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"We gotta go get the moon. It can't be there right now. It's in the wrong place, the wrong time. We'll replace it with something far more beautiful! My face."

Want to send a message to the whole Earth that you're awesomely powerful, and probably egotistic and evil too? Just fire up your biggest laser cannon or longest-range missiles and use them to deface the Moon by blasting your face or INSERT BAD MESSAGE HERE onto it.

It doesn't have to be the moon. Any sufficiently large and prominent landmark will do. In a pinch, you can use graffiti, as long as it's large graffiti; but lasers, missiles, or whirlwind carving are more stylish.

Rushmore Refacement is a sub-trope in which you are replacing someone else's face on a monument with your own.

Not to be confused with Detonation Moon, where the moon is actually destroyed.

Examples of Deface of the Moon include:


Advertising

  • An old 7 Up commercial had Orlando Jones about to write "7 Up" on the surface of the Moon with a big laser. He fires it, and the Moon blows up with an Earthshattering Kaboom, prompting him to angrily ask "Who's been messing with my laser?!"


Anime


Comic Books

  • In the Silver Age Superman story "The Last Days of Superman", Superman believed he was dying from a Kryptonian virus, and among the preparations he made for his death was using his heat vision to write "Do good to others and any man can be a Superman. [signed] Superman (Clark Kent)" on the surface of the moon. When it turned out (surprise surprise) that he wasn't going to die after all, Supergirl and Krypto removed his secret identity from the message; the rest of it, however, was apparently there to stay.
    • At the end of the fourth issue of All-Star Superman, Jimmy (as acting head of P.R.O.J.E.C.T.) orders a "cosmetic, short-term alteration of the moon's surface". It's a note saying "I Love Lucy" - which he uses as a backdrop when he asks his girlfriend (Lucy Lane) on a date. You better believe she appreciated it.
  • A variation was done by Marvel Villain Terminus, who used a giant energy beam to carve his name across North America.
  • This trope appears in Spirou and Fantasio, in the story Z comme Zorglub. Mad Scientist Zorglub wants to prove he's a genius by advertising on the moon, using temporary ink that will fade after a few months. Unfortunately, his "unorthodox" method for recruiting henchmen - abducting random policemen and brainwashing them until they can only speak "Zorglang" (backwards words) - ends up screwing up his plans: his men do write a brand name on the moon, except it's "acoC-aloC".
  • Inverted in the Garth Ennis comic Preacher (Comic Book), where Jesse Custer meets a man who was kicked out of NASA and devoted the rest of his life to blasting the words 'fuck you' into the Arizona desert in letters large enough to be seen from space.
  • In Atomic Robo, Robo arrives on Mars after six months of doing nothing, because Stephen Hawking told NASA he could go into "sleep mode" during the flight. He gets revenge by arranging rocks into words visible from Earth: "STEPHEN HAWKING IS A BASTARD".
  • In Baloon Vendor, a 1970-era psychedelic underground comic, inventor Cecil Quill develops a high-powered laser which he uses to project Laurel and Hardy movies on the new moon.
  • In Batman # 353, the Joker, using a stolen supercomputer and some strategically placed high explosives, tried to blast a mountain into the shape of his own face. During their battle, Batman subtly knocked one of the bombs out of alignment. Although the blast creates the Joker's face for a few moments, the entire edifice almost immediately crumbles. A year later, Joker would return for a three-part storyline (spanning two issues of Batman and an issue of Detective Comics) in which he attempted to take over an entire Banana Republic, which he planned to level and turn into Jokerworld, a country-sized Amusement Park of Doom.
  • Todd Ingram of Scott Pilgrim uses his amazing Vegan powers to punch a gigantic new crater into the moon for his then-girlfriend Ramona. He repeats this later with Envy Adams; apparently, it's the most flattering thing he can do. It comes back to bite him in the ass though, as Envy puts two-and-two together and realizes it means he cheated on her with Ramona.
  • In Don Rosa's Scrooge McDuck story Attack of the Hideous Space-Varmints Rosa plays some amusing Biting the Hand Humor as the ducks accidentally deface the dark side of the Moon with three craters that produce a perfect Mickey Mouse silhouette, and worry if they're going to get sued for it.
  • One Judge Dredd story shows that the entire face of the Moon is used for advertising.


Film

  • Hancock put Ray's heart logo on the surface of the moon! No attempt is made to explain how he made it pink. Or how it had not made world news yet.
  • The 1903 (!) silent film A Trip to the Moon the cannon-fired capsule pokes the man in the moon in the eye.
  • The 2002 Remake of The Time Machine had a series of nuclear explosions partially disrupt the moon an d end civilization in 2037
  • The film adaptation of the Coneheads when the Remulakians extract the Conehead family, their spaceship hit the moon chipping off a few pieces. You can see the chipped moon in the sky at the end of the film.
  • Averted with Moon, a film set on a mining operation on the moon. The mining takes place on the dark side of the moon, as an example of Shown Their Work, since defacing the side of the moon facing earth would have untold effects on local wildlife.


Literature

  • The Arthur C. Clarke short story Watch This Space (part of a series of short stories talking about a single moon journey) had astronauts releasing gases into the lunar environment to analyze their reactivity when unfiltered sunlight hit them. Somebody sabotaged the chemical release tube so that, instead of being released as an amorphous cloud, they formed the Coca-Cola logo (he isn't explicit about whose logo it was, just that it had some Cs and Os in it, as well as Ls and As). It didn't ruin the experiment (they analyzed the reactions anyway), but the guy was fired. He didn't care, though, because the company was so grateful for the advertising coup that he was pretty much set up for life.
    • The reason the image wasn't messed up by atmospheric turbulence is because there isn't any on the moon.
    • External Link
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's The Man Who Sold The Moon, DD Harriman gets some of his financing for his moon trip by approaching rival soft drink companies and getting them to pay him not to paint their rival's logo on the face of the moon.
    • And also by convincing another businessman, deeply opposed to Communism, that the Russians were planning to send up a mission to paint the Hammer and Sickle on the moon.
  • In Isaac Asimov's Buy Jupiter a race of aliens wish to purchase the atmosphere of Jupiter but negotiators for Earth refuse to sell it to them until they finally admit they want it to use as a billboard advertising their product for passing starships. Then Earth starts thinking about how much the competitors will pay for Saturn...
  • When the Cyb come calling in L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s Adiamante, their first act is to demonstrate the destructive potential of their warships by using a particle beam to mirror-polish a large region of the moon.
  • Charles Stross' The Atrocity Archives features an alternate Earth where the Nazis won the war with the aid of an Eldritch Abomination from another dimension, and proceeded to lord their triumph over the rest of the world by having their ally carve Hitler's face onto the surface of the moon with mystic runes.
  • In the fourth book of Jack Vance's The Demon Princes, Lens Larque's grand scheme is to explosively imprint his hideous face in a moon over a planet of racist snobs. In something of a subversion, the hero kills Larque before he can realize his triumph[1] but then carries out the plan anyway, because the snobs really do have it coming.
    • "Go out into your back garden. There's a great Darsh face hanging over your garden wall."
  • Initially, this was the entire goal of the Baltimore Gun Club in From the Earth to the Moon: fire a huge cannonball into the moon, and prove their success by spotting it in a huge telescope.
  • In Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light, one example of the weaponmaking ability of Lord Yama is how the "fire wand" he made for Lord Agni scarred the faces of all three moons when Agni stood on the seashore and waved the thing.
  • According to the Qu'ran, Mohammad performed a miracle in which he briefly split the moon in half.
  • The Han Solo Trilogy tells how one of Han's former classmates once tried to wipe an Imperial logo off a small moon's face. He underestimated the power of the resulting explosion and the whole moon went boom.
  • One of Larry Niven's stories, The Woman in Del Rey Crater, has a variation not driven by any kind of vanity; highly radioactive waste is stored in a large moon crater, which has had a giant "verboten" sign blasted over it as a warning of the danger.
  • The novelisation of Red Dwarf mentions advertisers beginning to deface entire constellations with slogans visible from Earth.
  • In the backstory to The Probability Broach, one of the superpowers intimidates its rival with a "humane demonstration" of its new weapon - which cracks the moon.
  • In Douglas Hirt's Cradleland Chronicles, in the days of Noah, Lucifer had his minions carve his face into the moon, and he had work started on doing the same to Mars before the Flood put a stop to it.
  • A giant stone face carved into the side of a tremendous mountain is an essential plot point in H.P. Lovecraft's The Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath. Presumably an example of this trope, as it's carved to resemble one of the Dreamworld's gods.


Live Action TV

  • Referenced by Frankie Boyle on Mock the Week, upon discovering the price of the 2012 London Olympics, and the excuse that it will 'improve national morale", Frankie Boyle suggests that "For that money, we could have written 'Fuck off, Germany' onto the moon."
  • The Movie of Kamen Rider Kiva has the Big Bad place a monstrous eye creature on the moon to spy on those resisting his rule; during the final battle he pulls the moon closer to Earth so he can absorb the creature and reach full power. So naturally, Kiva (in a moment of Eleventh-Hour Superpower) performs a Rider Kick that propels him and the baddie into the moon, which creates a gigantic Kiva mark (as his Rider Kick always does). Of course, since the villain dies, the moon is returned to normal afterwards.
  • Not for evil, the the opening for The Honeymooners showed Ralph's (Jackie Gleason's) face on a rising full moon.


Newspaper Comics

  • In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin once fantasized about using the treads of a buggy to spell "Calvin is great" on the moon's surface in cursive.
    • Similar instances had him writing demeaning messages to his father in the snow, or writing "Hey Jet Pilots Do a Barrel Roll!" in the ground as well. A frightening attempt had him attempting it using GASOLINE. And we never even learned what he planned to write...


Video Games

  • In Sonic Adventure 2, Dr. Eggman demonstrates the power of his orbital not-fully-powered-up Eclipse Cannon, which he is using to hold the world hostage, by blowing up a huge chunk of the moon. The moon appears perfectly fine in all later games, though (most notably Sonic Advance, in which the final level takes place there).
    • Eggman apparently fixed the moon in Sonic X, immediately after the Adventure 2 arc. Why the newly-formed metal half would have lights on it is another question...
  • In the Dojin-soft game Touhou Soccer, one of Youmu's attacks has her engrave her technique's name on the moon with her swords, before cleaving it and using the momentum to hit the ball.
  • One of the planets in Mass Effect is described as having a long monologue carved into its surface by batarian space pirates with energy weapons. It celebrates the superiority and achievements of one "Captain Zaysh", and goes on to say very rude things about the parents of every human in the galaxy.
    • In the sequel, Jack gives an Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking list of her accomplishments that includes "hijacking a space station and vandalism". If you ask why she included vandalism, she replies that she crashed the space station into a hanar shrine on a small moon. "The hanar really liked that moon."
  • Near the end of Marathon 2, Durandal blasts rival uberintelligent AI Tycho's ship out of orbit. It crashes on Lh'owon's moon. Durandal then uses his Wave Motion Gun to carve a 300 meter-high epitaph into the moon's surface for Tycho.
    • This being Durandal, of course, what he writes is "This is the fate of the stupid." In Latin.
  • The first Downloadable Content character in Blaz Blue, Makoto Nanaya, combines this with Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs to slug a fist imprint into the moon, then punch the enemy through it.
  • In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the goblins terraform the zone of Azshara into a giant Horde symbol. (See that C-shaped bay at the northeast?) Their leader, Trade Prince Gallywix, also carves his own face into the mountain plateau on which he builds his "Pleasure Palace".
  • In Earth Eternal, Man's final war actually shattered the moon into a mass of fragments with a Sickly Green Glow coming from between them.
  • In Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten, HD Asagi uses this in her final skill, which knocks the enemies around her into orbit... right in the path of the Yoshitsuna's Wave Motion Gun. As they're being annihilated, she carves a signature into the face of the earth. This isn't a joke - it really happens!
  • In Asura's Wrath, Augus slices the moon deep enough in Episode 11 to make the sliced chunk rise high. Evil Ryu punches the sliced chunk back into place in Lost Episode 1, and Oni not only does the same damage in Lost Episode 2 that Augus did, but Asura's fight with him ends up epically destroying the moon.


Web Comics


Western Animation

  • Despicable Me involves stealing the moon!
  • In her animated series, Carmen Sandiego attempted to paint her own likeness on the moon.
  • In one Family Guy cutaway, Ted Turner announces he colorized the moon, as a reference to when he colorized Casablanca and King Kong, which is tantamount to vandalizing art (thinking putting a moustache on the Mona Lisa, it's like that to film buffs).
  • In the G.I. Joe episode "Lasers in the Night", Cobra Commander attempted to carve his likeness into the moon. One imagines (or at least hopes) he would actually be carving his hood, as opposed to his actual face. In that episode however, Destro is outraged that the Commander wasted his organization's resources for "cosmic graffiti."
  • Chairface Chippendale in the animated and comic forms of The Tick attempted to carve his name into the moon. He only gets as far as "CH" and most of the way into an "A" before being thwarted... and as a result, the moon stays that way after the end of that particular installment.
    • Later, The Tick goes to the moon on a mission to carefully plant explosives so that the CHA will be removed...and botches it, of course. The resulting explosion causes everyone to believe he's dead, and only the C is removed--so the moon's lettering now reads "HA". Later that episode Omnipotus (a parody of Marvel's Galactus) takes a bite out of the moon (after The Tick gives him a Patrick Stewart Speech to protect Earth). The half-eaten, scarred moon is then seen regularly throughout the series.
  • Inspector Gadget had MAD planting bombs on the moon to turn its surface into a giant MAD symbol.
  • In The Simpsons, Mr. Burns uses lasers to project a picture of Lisa kissing Millhouse onto the moon.

  Millhouse: Yeah! Go moon Millhouse!

  • Phineas and Ferb "Chez Platypus" Dr. Doofenshmirtz uses explosives to make the moon in the shape of a Heart Symbol while on a date. On another episode, The boys carve their faces on a passing comet.
    • And the Martians sculpt the face of Candace on the planetary surface, but Doofenshmirtz accidentally redoes it so it looks "kind of like a Rhesus monkey wearing a powdered wig".
    • One episode has Dr. Doofenshmirtz planning to put his name on the Tri-State Area by spraying the ozone layer with chemical spray-cans.
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers started the episode "Queen's Lair" with this. Her Majesty arranged a little "demonstration" of her Super Weapon, blasting a chunk out of Earth's moon, and letting everyone else know that if Earth didn't feed 5000 humans to her Soul Jar machine, her next target would be Earth itself.
  • The Joker attempts to draw a giant smiley face on Gotham using an orbital laser in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. Not just an act of cartoonish evil, as amongst the landmarks to be destroyed in the smiley face would be a hospital where Terry's girlfriend is recuperating, Terry's house where his mom and brother are, and Wayne Manor.
  • Sartana of the Dead uses her mystic guitar to carve her own likeness into the moon in El Tigre
  • In the Tex Avery cartoon "Billy Boy", the titular billy goat ends up eating the entire moon.
  • In the backstory to My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, Princess Celestia imprisoned her sister, Princess Luna, in the moon after she turned evil and attempted to create The Night That Never Ends. As a sign of her imprisonment, a profile of the exiled princess appeared on the moon, and it disappears when she is freed in the first episode.
  • Not caused by sentient forces, but the apocalypse in Thundarr the Barbarian is a comet going between the Earth and the Moon, slicing the latter in two.
  • Dr. Wily in the Mega Man cartoon tries to "Pull za moon, out of its orbit!" in one episode.


Other

  • Old joke: "President, the Communists have finished painting the moon red!" "OK, get some white paint and go paint 'COCA-COLA' on it."
    • Used to be 'Marlboro'. The Soviets then painted the warning about smoking underneath.
  • A concept design by WETA Workshop's Dr. Grordbort group, the Goliathon 800 Moonhater Deathray, is a perfect example of this trope.
  • One of the disturbingly-realistic videos from amateur SFX creator The Faking Hoaxer shows the moon with a chunk blown out of it, supposedly by an asteroid that would have otherwise been on a collision course with Earth.


Truth in Television

  • Former Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos had his face carved into the side of a mountain, just to remind everybody how powerful he was. After he was deposed, someone blew it up.
  • One proposal for searching for extraterrestrial intelligence involves looking for suspiciously artificial arrangements of celestial bodies. Such an arrangement would be advantageous because of their visibility over vast distances and time spans.
    • This is why the supposed "Canals of Mars" and "Face on Mars" garnered so much excitement.
  • After the Sputnik debacle the US was desperately searching for ways to one-up the Soviets in the space race, and a proposal was made that an atomic bomb be detonated on the moon! Fortunately they decided to send astronauts instead. As cracked.com puts it, "they realized the difference between legitimate science and cartoonish supervillainy".
  • Coca Cola figured out that it was technically possible to use lasers to beam their logo onto the moon -- not to physically etch the logo onto the surface, but to continuously illuminate it like in a laser show. They were stopped from doing so over concerns that the lasers would interfere with passing aircraft.

Notes

  1. and indeed refuses the villain's dying-breath plea to press the button, and lets him die thinking it never will be pressed. He was pissed at Larque.
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