
- A wish-fulfilling symbiote swarm in Sanctuary takes the shape of full body armour and a domino mask, in line with Walter's and later, Kate's expectations of what a superhero should look like.
- Older than Television: In The Phantom of the Opera, Christine and Raoul wear white and black domino masks to the masquerade ball so they can meet without the Phantom noticing.
- Part of the required uniform of burglars operating with a Thieves' Guild licence in Discworld, along with the black and white hooped jumper, cloth cap, and bag marked "SWAG". That's how you know they're official burglars, and not just random housebreakers.
- In Starfighters of Adumar, Wedge wants to go out and think without being recognized. His local guide gives him a mask that's a little more concealing than a domino mask, but not much — it covers his forehead, too. And it works. He does wince at the color, saying that lavender isn't him, but she tells him that that's the point.
- Rudyard Kipling did a funny poem, "Pink Dominoes," in which the narrator doesn't recognize until it's too late that the girl with whom he's necking isn't his fiancée, because she's wearing a pink domino just like the one his girl had been wearing to the dance. Fortunately, his sweetheart didn't catch him kissing the other girl....
Then Jenny came, and I saw with shame
She'd doffed her domino;
And I had embraced an alien waist—
But I did not tell her so.
- In Wearing the Cape, domino masks or their equivalent are often worn by superheroes whose civilian identities are already publicly known. It's an expected part of the costume, but is also useful for making them unrecognizable to anyone who doesn't know them personally, allowing them a measure of privacy in public—a humorous inversion of movie-stars tendency to don baseball caps and sunglasses to go to Starbucks.
- Some of the heroes in Relativity wear domino masks... and at least one villain dons one in imitation of the heroes.
August Moon: I can see why you capes like the costumes and the masks. Very liberating.
- Zorro. He actually wore a full face mask in the original pulp stories; the domino mask didn't come until the Douglas Fairbanks films.
- The Domino Lady, a Pulp Magazine Proto Superhero, took her name from the type of mask she wore.
- Part of the crime-fighting uniforms of The Aquabats! are domino masks. As well as a vital part of the Aquacadet uniforms.
- In a 1979 Peanuts strip, Snoopy drew a domino mask on Woodstock, expecting the blue jays to mistake Woodstock for a raccoon.
- Snoopy himself would don this when posing as the Masked Marvel, in-strip or in animation.
- These masks are featured in Calvin and Hobbes whenever the titular duo play Calvin Ball. The masks must be worn by all participants of the game. No one is allowed to question the masks.◊
- According to the rules of Hero System, a domino mask counts as disguise.
- Worn by Sly Cooper. However, since Sly's a raccoon, his face under the mask presumably looks the same.
- City of Heroes, of course, features standard domino masks and dozens of variations in the costume creator.
- The Sims 2 offers all three kinds as full-face makeup: a black mask for burglars, a red mask for supervillains (that matches the Spikes of Villainy supervillain uniform) and a blue mask for Captain Hero.
- Blue Mages from Final Fantasy V wear these. Other incarnations of the class drop this from the design.
- Leo of Lunar: Eternal Blue wears one when he goes through a sort of identity crisis and pretends to be some kind of superhero. Note that absolutely everyone recognizes him, but they decide there's no harm in playing along. One of the Fanservice bromide items depicts his sister Mauri in a similar costume with the same type of mask, though she never actually wears the costume during the game.
- Will of the Elite Four in Pokémon Gold and Silver/Crystal and HeartGold/SoulSilver wears one.
- The Pokémon Riolu has one of these, adding to the black-and-blue color scheme of its fur.
- Takenaka Hanbe from Sengoku Basara wears a purple one, for no apparent reason. It goes well with his outfit though.
- Some dialogue hints that he wears it because it's good for concealing his emotions.
- Team Fortress 2: The Spy's other miscellaneous item is Le Party Phantom, a Masquerade mask. It's larger than most examples listed here, covering the entire upper half of his face that was exposed by his balaclava.
- Dorothy Albright from Arcana Heart wears a red one, though she's a young Stage Magician and not a burglar.
- Masks like this are an can be chosen on the creation screen for DC Universe Online. If one doesn't choose it there (or one of it's variations) the style(s) can be bought at Hero/Villain's HQ. Calculator or Oracle will also send you an item with this style as it's default appearance after clearing the tutorial.
- In The Wonderful 101, all members of the Wonderful 100 put on these masks when assuming their identities. This includes temporary members that you pick up along the way.
- In The Yawhg, the Green Man and Blue Lady will wear these if they choose to spend a week fighting crime in the Slums.
- Dr. Zeke wears one in Robopon 2.
- Guile from Chrono Cross wears a golden one. The reason why he wears it is unknown, but when he takes it off, he shocks his friend so much that she loses some time of her lifespan or so.
- The Incredibles. Oddly enough, they treat the mask as if it is a fool-proof protection of their identity when it barely covers the eyes and moves with their expressions.
- Phantom Limb in The Venture Bros.
- Also Professor Impossible when he joins the Revenge Society.
- Quick-Draw McGraw wears one as El Kabong.
- The title character from the short-lived Stripperella.
- Darkwing Duck.
- Homer uses one of these to disguise the identity of a raccoon on an episode of The Simpsons. It doesn't change the animal's appearance at all.
- Robin's mask in Teen Titans is worn constantly and manages to act as his eyes and eyebrows (showing frowns, eye-widening, blinks).
- The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are an interesting variation on this. The purpose of their masks is not to disguise them (which is almost impossible anyway) but to differentiate among them. Without their coloured masks, letter belt buckles and individual weapons, they all look alike note .
- In Kim Possible, the members of Team Go wear domino masks—except that Shego never did, even before she quit to become a villain.
- Too many cartoons to count have the domino mask, black and white horizontally striped shirt, and a large sack as standard issue Cat Burglar equipment. This particular trope is Older than Television, so it didn't start with cartoons.
- When Terry had to fight against his own Batsuit in Batman Beyond, he decided to put on the domino mask from Nightwing's display case to disguise himself. The old batsuits had a few tears and rips in them.
- Looney Tunes: Yosemite Sam always wears one, whether his role of the day is pirate, western bandito, knight, or Civil War general.
- Swiper from Dora the Explorer.
- In The Little Rascals episode "The Zero Hero", Alfalfa wears a domino mask as part of his homemade Alpha-Man costume.