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  1. #16
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    I would say that in the 1960s, when Mort Weisinger launched the letter column (he was one of the first editors to do so), there were lots of questions about the internal logic and readers themselves were encouraged to come up with their own explanations. This is probably why the mythology became so convoluted because they kept having to introduce new ideas that would answer those questions.

    I'm not a fan of the stories where someone one day looks at Clark Kent and says, "Hey that guy could be Superman." I prefer to think that the people just don't see them as alike--there might be all kinds of distinguishing micro-details which we don't detect in comic book art, but which the characters pick up on, that tell them they are very different guys. Yet once a story says someone sees the resemblance it breaks that convention.

    However, the publisher had to pump out hundreds of stories every month, on tight deadlines, on a small budget, to sell comic books that had cheap price tags and only made a significant profit when sold in bulk. So the secret identity dilemma was an easy plot and hard to resist.

    But people don't thimk Clark is Superboy, because there's so much proof of the opposite. He has robots that fill in for him all the time. There are friends of his that will sub in for Clark or Superboy. He has super-powers that allow him to be in several places almost at the same time. And every time that someone thinks that they've proven Clark is Superboy, they are made to look stupid when it's shown that this could not possibly be the case.
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  2. #17
    Fantastic Member llozymandias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bat39 View Post
    I agree that the real answer to a lot of these question is Its comics. And some stuff really doesn't have a better answer than that.

    But comics today, unlike the Silver Age, try to treat their universes with some degree of internal logic. So many contemporary retellings/reboots of superhero origins try to situate their characters in something that, at least to begin with, passes off as the real-world, with some degree of real-world logic, and then come up with explanations for how the superhero mythos and the outlandish stuff fits into the context of that world.

    So, if the Superboy backstory was to be restored as it was in the Silver Age today, it would need to be examined from this contemporary lens. And that includes answering the obvious questions - like why does no one who knows Clark Kent personally at least not suspect that he's Superboy/Superman when he basically follows Superboy/Superman from Smallville to Metropolis?

    Hell, it doesn't even have to be people around him! Clark Kent is a prominent journalist who often covers Superman. If Superman is known to be from Smallville and someone were trying to figure out who he might be, they'd probably look into people the right age who moved from Smallville to Metropolis around the time Superboy made the move as well. And lo and behold, Clark Kent would be at the top of that list!

    Or alternatively, someone trying to figure out who Superman is could take a trip to Smallville to investigate Superboy's history and talk to locals who might have had suspicions. It'll likely be a lot easier to trace Superboy to Clark Kent to Smallville than Superman to Clark Kent in Metropolis.

    Look, the glasses being an effective disguise is a bigger stretch, but there are in-universe explanations for how it works, so you can kinda just roll with it. They'd need a similar in-universe justification for why nobody latches on to the coincidence of Clark Kent and Superman both being from the same small town and moving to Metropolis at the same time.



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  3. #18
    My Face Is Up Here Powerboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bat39 View Post
    I agree that the real answer to a lot of these question is Its comics. And some stuff really doesn't have a better answer than that.

    But comics today, unlike the Silver Age, try to treat their universes with some degree of internal logic. So many contemporary retellings/reboots of superhero origins try to situate their characters in something that, at least to begin with, passes off as the real-world, with some degree of real-world logic, and then come up with explanations for how the superhero mythos and the outlandish stuff fits into the context of that world.

    So, if the Superboy backstory was to be restored as it was in the Silver Age today, it would need to be examined from this contemporary lens. And that includes answering the obvious questions - like why does no one who knows Clark Kent personally at least not suspect that he's Superboy/Superman when he basically follows Superboy/Superman from Smallville to Metropolis?

    Hell, it doesn't even have to be people around him! Clark Kent is a prominent journalist who often covers Superman. If Superman is known to be from Smallville and someone were trying to figure out who he might be, they'd probably look into people the right age who moved from Smallville to Metropolis around the time Superboy made the move as well. And lo and behold, Clark Kent would be at the top of that list!

    Or alternatively, someone trying to figure out who Superman is could take a trip to Smallville to investigate Superboy's history and talk to locals who might have had suspicions. It'll likely be a lot easier to trace Superboy to Clark Kent to Smallville than Superman to Clark Kent in Metropolis.

    Look, the glasses being an effective disguise is a bigger stretch, but there are in-universe explanations for how it works, so you can kinda just roll with it. They'd need a similar in-universe justification for why nobody latches on to the coincidence of Clark Kent and Superman both being from the same small town and moving to Metropolis at the same time.
    All I'm saying is that comics books, including secret identities, pretty much fall apart when you start doing that.

    Why doesn't everybody suspect that the guy running around like a giant bat with all kinds of overwhelmingly expensive tech whose parents were murdered (motive) and who disappeared for several years after (time to develop skills and training) is Batman? That rich guy with means, motive and opportunity adopts a boy and vigilante bat soon has a Robin. And let's not even get into leaving his blood everywhere. There's this thing called DNA testing these days.

    It's most characters though. The connections between their secret identities and their super identities are ridiculous. It doesn't hold up to adult logic. Why should just Superman be criticized for these things that don't work in the real world with real world scrutiny? It's no different than Robin or Hal Jordan or Green Arrow hiding his identity by putting a little mask right around his eyes. Comic books cannot be enjoyed if we persist in this sort of selective real world logic.
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  4. #19
    Astonishing Member Soubhagya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bat39 View Post
    I suppose Pre-Crisis, the loss of his adoptive parents was a factor in him no longer wanting to stick around Smallville as well.

    Honestly, my bigger problem with Superboy as a public figure is the coincidence of Clark Kent and Superman both being from Smallville.

    I mean, think about it. Superboy was the most powerful being on earth and he was from Smallville. Then he moves to Metropolis and becomes Superman. Around the same time, Clark Kent moves from Smallville to Metropolis as well.

    The Daily Planet staff at least should have put two-and-two together before long.

    No one suspects Clark Kent of being Superman because there's no reason to associate a guy from some town in Kansas with the Man of Steel.

    But if the guy happens to be from the same town in Kansas where Superman comes from, then you might start looking at the other coincidences a bit more closely - like the similarity in their builds and their faces. Hell, maybe you'd just start looking past those glasses...
    I think they had a better alibi back then. And if they reworked it a bit, it could still work really well. The Superman robots. As Superboy he built the Superboy robots who looked like him. So, Clark and Superman look alike? People aren't suspicious? But how could they be the same person if both of them are seen together?

    I think that makes more sense then Post Crisis where Lois finds out that apparently Superman was adopted by the Kents. And Clark and Superman grew up together. I don't know if they ever retconned it, but i find that aspect more sillier then anything before that. The one problem with the robots is people knew about them.

    The glasses never bother me Its only in lazier attempts like Snyder's films where it feels unreal. In most of the good adaptations there's the subtle tics like slouching, changing voices, hairstyle among others which compliment the glasses so people don't look twice when they see Clark Kent. The classic Superman is a chameleon like actor. Someone like say Gary Oldman. I was blown away on learning that Sirius Black and Commissioner Gordon are played by the same actor. Clark Kent is like when a method actor takes it too far.

    In my opinion, they should keep that. And compliment that with a few robots standing in for him. He should acknowledge that some people think he looks a bit like Superman without the glasses. But how could he be him, if both have been seen together in public? Nowadays, neither Batman nor Hal Jordan are helpful enough to stand in for him when necessary. No problem. Superman robots.


    I think the Superboy stories are perfectly acceptable. If you want to look closer there are issues with everyone's alibi. Batman seems to have a great no of gadgets and tech. And he appeared just a bit after Bruce Wayne returned to Gotham. The explanations has to be reasonably solid. Mask, voice, and the act of being an uncaring playboy is good enough. Same is with Superboy. Most people don't suspect as he's a really good actor. And those who could, have seen both of them together in public. Like say a town meeting or when Superboy saved Clark Kent.
    Last edited by Soubhagya; 06-12-2021 at 08:35 PM.

  5. #20
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    I have to admit to an inconsistency in my thinking.

    While I liked BATMAN: THE LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT as an anthology of apocryphal stories about the Batman--I didn't like it when it became a vehicle for retconning Batman's timeline. I guess this is because I'd been reading Batman for a very long time by then and I preferred the old timeline.

    Through LEGENDS and other books associated with it (like THE LONG HALLOWEEN), characters that were originally introduced later in the timeline were now all backdated to Year One--and before Bruce Wayne took in young Dick Grayson. It wasn't just Catwoman, the Joker, Riddler, Two-Face--characters like Ra's al Ghul and Talia were also retconned into Batman's past. That didn't sit well with me.

    Yet, decades earlier, the stories of Superboy did the same thing. A lot of the villains and supporting cast were all retconned into Clark's past. Superboy became the mechanism by which a new continuity and mythology for Superman was built, overwriting the stories that had come before.

    Since much of this happened before I ever read Superman comics, it didn't bug me. The Lex Luthor I liked was the Lex Luthor that was created through this mechanism.

    The Luthor (no first name) that I saw in some reprints was not that interesting. Maybe that Luthor started out with some potential, but he went downhill from there and, by the 1950s, was a bland heavy with little personality.

    I don't mind the Gene Hackman Luthor, because Hackman gave that character some dimension, but that version is certainly based on the old Luthor. Just as the writers of the movies seemed to be basing a lot of their knowledge of Superman on the movie serials and not any recent comic books.

    Once we're introduced to young Lex in the comics, that retcons him in as this new super-villain--and not the same guy as the bland, old Luthor. And the writers were able to go more places with that new Lex.
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  6. #21
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    I figure Clark's move to Metropolis was fueled by his journalistic goals, not his heroic ones.

    Clark can do his hero work from anywhere on the planet (and several locations off-world) and it wouldn't make a difference.

    But for an aspiring reporter? Why *wouldn't* Clark move to Metropolis? Even before Superman's debut Metropolis is the Big City of big cities.

    Clark could still live in Smallville and just fly to Metropolis for work, but that's not a great way to sniff out the next front page headline and he'd miss a whole lot by commuting.
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  7. #22
    I'm at least a C-Lister! exile001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Powerboy View Post
    It's most characters though. The connections between their secret identities and their super identities are ridiculous. It doesn't hold up to adult logic. Why should just Superman be criticized for these things that don't work in the real world with real world scrutiny? It's no different than Robin or Hal Jordan or Green Arrow hiding his identity by putting a little mask right around his eyes. Comic books cannot be enjoyed if we persist in this sort of selective real world logic.
    This reminds me of the running joke in Winnick's Green Arrow, where everybody knew Ollie was GA because his ridiculous and unique facial hair wasn't covered by a tiny domino mask. That was fun.
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  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Powerboy View Post
    All I'm saying is that comics books, including secret identities, pretty much fall apart when you start doing that.

    Why doesn't everybody suspect that the guy running around like a giant bat with all kinds of overwhelmingly expensive tech whose parents were murdered (motive) and who disappeared for several years after (time to develop skills and training) is Batman? That rich guy with means, motive and opportunity adopts a boy and vigilante bat soon has a Robin. And let's not even get into leaving his blood everywhere. There's this thing called DNA testing these days.
    Yeah, all good points about modern technology making the whole secret identity thing even less plausible.

    With Superman, are two main things that we basically have to assume are not very developed in the DC Universe- facial recognition technology and satellite or advanced aerial surveillance. Superman makes all kinds of public appearances (Appearing in news footage, on smartphone cameras, police body cameras, etc.), and would appear on security camera that are used as evidence in trial (When the crooks he catches are prosecuted in the legal system) all the time, while Clark is presumably captured by CCTV, has a driver's license, and perhaps even has his picture run in the newspaper regularly in continuities where he's an editorialist. All that would seem to need to happen is one cop to have a computer run a facial recognition scan match of Superman against their archives and they should be told he and Clark Kent are at least identical twins and probably the same person- and that cop would have probable cause to run a scan because a lot of what Superman does, since he is not an authorized law enforcement agent, is technically illegal- it's understandable why everyone turns a blind eye to to it in-universe and doesn't try to arrest him, but they wouldn't have any trouble justifying privately running a facial recognition match (They might need to get a court order, I'm not sure how that part works.). Heck, I'd think the FBI would be very interested in who he really is for various reasons, even if they choose to let him basically do his thing unimpeded.

    Similarly, Superman is always flying around various places, sometimes changing as he moves. One would think that between satellite and aerial surveillance could be traced back to it's source and maybe even slowed down to see him switching into or out of his costume. At minimum, though, they should at least be able to trace his flying routes back to their launch points. No matter what efforts he takes to obscure them, eventually, there would almost have to be a pattern of a ton of them being in and around Clark Kent's apartment and the Daily Planet offices. I mean, sure, he's "friends" with Clark and works a lot with the Daily Planet on stories, but after a certain point you'd realize that he's at those two locations way more than anywhere else he could conceivably live and work. Also, everyone would know exactly where the Fortress of Solitude is (At least the governments of the world's largest powers would).

    I remember during the relatively short lived Superwoman monthly that featured Lana Lang as Superwoman, they said that she had some sort of power or technology that subtly obscured her face so that it could be captured on video or film. Superman's never had anything like that mentioned, and he gives a lot of press interviews, including to television, that are key story points, though. In theory, the source of Lana's power initially was inheriting the new52 Superman/Superman Red essence when he died, later retro-conned when they did the Superman Reborn arc that reunited Superman's "two halves" and rewrote the timeline retroactively, so we could say that her power (If it was a power and not a technological device) could be something Superman had or has, but the problem with that it is that it was never mentioned in the New52 Superman continuity leading up to that run, or the Superman Reborn continuity that came out of it.

    I think the most plausible way to handle that stuff is to say, essentially "The DC universe is already clearly not the universe we live in. You may notice that we don't have costumed superheroes or many of the big cities they reference, or open knowledge of and contact with aliens. Other differences are that that universe has not developed very advanced DNA, facial recognition, or surveillance technology." (Maybe that could even be explained by Wayne Tech and whatever that company the Green Arrow or his father owns secretly making sure to retard it's development behind the scenes and offering any scientist or engineer elsewhere on the verge of developing it a big check to come work for them and not develop it.). However, they'd have to take pains to adopt that line-wide consistently. Though I can't think of any examples off the top of my head, I think we've seen that they *do* have all those technologies in current comic continuity.

    Of course, Marvel has had great success in movies basically ditching secret identities, and I suspect what they are doing with Superman revealing his identity to the world in the comics is a trial run for future Superman movies (Either handed down by WB to DC Comics or just a coincidence that DC Comics is trying something that could be of interests to people involved with future Superman movies. In recent years, the comics have often been talked about as a testbed or a way of generating ideas for television and films, and we've seen a lot of DC Comics stories adapted for the Arrowverse shows. In fact, Flashpoint is about to be done for a second time- it was done on The Flash TV show (Sadly, no New52 Superman in that one- this was before the Arrowverse crisis, when Flash's earth had no Kryptonians, before Crisis merged with Supergirl's [and by extension the Superman and Lois] universe retroactively so that they'd always been the same earth as far as anyone but the main characters, who got both sets of memories thanks to Martian Manhunter's intervention, knew.) and is the basis of an upcoming Flash movie (I hear they are either altering it to include a bunch of parallels universes or perhaps alternate timelines while Flash tries to get things back to what he remembers, or tries to create his "perfect" timeline, which is letting them do things like give the Michael Keaton Batman at least a small role. I think it'd be cool if they at least gave a small cameo to a Superman who looks like the New52 Superman was drawn and has the full costume with the high collar, hand coverings, Kryptonian body armor, original New52 harcut, etc.. I'd settle for him even just sort of flying by for a few seconds. He doesn't even have to have a speaking role. I doubt they'll do it, though.).
    Last edited by SuperCrab; 06-14-2021 at 12:14 PM.

  9. #24
    Incredible Member SuperCrab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soubhagya View Post
    I think they had a better alibi back then. And if they reworked it a bit, it could still work really well. The Superman robots. As Superboy he built the Superboy robots who looked like him. So, Clark and Superman look alike? People aren't suspicious? But how could they be the same person if both of them are seen together?
    The comics actually had a Clark Kent who was human and had all the right memories and such co-existing with Superman for the better part of a year. This was right after the beginning of Rebirth where it was still in the main universe's remembered continuity that that universe's (New52) Superman had died and that the guy who took over was from another universe (We the readers knew another timeline, but universe is what the character believed at the time.), so some of us kind of hoped that the new Clark Kent was the New52 Superman in some way, with some sort of amnesia about his life of Superman and either stripped of his powers or the knowledge of how to use them, and that he'd eventually get everything back. It turned out to be Mxy (*sigh*). I did think the cover they did for one of those issues with Superman fighting Clark Kent was pretty cool, though (I mean, tell me that wouldn't stand out to a casual buyer on a display).

    Still, though, if the part about a separate person believed to have been Clark Kent by the general public for the better part of a year is still canon, that is one thing people could bring up- like "Yeah, I saw them both together a few years ago". I'm assuming that when "Clark" finally started to break character and do suspicious and/or bad things, that it wasn't widely known to the general public, so as to allow Superman to assume the persona "again" (That Superman hadn't been Clark Kent in that version of the timeline yet, but both that timeline and that character had previously had a Clark Kent who was Superman, it's just that the timeline had featured the New52 Superman as Clark Kent, and that Superman had only been a pre-New52 universe's Clark Kent) later.

    Actually, one vaguely impressive thing I think they did was when Rebirth Lois Lane tried to return to New52 Lois' (She also died, but at the time was still thought to be alive by her friends and family, and working on a book or special assignment) Daily Planet was that she was almost caught out because a food she hated was New52 Lois' favorite food or vice-versa. No one ever seemed to notice she was older than her counterpart, but it was nice that the writers acknowledged some differences instead of just trying to make it seem like they were literally the same person and the New52 people didn't matter (Jonathan Carroll should have so shown up. That would have been great. Rebirth Lois would have had to deal with having no idea idea who the guy was and being married to Clark, while pretending to be the Lois who seriously dated Jonathan and was still single to a degree plausible to the old boyfriend.). Of course, that's basically what they partially did with Rebirth- made it so the New52 characters aren't remembered in universe except, in theory, to the beyond-superhero type beings who can see old timelines even after they've been changed (Doctor Manhattan, Mxy, those type of people) or anyone visiting Earth 52 (And there they'd just know it as an alternate universe, rather than recognizing their own history).

  10. #25
    (formerly "Superman") JAK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bat39 View Post
    I suppose Pre-Crisis, the loss of his adoptive parents was a factor in him no longer wanting to stick around Smallville as well.

    Honestly, my bigger problem with Superboy as a public figure is the coincidence of Clark Kent and Superman both being from Smallville.

    I mean, think about it. Superboy was the most powerful being on earth and he was from Smallville. Then he moves to Metropolis and becomes Superman. Around the same time, Clark Kent moves from Smallville to Metropolis as well.

    The Daily Planet staff at least should have put two-and-two together before long.

    No one suspects Clark Kent of being Superman because there's no reason to associate a guy from some town in Kansas with the Man of Steel.

    But if the guy happens to be from the same town in Kansas where Superman comes from, then you might start looking at the other coincidences a bit more closely - like the similarity in their builds and their faces. Hell, maybe you'd just start looking past those glasses...
    I do have a possible answer for this. Usually, we see Clark come to Metropolis first.. but I'd reverse it. Have Superman show up in Metropolis first for a while, and then Clark shows up - saying that he can get the inside track on Superman because they grew up around the same time in Smallville.

    That way, it looks more like Clark moved to Metropolis because he wanted a city reporter job and saw Superman as an opportunity to get it.
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  11. #26
    Incredible Member SuperCrab's Avatar
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    As to the plausibility of Clark choosing not being Superboy in Smallville, but still becoming Superman later in Metropolis, from a characterization perspective, I would say that it's actually pretty good. In the New52, for example, an adolescent Clark accidentally burns down his adopted father's entire field of crops when his heat vision first develops. He has no one to teach him how to use his powers.

    On Superman and Lois (the television show), one of the recent episodes showed Clark trying to teach Jordan how to tune out all the things he could hear because it was overwhelming him and giving him migraine type symptoms. I would think there would be a lot of that for a young Clark, without the benefit of anyone to teach him (Except maybe a Jor-El hologram, if he could get that up and running consistently- it could be said to have been partially damaged by the landing on earth and being in a dusty barn for like 15 years afterwards.).

    So, if Clark started getting his powers at say, 13, it makes sense that it would take him 5 years or so to learn, by himself, how to use them all reasonably safely. He might occasionally do something heroic in a blur if he felt like he could pull it off without been seen and if he knew that the police wouldn't get to the scene in time, but he wouldn't have the costume and wouldn't be doing it regularly or semi-regularly. His human parents could also discourage or attempt to forbid him from acting as a superhero until he was an adult and tell him there would come a time to serve the public with what he could do, but say that said time would only come when he was mature enough to handle his powers and also the fame, adulation, and backlash that might come with being a superhero, and that being a teenager was hard enough for now.

  12. #27
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    It's odd that the number and range of powers developed steadily from the beginning into the 1960s and then after that nothing really. In fact, his powers were cut back except for heat vision which was made much more violent and destructive and hard to control.

    I think the powers should evolve to fit the times we're in. Like I would have Superman able to see the internet and interact with it through his eyes. He can see electromagnetism beyond the visible spectrum--everything in communications is electromagnetism these days--so his mind is able to decode all that information and process it.

    I also prefer that he arrives on Earth with his powers. He doesn't have to worry about controlling them because 1) they come to him naturally like breathing and just as we control our breathing before we're conscious that we're breathing, his body is naturally in control of itself; 2) the onboard computer system is his robot teacher that trains his mind and body as he's heading through hyperspace and as he develops his powers before landing on Earth.

    So, just like we don't understand everything about the human body and mind yet we function, Supes doesn't fully understand everything about how he's able to do the things he does--nor does he need to know how his powers work for him to use them. I don't have to know anything about physics to lift a pencil. And I would say that he has some power--like that power to perceive and interact with electromagnetic waves/particles--that naturally interferes with technology and human perception, so nothing and nobody sees that Superman and Clark look alike.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperCrab View Post
    As to the plausibility of Clark choosing not being Superboy in Smallville, but still becoming Superman later in Metropolis, from a characterization perspective, I would say that it's actually pretty good. In the New52, for example, an adolescent Clark accidentally burns down his adopted father's entire field of crops when his heat vision first develops. He has no one to teach him how to use his powers.

    On Superman and Lois (the television show), one of the recent episodes showed Clark trying to teach Jordan how to tune out all the things he could hear because it was overwhelming him and giving him migraine type symptoms. I would think there would be a lot of that for a young Clark, without the benefit of anyone to teach him (Except maybe a Jor-El hologram, if he could get that up and running consistently- it could be said to have been partially damaged by the landing on earth and being in a dusty barn for like 15 years afterwards.).

    So, if Clark started getting his powers at say, 13, it makes sense that it would take him 5 years or so to learn, by himself, how to use them all reasonably safely. He might occasionally do something heroic in a blur if he felt like he could pull it off without been seen and if he knew that the police wouldn't get to the scene in time, but he wouldn't have the costume and wouldn't be doing it regularly or semi-regularly. His human parents could also discourage or attempt to forbid him from acting as a superhero until he was an adult and tell him there would come a time to serve the public with what he could do, but say that said time would only come when he was mature enough to handle his powers and also the fame, adulation, and backlash that might come with being a superhero, and that being a teenager was hard enough for now.
    I kind of hate how the Byrne take and shows like Smallville have given us this "Clark as a Marvel mutant" approach where the powers are something that suddenly appear around puberty. To me Clark is a Kryptonian and his powers are simply natural abilities. He should have had "super"-hearing either from birth or at the latest when he arrived on Earth (where his natural hearing became more powerful due to environmental differences). It's not like he is a tadpole or a caterpillar who radically changes as he gets older.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperCrab View Post
    Yeah, all good points about modern technology making the whole secret identity thing even less plausible.

    With Superman, are two main things that we basically have to assume are not very developed in the DC Universe- facial recognition technology and satellite or advanced aerial surveillance. Superman makes all kinds of public appearances (Appearing in news footage, on smartphone cameras, police body cameras, etc.), and would appear on security camera that are used as evidence in trial (When the crooks he catches are prosecuted in the legal system) all the time, while Clark is presumably captured by CCTV, has a driver's license, and perhaps even has his picture run in the newspaper regularly in continuities where he's an editorialist. All that would seem to need to happen is one cop to have a computer run a facial recognition scan match of Superman against their archives and they should be told he and Clark Kent are at least identical twins and probably the same person- and that cop would have probable cause to run a scan because a lot of what Superman does, since he is not an authorized law enforcement agent, is technically illegal- it's understandable why everyone turns a blind eye to to it in-universe and doesn't try to arrest him, but they wouldn't have any trouble justifying privately running a facial recognition match (They might need to get a court order, I'm not sure how that part works.). Heck, I'd think the FBI would be very interested in who he really is for various reasons, even if they choose to let him basically do his thing unimpeded.

    Similarly, Superman is always flying around various places, sometimes changing as he moves. One would think that between satellite and aerial surveillance could be traced back to it's source and maybe even slowed down to see him switching into or out of his costume. At minimum, though, they should at least be able to trace his flying routes back to their launch points. No matter what efforts he takes to obscure them, eventually, there would almost have to be a pattern of a ton of them being in and around Clark Kent's apartment and the Daily Planet offices. I mean, sure, he's "friends" with Clark and works a lot with the Daily Planet on stories, but after a certain point you'd realize that he's at those two locations way more than anywhere else he could conceivably live and work. Also, everyone would know exactly where the Fortress of Solitude is (At least the governments of the world's largest powers would).

    I remember during the relatively short lived Superwoman monthly that featured Lana Lang as Superwoman, they said that she had some sort of power or technology that subtly obscured her face so that it could be captured on video or film. Superman's never had anything like that mentioned, and he gives a lot of press interviews, including to television, that are key story points, though. In theory, the source of Lana's power initially was inheriting the new52 Superman/Superman Red essence when he died, later retro-conned when they did the Superman Reborn arc that reunited Superman's "two halves" and rewrote the timeline retroactively, so we could say that her power (If it was a power and not a technological device) could be something Superman had or has, but the problem with that it is that it was never mentioned in the New52 Superman continuity leading up to that run, or the Superman Reborn continuity that came out of it.

    I think the most plausible way to handle that stuff is to say, essentially "The DC universe is already clearly not the universe we live in. You may notice that we don't have costumed superheroes or many of the big cities they reference, or open knowledge of and contact with aliens. Other differences are that that universe has not developed very advanced DNA, facial recognition, or surveillance technology." (Maybe that could even be explained by Wayne Tech and whatever that company the Green Arrow or his father owns secretly making sure to retard it's development behind the scenes and offering any scientist or engineer elsewhere on the verge of developing it a big check to come work for them and not develop it.). However, they'd have to take pains to adopt that line-wide consistently. Though I can't think of any examples off the top of my head, I think we've seen that they *do* have all those technologies in current comic continuity.

    Of course, Marvel has had great success in movies basically ditching secret identities, and I suspect what they are doing with Superman revealing his identity to the world in the comics is a trial run for future Superman movies (Either handed down by WB to DC Comics or just a coincidence that DC Comics is trying something that could be of interests to people involved with future Superman movies. In recent years, the comics have often been talked about as a testbed or a way of generating ideas for television and films, and we've seen a lot of DC Comics stories adapted for the Arrowverse shows. In fact, Flashpoint is about to be done for a second time- it was done on The Flash TV show (Sadly, no New52 Superman in that one- this was before the Arrowverse crisis, when Flash's earth had no Kryptonians, before Crisis merged with Supergirl's [and by extension the Superman and Lois] universe retroactively so that they'd always been the same earth as far as anyone but the main characters, who got both sets of memories thanks to Martian Manhunter's intervention, knew.) and is the basis of an upcoming Flash movie (I hear they are either altering it to include a bunch of parallels universes or perhaps alternate timelines while Flash tries to get things back to what he remembers, or tries to create his "perfect" timeline, which is letting them do things like give the Michael Keaton Batman at least a small role. I think it'd be cool if they at least gave a small cameo to a Superman who looks like the New52 Superman was drawn and has the full costume with the high collar, hand coverings, Kryptonian body armor, original New52 harcut, etc.. I'd settle for him even just sort of flying by for a few seconds. He doesn't even have to have a speaking role. I doubt they'll do it, though.).
    I think Byrne Superman had him vibrating his particles at a high rate so as to blur any potential images of him. Not sure if this necessarily covered every single time he did something that was newsworthy or in the public eye, but I think it came up in Man of Steel to try to explain that whole thing.
    "There is nothing quite so perfect as the exact way in which comics combine the word and image." --Alan Moore
    "Before it was a Bomb, the Bomb was an Idea. Superman, however, was a Faster, Stronger, Better Idea." --Grant Morrison

  15. #30
    Incredible Member witchboy's Avatar
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    In pre Crisis there was a Superboy story in the 80s where he considers moving on to Metropolis but realizes he needs the slower pace of Smallville to train until he's an adult. There's talk of him moving to Metropolis occasionally when he's an adult. So even pre-Crisis if the Kents hadn't died he'd have left Smallville. Their deaths just made leaving a more emotionally charged time. Returning for visits always was painful because of their deaths.

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