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Paper Thin Disguise / Webcomics

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"Your powers of deception and trickery are bewildering, child."

  • 8-Bit Theater:
    • In one storyline, the bad guys sneak into a castle by hiding behind a banner with "Doin' fine" on it.
    • And at another point, they trick the Light Warriors by donning pirate hats. Which fools even the Magnificent Bastard Thief. Black Mage is the only one who isn't fooled, and nearly has an aneurysm trying to get his teammates to see the trap right in front of their faces. The worst part? One of the Dark Warriors, Bikke, is a pirate TO BEGIN WITH, and doesn't look different AT ALL. AND EVERYONE IS STILL FOOLED.
      Fighter: We know one thing for sure. There's a mystery on this boat and these sailors are at the heart of it!
      Black Mage: There is no mystery. They are the Dark Warriors. They're not even wearing their disguises now.
      Garland: Hiya.
    • Subverted at yet another point, where Black Mage kills an evil cultist and slices off his face to use as a mask. Upon greeting the other cultists they immediately realize that he killed their friend and is using his face as a mask, and lecture him on what a poor disguise it is.
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    • At various points, nearly everyone resorts to fake glasses and a moustache. Usually these are worn at an angle, because, well, sprite comic. It almost never works, possibly because everyone uses the same fake glasses and moustache.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja:
    • Parodied, where the doctor tries to achieve this using only a name tag. No one's fooled — the mask, you know — but they play along. In fact, every single time he tries to disguise himself, he leaves his mask on. Apparently Contractual Genre Blindness is not just for villains these days.
    • Gordito also attempts this in the Sky Pirates chapter, with some success.
  • One of the title character's disguises in Axe Cop is as a baby. A six foot tall axe wielding baby.
  • Batman and Sons: Batman decided to crash a 'Welcome Back' party for Hal. He really didn't try hard. [1].
  • In The Bird Feeder #9, "Disguise", Tina, a hummingbird, tries to spy on Floyd and Darryl by wearing huge glasses and a mustache.
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  • Brawl in the Family subverts this.
  • Building 12: After The Reveal in the first chapter that Alex is a girl, she's generally drawn in a way that, while still fairly flat, she's not likely to be mistaken for a guy. Somehow, The Masquerade remains unbroken.
  • The Buttersafe strip "The Essence of Being Human" features an enormous, disgusting Eldritch Abomination with multiple tentacles and mouths all over its body. It disguises itself using an extremely small mask. A passerby accuses it of being a monster...until the creature suggests "watching cat videos on the Internet." The passerby then immediately warns the hideous beast that "there's a monster somewhere around here pretending to be a human."
  • In Captain SNES: The Game Masta, King Hippo successfully pulls off an Abraham Lincoln disguise with a fake beard and top hat. He explains to Alex (who isn't fooled by the disguise for a moment) that it is the foolproof "Niht Repap" technique, and that Alex must be the Gamemaster if he's capable of seeing through it. Alex then bribes King Hippo with a beer into teaching him the technique so he can escape from prison. He then learns that the technique works too well: when he "disguises" himself as... himself (which is to say, the outfit he was wearing at the beginning of the comic), King Hippo is completely unable to recognize him at all, even when he admits to being Alex.
  • Mocked in Cinema Bums in this comic related to Robert Downey Jr.'s many disguises in Sherlock Holmes (2009).
  • In Commander Kitty, Mittens and Fluffy's plan to fake the crew having a transporter involves Socks showing up wearing a mustache so Ace doesn't recognize him ... and a whole lot of glitter.
  • Depression Comix has this trope as a side effect of using cards with big smiles drawn on them and held over a character's mouth whenever they're faking happiness.
  • Erika and the Princes in Distress : Benoit disguises himself as a woman in order to challenge Queen Lagertha to a duel. Said disguise is incredibly obvious, merely consisting of a badly-adjusted wig and two tangerines under his shirt, not to mention he didn't even bother to shave. Lagertha immediately sees right through it, which surprises Benoit as the guards were somehow completely fooled by it.
  • In Everyday Heroes, two aliens stranded on Earth disguise themselves ... by wearing glasses. Later, it's revealed that they're using an "Adams field", a Shout-Out to the Somebody Else's Problem field used in Life, the Universe and Everything.
  • Exterminatus Now:
  • Freefall:
  • George the Dragon is infamous for using and abusing this particular trope, usually to the disgrace of any human beings present. This is an example where the dragon 'sneaks' into a top secret meeting of the Dragon Hunters Anonymous.
  • In Goblins, Fumbles' plan to protect the warcamp from attacking adventurers by disguising everyone with fake moustaches is initially decried by Chief as 'the dumbest plan ever,' but when the only other ideas the goblins can come up with are 'hope the adventurers poke themselves to death with a pointy stick' and 'cover everyone in their own faeces', it's the plan they eventually go with.
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • In a parody of the trope, several aliens and magical beings successfully disguise themselves with shirts and hats reading things such as "Homo Sapiens" or "Ordinary Student". This filler comic serves as an example.
    • Played with when its revealed that The Masquerade is so strong, people are willing to accept supernatural life as normal rather than face the facts that things are bizarre. This apparently includes thinking a green man wearing a "homo sapian" shirt is supporting gay rights.
    • Spellbooks automatically disguise themselves as regular books with fake titles. These titles include "The Ecology of Anteaters (Not a Spellbook)", "A Perfectly Normal Book", and "The Tacos of Yesteryear". Well, nobody ever said they were good disguises.
      • Eventually it's justified in that Magic is sentient, but doesn't understand humans very well which is why spellbook explanations tended to be long and confusing. Due to overcompensation, they are now short and lack pertinent information.
    • Noah's powered form is technically a good disguise — shadowy figure with Glowing Eyes of Doom. Or rather, with one glowing eye of doom, since he has the same one-side-only Blinding Bangs as he does normally. Melissa is still surprised that Justin recognises him.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: In "Mainly Involves Robots", Antimony dons a pair of plastic antennae and declares herself a robot, repeatedly. Doorbot falls for it; all the other robots simply assume she's a robot because she got past Doorbot. There is also some Lampshade Hanging on that page when another character (and The Trickster at that) comments, "Your powers of deception and trickery are bewildering, child." And this comment is footnoted with "I don't think he's being sarcastic."
  • In Impure Blood, Dara reflects on this trope while considering making a hulking HalfHumanHybrid look inconspicuous.
  • Molly from The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! has pink fur, a large beak, and a peppermint-stripe tail ... yet she can pass in public just by wearing a suit and fake moustache. And in this strip, Molly exemplifies this trope!
    Tall Canadian Scientist: Pourquoi le bag, Mademoiselle?
    Molly: Oh, um... acne!
  • Parodied yet again in I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space where the paper-thin disguise is a pair of glasses.
  • Steffi's disguise in Kiwi Blitz isn't very effective at concealing her identity, especially as it doesn't hide her bright pink hair. In chapter 21, a baddie just walks to her home address, find her in civilian clothing, and calls her by her superhero name. According to the author's comment, by now her "secret identity" is more like a stage name.
  • The Last Days of FOXHOUND: Try to find the ninja.
  • Another subversion in The Law of Purple: the human characters disguise themselves with facepaint to pass as Caligulians, but not only is this not convincing, none of the natives seem to care whether the humans are disguised or not. They ditch the facepaint relatively quickly.
  • Subverted in Narbonic, where a group of intelligent hamsters operate a fake body with a paper plate with a face drawn on — poorly — for their disguise. They can't even get their pronouns right. Nobody is fooled, but tend to take in stride the fact that they're talking to a bunch of hamsters.
  • Paranatural: The vice-principal spies on the group of kids playing Hitball with a disguise that consists on covering herself on a camo-print blanket and moving around a small child-shaped marionette while using bad Totally Radical speech. Somehow, nobody thinks this is weird (though Mayview has some odd standards regarding what "weird" is).
    Vice-principal: Dag sons! These Barnhounds are wiggity-wiggity worse than homework! Let's show them our pep, fellow youths! Xbox, hoo!
    Kid 1: That normal kid is right!
    Kid 2: I think it's cool that he levitates!
  • Princess Chroma: June's identity isn't even close to obscured by her magical girl dress. That doesn't stop her from trying to pretend she has a secret identity (to no avail).
  • In the storyline where Roomies! started getting really strange, a group of aliens escape the notice of the general populace by putting funny shapes on their heads and claiming to be Teletubbies.
  • In Rusty and Co.:
    • The Princess uses this. She really should take off her hat first.
    • Used again by Prestige. It's her ability to fake an illithid's smell that helps pull this off.
  • Lampshaded in Skin Horse here.
  • Slightly Damned pulls this off twice with Buwaro - first he wears a pimp suit which doesn't really cover his horns or fur (people seem too busy proclaiming his friends as hookers to notice), then he explicitly wears no disguise and everyone assumes it's a perfect costume of a Demon.
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • In some early strips, Aylee went out in public wearing a hat and trenchcoat to disguise her alien appearance, which surprisingly worked. In her latest form, she goes through much more effort to create her disguise.
    • Bun-Bun and Kiki have also operated robot versions of Torg and Riff on occasion, which people can't seem to tell apart from the real things despite their obviously blocky appearance.
    • Sasha dresses up as the supervillainess Monicruel in this strip. It works perfectly because, as Crushestro put it, "Boobs and a monocle. Who else could it be?"
  • In one page of Spiff Spoonerton and the Planet of Hot Green Women, Spiff and Miri infiltrate a military base. Miri wears a maid uniform and does nothing to obscure her face. Spiff wears his normal clothing with a piece of paper that reads "Also Maid". Exceptional in that Spiff is literally the only human on the entire planet and both are well known outlaws.
    Miri: I'd be more concerned about how well that went if I wasn't still hung up on why you had a maid uniform in a single-person space craft on an exploratory mission."
    Spiff: A prepared explorer never neglects the possibility he'll need a disguise.
    Miri: But why a human female housecleaner disguise?
    Spiff: ...
  • Step Monster:
    • Matilda's usual efforts to disguising herself as a human consist of squeezing herself into a shirt and pants. Matilda is eight feet tall, weighs six hundred pounds, has horns like a bull, is covered in fur, and generally looks like a cartoony dragon-creature. It works flawlessly; humans don't seem to be able to recognize she's not human until and unless she actually takes the clothes off first. Even Roy, initially meeting her on his first day with child services, simply thinks of her as being a very tall and rather chubby human woman.
    • Averted with Matilda's co-worker Martin; even Matilda didn't realise he wasn't a human with a perpetual smirk and Blinding Bangs until he opened his single giant eye and undid his jacket to expose his Belly Mouth.
  • Subverted in Super Temps as most people see right through the disguises, and just go along with it anyway because the supers themselves are loopy and rather sensitive. Bonus points for the fact that many of the supers themselves not only buy into each others' paper-thin disguises but also think that the civilian populace's paper-thin facade of being fooled is real.
  • Demonstrated in the Three Panel Soul strip "On Subterfuge."
  • Played straight in Zorphbert and Fred, as none of the humans notice the intelligent behaviour, human mannerisms and bloody obvious antennae on the title characters, who are aliens disguised as pet dogs to study Earth.
  • Creating these is one of Rider's powers in Learning with Manga! FGO, which she refers to as "SFX." Olga-Marie's disguise as Gudako is actually reasonably convincing, aside from lacking Dull Eyes of Unhappiness. On the other hand, Rider's attempt to pass for Artoria is more or less a Goofy Suit, not to mention she talks when Artoria is The Voiceless, and has no problem with giving the orders to her "Master." Naturally, it fools everyone, even Artoria herself. In fact, this leads to Rider attempting to pass herself off as Lancer Artoria in order to not be used as NP upgrade fodder, despite the fact that Lancer's design is completely different.


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