26
Mar 05

Lame Secret Identities in Superhero Comics

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 881 views

Lame Secret Identities in Superhero Comics

There are plenty of unlikely villainous names – “You mean the Riddler is really Mr E. Nigma? Holy stupid fucking contrivances, Batman!” – but since a lot of them were probably created as a small joke with no necessary expectation of regular returns, I guess we can just about tolerate those. There are some less forgiveable ones…

#3: J’onn J’onnz, The Martian Manhunter. For those who don’t know, this is an actual Martian, not a human who hunts Martian men. His name, which when a child I tried to pronounce something like Juh-on Juh-ons, apparently actually sounds just like John Jones. To conceal his identity, he hid behind a human identity, and took the name John Jones. Since he could change shape and it is a very common name, he makes only #3.

#2: I’m reading the Essential Doctor Strange vol.2 now, and it was that that inspired this little item. Top surgeon Dr Strange is injured, and in an attempt to regain use of his hands finds the mystical Ancient Cliche in Tibet, and learns magic instead. Oddly, despite needing to throw strange hand shapes all the time to cast spells, he never gets around to repairing his hands. Instead he takes up mystical superheroics, with a maskless costume, hiding his identity behind HIS OWN NAME. My assumption was that he didn’t care about people identifying him, but there is later an “Oh no! I may have given away my secret identity!” moment. Really, Doc? How do you think anyone guessed? Fortunately the cosmic embodiment of the unending flow of time, Eternity, changes his name for him (probably got it notarised by Infinity), but the writers kind of forget about that a few issues later.

#1: Black Bolt is one of my absolute favourite superhero characters, someone much underused on the largest scale, which is where his insanely huge powers belong. It seemed a perfectly good superhero name, if not terribly descriptive – until his real name was revealed. If I ever acquire superpowers (I’ve not given up hope), I shall go by the superhero name Mart Skid, in tribute to Black Bolt, whose real name, it was eventually revealed, is Blackagar Boltagon.

(other nominations welcomed – I must have forgotten some good ones)

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