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  1. #1
    Mighty Member L.R Johansson's Avatar
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    Default Let's improve the disguise of Clark Kent!

    Yeah, this is one of the pet peeves of anti-Superman fans - how people can possibly be fooled by Clark Kent's disguise, and not be able to tell that he is Superman.

    The best way to do this, is probably to look at two of the best versions of the disguise - the All-Star Superman Clark Kent, and the Christopher Reeves Clark Kent.






    Here are my own proposals on how the Clark Kent disguise could work:

    1. Different personality - Clark Kent must be as differing in demeanour from Supes as possible.
    2. Different hair - The different hair-style is a good start, but it needs to do more. Perhaps some kind of extensions, or a wig of some sort, could be introduced. I.e, Clark has a pony-tail, but Superman does not.
    3. Facial-hair - give Clark a small moustache, or perhaps an almost full beard. It helps change the shape of the face just as much as glasses do.
    4. Glasses, of course.
    5. Contact-lenses - play up the aspect of Supes INhuman eyes, and make him wear lenses with a completely different colour -preferrably brown.
    6. Baggy, ill-fitting clothes - play up the aspect that Kent is a goof-ball, and can't dress properly. If the clothes are too big, it also helps conceal his muscles. This part was forgotten by Byrne, who made it clear that Kent was openly athletic.
    7. Different voice - Clark Kent's voice must be different from Superman's. Super-muscle control takes care of this.
    8. Clark Kent cannot have people around him that interact with Superman - That's right. Superman can't regularly meet and talk to Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White, while still maintaining his job at the Planet. They will eventually figure it out, even if he's THAT good at acting. The solution is to NEVER give Clark the job at the Planet, at least not in the capacity of a reporter on the City -beat. A writer, working at home, or perhaps a blogger, is a better solution. Or maybe he works as a janitor at WGBS, or as a copy-boy. Superman can still interact with the people at the Planet, but Clark Kent must be a virtual unknown to them.


    What do you guys think? Are a wig, a stash, contact-lenses and a different job, good additions to Supes disguise? Or would you do it completely differently? =)

    Perhaps not change a thing? ( then keep in mind, that some of the things on my list that I've lifted from the media, hasn't always been there, it's grown through the years. Which means that the disguise that is Clark Kent, shifts now and then, ever so slightly, and discreetly.)
    Last edited by L.R Johansson; 07-27-2014 at 08:20 AM.

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member Prime's Avatar
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    Facial hair and contacts sounds like a nice innovation.

  3. #3
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    Part of why it worked so well in All Star is because very few artists in the US industry can do nuance like Quietly.

  4. #4
    Fantastic Member magha_regulus's Avatar
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    I think they should bring back Super hypnotism and have him use that to help with his disguise. I like a lot of the visual suggestions. I don't like the last point about having Clark not interact with the Daily Planet staff. I see what you mean but restricting his access to the supporting cast
    would hurt the stories.

    Super hypnotism, its the only explanation lol.

  5. #5
    Fantastic Member Jon-El's Avatar
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    If realism & logic are a big factor, why have a disguise at all? The disguise was something I never thought of much but this is a different time. The suggestion that the Planet people don't see both Clark or Superman much makes the most sense I think.

  6. #6
    Junior Member UltraWoman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L.R Johansson View Post
    Yeah, this is one of the pet peeves of anti-Superman fans - how people can possibly be fooled by Clark Kent's disguise, and not be able to tell that he is Superman.

    The best way to do this, is probably to look at two of the best versions of the disguise - the All-Star Superman Clark Kent, and the Christopher Reeves Clark Kent.






    Here are my own proposals on how the Clark Kent disguise could work:

    1. Different personality - Clark Kent must be as differing in demeanour from Supes as possible.
    2. Different hair - The different hair-style is a good start, but it needs to do more. Perhaps some kind of extensions, or a wig of some sort, could be introduced. I.e, Clark has a pony-tail, but Superman does not.
    3. Facial-hair - give Clark a small moustache, or perhaps an almost full beard. It helps change the shape of the face just as much as glasses do.
    4. Glasses, of course.
    5. Contact-lenses - play up the aspect of Supes INhuman eyes, and make him wear lenses with a completely different colour -preferrably brown.
    6. Baggy, ill-fitting clothes - play up the aspect that Kent is a goof-ball, and can't dress properly. If the clothes are too big, it also helps conceal his muscles. This part was forgotten by Byrne, who made it clear that Kent was openly athletic.
    7. Different voice - Clark Kent's voice must be different from Superman's. Super-muscle control takes care of this.
    8. Clark Kent cannot have people around him that interact with Superman - That's right. Superman can't regularly meet and talk to Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White, while still maintaining his job at the Planet. They will eventually figure it out, even if he's THAT good at acting. The solution is to NEVER give Clark the job at the Planet, at least not in the capacity of a reporter on the City -beat. A writer, working at home, or perhaps a blogger, is a better solution. Or maybe he works as a janitor at WGBS, or as a copy-boy. Superman can still interact with the people at the Planet, but Clark Kent must be a virtual unknown to them.


    What do you guys think? Are a wig, a stash, contact-lenses and a different job, good additions to Supes disguise? Or would you do it completely differently? =)

    Perhaps not change a thing? ( then keep in mind, that some of the things on my list that I've lifted from the media, hasn't always been there, it's grown through the years. Which means that the disguise that is Clark Kent, shifts now and then, ever so slightly, and discreetly.)
    I think I like most of these EXCEPT the last one. I think DC has learned it's lesson about sidelining the Daily Planet in Clark's life. There's absolutely NO way you can' have him part of the Daily Planet without physically interacting with the DP culture at large and he individuals within it without changing a major part of he "human" side of the Clark/Kal dynamic (in my mind to the detriment). I would think bringing in the closest people to him (that interact with BOTH sides of him) should be let in on the secret (or at least be willing to consciously look the other way).

  7. #7
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    Definitely agree with the eyes, Superman/Kal El's eyes should be striking, unnatural blue while Clark Kent has pretty ordinary eyes, whether it be due to contacts or tinted glasses.

    The voice should be different too, like Superman has a deep, majestic voice while Clark Kent's voice is several octaves higher and kinda geeky sounding (like how Dan Green voices Yugi/Stem in Yu Gi Oh, back when I was a kid watching it, I didn't know they were voiced by the same person).

    The posture and personality too. You can't really go wrong with how Chris Reeve's portrayal of Clark. Maybe mix in a bit of Dean Cain.

    As for him not interacting with the DP, I do agree that Lois should be able to figure to figure Clark out if they work together for so long as partners. So maybe, have them be rivals instead. Clark works for the Daily Star while she and Jimmy works for the Planet. Lois is dismmisive of him but his articles take her by surprise. They could cross roads during investigations and she could interact with Superman as usual. Maybe she could develop an interest in Clark because she figures out he's putting on an act, she just needs to find out why.

  8. #8
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    I think the key to the disguise has to be simplicity. Things like wigs, extensions, fake facial hair all might give a different appearance, but they also offer too many chances of going wrong.

    1) Clark is loose, Superman is rigid: The super-muscle control lets him do a more extreme version of the "Stomache in, Chest out" type stance. So Superman is cut and ripped muscularly while Kent is less so, possibly even being flabby. Same with the stance - Superman stands straight, Clark sort of slouches. Even Clark's face is fuller. This is enhanced by the baggier clothes he wears as Clark contrasted to the form-fitting Supersuit. If you saw a picture of the two side by side Clark looks 2-3 inches shorter and a good 40 lbs heavier. For an artist I would recommend giving Steve Lombard a more Supermanish build and Perry a more Kentish one then trying to remember to use those characters as a guide for which way Kal should look in a scene.

    2) Mannerisms: Clark speaks in a hesitant manner, peppering his speech with many "Do you think?"s and "If you want"s. He always is fidgeting with something- trying unsuccessfully straighten his tie, rearrange stuff on a desk. It would be this type of thing where his clutziness usually manifests. Not the slapstick level of some of the Reeve films, but while no one expects Clark to have these things happen they aren't totally surprised when they do. Superman on the other hand is very confident and contolled. He is less commanding than Batman- he doesn't give off a "I'm in charge here" air, but you do feel that Superman is aware of everything going on around him.

    3)The glasses: Superman is actually using his super-visions while wearing these things. Anyone else looking thorough the glass has trouble making out anything more than shapes (and then only those of large objects). From the outside they not only make the exact shade of blue in his eyes hard to determine, they also make staring him in the face a bit disconcerting as his eyes look not quite right. The glasses tend to create lens flares around his face in pictures or on TV (which is one of the reasons he will never be an on-air personality). The glasses actually warp slightly other electromagnetic wavelength making it hard to get a scan of Clark's face with many types of scanning tech. This along with his control of the facial muscles throw off most facial recognition software as Clark's face doesn't read with the same contours.
    The downside is that without his powers Clark has to fall back on more ordinary glasses and actually can't see well as a result.

    4)Voice: The usual change in pitch of course, but also a variation on speed. Clark tends to speak rapidly. Giving the same "1 minute" speech Clark will tend to finish in under a minute, while Superman will usually finish on the minute mark. Clark has a slight regional accent (Midwestern if we have Smallville in Kansas) while Superman speaks like an actor who has been trained to remove any hint of an accent.

    5)Kal-El. Looks more like Clark when he has no powers, but speaks and acts more like Superman.

    By and large everyone is fooled by this. Jimmy is too star-struck by Superman to notice any details. Perry falls into the "don't want to know" plausible deniability zone. And Lois is the one who picks up on the little slips Superman makes (a Clark like mannerism, a glimpse of Clark without glasses, etc) but early on she can't quite pinpoint the exact things that make her suspicious.

  9. #9
    Mighty Member L.R Johansson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon-El View Post
    If realism & logic are a big factor, why have a disguise at all? The disguise was something I never thought of much but this is a different time. The suggestion that the Planet people don't see both Clark or Superman much makes the most sense I think.
    Well, it is a fairly simple, logical explanation, if Clark's supporting cast hardly ever see Superman, or talk to him, then it will be much harder for them to figure it out, and they will still appear to be bright, talented people.

    It's actually an inherent problem, that Siegel and Shuster seemingly didn't think too much about, that most of Clark's supporting cast are investigators - and therefore suspicious and highly observant.

    Still, oddly enough, Siegel and Shuster actually had the solution to the problem - Superman has a low-level SHAPE-SHIFTING ability...! 0_o Yet, even tho' they had him use this power at times, it was never used as an explanation for why Superman and Clark look different - instead, they actually got rid of this power, ca year 2-3 or thereabouts.

    A bit strange, in hindsight... If we can believe Superman can fly, lift a quintillion tons, shoot fire from his eyes, move at the speed of sound, even FREEZE stuff with his breath - why not shape-shifting as well...?

    Baffling.

    Quote Originally Posted by magha_regulus View Post
    I think they should bring back Super hypnotism, and have him use that to help with his disguise. And I like a lot of the visual suggestions, but I don't like the last point, about having Clark not interact with the Daily Planet staff. I see what you mean, but restricting his access to the supporting cast would hurt the stories.
    Quote Originally Posted by UltraWoman View Post
    I think I like most of these EXCEPT the last one. I think DC has learned it's lesson about sidelining the Daily Planet in Clark's life. There's absolutely NO way you can' have him part of the Daily Planet without physically interacting with the DP culture at large and he individuals within it without changing a major part of the "human" side of the Clark/Kal dynamic (in my mind to the detriment). I would think bringing in the closest people to him (that interact with BOTH sides of him) should be let in on the secret (or at least be willing to consciously look the other way).
    The way I see it, having Superman not interact with the Daily Planet much, doesn't have to be to the detriment of the supporting cast - there are actually quite a few superheroes where the supporting cast doesn't interact much with the "Cape and Tights" side of the main character.
    Superman is a particularly glaring example, because almost ALL of his supporting cast knows not only Clark Kent, but Superman too, fairly well - and they're all news-reporters.

    There can still be a great, and well-developed supporting cast, showing off Kal-El's life as Clark Kent, without them constantly interacting with Superman.

    Well, either that, or give Superman's supporting cast entirely new roles, which would be spotlighted often, and then have the Daily Planet only ever be like the connection other Superheroes have with authorities or the Press - peripheral.

    Having most of the supporting cast be IN on it, is another solution, sure. But do we really want that?

    Isn't it a lot more fun if Clark Kent has to find excuses or ways around revealing his identity? It might seem tired and repetitive by now, I know - but you know what? It's also fairly uncommon these days.
    Most superheroes hardly even HAVE a secret identity any more ( well, at Marvel), so I rather miss that extra tension, that extra dilemma for the otherwise noble character - having to hide his or hers secret identity, to the people around them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nostradamus View Post
    Definitely agree with the eyes, Superman/Kal El's eyes should be striking, unnatural blue while Clark Kent has pretty ordinary eyes, whether it be due to contacts or tinted glasses.

    The voice should be different too, like Superman has a deep, majestic voice while Clark Kent's voice is several octaves higher and kinda geeky sounding (like how Dan Green voices Yugi/Stem in Yu Gi Oh, back when I was a kid watching it, I didn't know they were voiced by the same person).

    The posture and personality too. You can't really go wrong with how Chris Reeve's portrayal of Clark. Maybe mix in a bit of Dean Cain.

    As for him not interacting with the DP, I do agree that Lois should be able to figure to figure Clark out if they work together for so long as partners. So maybe, have them be rivals instead. Clark works for the Daily Star while she and Jimmy works for the Planet. Lois is dismissive of him, but his articles take her by surprise. They could cross roads during investigations and she could interact with Superman as usual. Maybe she could develop an interest in Clark because she figures out he's putting on an act, she just needs to find out why.
    Seems like we agree on a lot - good to hear. =) Your idea is actually fairly clever... and could be a lot of fun, the supporting cast could be split up fairly evenly between the Star and the Planet too - making the two bullpens both familiar and different at the same time.

    It doesn't hold up entirely tho'... because, in the scenario you paint, yes, most of the suspicions will be fended off, and it would work for a while, but eventually Lois would figure it out... since she'd be spending time with her rival - Clark Kent, and as you say, probably get some interest in him.

    I suppose it all comes down to if we want Lois to know Clark Kent is Superman, or not?

    Not entirely convinced that Perry White or George Taylor wouldn't figure it out either... Well, I suppose if Superman gave all of his exclusives to Lois Lane / The Daily Planet, while Clark would keep working with the people at the Daily Star, it could work.

  10. #10
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    They just need to make some small alterations to those glasses:

    nasenbrille-brille-mit-nase-und-bart.JPG

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by L.R Johansson View Post
    Seems like we agree on a lot - good to hear. =) Your idea is actually fairly clever... and could be a lot of fun, the supporting cast could be split up fairly evenly between the Star and the Planet too - making the two bullpens both familiar and different at the same time.

    It doesn't hold up entirely tho'... because, in the scenario you paint, yes, most of the suspicions will be fended off, and it would work for a while, but eventually Lois would figure it out... since she'd be spending time with her rival - Clark Kent, and as you say, probably get some interest in him.

    I suppose it all comes down to if we want Lois to know Clark Kent is Superman, or not?

    Not entirely convinced that Perry White or George Taylor wouldn't figure it out either... Well, I suppose if Superman gave all of his exclusives to Lois Lane / The Daily Planet, while Clark would keep working with the people at the Daily Star, it could work.
    Lois would figure it out, eventually. Ramp up the frequency of their interactions gradually and lead her to finding out the secret. I like the idea of George Taylor knowing from the very beginning. He was friends with Pa Kent right? Maybe he helped them get Clark's birth certificate or something. Maybe Jonathan didn't tell him exactly what Clark was, but Taylor knows Clark's not exactly normal.

  12. #12
    Ultimate Member Sacred Knight's Avatar
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    Make him look like Gin Rummy from the Boondocks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by L.R Johansson View Post
    What do you guys think? ... Perhaps not change a thing?
    Suspension of disbelief is necessary. With increasing surveillance and biometric identification, none of the proposed affectations would fool a cutting-edge / robust biometric identification software, much less the type of software and technology available to those within the DCU.

    North America isn't as saturated in CCTV as other countries- yet- but we're loaded with smartphones and a populous with the penchant for recording everything. There are some trite ways to fool the current generation of biometric software, but not software that exists in a universe with the DCU's tech level.

    At a certain point, it's like putting feathers on the dinosaurs in the Flintstones thinking that will "improve" the cartoon... it's not an improvement because it's an element intrinsic to the mythos.

  14. #14
    I'm at least a C-Lister! exile001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L.R Johansson View Post
    The best way to do this, is probably to look at two of the best versions of the disguise - the All-Star Superman Clark Kent, and the Christopher Reeves Clark Kent.
    Please no! I can't stand these versions of CK and find them utterly uncredible.

    I always liked the explanation that people wouldn't think twice that Suoperman would have a secret identity. To be honest, if there were a real version right now, I'd certainly assume he spent most of his time saving people around the world, hanging with Batman and Wonder Woman and doing stuff at his Fortress of Solitude rather than continuing on an increasingly unnecessary disguise that just about made sense up to 15 years years ago.

    The Clark Kent reporter angle was a way for Superman to know about problems. He got the news first. This was probably irrelevent by the Silver Age when he could see and hear across the entire planet.

    I love Superman's supporting cast and the only way to keep them is for him to keep working there, so I just shut off my mind to the nonsense of it and believe that, as I said before, no one would ever think Superman walked among them.

    I do like your idea of CK wearing a 'stach. A really unconvincing over-sized one!

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    I'm at least a C-Lister! exile001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the4thpip View Post
    They just need to make some small alterations to those glasses:

    nasenbrille-brille-mit-nase-und-bart.JPG
    And there we go!

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