NW Nerd

These are the stories that make us nerds

NW Nerd is a podcast with feature stories on geeky interests, as well as talk on current and past issues within fandom and pop culture. 

Butt Chin Theory

BY Dyer Oxley

A few folks have approached me after I discussed my butt chin theory on the NW Nerd Podcast. I fielded a lot of “what if,” or “what about this character” type questions. So I write this to clear up any confusion.

(Jason Csizmadi, Flickr)

(Jason Csizmadi, Flickr)

Before we get into this, let’s be clear, I have a butt chin myself. And this theory only represents my personal observations. Also, when it comes to superheroes, different artists have taken liberties with characters over the decades they've been drawn. Superman, for example, is sometimes shown with a cleft, and sometimes without. This is the same for Batman and so forth. So I concede that these characters I’m about to discuss are not always represented with a butt chin.

Physiognomy -- or making judgments about personality based on a person’s physical characteristics -- is nothing new. For generations it’s been used with aspects of pseudo and genuine science to gauge personality traits. And many have considered the cleft chin in this respect.

Growing up with a cleft chin, you are essentially emerging in the world with a butt on your face. This is often regarded as an attractive feature, but still, it’s there – the butt prominently featured on your face as you greet the world. This affects a person. It is a daily challenge.

So what happens to a person who grows up with this? How does it influence their character?

I contend that it either makes you or breaks you. In cases such as Superman, he leaps over his butt chin. Notice that his disguise is wearing glasses – being human. When he is his true self, he wears no mask, prominently showing off his chin.

Now let’s look at Batman. Bruce Wayne is well-known around Gotham. You would think that he would go through great lengths to be covert as he is Batman. He doesn’t want to be found out. But what part of Batman is not disguised? Batman’s cowl does not cover his chin – leaving it naked and shown to the world. Why? Why does he feature his chin?

Wolverine has been drawn differently over the decades depending on the artist. Jim Lee has been known to present Wolverine with a butt chin. And Hugh Jackman who plays Wolverine on the big screen has a slight butt chin himself. Jackman is widely regarded as an ideal representation of Wolverine in the flesh.

And what part of Wolverine’s face is shaved? He has some great chops, but his chin is free from obscurity.

Whether conscious or not, it’s as if the artists, or the characters within their own universe, are aware that something is going on here with the butt chin. Like purifying through fire, the characters overcame the butt on the face, and it molded their character for the better. It made them stronger people. Perhaps that is why their chins are so prominently displayed. It’s a badge of honor.

Now consider The Flash – no butt chin. And you’ll notice that with many depictions of his costume, the mask comes up to cover that portion of his face. His face is covered just like Batman’s, with the lower half revealed, yet his chin is covered.

Captain America has a similar situation with the chin strap for his helmet.

Spider-Man? He has a full mask. Why? His lessons never came from his chin, rather, learning that with great power comes great responsibility. The chin isn’t a factor and is therefore unseen.

Butt chins and villains

Just as a butt chin can make a superhero – refining their character – it can also break a person. This is where we get super villains. Perhaps some people are crushed under the weight of their butt chin and turn evil as a result.

You notice that the most menacing, evil representations of The Joker show a terrifying butt chin. Red Skull – he has a pretty gross butt chin.

Darkseid’s chin is often covered, similar to The Flash’s presentation. Could he have butt chin envy?

And Lex Luther – never a butt chin. He had a lot of events and reasons he turned evil. But he never had a butt chin to influence him. Could that have changed things? Could the challenge of a butt chin have molded his character for the better? It makes you wonder if the world was one chin dimple away from being spared a lot of tragedy. 

Listen to Nick and Dyer's discussion at the 10 minute mark below.