Monday, April 26, 2010

High Profile Secret Identities

Big thanks to Rick at Mail It To Team-Up for this article suggestion!

While a superhero is usually a very high-profile thing, the secret identity is supposed to be something that allows you to disappear into the background. Unfortunately, there are a few heroes who seem determined to stay in the spotlight even when they aren't wearing spandex. These guys should rethink their off-time:

Bruce Wayne 

Ok, so you're a creature of the night and all that, but being a bazillionaire does tend to draw attention from time to time. I understand he throws off the party boy image to help him disappear for weeks on end, but there always seemed to be a party at Wayne Manor and Bruce was there. Likewise, a supervillain would inevitably show up and crash the party, then Bruce disappeared and Batman showed up...and no one ever put it all together.

Guess Gotham's elite weren't the brightest bunch of folks out there.

Tony Stark

While everyone knows he's Iron Man now, there was a time when he was supposed to be his own bodyguard. Not quite sure how he was supposed to be convincing since Tony never really made an appearance with Iron Man in tow, but if you can believe in a dude in a flying suit of armor you can suspend reality long enough to enjoy the book.

Eventually he tossed the whole secret identity thing out the window and just told everyone who he was, but the big surprise is how he managed to keep everyone fooled for so long. Of course, the whole alcoholic phase probably bought him a little time.

Clark Kent

How do you hide your identity as the strongest superhero on Earth? Why, you become a television news anchor!

True enough, in the 80's Clark Kent traded in his Daily Planet reporter digs to become a television news anchor with Lois Lane. While it might be possible to explain running away to chase a news story, I can't imagine any television station allowing their anchor to just run off the air "for an emergency" or something.

Yet through those constant and regular disappearances, Clark kept his job for years and not a single person in the investigative news section ever caught on to the fact that a superhero was in their midst.

Peter Parker

Another hero who chose a profession that was hard to just run away from when a villain was in the neighborhood was Spider-Man. First of all, he was a photographer who always managed to fight his battles in the small frame area of his webbed-up camera. While most heroes fought villains all over the city, Spider-Man had an understanding with his that they'd just stay in a little imaginary box and keep it clean.

Then Peter turned to teaching. A school teacher. Every day (except holidays) he has to be in one place with dozens of witnesses watching his every move. If he tries to leave, there's some splainin' to do. After work, he has to grade papers, write tests, and plan assignments. And then, somehow, he's out there fighting bad guys who are kind enough to wait until he's off work to do their attacking.


Rick said...

Thanks for the link. Good job with the post.

Anonymous said...

Clark Kent started anchoring the news for WGBS in the early 1970s, possibly as early as 1971, after Morgan Edge bought out the Daily Planet and merged it into his media empire (or something like that -- I guess Morgan was supposed to be like Rupert Murdoch. You don't see a lot of media moguls buying up newspapers these days).

And yes, for over a decade -- practically every month in the Action Comics and Superman -- Clark learned of an emergency while he was on the air, and managed to sneak away to deal with it. His co-anchor was Lana Lang, who in every issue of Superboy had tried to prove that Clark and Superboy were one and the same, and yet oddly as an adult never seemed perturbed when Clark always ran away from his anchor desk just when Supes showed up.

Another name who should be on your list is Oliver Queen. His profile has waxed and waned over the years, along with his fortune, but just a few years ago he was the Mayor of Star City, a very high profile job. He sports the most distinctive facial hair in the DC Universe, yet none of Star City's voters was able to figure out that their main hero and their mayor were one and the same! Go figure.

I think if you surveyed professions of superheroes, playboy and journalist would probably rank #1 and #2 on the list. Going back to the Golden Age. (Ted Knight and Carter Hall, playboys in the early 40s. Libby Lawrence and Johnny Chambers, journalists.) This probably reflects the country's fascination with the wealthy at the time (see any film from the 30s, excluding gangster movies), and the high status of journalists at the time (my how times have changed).


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