HEAT VISION

Bane Mask Business Booms Amid Pandemic

Bane Dark Knight Rises - Getty - H 2020
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Costume shops are sold out and Etsy has been flooded with cloth versions.

No one cared who I was until I put on the mask — and practiced social distancing.

Bane masks have apparently become a hot commodity amid the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent requirements enacted by state and local governments, such as in Los Angeles, where residents are now required to wear a mask when going outside for any task.

The seemingly unstoppable Batman supervillain — who first appeared in the pages of DC Comics in 1993  — is most well known via Tom Hardy's portrayal in 2012's The Dark Knight Rises. The hulking Bane's signature feature is his mask, which supplied the character with pain-killing gas. And it appears Hardy's version of the mask is now a popular option for those venturing out of their homes. 

Plastic adult Bane masks (not approved pandemic wear by medical officials) are sold out on a number of costume sites, including Costume.com, BuyCostumes.com and HalloweenCostumes.com. There are still plastic masks available on Amazon. The U.S. military (having some fun) even noted that Bane masks were not an acceptable face covering during the pandemic. 

David DeJac, spokesman for Costume.com, told The Hollywood Reporter that Bane masks have been sold out since early this month. "Looking at sales figures, the adult mask had quite a sales spike in April and early May, which is unusual for this time of year," said DeJac, adding that a few children's masks are still in stock. 

DeJac noted there is still a "decent" stock of the complete adult Bane costume available, "which indicates customers were more interested in the mask only," he said. The officially licensed masks are made in China, which is why the supply chain has been constrained, DeJac added. 

The Bane masks are not the only popular item. DeJac explained that the business as a whole has seen an uptick in general. "We have had an unusual increase in sales and searches for masks, especially for this time of year," DeJac said. "The extra activity seems to be across the board of mask categories, rather than overwhelming consistency in any one area, probably since any searches using the word 'mask' are showing up much more frequently than normal." Bane is among the most popular mask search terms on Costume.com — but so is President Donald Trump, DeJac noted. 

Etsy has been flooded with cloth versions of Bane masks, the search term resulting in 158 results. The page on the e-commerce website features a disclaimer: "Items sold on Etsy, such as masks and hand sanitizers, aren't medical-grade. Etsy sellers cannot make medical or health claims." Most of the (unlicensed) masks are listed for around $20.

As for the Bane actor himself, Hardy is currently starring in Capone. The Josh Trank-directed gangster film is available via VOD by Vertical Entertainment. 

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