Secret Identities - Yay or Nay?

The trope of a superhero having a secret identity goes all the way back to the genre’s very beginning. But a lot has changed regarding how superheroes are written and the worlds they inhabit. Where do you land on this trope? Do you not mind it that it’s still around or do you wish the trope dies off?

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I like secret identities!

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It makes sense to me for superheroes to still have secret identities. Aside from protecting one’s loved ones from their enemies, I could see corporations or governments wanting to study a hero’s powers to exploit them.

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The protect family and loved ones argument is one I don’t feel holds up anymore. It makes sense to protect it from enemies, but these are the people you know and trust. There may be certain risks to them knowing your a superhero, but I just don’t see the value in someone keeping that secret from those they trust the most.

There is a stronger argument regarding corporations and governments exploiting them. But at this point, both DC and Marvel have enough history in them where there are various laws set up to help protect various superheroes

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You’re argument is based on the assumption that trust based on intentions also equals trust based results. Just because somebody does want to reveal it does not mean the person will not slip up. This is the driving plot of the Smallville episode “Reckoning” where Lex can read body language to know something is off setting up disaster after disaster.

The comic book world is full of friends turned enemies, and that is something almost every hero has (Lex Luthor, Two-Face, Cheetah).

You are completely ignoring mind control/ mind reading, and that somebody uses those about all the time.

You say this like it has changed since The Crimson Avenger first appeared.

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Oh no, I wasn’t meaning protect one’s identity from one’s loved ones. For instance, if I were a superhero I would let my siblings know. I was meaning keeping one’s identity secret to protect one’s loved ones from one’s enemies.

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I say for the most part a hero should have a secret identity.

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There are great story elements for with and without a secret identity. Don’t like the secret identity trope? Read some Booster Gold. He’s got some good stories stemming from no secret identity.

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I hope the secret identity trope stays. The need for protection is the obvious one, but also the need for anonymity. Think about all the celebrities in our world who wear bulky clothes, sunglasses and wigs to hide from the paparazzi. It is much easier for a superhero (say batman) to remove the cowl and just dress normally than to wear a disguise if he doesn’t want to be recognized. (although he and Dick have often worn disguises). Batman would still be recognized and probably have paprazzi but they wouldn’t be seeing Batman, just Bruce Wayne. As far as not telling friends and/or relatives, this was best explained, IMHO, in Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? A villain (I think Toyman but maybe Prankster) wanted to find out who Superman was. They started “asking” Superman’s friends starting with Pete Ross because he wasn’t close to Superman anymore. It was just bad luck that Pete had learned about Clark when they were boys, but eventually that villain would have picked someone closer, like Jimmy or Lois. If Clark had trusted them, they would have revealed it. (Pete was killed and obviously tortured for the info.) What if a villain went after Snapper Carr or Rick Jones? I don’t know how many identities they knew, but potentially all the JLA or Avengers.

I don’t mind if a hero’s identity is known, but i prefer if they remain secret.

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If the hero has people close to them then yes, they should have them like @mercurie80 said before (don’t worry, I knew what you meant the first time :wink:)

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Didn’t Doctor Octopus find out about Spider-Man’s secret identity In Spider-Man 2 and immediately went after Aunt May,

That’s the most obvious example of why secret identities are important.

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Yes, secret identities are necessary if you’re fighting crime & still have your momma, family and your girl walking and breathing.

Besides, the mystery on “who is behind the mask” intrigues people, so I’d have a little fun with that part

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One of the most interesting things about superheroes to me is when they have secret identities and have to balance that double life. And are able to walk with and interact with ordinary people as “one of them”.

I do get that realistically a par of glasses, a domino mask, etc. wouldn’t fool anyone especially people close to yet. And even the most plausible secret identity would get found out in the real world. So yeah, they aren’t that realistic. But people can’t fly either.

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its a yay for me unless the character has been a superhero thats been like that since their creation

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me to.

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the guy that played superman on the radio kept who he was a secret. because he was afraid of people coming after him for things he said in the show. funny enough one of the only people who new for sure who he was. Was the guy that played batman. because when he needed a break batman would takeover and go looking for superman for a few weeks.

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Also magic.

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It depends on the hero. Most heroes especially teen superheroes need that privacy, but others usually don’t. People like Captain Atom, Wonder-woman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Dr. Fate are obvious because most of them live fairly private lives but are public superheroes and don’t face similar problems other heroes like vigilantes face.

However I’m gonna throw a curveball and say I don’t feel like certain vigilantes really need to have a secret identity. Despite their similarities, I don’t believe Green Arrow for example should necessarily have one as he takes more liberties in how he operates as a vigilante. Obvious Costume and personality can pin anyone to famous billionaire Oliver Queen. And I would argue much like Batman, the lives of his proteges would be at risk, but the difference between his proteges and the Bat-family is that most of them ironically are more devoted vigilantes and Roy, Dinah, Connor, and Emiko usually don’t have the same midset to care about a private life (in my opinion). Dinah doesn’t hide her identity, so it’s easy to think Dinah is just a public superhero, and assume it’s not a big deal for the Green Arrow family whether their public superheroes.

Yes their is this moment from identity crisis of him upholding the importance of masked heroes, but it’s important to remember that he’s mostly talking about masked heroes in general, Oliver usually is a dumb idiot, and that Identity Crisis is not a very good book. :sweat_smile:
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Green Arrow does less property damage than Batman and I imagine Oliver can do more good as a public hero with his wealth and you know Oliver Queen is just way more charismatic than Bruce Wayne to get the public on his side. I think he can do it. :laughing:

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Yes if anyone is going to do I vote green arrow and not batman besides green arrow loves talking about politics. and he even considers himself an activist He was clearly made for this stuff.

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it could probably work with m’gann
shes so underexplored that dc could let her be a fully public hero (or just do ANYTHING with this character)

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