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Author Topic: Secret Identities  (Read 136 times)

Offline Tomato

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Secret Identities
« on: December 15, 2019, 05:40:52 AM »
So with a certain "totally going to stick no take backsies boy howdy" event having recently happened in the Superman books, aka Clark Kent "Coming out" as Superman to the entire world, I've been thinking a lot about secret identities as a concept in the modern era. How much of the secret identity is necessary to protect a hero's personal life and those of their loved ones, and how much is it us as fans holding onto a trope of the genre that's just... not necessary anymore? The MCU, for example, has with very few exceptions brushed secret identities aside (even Peter Parker's, though where that's going we don't know yet). I'm not 100% on either side of this one, but I wanted to discuss my thoughts on it here for the sake of getting it out of me, as it were. However, to keep myself from rambling too much, I'm gonna focus on four heroes specifically: Iron Man, Superman, Spiderman, and Batman.

Iron Man:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Super-man:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Spiderman:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Batman:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Offline kkhohoho

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Re: Secret Identities
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2019, 03:26:01 PM »
I agree with most of that, but I'm still a bit iffy on Superman outing himself. On the one hand, yes, he absolutely should have told Jimmy, Perry, and the rest ages ago. That the entire Justice League knows who he is but Jimmy and co still don't have a clue is horrendously selfish and thoughtless on Clark's part, and goes against what the character is supposed to stand for.

That said, I think there's still an argument for Clark having an SID, at least in regards to the general public. As Superman, Clark is one of the busiest and most prolific heroes around. He's constantly saving the day and dealing with all sorts of crises and disasters in and out of the League, and is such a beloved and famous Superhero that everyone wants a piece of him. If Clark had to be Superman 24/7, he'd go nuts. He needs room to breathe. To just be Clark without having to deal with the pressure of being Superman all the time. And having a SID handles that nicely.
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Offline GhostMachine

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Re: Secret Identities
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2019, 04:09:24 PM »
As far as Superman goes, I agree with kkhohoho. If Clark was Superman 24/7, he'd go insane. The Clark identity lets him have a normal life, downtime and breathing room. HOWEVER, I think Jimmy and Perry White should have been let in on it a long time ago. "Sorry, Mister White, I can't do the story on the fashion convention, because Luthor is at it again, and I have to stop him from destroying downtown."


Offline Tomato

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Re: Secret Identities
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2019, 04:56:53 PM »
See, I get that... but I think there's a level where him wearing the suit and glasses, even with his identity out there, kinda already does that. I'm not saying he should be walking around in Wal Mart in his Superman costume, he'd still go around the same as ever. You don't expect to see Chris Hemsworth walking down the street in plain clothes, and I think even with him being honest about being Clark, especially after the public shock dies down I think him walking down the street is going to be any different. You might get the occasional fanboy or sommat that draws attention to it. And as far as "he needs to have his own life..." doing what, exactly? Relaxing at home with his wife? Catching up with paperwork at the office? The worst case is he has to deal with a bunch of paparazzi around his home now, but this is a man that can super-speed his way in and out AND has a fortress of Solitude to fall back on if he's REALLY feeling like he needs to get away from it all.

And, my point again is... it undercuts his entire stance as a symbol of truth and justice for him to be lying to the public. I don't think he'd want to do that forever, which is why I think it's a natural evolution for the comics to take. Superman is too good a person to do that, in my eyes.

Really, I think the biggest issue with the whole thing is actually how it affects his job. On the one hand, this being the place where Superman works will generate a LOT of new business in the short term. But Clark's ability to report on issues? Yeah, there's no way corrupt politicians are going to open up to Superman the same as ordinary farm boy Clark Kent. It also creates a HUGE conflict of interest regarding the Planet's previous and future stories about Superman, both in general (he's literally an employee), and specifically every article written by Superman himself and his wife.

Offline SickAlice

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Re: Secret Identities
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2019, 08:26:19 AM »
A few things aside just the technical merits in general it's a metaphor for the struggle of balance between the ego and superego and between living up to a title, like a job for instance and our at home selves. Something we all struggle with. Iron Man is moot to me, he's been out for a long time now in comics and currently his identity, well his identity and whether he even has one is in question and I'll leave it that to avoid TPB spoilers. Superman is dependent on reading the arc and more Event Leviation. It's situational and a tactic he is using against his enemies whose tactic themselves is using the characters secrets and private lives against them, a reflection of the digital information era of course. Also mirrored in the Batman books and Heroes In Crisis. Then add the New 52 reboot up to Rebirth and specifics about the current Superman in the comics and...eh, okay huge mess there and we would just end up in a circle. So I suppose just going with overall history of the character and jumping back before say Flashpoint I say the identity doesn't make much sense and specifically happens to be the his biggest weakness, worse than Kryptonite so he should have came out a long time ago just by logic. Same with Peter though that seems to be the very thing the current books are addressing and tying up that One More Day story. It's more a valid point when it comes to teen characters who still live at home with mom and dad. Like Miles isn't public really but his parents know. That sounds realistic to me. I can't imagine a kid sneaking around between home and school and superheroing every day without a hitch. Though it looks like that subject is what's on the menu for Marvel's next Civil War iteration anyways so I guess we'll see. It's a hard line at the end of it all given the fictional world and situations these characters deal with. I know what I do but also I don't have to deal with being joined with an alien being or having nuclear blasts come out of my hands or fighting hordes of demons daily and what have you so it's difficult to play semantics all the same. It somewhat of a dated trope though, I'll give it that much.