Masters of Disguise

The art of visual deception
May 12, 2014
What's in a disguise?

The purpose of a disguise is to conceal your identity. You know keep it secret keep it safe. To be able to hide in plain sight. Blend in. Disappear. Remain inconspicuous. Sneak into a heavily fortified base. Escape from the enemy stronghold. Infiltrate the opposition's ranks. Right?

Well some people have the idea, and some fail miserably. Let's look at some examples.
We'll start off with superheroes. The superheroes don a disguise to protect their real lives. Sometimes known as an alias, alter ego, or secret identity. They need to keep their identities secret so that their enemies don't kidnap their loved ones to hold for ransom or worse. Can you imagine how hard it would be for a hero who's real identity is publicly known? You know you're the guy who owns a truck and "buddies" are always asking you to come help move stuff? Well this is worse, way worse, "Oh hey pal could you fly on over here to help me move this piano? Crush this guy who is picking on me? Help me sneak into the movies? Use your x-ray vision to see what is really happening in there? Help me rob the bank." Etc. Etc. Etc. Your phone would never stop ringing.

DC Comics

Superman alias Clark Kent
Disguise Level: utter failure

How throwing on some glasses and combing back the s curl is a disguise that fooled anyone I will never know.

That however did not stop DC from doing the exact same thing with...

Wonder Woman alias Diana Prince
Disguise Level: Abismal

Hey girl did you do something new to your hair?

Then they decided that maybe just a little mask that covers the eyes will do the trick. I mean nobody could recognize someone wearing a mask could they?

Robin alias Dick Grayson
Disguise Level: Laughable

Hmmm seems to work let's keep trying that.

Green Lantern alias Hal Jordan
Disguise Level: Miserable

Green Arrow alias Oliver Queen
Disguise Level: Amateur

Hmmm who do I know that has a huge blonde goatee.

Alright move over DC let Marvel Comics show you how it is done.

Marvel Comics

Uncanny X-Men
Disguise Level: Moderate

During the Fall of the Mutants the X-Men died but were brought back by the Goddess Roma who made them invisible to all forms of electronic detection i.e. cameras, video, radar, FLIR, scanners, surveillance, etc. They were still visible to plain sight but the world at large believed them to be dead. Too bad the spell wore off.

Take for example...

Wolverine alias Logan aka Patch
Disguise Level: Average, as Patch: Fail

With perhaps the most recognizable hairstyle ever not to mention claws let's just throw an eye-patch on him so he can pretend to be incognito.

Because the costume would be a dead give away let's try some black spandex with some black shadowing (hopefully) fishnet (shudder) around the eyes. That oughtta do it.

Incredible Hulk alias Dr. Bruce Banner aka Mr. Fixit
Disguise Level: Expert, as Joe Fixit: Noob

Nobody, I mean nobody would know that the puny scientist Banner can become a mountain of emerald muscle. Unless of course he falls asleep or passes out as Hulk at their house or something.

Now everyone knows that originally Hulk was gray and for a little while in the 80s Hulk became gray again. Also during that time he had an alternate identity as a enforcer/leg breaker in Las Vegas as Joe Fixit.

Unfortunately the Hulk in a suit is still the Hulk.

Ironman alias Tony Stark
Disguise Level: Average, after telling the world who he is: Idiot!

Daredevil alias Matt Murdock
Disguise Level: Decent

Not many would guess that a blind lawyer who defends super criminals by day beats them up by night as a ninja with heightened senses and radar.

Spider-Man alias Peter Parker
Disguise Level: average

Originally it was a pretty decent disguise, I mean who woulda figured that the skinny little book-worm Parker was actually Spider-Man?

That is until his enemies started figuring it out. Then it really didn't go well for him.

Well moving on, how about cartoons?

HE-MAN alias Prince Adam
Disguise Level: You can't be serious. You are joking, right?

I mean aside from his Adam's pink jacket and purple spandex, and HE-MAN's tan, it is so completely obvious that a child could pick him out of a line up. It speaks volumes on how gullible Teela is. I mean who else in Eternia has a green tiger for a pet and a little Lord Fontleroy haircut?

Supposedly only three others share this secret. Our friends the Sorceress, Man-At-Arms, and Orko. Plus anyone who has eyes, an I.Q. over 20, and the rest of the known universe. Epic fail Filmation.

Disguise Level: Hahahaha ha ha hahaha whoooie!

Go home Faker we know it is you. He is probably buddies with that Terminator 600 series with the rubber skin. What was Skeletor smoking when he thought he could fool anyone with a evil robot HE-MAN clone that was blue with orange hair? The version from India is even worse it adds the little eye mask. A disguise for a disguise! At least you get the rest of Skeletor's armor and his havoc staff.

Santa HE-MAN

Just stop Filmation! Please, just stop!


Sweet yeah, more than meets the eye! The synthesized voice tells me they are, "Robots in disguise". They must have it down right? I mean they could be any vehicle on the ground or in the sky and you would never know right? Let's look at some examples...

Disguise Level: Prehistoric

Yeah they look just like any old dinosaur you would see walking down the street now-a-days. Wait... oh man.

Disguise Level: Buggy

Yeah no human could ever guess that insects as big as a house are actually alien robots.

Disguise Level: Bad, really bad.

Giant boombox, hmmm not buying it. I mean who wouldn't want a boom box that big, but something is fishy. They almost got that big in the 80s.

Disguise Level: Fools nobody

Yeah, a gun as big as a semi-truck. Totally believable.


Good guys, bad guys there are more masks than a Friday the 13th convention.

Snake eyes, Storm Shadow, Cobra Commander, Destro, Firefly, Beach Head, Cobra soldiers, Crimson Guard, Vipers, Ninjas, Croc Master, and even the master of disguise Zartan.

Zartan alias too many to name
Disguise Level: Master

Zartan can imitate anyone using masks, make up, holograms, ventriloquism, and he is a true polyglot speaking over 20 languages. He can even alter his skin color at will to blend in with his environment.

Cobra Commander filename classified and Destro alias James McCullen Destro XXIV
Disguise Level: Expert even unmasked they are still in disguise!

Snake Eyes alias classified
Disguise Level: Professional, and trust me he is way better off with the mask.

Firefly alias unknown
Disguise Level: Professional, he has no face!

Storm Shadow alias Thomas S. Arashikage
Disguise Level: Professional

Inspector Gadget

Disguise Level: Poor only Inspector Gadget doesn't recognize his own dog.

Chief Quimby
Disguise Level: Expert

The man can literally pop-up anywhere.

Underdog alias Shoeshine Boy
Disguise Level: Infurrier

Basically an anthropomorphic dog/Superman analog.

Scooby Doo Villains
Disguise Level: Passable

Remember they would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Disguise Level: In the sewers

Why did giant mutant turtles need little face masks? What identities were they trying to hide?

Disguise Level: Yikes! Whoa dude put the helmet back on!


Disguise Level: Pretty darn cool

From decayed corpse to Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living

Snow White

Evil Queen Grimhilde alias old hag/witch
Disguise Level: Master


Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Phooey
Disguise Level: Experts

Since the 80s Huey wears red, Dewey in blue, and Louie in Green. But they have worn Red, Green, Blue, light Blue, Yellow, Black, Orange, purple, and their Junior Woodchucks uniforms.

All they have to do is wear the same color shirts or switch shirts and no one can tell them apart.

They are so good at it that even Disney artists get confused and sometimes draw too many. Enter Donald's fourth nephew Phooey Duck!

Disney comic editor Bob Foster named him after the exclamation that Donald commonly gives. Count the ducks in these foreign Uncle Scrooge comics.

Video Games

Disguise Level: adequate

Willow for NES

Willow has a specter spell that changes him into a monster; a tiny blob. Out of all the monsters that is the one you pick?

With the spell you could use to pass over dangerous ground, avoid fights with monsters, and scare the guard away from the castle gate.

Metal Gear for NES

Solid Snake aka Kyle Reese from Terminator
Disguise Level: hilarious

In the game to avoid detection by the enemy you sneak past cameras and ninja past sentries... in a cardboard box.

Not suspicious at all. Hey wait did that box just move?

Film and Television

They Live
Disguise Level: Masters

Not only did they successfully secretly infiltrate our society they are now in charge telling us to obey, conform, reproduce, consume, do not question authority, and have no independent thought. All without us even knowing.

V Visitors
Disguise Level: Good

Friendship is universal but it comes at a high price like being conquered, enslaved, and harvested for food by giant carnivorous reptilians masquerading as humanoid visitors from another planet.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Disguise Level: promising

He fooled mom!

Child Catcher From Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Disguise Level: Poor but hella creepy

See the Child Catcher is this whacked out murderous child abducting psychopath sent to find the hiding children with a huge net. He can smell them.

His disguise, an honest seller of sweets, lollipops, and ice cream, all free today! With a decked out horse drawn carriage of fun that masquerades the mobile jail cell.

Way to force that lesson home Disney! I will never accept candy from strangers. Man I still have nightmares thinking about this guy.

My main man Henry Walton Jones, Jr. aka Indiana Jones

Disguise Level: Accomplished

Wo ist Jones? Where is Jones? Hiding in plain sight of course.

As a Nazi soldier and Officer

Zeppelin ticket taker

As Scottish Lord Clarence MacDonald

Admittedly not his best, but hey it got him in the door.

Star Wars

Han Solo
Disguise Level: as Stormtrooper Decent, as a wall hanging, so so.

Marching into a detention area is not what I had in mind.

I will not give up my favorite decoration. I like Captain Solo where he is.

Luke Skywalker
Disguise Level: below average

Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?

Princess Leia Organa aka Boushh the bounty hunter
Disguise Level: Awesome

Because he's holding a thermal detonator!

Lando Calrissian aka Jabba's skiff guard
Disguise Level: well it worked but wasn't that great

Darth Vader alias Anakin Skywalker

Disguise Level: Amazing. Nobody called that he was a crusty old dude underneath. No you did not!

Strikes fear into your heart and exudes evil with helmet, tragic dying old dude without.

Well hopefully if you made it this far you have learned a thing or two about the art of disguise.

See ya later... or maybe not!

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