Although they’re not a standard component of a superhero’s look, there’s perhaps a deeper relationship between popular characters and glasses than many imagine.
In the world of crime fight, concealing identities and harnessing abilities is paramount to defeating evil. Throughout the genre’s history, increasing numbers of superheroes have had glasses incorporated into their appearances, highlighting their humane sides.
So, let’s take a look at a selection of comic-book heroes that wear spectacles.
Beast – X-Men
Back in 1963, Beast made his first appearance in the X-Men in becoming one of the franchise’s founding members. Throughout the character’s history, Hank McCoy has been depicted in numerous ways, including with the use of various colours, such as blue, purple, and grey. However, the Stan Lee creation hasn’t solely featured in X-Men developments; with crossing over with the Defenders, Illuminati, plus longtime stinst as a member of the Avengers and X-Factor are all part of the Beast’s history.
Despite McCoy’s superhuman side that sees him adopt feline features and superhuman physical strength, Beast has often worn glasses. Over the years, the character’s style has changed, ranging from circular frames in comic books to a rectangular shape in the 2019 Dark Phoenix film. McCoy’s aesthetic variation has since been embraced at a wide array of digital glasses-related platforms, such as GlassesUSA. Across the organisation’s BLUEASE range seen here, there are items that block up to 95 per cent of harmful light three times more than standard alternatives. Prospective buyers can browse through numerous frame colours and shapes. Their offerings include circular options for those seeking a Beast-inspired look.
Carrie Kelley – Batman
Beast isn’t the first nor the last superhero in the genre to wear glasses. Along with the feline mutant, Carrie Kelley is also drawn with yellow-tinted glasses. Following her first appearance as Robin in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns in 1986, the character created by Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, and Lynn Varley became the first full-time female Robin in the series’ history.
The revolutionary concept of having a female Robin has been iconic within the sector, with Kelley featuring in the 2017 Lego Batman Movie with green-shaded glasses, as per CBR. Not only did this version of Batman’s sidekick push social boundaries but Caroline Keene continued the trend of superheroes wearing glasses during the 1980s and beyond.
Oracle – Batman
Interestingly, Kelley isn’t the only character in the Batman franchise’s history to have glasses. Along with the ground-breaking Robin, Barbara Gordon is another iconic character that wears spectacles. The daughter of James Gordon – the Gotham City police commissioner – began her role as Batgirl in 1967, before an altercation with the Joker in Batman: The Killing Joke left her paralysed.
In many ways, her adversity allowed the series to create a much-loved hero in the form of Oracle. Following the incident, Gordon became the brains behind Batman’s technological equipment, allowing her to fight crime from a distance. While she wore glasses as Batgirl, the franchise continued the theme as she transitioned to Oracle, as her new identity often wore rectangular frames.
A Favoured Accessory with Developers
As highlighted above, there is a long-standing history between superheroes and glasses that’s continued into the 21st century. If the past is an indicator of what’s to come, then it’s likely that future characters will wear an array of different frames to keep the deep-rooted trend alive. In the genre, glasses are more than a mere accessory, they’re also a reminder of the sector’s origins.