Yesterday’s post went up late. Check it out if you haven’t: “Retcon”
A secret identity is like an exercise in futility. Heroes are the only ones who generally make use of secret identities because they want to maintain some semblance of normal life. They want to partake of the world without people knowing who they are. Think about those mega-million lottery winners. They will never be able to trust if people care about them for them or for the fact they’ll pick up the tab at dinner. So it goes for heroes, plus they have to then worry about anyone THEY care about being targeted. A hero has family and friends, or at least, his secret identity does. So he has to keep them safe by remaining anonymous.
But here’s the problem, as I’ve mentioned before, heroes never get a normal life, no matter how hard they try. Inevitably they have to ditch their friends and potential girlfriend to go save the helpless. They end up looking like they are having an affair instead of saving the galaxy. Their friends know they are keeping secrets from them and they won’t tolerate that long. The hero ends up unfulfilled in both of his roles. Secret Identities will give the hero nothing but heartache.
Secret Identities require the hero’s friends to be incredibly stupid. The Spirit, though not technically ‘super’, slaps on a domino mask and suddenly he’s unrecognizable by his closest friends? Clark Kent slouches a bit and knocks on a pair of glasses and no one’s like, “Wow, ever notice that Clark Kent and Superman have the exact same slick black hair, square jaw, strong nose, grim mouth, shoulders like a semi-truck and hands that could crush steel? No? Yeah me, either.”
At least Peter Parker covers his whole body when he’s in Spidey-mode, and in a world with actual, honest to God face recognition software, how do any of them stay secret?
Villains Wear Their Awesome with Pride
Villains never deal in secret identities because they want to take all the credit for their no-good-ness themselves. Granted, sometimes villains just drop their former personalities and lives altogether and embrace their new villain identity and that’s sort of like a secret identity, except they don’t care so much for who they left behind. Villains are proud of the work they do.
Follow the Batmobile
My husband and I got into a conversation about this not long ago. So in the old TV show, Batman drives his very iconic batmobile back to his batcave down that dirt road through the fake barricade sign that drops out of the way. Now, Batman uses bat shaped tracking devices all the time. Why did no villain ever reverse the trick on him and follow him back to his secret lair beneath Wayne Mansion?
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