Dr. Hank McCoy, a.k.a Beast from the X-Men, wears eyeglasses, mainly for reading. However, according to the description of his superpowers (e.g. Marvel.com or Wikipedia), he has "animalistic" keen senses including sharp eye-sight. So why does he need to wear eyeglasses?

The out-of-universe answer is to make him look smart, as a gentle intellectual. But what is the in-universe answer?

  • It's probably worth noting that cats can't actually see very well up close (they use their whiskers for close range sensing) and Beast has something of a feline aspect. Probably not what the comic book authors were thinking of, but if it helps lampshade it in your mind... Commented May 27 at 18:11

2 Answers 2


Beast is primarily seen wearing glasses when reading. Beast's Marvel Handbook entry states

Superhuman Senses: Hank possesses enhanced, acute senses that are comparable to those of certain animals, enabling him to see and hear distant objects more clearly than a normal human....

Therefore, it is possible that he wears them specifically because he is farsighted, so that he can see objects at a closer distance.

  • While it isn't mentioned in-universe, humans are presbyopic; we become farsighted with age and universally require reading glasses at some point. Depending on continuity, McCoy is usually old enough for this to affect him.
    – Corbin
    Commented May 26 at 4:42
  • 1
    @Corbin - In the movies, sure, but in the Earth-616 comics, he's roughly the same age as the other original X-Men (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Angel and Iceman), and they were all teenagers when they debuted in the '60s. Over a decade has passed since then in-universe, but they can't be much older than 30. Commented May 26 at 19:18
  • @LogicDictates: That's old enough for aging to start. In their early 20s, three friends of mine went salt-and-pepper-haired, male-pattern bald, and presbyopic respectively. The latter friend has needed reading glasses since the age of about 24 or 25. Presbyopia is a plausible diagnosis, just not one supported explicitly by text.
    – Corbin
    Commented May 26 at 21:58
  • 1
    @Corbin - The Beast has worn glasses since he was a teenager in the Earth-616 comics. The earliest example I've found is X-Men Vol. 1 #5 (May, 1964). Commented May 26 at 22:38
  • 1
    X-Men Vol. 1 #50 shows Hank wearing glasses as a high school freshman, before he joined the X-Men. Commented May 27 at 0:22

According to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition #14, the Beast is nearsighted and requires reading glasses.

Page 1 of the Beast's entry from Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition #14.

Special limitations: Nearsighted, requires reading glasses

Page 2 of the Beast's entry from Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition #14.

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition #14 (January, 1992)

Presumably, whoever wrote that entry meant to say that the Beast is farsighted rather than nearsighted (if he requires reading glasses), but nonetheless, this clearly specifies that the glasses are required in-universe (and therefore not just for show).

I checked several of his earlier and later Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe entries, and this is the only one I found that touches on this specific point. His earlier entries don't mention his senses at all. Later entries state that he has enhanced senses, but the only vision-related enhancement specified is cat-like night vision.

The Beast has enhanced senses, can secrete pheromones to attract members of the opposite sex, and has a healing factor that allows him to regenerate from minor wounds and quickly recover from minor ailments such as colds. The Beast also possesses cat-like night vision, as well as razor-sharp claws on his hands and feet.

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #1, page 180.

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #1 (March, 2008)

  • Note that Daredevil can be said to possess superhuman senses, despite being blind as a bat. Commented May 27 at 0:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.