Lantern Jaw of Justice

It doesn't get more heroic than this, folks.

Butt-Head: Huhuh, look at his face!
Beavis: Heh, look at that crack in his chin!
Butt-Head: I think it's a buttcrack!
Beavis: Well I guess that would make sense, since like, there's just a bunch of diarrhea coming out of his mouth.
Butt-Head: Yeah. Uhuhuhuhuh, it's like when God was passing out buttcracks, this guy got in line twice.
Beavis and Butt-Head (riffing on Sam Harris)

A square jawline. A protuberant chin. A manly cleft. Somewhere along the line (possibly around Superman's time), artists decided that these, more so than anything else, were the defining facial feature of really heroic (or really strong and dumb) characters. Perhaps to an even greater extent than broad shoulders, barreled chest, and absurdly large biceps, the surest sign of a character's strength and manliness lies in his chin.

Parodies of superheroes will take this trope to its illogical extreme, giving heroes jawlines large enough to logically prevent them from looking down—and possibly, a ridiculous "butt chin". Some artistic conventions also render the cleft as a "swirl" on the chin. While the gluteus chinnimus can affect non-heroic, not-so-strong characters, "chin swirl" is generally reserved for only the manliest of manly.

If a character with a jawline like this crops up in an American Western Animation production, there's a really good chance he'll be voiced by Patrick Warburton. Also common in Captain Space, Defender of Earth!.

This has some Truth in Television, as scientists have noted that there is a definite correlation between jaw size and testosterone production (though cleft chins are very much unisex). Which is why it is Always Male.

This is mostly a hero trope, but villains occassionally have chins like this.

Compare Beauty Equals Goodness, Top-Heavy Guy. Contrast Villainous Cheekbones (where angular faces characterize a bad guy).


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    Anime & Manga 

  • The Moai of Easter Island.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman, as stated above, has had one for such a long time that he may well be the Trope Maker.
    • Superman's chin is taken to a ridiculous extreme in Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman artwork, in which the Chin of Steel becomes ludicrously inflated.
  • But, if anything, Batman's is even more dimpled and protuberant. It's certainly more prominent, at any rate, given that it and the lips are all we actually see of his face.
    • In Joker, The Joker rants about this. He demands to know why Batman leaves that tiny window of manly perfection for all the world to see when he tries so hard to cultivate his image as a Terror Hero. Batman's glorious Shut Up, Hannibal! response: "To mock you."
  • Captain Marvel has sported an absolutely enormous and manly chin since his conception, due in part to his being modeled after period actor and real-life example Fred MacMurray.
  • Judge Dredd's suitably heroic chin is the only part of his face ever seen.
  • Gladiator from the Marvel Universe, who is a sort of half-Take That and half-Affectionate Parody of Superman.
  • Side-character Arcadio in Groo the Wanderer had one of these chins, and female characters would occasionally swoon over it.
  • normalman
    • Captain Everything. As a parody of Superman and Captain Marvel, it's to be expected, but he takes it to new levels as the series progresses and his appearance becomes more exaggerated. The same goes for the even more exaggerated Megaton Man.
    • And Sergeant Fluffy. Of course, the villainous Ultra-Conservative also has a very strong chin....
  • Even as a gangly teenager, Steve Rogers had a bit of this going on. As Marvel's foremost Cape, Captain America tends to have a strong chin no matter who was drawing him. Lampshaded a little when a new love interest, Bernie Rosenthal, was introduced in the '80s — she had a chin cleft, and the first thing she said to him was that he had one too.
  • Ironically enough, the Green Lanterns tend not to have prominent jaws, Kilowog aside.
    • Silver Age Green Lantern Hal Jordan is another exception — he was supposedly drawn to resemble actor Paul Newman.
  • Preacher: The Saint of all Killers. His lantern jaw rivals that of Clark Kent's, but there's nothing good about him.
  • From the Swedish comic Illustrerad Djävulskap we have Dr. Alabander Modul. He is also the local Villain Protagonist.
  • The Tick, naturally, has such a heroic chin. Even more heroic a chin is possessed by his ally Paul the Samurai, who actually cites his chin to convince a guard that he is a hero and should be allowed in. The guard accepts this argument.
  • Suske en Wiske: Tante Sidonia has a Gag Nose and a huge chin, which make her look unattractive, but she does have a heart of gold.
  • Jommeke:
    • Subverted with Kwak, a villain, who has a long, pointy chin.
    • Implied with Arabella, a good character, who also has a huge chin.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dick Tracy invented the heroic chin.
  • Popeye: Popeye's chin is colossal and he fights for justice all the time!
  • Nero: Subverted with Ricardo, the main antagonist, who has a hook nose and brawny big chin.
  • Agent 327:
    • I Jzerbroot's chef of the Dutch Intelligence Service has a huge jawline.
    • Subverted by the villain Boris Kloris has a huge lower jaw, literally bigger than his face.
  • De Kiekeboes: Firmin Van De Kasseien, Kiekeboe's corrupt boss, has a brawny chin, symbolizing his arrogance.
  • British comic hero Bananaman, as a parody of the genre, naturally possesses one of these.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Possibly the main reason why Aaron Eckhart was cast as Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight. A subtle nod to the standard heroic archetype? Or maybe he's just a damn good actor. Possibly both. Nolan did comment on Eckhart's facial features making him look like a movie hero from the '50s, after all.
    Bill: His hatchet-jaw cuts through any crowd!
  • While we're at Batman movies: Many fans protested when Michael Keaton was cast, for his lack of this trope.
    • Given that Keaton was known for his work as a comedic actor and utterly lacked any of the physical characteristics suggesting "superhero", most people, if asked to list the reasons Mr. Mom was not a truly inspired choice to play the Dark Knight, would have tired themselves out long before getting to his chin.
  • In the heart-warming (?) ending of Me, Myself, and Irene, it is revealed that Jim Carrey's alternate personality had one of these surgically implanted on him. Everyone is amused.
    "Look here, Daddy; now you can blow your nose and wipe your ass at the same time!"
  • Don't forget Bruce Campbell, especially in Evil Dead. His (hilarious) autobiography is even called If Chins Could Kill.
  • Parodied in Bullshot (1983) where actor Alan Shearman is constantly thrusting out his jaw whenever his Comedic Hero appears on the scene. Lampshaded in the trailer: "There was a time when heroes were straight-limbed, lantern-jawed, well-bred, and British!"
  • The comic-book Iron Man was never drawn with chin on his helmet but the movie version from the Mark II armor up has a protruding chin that does make him look more heroic.
  • Johnny in Starship Troopers. Seriously, his jawline steals half the scenes in that movie.
  • Judge Dredd. Love him or hate him, but Sly Stallone had the perfect chin for the title role.
  • Comic book expert Elijah Price discusses this trope at some length in Unbreakable when going over some of the finer details in the concept artwork for a comic book cover.
  • Josh Brolin's character Sergeant O'Mara in Gangster Squad has a jaw of granite and a stare to match.
  • In Man of Steel, once he loses the beard, the audience is treated to Superman's very strong jawline. Gen. Swanwick's is even more impressive.
  • While still on the comic book heroes, Joss Whedon explains in his commentary on The Avengers why Chris Evans' jaw is the reason that he is a super hero, and Joss is not.
  • Lampshaded in Unbreakable. When showing off a piece of comic book art to a prospective client, Elijah Price explains how the square jaw is common to superheroes, while supervillains have more pointed facial features. Later when David Dunn does an anonymous act of heroism, the newspaper the following day shows a sketch artist's rendering of the mysterious rescuer with a jawline to rival Dick Tracy.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Christopher Meloni, who plays Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, nicknamed "The Chin of Justice". (He also has the habit of thrusting said chin towards a suspect while questioning them.) The same goes for Olivia Benson and Alex Cabot.
  • Dr. Clayton Forrester, villainous Mad Scientist of Mystery Science Theater 3000 had a chin cleft and was quite proud of it. He even invented "chinderwear" in one episode. Interestingly, after Clay's departure, Mike and the bots would mock the male leads of films like Devil Doll and Time Chasers for their chin clefts: "Ugh, his chin-butt is engulfing her!"
  • Robbie Rotten from LazyTown has a really big chin that he's quite proud of, but he's not at all "manly" in other ways... and he's the villain. But you knew that.
  • Flabber from Beetleborgs, who some people think was based on Jay Leno.
  • Helo, who provides both the strongest jaw and strongest morals on Battlestar Galactica.
  • Chuck: under Pentothal, Chuck tells John Casey, "Your jaw was sculpted by Michaelangelo himself."
  • Seeing as Adam Baldwin plays John Casey, that means Jayne Cobb of Firefly also has a Lantern Jaw of Justice, although it is partially obscured by his Badass Goatee.
  • Both futuristic journalist Edison Carter and his A.I. counterpart Max Headroom have lantern jaws, though given Max's preference for snark and mischief over heroism, the "justice" part usually only applies to Edison.
  • Doctor Who:
    • A Running Gag with The Eleventh Doctor. Apparently it's the inspiration for the Easter Island Statues.
      The Doctor: (feeling his face after regenerating) Chin... blimey!
    • In an introduction to the 3-D Movie of "The Day of the Doctor", the Tenth Doctor can't resist getting in a dig at how Eleven's chin will be enhanced accordingly.
    • Captain Jack Harkness from his appearances on the show and on Torchwood.
  • The Flash, who had a lantern jaw that was the only thing that showed when he was in his supersuit.
  • McGarrett (Jack Lord) from Hawaii Five-O.
  • The Middleman has a particularly spectacular one of these, nicely complimenting his broad shoulders and washboard abs.
  • Misfits actor Iwan Rheon is a very attractive example of this trope. A pretty pertinent one too, as his character ultimately takes a level in badass and becomes The Hero of the series, despite spending the first two seasons as a put-upon nerd.
  • Burn Notice's Sam Axe. The guy's played by Bruce Campbell.
  • Nick Stokes, CSI.
  • The X-Files: Agent Fox Mulder's prominent cheekbones definitely fit the trope.
    • Sheriff Hartwell appearing in the episode "Bad Blood" counts as well. However, considering that he's a vampire, albeit of the friendly kind, he's a borderline example among this trope and the Villainous Cheekbones.
    • Agent Doggett, a rugged manly-man type from season 8 and 9, has an angular face as well.
  • Spitting Image: The puppets of Benito Mussolini, Quentin Tarantino, John Cleese, Prince Philip, Bruce Forsyth, Brian Mulroney were all depicted with large chins.



    Pro Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Bruce Campbell is such a good example that it's a feature of Ash's character in the Evil Dead 2 RPG rulebook.
  • Every Space Marine in Warhammer 40K. Orks already have massive underbiting jaws that would shame a Neanderthal, but take it even further via Iron Gobs, a great big piece of curved and jagged metal that gives them an even more impressive jawline.

    Video Games 
  • The titular Tin Star. It's even addressed in-game, with Maria saying that "no one with a chin like Tin Star's could be a bad guy!"
  • Captain Falcon of F-Zero and FALCON PUUUUUNCH fame.
  • Captain Qwark of Ratchet & ClankFake Ultimate Hero, onetime Dragon and onetime Big Bad—has one of these. Ratchet even mentioned it when eulogizing him.
  • Freddie Hardest from the obscure self-titled MSX games had as his only distinguishing feature a chin the size of a pair of melons.
  • Double H from Beyond Good & Evil has one of these. Funnily enough, his original, Dummied Out (still visible in one MDisk) model had an even more dramatic, neck-engulfingly huge chin, but it was replaced with a more "normal" one. Not by much, though.
  • Disgaea
  • The title character of the Apple Macintosh game Power Pete/Mighty Mike possess a chin nearly the size of the rest of his head
  • All three main characters on the TV show-within-a-game Republican Space Rangers from Grand Theft Auto IV.
  • All of classes in Team Fortress 2 (except Pyro) have one of these, further exaggerated by their underbites—yes, even Bratty Half-Pint Scout has a hatchet chin that can kill. The Soldier class epitomizes this, being a great, big, yelling, murderous chin. THIS MAN'S CHIN WAS SCULPTED BY GOD.
  • World of Warcraft
    • King Varian Wrynn is famous for having one, earning him the moniker "King Varian Chynn"
    • Neltharion/Deathwing from the upcoming Cataclysm expansion is an inversion — his lower jaw would not be out of place at a construction site, yet he is going to break the world when he shows up. Also, he's a dragon. Slightly justified: Deathwing needs his armor plating because his body is being torn apart. Without his massive chin, his lower jaw would eventually fall off.
    • The unnamed human from the opening cinematic for Mists of Pandaria has one complete with a Badass Beard.
  • The Knight unit in Warcraft 3 has a very large chin. There's no cleft, but there is manly stubble.
  • Wolfenstein: B.J. Blazkowicz has a truly colossal lantern jaw.
  • Punch-Out!!: Super Macho Man sports an impressive jawline, but Glass Joe doesn't. Soda Popinski is only slightly less impressive in this area, but still boasts some serious chin cleft. Mister Sandman has one in all his appearances, being the game's token Angry Black Man, and it's a chin of iron, too—he'll take punches to the jaw all day if you let him.
  • Ash in the Evil Dead games.
  • Playable character from TimeSplitters 2, Hank Nova is described in his gallery info as having "the squarest jaw the galaxy has ever seen."
  • For a nonhuman counterpart, Monster Hunter Tri has the Uragaan, whose chin is its most prominent feature. The chin can even be broken, but don't expect it to go quickly.
  • Parappa The Rapper: Joe Chin is never an outright hero — or an outright villain, for that matter — but he is definitely aptly named.
  • Samurai Warriors gives us the astounding and noble Bad Ass Honda Tadakatsu, whose in-game model gives him quite a square jaw to go with his powerful physique. Sengoku Basara, of course, then cranks this Up to Eleven by giving Tadakatsu a chin so pronounced it gets its own armor covering.
  • Full Throttle, Full Stop. You can see that chin from the tiny, tiny page art.
  • The Lost Vikings: Baleog the Fierce, being the offense class out of the trio, has a particularly large chin.
  • Warriors of Might and Magic: In cutscenes Alleron is shown to have a huge chin.
  • Duke Nukem is a parody of the generic musclebound action hero. Which means he, of course, sports a Lantern Jaw of Justice in addition to his trademark Balls of Steel.
  • DeathSpank
  • Metal Slug's Marco Rossi and Tarma Roving have pretty impressive chins.
  • 'Guts Man', both in Mega Man and Mega Man Battle Network, quite literally has the squarest chin in existence. It's so square as to be perfectly rectangular and often looks like a box attached to the bottom of his face, giving him an enormous underbite. Whether he's actually heroic or not depends largely on the universe and circumstances, but there are at least two instances of Guts Man being on Mega Man's side.
  • Guard-Captain Aveline of Dragon Age II is a rare female example.
    • Hawke's younger brother, Carver is another example. There are several jokes about his chin, mostly from Isabela.
  • Virtually any game that allows customization of the player character's face can prompt this. Some can take it to absolutely preposterous if not deeply unsettling levels.
  • Captain Walker of Spec Ops: The Line - a grizzled veteran with a prominent square jaw and heroic Perma Stubble - enters Dubai to try to save as many people as possible after the world left it for dead, though it's inverted when he begins committing atrocities left and right for "justice" and vengeance as he breaks down.

    Web Comics 
  • Prince Ossomer of Erfworld has one by necessity since his appearance is a Shout-Out to Superman. His brother Ansom has a less pronounced (but still pretty manly) chin. Their brother Tramennis has the cleft, but his chin is quite narrow, so it's not as noticeable. Their father King Slately probably has one as well, underneath that King-of-Hearts beard.
  • Mimic in Rusty and Co.
  • Schlock Mercenary
    • One character takes a missile in his chin, and when it's rebuilt he has one of these. Legs remarks that it looks heroic, like it belongs in a comic book... and then the narrator insists that, for the sake of the Fourth Wall, the chin has to go.
    • Surgical reconstruction and Fourth Wall damage aside, there's a ton of lantern-jawed heroes in the comic: Kaff, Nick, Shep, Andy, Hob, Brad (after bulking up), Pranger, Doyt Gyo/Doythaban, hell, even Kerchak has the gorilla version...
  • Tweep brings us Captain Stone from the Show Within a Comic Space Force.
  • Art from Sequential Art is drawn with about half his face being square jaw and chin. He had also saved the planet a minimum of 3 times. The trope is played with here because he's just a graphic artist, and is often dragged into these situations against his will; he's pretty much Resigned to the Call because it's either the only way he can survive when these problems pop up, or one of his friends gets involved and he has to go and help. He would call the police, but he knows they would never believe the story (he gets involved in some weird shit).

    Web Original 
  • In the web-novel Domina, occasional mention is made of Derek's "strong chin."
  • In Worm, this is one of Brian's more prominent features — although, entertainingly, he is actually the supervillain Grue.
  • In the Whateley Universe, this is common, going along with the Heroic Build of many Exemplars. An extreme example is 'Captain' Bravo, who has this to a laughable degree.
  • In the podcast Welcome to Night Vale, Carlos is continuously described by Cecil as having, among other attractive qualities, a "strong, square jaw". He is also kind, brilliant, and uncommonly brave, if a bit awkward and anti-social. Since it's supposed to be a community radio broadcast, we never actually get visual confirmation, although the fans are more than content to reinforce this.
  • In the Video Games Awesome! LP of Dragon Age: Origins, Becky and Fraser end up making a female dwarf noble with a ridiculously large and square jaw who they name 'Chinderella'.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • First on this list should be Bruce "If Chins Could Kill" Campbell.
  • Michael Schumacher.
  • Jay Leno, who does the voice for The Crimson Chin. He may not necessarily be heroic, but his chin is. His autobiography is even titled Leading With My Chin. And his Battle Bot (occasionally trotted out for an exhibition match) was called Chinkilla.
  • Another real life example: David Hayter, who did act, very briefly, in live-action film once upon a time. And cosplays as Solid Snake.
  • Pat Tillman. An NFL football player who became a soldier.
  • Patrick Warburton. When combined with his manly voice, he's become the go-to guy for characters like this (as noted in the description).
  • Ditto Craig T. Nelson (voice of Mr. Incredible). Though the years seem to be slowly eating away at his chin cleft.
  • John Barrowman
  • Robert Z'Dar has a lantern face.
  • It's mentioned in Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt that Adam West only got the part of Batman because he fit this trope more than another (better, apparently) actor.
  • Sigourney Weaver is foremost amongst the female exemplars.
  • Matt Smith
  • UFC Bantamweight Urijah Faber
  • Benito Mussolini, demonstrating that not everybody with one is a good guy.
  • American History in general presents George Washington in this manner. Washington sat for a ton of portraits to get his image out to the general public. According to the History Channel's Death Masks program, Washington often times convinced (bribed?) the artist to give him the Lantern Jaw of Justice. The most famous example that doesn't feature his Lantern Jaw of Justice was a portrait was done by Gilbert Stuart. Of all of the portraits done, Washington detested this portrait... and the reason? It doesn't feature his trademark Lantern Jaw of Justice - Gilbert Stuart refused to paint the manliness, so instead gave us one of the most accurate representations of his real chin. See? Even back then, he realized the importance of giving the impression that you're a hero and ooze responsibility, leadership and trustworthiness - all by the power of his chinny chin chin. The portrait is most prominently featured on the $1 bill.

    Ol' Georgie didn't help his case any by not putting his dentures in for that portrait, but reconstructions of his face show that his chinny chin chin was indeed quite strong when his teeth were in his head. Besides, this is George Washington we're talking about; his chin could have been on backwards and he'd still be seen as a hero. This is particularly strange, as the dour expression in this particular portrait is usually attributed to how firmly George had to hold his mouth to keep in the dentures he wore at the time (which had, among other awkward features, springs to help them open, so he had to bite down to keep his mouth closed, and they had a tendency to slip about if he didn't keep his lips held firm).
  • Related to the above, portraits of Andrew Jackson suggest he had one of these. Given the man was President and a Four-Star Badass who had one foot knee-deep in Crazy Awesome and the other planted squarely up someone's ass, deserving or otherwise, he was probably entitled to the chin.
  • Formula One racing driver David Coulthard, whose jawline is so square it has to be seen to be believed.
  • Reggie Fils-Aime, as amusingly exaggerated in his official Mii.
  • This was known as the Habsburg Lip or the Habsburg Chin — and, as Charles II proved, in real life, there are limits to its appeal.
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau of Game of Thrones fame.
  • This is one of several reasons everyone agrees that, whatever one might think of his personality or politics, Mitt Romney looks "presidential": his jaw and hair look like they came right out of a '50s superhero comic.
  • Ben Affleck. Parodied in a South Park episode where he's supposed to be the long lost son of a couple who literally have butt faces. And Cartman nicknames him "Ben Assfleck".
  • Léo Major.
  • Abraham Lincoln told the painter of his presidential portrait: “As a painter . . . you should be a judge between this unknown correspondent and me. She complains of my ugliness. It is allowed to be ugly in the world, but not as ugly as I am. She wishes me to put on false whiskers, to hide my horrible lantern jaws. Will you paint me with false whiskers?” The man refused Lincoln’s request
  • Richard III was recently found to have had one.
  • The Habsburg lip is arguably a Real Life deconstruction of this—taking the Lantern Jaw of Justice to the point of outright deformity. This is what you get when you have the most inbred line of royalty in European history.
  • Quentin Tarantino also has a huge chin, often exaggarated in caricature.
  • John Cleese's chin is also a main target for caricature.
  • Morrissey's chin is as prominent as his Big Ol' Eyebrows.
  • Satchel, lead guitarist of Steel Panther.

Alternative Title(s):

Heroic Chin, Chin Amen, Manly Chin