Some people are constantly trying to point out why Japanese manga is better than American comic books or vice versa. Well, sorry to break to some of you out there, but there’s actually a lot comic books and manga have in common aside from having pictures and words in boxes. Both have awesome characters and both take their mustaches seriously, even though said mustaches often go unmentioned. In both comic books and manga, mustaches are generally the unsung heroes, defining their characters as VIPs. The characters who generally wear mustaches have prestige, charm, toughness and, sometimes, villany. Much like how someone’s resume or business cards can impress total strangers, these characters’ mustaches display their owners’ reputation at a glance.
Below is a list of 10 mustachioed characters from American comic books and Japanese manga. The mustaches range from walrus to handlebar to the toothbrush mustache (which now has a terrible reputation thanks to one historical figure). Sure, manga and comic books have differences, but the power of the mustache can bring us all together!
10) Sinestro, Green Lantern
Sinestro’s whisper-thin, unconnected ‘stache might be more suited to pedophiles than intergalactic space cops, but Sinestro has never worried what anyone thought about him. That’s why he left the Green Lanterns (or got kicked out, tomayto, tomahto) to form the evil Sinestro Corps. Admittedly, Sinestro gets points for consistency, but he loses points because his mustache should have clearly indicated to everybody in the Green Lantern corps that he was going to turn evil eventually.
9) Mr. Lodge, Archie Comics
There are plenty of people who have mustaches in the town of Riverdale: Pop Tate, Archie’s dad, town racist Samson Smythe, and so on and so forth. But no one’s mustache is as wealthy as Mr. Lodge’s. While Mr. Lodge is generally the benevolent, nice rich man in the town, constantly spoiling his daughter Veronica and refusing to take crap from Archie, in the recent Life with Archie issues, Mr. Lodge has become a mustachioed villain, taking any opportunity to ruin Archie’s life in two different alternate universes! All Mr. Lodge needs to do now is twirl his mustache while laughing maniacally to truly become the most hated man in Riverdale.
8) Alex Louis Armstrong, Fullmetal Alchemist
Handlebar mustaches signify classic charm and refined grittiness, worn by such historic greats as Wild West gunslinger Wyatt Earp, U.S. cavalry officer George Armstrong Custer, U.S. presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft and others, including Alex Louis Armstrong of the State Military in Fullmetal Alchemist. This gentle giant with a storied lineage rocks one impressive blond handlebar mustache, evoking his sheer brute strength as well as his nobility and soldier pride. Even though Armstrong’s surprisingly sensitive and hates fighting, no one would dare laugh at him for crying; they’d be too scared of his physical abilities and his impressive ‘stache.
7) Omni-Man, Invincible
Omni-Man probably wins the award for the most all-purpose mustache in indie comics; when he’s a hero, his mustache is a sign of manly heroism. When he’s a villain, his mustache becomes shorthand for evil. When he’s an anti-hero, his mustache shows his gradual change from bad to good.
The proof of Omni-Man’s commanding mustache can be found in IGN’s list of the 100 top comic book villains. Omni-Man was 93rd on the list, and his mustache was cited as part of the reason for his ranking. It doesn’t matter if he’s good or evil — no matter what his morality, Omni-Man’s power lies in the mustache.
6) Commissioner Jim Gordon, Batman
Mustaches can add grittiness to a man’s face, and Commissioner Jim Gordon’s sure got tons of grit to spare. Being the head of Gotham’s finest is a tough job, especially when you’ve got to deal with a crazy clown, a strange scarecrow and a woman with poison plants on top of dealing with a certain mysterious bat giving him assistance. However, Gordon’s mustache never lets him down. His walrus mustache is like his business card, emitting the toughness, fairness and by-the-book ways of its owner. If Gordon ever shaved his mustache, the world would react similar to when Jeopardy’s Alex Trebek lost his; people would think the magic is gone forever.
5) Hercule/Mr. Satan, Dragonball Z
There aren’t many mustaches in the world of Dragonball Z (it’s heavier on the mustache/beard combo), but out of all of the mustaches there are in the series, Hercule’s reigns supreme. Hercule, or “Mr. Satan,” as he’s known in the original manga, is a mockery of pro-wrestling, taking the credit as the Savior of Earth after Goku and the gang defeats Cell and the Androids. However, the splendor his mustache gives him is all his to own. His Hulk Hogan-esque mustache cements his cheesy wrestling glory and entertaining prowess. Too bad his muscles aren’t as powerful; otherwise, he’d be the complete package.
4) Dum Dum Dugan, Marvel Comics
Dum Dum Dugan might be stereotyped as a Briton-turned-Bostonian with his bowler hat, and while the hat is very Mary Poppins, the man himself is not one to be taken lightly–he’s a rifle expert for S.H.I.E.L.D., is bulging with muscles, smokes huge cigars and he has a killer mustache.
Someone who wears a bowler hat with a bodysuit obviously follows the beat of their own drummer when it comes to style. Dum Dum Dugan uses his same fashion sense with his mustache. Sometimes, he’s portrayed as having a natural walrus mustache. Sometimes, that walrus ‘stache is waxed into a handlebar shape. Either way, his mustache says, “Don’t mess with me.”
3) Whitebeard, One Piece
Whitebeard, a.k.a. Edward Newgate, is a pirate that actually doesn’t have a beard, despite his name (there are no two different words for “beard” and “mustache” in the Japanese language). However, he’s more of a pirate than you’ve ever seen — he stands twice as tall as regular men, is one of the four most powerful pirates in the world of One Piece, and can summon earthquakes thanks to having eaten the Quake-Quake devil fruit. But his number one defining characteristic is, of course, his massive, scythe-like mustache. It looks like Whitebeard could cut his foes in half with it — and, given how crazy One Piece is — he probably has.
2) J. Jonah Jameson, Spider-Man
There are only two people on earth that can sport a small, toothbrush mustache and not have people immediately think they love Hitler: Charlie Chaplin is one, and J. Jonah Jameson is the other. The tough-as-nails editor-in-chief of The Daily Bugle has singlehandedly reclaimed the toothbrush ‘stache from the German dictator, although he’s still the only one with the balls to wear it, unironically and unapologetically. Hell, he even recently got made mayor of New York City in the Spidey comics. Do you think anyone who ever sported the Hitler, even if only for a day, could be elected to reasonably high office in real life? No way.
1) The Celestial Spirit King, Fairy Tail
The Celestial Spirit King is a strange being to behold: blue-green skin; red, pupil-less eyes that resemble Cyclops’ shades; and a crazy gold helmet with blue gill-looking things on the sides. He’s a spiritual being so anything goes, and that goes double for his huge, white mustache. It’s a forceful-looking one, basically jutting out from under his nose from his sheer galactic will. No mere mortal can have this type of mustache (obviously Whitebeard comes close, but he’s no mere mortal). The Spirit King’s mustache only gives a glimpse of this character’s awesome power and strength.