Tough Travelling hosted by Fantasy Review Barn.
Each Thursday, inspired by ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland’ we have in hand, we shall tour the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy.
This week’s topic is DISGUISES
Hiding in plain site? Put on a disguise. Often used to sneak into the evil lair. For best results brain a guard and steal his; no one is tracking these things.
Disguises are, indeed, a staple of adventure stories. Few are the characters who haven’t tried to sneak into somewhere wearing some sort of disguise.
The most memorable ones to me are:
Zeus takes up all sorts of disguises, sometimes as a bull or a swan or a human man to get to the various mortal women and men he desires.
As a trickster god Loki of course wears disguises whenever he wants to.
Robin Hood is famous for using several disguises to get into the Nottingham town or play tricks on the rich. Perhaps most famously he disguises himself as an old man to get into the Sheriff’s archery competition to win the golden arrow (or silver arrow in the later retellings).
John Carter: In several Barsoom books John disguises himself as a Red Martian simply by applying red paint to change his skin color. He’s in the Barsoom books by E. R. Burroughs.
Zorro: Maybe we all know by now that Don Diego de la Vega is actually the black clad and masked defender of the oppressed poor in California, but only one person knew that originally, Diego’s faithful servant Bernardo.
Superheroes: Various superheroes use secret identities and in more recent stories they even have identity crises. Is Clark Kent the real person or Superman? At least in darker stories Batman is the real person and Bruce Wayne is just the disguise he uses when necessary.
Spies: As a spy the Black Widow uses several identities which can range from short term to several years. Also, Modesty Blaise uses disguises sometime in Peter O’Donnell’s comics and books.
Supervillains: some villains also have secret identities.
Mystique from the X-Men comics and movies is pretty much the queen of disguises because she can shapeshift herself to look like anyone, including their voice and cloths.
The Skrulls are a whole species of shape shifters who can infiltirate pretty much anything, as was shown to us a few years ago in various Marvel comics.
In Buffy, Willow disguised herself as the Vampire Willow from another time line in the episode Dobbelgangland.