Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Self-Portrait 3: Nemesis

It's one of those question that you've always asked yourself. You're pretty sure you know the answer, you're just waiting for science (TM) to come up with a final inarguable conclusion that you can put in the big book of facts and finally stop thinking about it. That question is of course 'who is the most famous bald person in the world ever?' Is it Billy Zane? Sean Connery? Bruce Willis? Gandhi? No, it's Superman's arch-nemesis Lex Luthor (or plain old 'Luthor' until it was seen fit to give him a first name in the sixties).

I normally have great, thick privet-hedge hair. The kind of hair that causes barbers, coiffures and other associated follicle technicians to all simultaneously take their lunch breaks as soon as I enquire about getting an appointment. I realise as I advance in years that this state of affairs may not be a problem for much longer. My relationship with my hair is finite. All I have to do to remind myself of that is look at my brother. I was thinking of things to do as a self-portrait and wondered to myself 'what would I look like with no hair?' The not-very-suprising answer turned out to be 'I look like my brother'. The second thing I thought was 'all bald people look a bit like Superman's arch-nemesis Lex Luthor', because I spend far to much time in life thinking 'things in life are like things in comic books' when, all in all, they're not. As a potentially interesting sidenote, Luthor wasn't even originally supposed to be bald, he had a big mop of red hair until Joe Schuster forgot to draw it one time and then he just stayed bald.

Batman has an arch-nemesis in The Joker, Spiderman has Green Goblin but they also both have huge 'rogue galleries'. With Penguin, Riddler, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Bane etc it's hardly any wonder that 'The World's Greatest Detective' often ends up the supporting actor in his own movies. Superman doesn't have this. He's been 'killed' by Doomsday, he's fought multiple incarnations of Bizarro, but those characters aren't iconic, aren't integral to the Superman myth the way that Doc Octopus is to Spiderman or Catwoman is to Batman. Superman only has one adversary of note and that is Luthor (Richard Pryor doesn't quite make the grade).

I don't have an arch-nemesis, I wouldn't know what to do with one. The closest thing I have to even a bog-standard enemy is probably the hairdressers. I fear a visit to the hairdressers in the same way others do the dentists. Obviously it's a fairly amicable kind of rivalry wherein a small amount of money is exchanged for a slightly lackluster service. In fact, what I consider to be the quest for divine retribution may actually be a trade agreement.

'Make me look like a film star'
'Will Doc Brown from Back To The Future be acceptable?'
'But you have hair like angry cotton wool'
'Here's a tenner'

It's unlikely that in sixty years time people will be writing comics, making films and developing computer games based on the eternal struggle between right and wrong that is my bi-annual haircut, but I think I'm OK with that.


  1. Baldness makes you look like you could win in a fight. If you drew yourself as a bald man with your glasses, do you think you'd look like you could both win in a fight and hold your own in a conversation about being a postmodern man? Wait a minute... You're Tyler Durden!

  2. @ Ink: I think the only result of a combination of baldness and glasses would be that I would end up fighting myself!