“You’re never fully dressed without a smile!” cheers the eponymous song from Broadway’s Annie, and pop culture is certainly filled with memorable characters who just can’t stop cheesin’. Some smiles are broad, others quiet and mischievous. Some smilers are clever tricksters and others are insecure middle schoolers, but regardless of style, we’re rounding up all of the most memorable mandibles in pop culture!
Mona Lisa, Leonardo DaVinci
The Mona Lisa is perhaps one of the most well known and beloved portraits ever created, and the most entrancing thing about her is the subtle smile she wears. Historians, novelists, conspiracy theorists, and art lovers alike have all speculated on what the significance of her quirked smile, though the truth may remain forever a mystery. Either way, no one can talk about memorable smiles without thinking of this classic masterpiece.
Cheshire Cat, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
If there ever were a grin that exemplified kookiness and smugness in one sinister smile, it would be the toothy smirk of the Cheshire Cat from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. “We’re all mad here,” is his teasing refrain as he teleports from branch to branch, offering so-called wisdom, all the while confusing poor Alice more and more.
The Grinch, How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Grinch’s malevolent, Christmas-stealing-smile is perhaps one of the most GIFed images on the internet. It’s slow and sinister upward curl is iconic in the truest sense of the word. The only thing more impressive than this animated heart-freezing grin is the fact that Jim Carey, who played the Grinch in the live action version released in 2000, can actually make the face in real life!
The Joker, Batman
“Let’s put a smile on that face!” cackles the Joker in almost every adaptation of the classic character, another example of a crazed smiler. The nefarious clown has more backstories for his smile than he does teeth, but the ambiguity of his smile doesn’t make it any less terrifying. Whether he’s frustrating and bamboozling Batman in the movies or on the page, this comic criminal is one of our favorites.
If you’ve ever played an arcade game in your life (and even if you haven’t) you’ve probably seen the incredible chomping jaws of Pac-Man racing towards a blue and white ghost, or perhaps a juicy bonus fruit. When you’ve got a smile that takes up half your face, you’d want to show it off too! Pac-Man has been grinning and gaming since the 1980’s and is still going strong with more than thirty licensed game appearances to his name.
Stanley Ipkiss, The Mask
Stanley Ipkiss is the average-Joe banker who stumbles across a supernatural mask that grants its wearers superpowers in The Mask series of comics and movies. The mask in question gives its wearer not just superpowers, but also an enduring smile that leers at the viewer, no matter the tone of the scene. This is also another nod the incredible facial muscles of Jim Carey, as he played the hapless-turned-hokey Ipkiss in the 1994 film adaptation.
Raina Telgemeier, Smile
Not everyone has a perfect smile… especially in middle school! Adolescence can be one of the hardest times to find a reason to smile, especially when your front two teeth are accidentally knocked out! Luckily, Raina Telgemeier’s award-winning graphic memoir Smile exists to help kids going through their own dental woes love their smiles too.
Toothless, How to Train Your Dragon
Nothing is cuter than Toothless from the How to Train Your Dragon movies. His smile is a little different from most of the others on this list, because instead of a mouthful of shiny choppers, he’s as gummy as his name suggests. But don’t let his adorable smile fool you – mess with him too much and his fangs will come out!
Which smile is your favorite? Tweet us at @quirkbooks to let us know!
Posted by Hannah Frank
Having a sibling can be a great thing, a person to grow up with, a person to share experiences with, and someone to talk to about your parents. We love our siblings and wanted to celebrate life with them by giving a look at some of the best siblings in comic books and graphic novels. While they may not always get along, that doesn’t’ mean they don’t love each other on some level.
Posted by David Winnick
Header from @nathananderson on UnSplash
When you imagine a good son, you may conjure up the image of a child or man who always respects their parents or does something above and beyond the average son in some self-sacrificing way, but this list is not about those sons.
March 4th is National Sons Day (yes, there’s a National Son Day in September and a Son and Daughter Day in August – yes, it’s confusing), so now would be a good time to highlight some of the low-key goodest sons in literature. These are not the sons framed with blinding halos, but rather ones with glaring flaws, ones who’ve lost their fathers or mothers, or ones who quietly but deeply love their parents and deserve the title of goodest sons.
Posted by Gabrielle Bujak
It may be hard to imagine Chris Evans as the villain. After all, he’s a hero. He’s Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he’s the adorable love interest in plenty of chick flicks, he’s just generally typecast as the good guy…until now. In black comedy Knives Out, Evans gets a shot at playing spoiled playboy Ransom Drysdale, and it looks good on him!
In honor of his retirement as Captain America and a move into the world of new villainous goodness, there are a few more bad guys that Evans would absolutely nail…
Posted by Rose Moore
Almost everybody at some point in their life has had to pull the plug on a friendship. Maybe the person was a toxic presence or perhaps trouble just followed them wherever they went or maybe the people just grew apart. Whatever the reason may be, sometimes it is necessary to just cut the ties and run. We wanted to take a closer look at some of the literary friendships which should have been ended long before the story played out.
Posted by David Winnick
Summer is well and truly here, and that means that the nights are filled with barbeques and patio drinks…and of course, moths, who just can’t stay away from those party vibes! As well as being an uninvited guest at summer gatherings, moths are the underrated cousin to the butterfly in the world of pop culture. They aren't as flashy or as colorful, and there are far fewer moth characters to be found in the pages of books or on the screen, but there are a few. This month, we are celebrating the dark and fuzzy winged ones that appear across fictional world and in pop culture, whether they're the star of the show or just a helpful little friend.
Posted by Rose Moore