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  1. #46
    Extraordinary Member Phoenixx9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manofsteel1979 View Post
    I've not gone through this whole thread,but one weird misconception or myth I've seen is that some people think superman needs his cape to fly. Before I got into comics and such my Dad was convinced Superman needed his cape to defy gravity and was convinced he read it in the comics as a kid in the 40s. When I started to get into the character I gleefully debunked this misconception, but my Dad still insisted that's how it was when he was a kid. The only thing I can figure is that he may have read one of those weird one shot stories or something from the 40s or 50s that had something similar as a conceit.
    Maybe it was a story one of his friends told him? Sometimes kids misinterpret things not 100% spelled out in the books, then pass it down the line. It may have stuck with your Dad.

  2. #47
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    The cape "making" you fly is something I remember, too. But this was metaphorical. It wasn't that the cape made him fly, but having a cape when you were playing Superman was a way to convey the idea of flying. I think most kids understood it was figurative not literal in their make-believe. But there's always one kid that doesn't get it.

    I remember standing in a line for one of the Batman movies, and some guy behind me was saying that they did a bad job on Batman flying because you could see the wires. I wanted to do an ANNIE HALL fourth wall--what an idiot, Batman isn't flying, that's why you see the wires, he's using that to "fly." Some people just don't know their comic books. What are they teaching in schools these days? *grumble grumble*
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  3. #48
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    Visually, the whole point of the cape was to show that Superman was in fact flying through the air. which is why it always seemed silly when he was travelling through space, where there's no air to make it flutter behind him. Insofar as the mythos is concerned, the purpose of the cape was originally that it was meant to be something of a visual distraction so that people wouldn't get as good a look at his face as he zipped by them, wasn't it? If so, then he might as well have stopped wearing it once people did get to know what he looked like. After that, it became just a prop, like the capes in the "Zorro" mold that are worn by the non-flying heroes, which always seemed to be far more of a hindrance than an asset. I can't help thinking of poor Dollar Bill.

  4. #49
    Astonishing Member Lukmendes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 90'sCartoonMan View Post
    Adding to that, a popular Superman myth is that Lois Lane never put two and two together to figure out that Superman is Clark Kent. That's not true at all. At least on the Adventures of Superman show and the Silver Age comics (and probably other places), Lois knew that Clark would leave just before Superman arrived, and she strongly suspected they were the same person. The problem was she could never find proof, and even when she was getting close, Superman managed to be one step ahead of her and was able to throw some doubt into the situation. It never fully convinced her, though.
    Silver age Lois was almost insane with the belief that Supes is Clark, she was proven wrong so many times, saw both in the same room at the same time, even when it was proven it wasn't a robot (One of those times it was a mannequin, she left a magnet under a table to prove that the Superman there was a robot, and Supes made him talk with "super ventriloquism"), and she still believed that Supes was outsmarting her, and she was absolutely right lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stanlos View Post
    Also, it's SUPERMAN!! The magnificence alone is enough to be distracting. People see things through filters. One of the reasons Clark is an effective disguise is the difference in the way he is perceived. I have often mistaken people who I worked with for strangers due to a radical change in styling or dress. It's that dynamic where seeing someone in a new environment or context can completely alter the way you see them despite having seen that person everyday for the last year. Another reason I find it not terribly unreasonable is given the extent to which people are what they want to see.
    Honestly, while random people looking at Clark may not see Superman, people who see both so often would eventually realize something is up, glasses and mild mannered attitude can only work for so long.

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukmendes View Post
    Silver age Lois was almost insane with the belief that Supes is Clark, she was proven wrong so many times, saw both in the same room at the same time, even when it was proven it wasn't a robot (One of those times it was a mannequin, she left a magnet under a table to prove that the Superman there was a robot, and Supes made him talk with "super ventriloquism"), and she still believed that Supes was outsmarting her, and she was absolutely right lol.



    Honestly, while random people looking at Clark may not see Superman, people who see both so often would eventually realize something is up, glasses and mild mannered attitude can only work for so long.
    You'd be surprised!

    But within the DCU (Pre-Flashpoint at least) both Matrix Supergirl's and Martian Manhunter have provided photographed instances where Clark and Superman have appeared at the same time.

  6. #51
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    The idea of not recognizing someone, when you should, is something that goes way back in mythology and legend. In Greek tragedies, it's a common device, the recognition scene, when someone who is thought a stranger is suddenly recognized for who they are. In Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus comes home and the only one who recognizes him is his dog. And then in the big scene with the suitors he's suddenly recognized for who he is. In the Bible, nobody recognizes the risen Christ until suddenly it dawns upon them who he is.

    To me this is one of the great marks of the Superman myth. I love that people look right at him and just don't see it.

    I've had that experience myself, where I see someone I should know well, yet I just don't recognize them. Surely other people have had the same experience. it's quite a disorienting feeling. And, of course, there are those who have face blindness. Oliver Sacks himself was face blind.

    Obviously, the reason why Superman can just wear glasses and nobody recognizes him is because of the conventions of classic comics--where the things that marked the difference between characters were these simple elements like glasses, hair/no-hair, hair colour, facial hair, hats. It's because cartooning isn't about doing photo-realistic sketches--it's about reducing characters to their basic elements in as few lines as possible. Cartooning is jazz rather than symphonic composiition.

    But it wasn't just Superman alone in the era of classic comics. Quality had several characters that didn't bother to wear masks and yet somehow had double identities. The funny thing about Doll Man is that Martha Roberts (the girl he was shacked up with), always knew he was Darrel Dane until suddenly, soon after the U.S. entered W.W. II, Martha doesn't know the two are the same guy. And then some years later Martha herself becomes Doll Girl and doesn't bother with a mask either.

    Other characters who had no mask yet had secret identities--Wonder Woman, Black Condor, Starman, Captain Triumph, the Flash, Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel, Jr., Phantom Lady, Black Canary, Minute Man, the Shining Knight, Bulletman, Bulletgirl, Stripesy.
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  7. #52
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    The Silver Age meme of Lois' spending a major part of her life in trying to prove that Clark was Superman (and of Clark's spending a major part of his life in trying to foil Lois' efforts!) was actually just a continuation of the same routine that was already well developed in the 1940s comics. Then when the Superboy title was introduced, Clark would in just about every other story try to thwart some trap by Lana Lang to prove the same thing. It did get pretty ridiculous...

  8. #53
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    I think the stories about Clark protecting his identity were one of the easy plots they could do, in a time when parent advisory boards and comic code authorities had ruled out virtually every other kind of story. They had to do non-story stories--stories about the machinery of story--because that was what they had to work with. The other support they had was the Krypton mythology--once that got going (because it was never really developed by Siegel and Shuster), so that was another device for creating drama out of nothing. And the third leg of this three legged stool was Kryptonite.

    In my reading, by the late 1960s, Lois is telling people that she used to think Clark was Superman, but now she doesn't. So she seemed to get it out of her system. Also around that time, there are more stories where Clark shows a backbone. And there's a discussion of this in the letter columns--how much do readers want to see Clark playing the hero?
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  9. #54
    Astonishing Member Lukmendes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanlos View Post
    You'd be surprised!

    But within the DCU (Pre-Flashpoint at least) both Matrix Supergirl's and Martian Manhunter have provided photographed instances where Clark and Superman have appeared at the same time.
    There's that at least... Still doubt it'd be as easy to keep it even with that.

    At least, it makes more seonse post-Crisis, since people weren't even aware that Supes even had a secret identity, so that gives some plausibility.

    Not even gonna get into how facial recognition would screw him over, that'd fuck up any super hero who doesn't cover their face completely, which is most of 'em lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    I think the stories about Clark protecting his identity were one of the easy plots they could do, in a time when parent advisory boards and comic code authorities had ruled out virtually every other kind of story. They had to do non-story stories--stories about the machinery of story--because that was what they had to work with. The other support they had was the Krypton mythology--once that got going (because it was never really developed by Siegel and Shuster), so that was another device for creating drama out of nothing. And the third leg of this three legged stool was Kryptonite.

    In my reading, by the late 1960s, Lois is telling people that she used to think Clark was Superman, but now she doesn't. So she seemed to get it out of her system. Also around that time, there are more stories where Clark shows a backbone. And there's a discussion of this in the letter columns--how much do readers want to see Clark playing the hero?
    Another easy story was Supes turning evil for whatever reason, it happened so damn often.

    Guess Red Kryptonite was another kinda easy one, since you can make Supes act in some random way, or have something random happen with him, just by using it, at least that one avoids repetition, at least as far as I read (Red Kryptonite did separate Supes and Clark twice, but the second time had him specifically doing experiments on it, which he doesn't do often).

  10. #55
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukmendes View Post
    There's that at least... Still doubt it'd be as easy to keep it even with that.

    At least, it makes more seonse post-Crisis, since people weren't even aware that Supes even had a secret identity, so that gives some plausibility.

    Not even gonna get into how facial recognition would screw him over, that'd fuck up any super hero who doesn't cover their face completely, which is most of 'em lol.
    I feel like one or two stories addressed how Superman gets around facial recognition. Either something about his face messes it up or he vibrates it like The Flash when he thinks its on him.

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukmendes View Post
    There's that at least... Still doubt it'd be as easy to keep it even with that.

    At least, it makes more seonse post-Crisis, since people weren't even aware that Supes even had a secret identity, so that gives some plausibility.

    Not even gonna get into how facial recognition would screw him over, that'd fuck up any super hero who doesn't cover their face completely, which is most of 'em lol.



    Another easy story was Supes turning evil for whatever reason, it happened so damn often.

    Guess Red Kryptonite was another kinda easy one, since you can make Supes act in some random way, or have something random happen with him, just by using it, at least that one avoids repetition, at least as far as I read (Red Kryptonite did separate Supes and Clark twice, but the second time had him specifically doing experiments on it, which he doesn't do often).
    Facial recognition has nothing on the tech available to Supes whether it be Kryptonian gear of his own design, WayneTech, KordTech, Angelic Tech, Thanagarian Tech, Almeracian Tech, New GenesisTech, ApokoliptianTech, AtlanteanTech, or Amazon technology. That is to say nothing of tech savvy allies like Steel, Technocrat, Peege, Oracle, Chase, Checkmate, or Aztek.

    Plus there is the Byrne-ism about vibrating his face

  12. #57
    Astonishing Member Lukmendes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    I feel like one or two stories addressed how Superman gets around facial recognition. Either something about his face messes it up or he vibrates it like The Flash when he thinks its on him.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stanlos View Post
    Facial recognition has nothing on the tech available to Supes whether it be Kryptonian gear of his own design, WayneTech, KordTech, Angelic Tech, Thanagarian Tech, Almeracian Tech, New GenesisTech, ApokoliptianTech, AtlanteanTech, or Amazon technology. That is to say nothing of tech savvy allies like Steel, Technocrat, Peege, Oracle, Chase, Checkmate, or Aztek.

    Plus there is the Byrne-ism about vibrating his face
    Yeah I remember reading that Byrne comic where a camera follows him and he vibrates his face, question is, what's the point of doing all that work when a camera follows him, or have all that tech and people available, but do something like in Secret Origin where he lets normal pictures of him to be taken? That kinda misses his own point of bothering, and I'm pretty sure it's hardly the only time that happens lol.

    Ironic that I said I wouldn't get into this, yet, here I am .

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