6 Batshit Crazy Ways Superman Tried To Protect His Identity
As you know, Superman is wildly protective of his Clark Kent identity. What you might not know is exactly how far this alien nutbag is willing to go to protect that secret.
For example, above.
You see, in the '50s and '60s, no comic book writer had any idea how to create an adventure for a man who could do fucking everything. So dozens of Superman stories each month were just nosy people trying to expose him. It drove both Superman and his writers mad, and soon Clark Kent's disguise became the most important thing in the universe. Here are the truly insane things Superman is willing to do to protect it:
He Lets Lois Suffer In Every Conceivable Way
Superman's need for a civilian identity is often justified by his need to protect the ones around him. Well, Lois Lane is kidnapped or dropped from the sky several times a day, and Jimmy Olsen has been exposed to more genetic-altering material than a Neutrogena cat dumpster. It's all Superman's fault. If he told the world he was Clark Kent, they couldn't possibly be in any more danger. Let's look at a 1964 Superman story.
This seems stupid as shit! Looks like a job for Superman!
While on a walk, Clark Kent and Lois run into an escaped mental patient who mistakes Clark for John Dillinger and threatens to shoot his girlfriend. And all that takes place in the first panel. Five seconds next to Clark Kent moves faster than 12 episodes of Boardwalk Empire.
Clark knows if he punches out the madman, Lois will think he's Superman. So he decides to go along with it, pretending to be John Dillinger and building him a bomb. But only until he can spot an opening, right? No. No, let me show you how Superman solves problems. He agrees to the escaped mental patient's deranged plan to test some old bulletproof vests. On Lois.
Superman, you're going to just watch her get shot!? Ha ha, fuck!
So "Clark" watches as Lois is sprayed with bullets by an unhinged man's fully automatic gun who miraculously hits her only in the vest. Which probably should have killed her anyway. And if you look carefully at her thought bubbles, none of it mattered, because she knew he was Superman the whole fucking time. So she almost died for nothing. Less than nothing if you consider how this secret isn't even worth keeping. Why is he doing all this, and who would believe it? It's like John Travolta telling the guy on his dick they're asleep and it's all a dream.
There goes Lois again. Jumping to her death. I'd bette- you know what? Enjoy the fall, dingbat.
Superman would almost rather watch his girlfriend die than trust her with a secret she already knows. And Lois knows that, too, so she uses suicide as a dare. Jumping out of a window is a normal part of their arguments, but Superman never gives her the satisfaction. He'll watch that mouthy harpy fall into a tomato truck before he admits she's right.
Hey, Superguy! You and the dame mind solvin' yer domestic crap somewheres that don't cost me five grand in tomatoes?
So we've seen Superman is willing to let his girlfriend get mentally or physically destroyed for the tiniest chance at hiding his identity. Would he behave the same if the stakes were a little more ... rapey?
"Did he say rapey? I don't like where this is going."
In what turned out to be a very ordinary day at the Daily Planet, a super villain burst in and paralyzed the staff with a stun-ray so he could destroy evidence. Clark Kent could have easily stopped him, but not without exposing that the stun-ray didn't work on him -- absolute proof he must be an outer-space super alien. So Clark sat back and watched. After all, what's the villain going to do, put his mouth all over his girlfriend? Come on, that'd be crazy. R-right?
"Ha. The joke's on him. My penis has been on those lips. What's space dong taste like, foul fiend!?"
He did nothing while his girlfriend was molested four feet away from him! And look at his face! He's into it! Is pointless, bad secret-keeping Superman's sexual fetish? That ... that would actually explain a lot. Though, as you're about to see, it does not explain enough.
He Creates Impossible, Stupid Gadgets
Since 1949, Superman has maintained a fleet of super strong, flying robots that look exactly like him. So how does he still have any secret identity drama in his life? He could send them to do his newspaper job on a busy day. Or if being Clark Kent is so important, and it isn't, he could do that while the robots saved Earth. But these amazing miracles of robotics are used exclusively to trick nosy assholes. And here's the problem: The nosiest asshole of all, Lois Lane, knows all about them.
Lois might know the robots better than she thinks.
It creates an interesting problem. In order to maintain the "illusion" of Clark Kent and Superman being different people, he may have to prove he's in two places at once, and also that neither of him are robots. In one "adventure," Lois assembled a gigantic electromagnet in her office to expose Clark's lie. If he tried any of his robot-duplicate bullshit, the magnet would expose him. That's how she spent her workday. Lois Lane is the kind of woman who'd give herself a black eye and fill your computer with child pornography just to see if you'd cheat on her in prison.
So once again: If Superman is stunned or speechless when I surprise him with a giant magnet, it's proof the man he's carrying is him! Got it?
Here's how Superman handled it:
Ha! Little did they know, it was a balloon I was pretending to make talk wi- you know, I'm starting to think everyone is screwing with me.
Superman created an inflatable man with working motor functions and lips and used "super ventriloquism" to make it talk. Fine, I buy it. He built in one day what 17 different adult toy service representatives tell me is impossible. But wouldn't Lois find the balloon floating around later and piece it all together?
It exploded in the fiery hot depths of space!? Man, this guy thought of everything!
The writer of this story is why bellyflop contests no longer allow pregnant entrants. However, that's not why it bothers me so much. See, Superman has all these ridiculous abilities like super balloon-making and super ventriloquism, but he also has super senses. He heard the terrified screams of every person who died. And given the world they lived in, some of them were specifically screaming, "Why is Superman letting me die!?" He heard it all ... while he fucked around gluing eyelashes to a sex doll so Lois Lane's dingy magnet scheme would fizzle. I feel like I'm not even speaking English when I try to describe it.
Look, I hate to put it like this, but literally thousands of people would still be alive
if you could mind your business, you abominable human cow.
Superman has been through this nonsense so much, he can make a Superman out of anything. In a story called "The Girl Cops Of Metropolis," three sassy girl cops discovered his secret. They hound him for weeks before he finally locks himself in jail and makes a Clark Kent out of a prison blanket while one of them does her makeup. That's not some ironic sexism joke -- it's exactly what happened. The women in Superman's world are just embarrassing things used to hold up tampons while they clumsily try to ruin him.
Oh, curse my girl cop vanity! I've let another prisoner escape!
Lois Lane has demonstrated -- for decades -- that she can't recognize Superman if he changes his clothes. In one "exciting tale," she suspected he worked at the Daily Planet, so she planned a corporate retreat at the beach. She knew the Man Of Steel would not be able to hide his ripped physique in shirtless circumstances. So how could Superman get out of this one? Stay in the office? Wear a shirt? Think dumber: He buried himself in the sand next to a fake rubber arm he had stashed for just such an occasion.
What? I honestly think the readers would understand if Superman just threw the awful hag into space instead of fussing with all this crap.
The truly amazing part of that story is that Lois caught Clark in the act of changing into Superman three times in that story and only thought he was making fun of her. The man spends thousands of hours preparing robots, dolls, and loose limbs to trick this one specific woman and finds out she's such an idiot he could have been changing in front of her the whole time? There's a solid chance if you pretended to throw a tennis ball, Lois Lane would run out the window and solve 80 percent of Metropolis' problems when she landed.
Ha ha, you sure have, buddy. All worth it.
In case I haven't, I want to be clear before we move on with this Superman article: Lois Lane is the unimaginable worst. She never learns, has no sense of consequence, and should be dead a million times over. If she were a real person, she'd be going on her 37th date with Bill Cosby right now.
hrrrk ... yooou ... biiiiiiiiiiiitch ...
He Hatches Ridiculously Complicated Schemes
Despite his unending supply of bizarre powers, there are times when Superman is absurdly pragmatic. For instance, if someone goes into cardiac arrest next to him, he might fly to the library, read every book on heart surgery ever written, fly back, and replace their faulty heart before anyone notices. Those stories are rare. Here's a much more typical one:
I'm blind! This proves I'm not Superman, right? I know that's what you would have been thinking if I didn't go blind, so we can all agree I'm not Superman now? Hey, do you guys think I have a small dick? DO YOU!? I'll take it out and measure it right now!
In this "suspense-packed" story, Clark's paranoia gets so out of hand he fakes blindness after seeing a flash no mere human could withstand. He goes all-in with it. He gets a seeing-eye dog and develops very real self-pity for his very fake disability. After a few weeks, he couldn't take everyone feeling sorry for him, so he abandoned his life. So if you're wondering what foe finally defeated Superman, it was how his friends treat him differently after he convinces them he's handicapped. I hope that makes you feel like pussies, Darkseid and Metallo.
You're just starting a new human life because this one got complicated?
That was an option this whole time? Then why!? Why any of this!?
He started a life as an ex-con butler named Digby then quit to become popular British radio DJ Clark The "K." Great alias, Clark Kent. Why not name yourself DJ Soup R. Manny, you dipshit? Or better yet, stop pretending to be this thing you're not. What do you get out of it other than crippling paranoia and insecurity? You're like John Travolta pretending he can't speak English when I ask him to stop pulling on my penis.
To the writer's credit, this was 40 years before you could Google, "How the fuck do British people talk?"
If you're wondering how Superman's identity of Clark The "K" was compromised, you won't be disappointed.
This makes me wonder how many of his women problems he could have solved with a tongue tsunami.
Now that you've seen Superman lick a mob of strange women into unconsciousness, it's my duty to let you know what he did later that same issue. In a crime against all language and concepts, he adopted the civilian identity of a kitty cat Superman-themed street performer named Super-Cool Cat. That may be the worst sentence about a cat I've ever typed, and I once emailed the writer of Garfield: A Tail Of Two Kitties to let him know his wife might have herpes.
Superman's adventures are like an alien language taking a shit in your brain.
The point I'm trying to make is Clark Kent decided to fake blindness, ditch his entire life, and start three new identities instead of simply saying, "Whoa! That light hurt my eyes, but I'm ... I think I'm OK!" And that insane scheme lasting for years is Superman's normal. Here is one that's actually strange.
It was this magic phone booth! It was not because I spend all day building balloons and robots and eating candy bars at light speed!
Superman turned fat, and I'm worried the ridiculous explanation might make you measurably dumber. If that sounds like your kind of danger, here you go: A sacred alien potion given to him as a prize went bad, so it exploded inside him three days later. If you pussed out and skipped that last sentence, I'll catch you up: Superman comics are stupid and so he is fat. He's so fat his S stretched into the Kryptonian word for ham. He's so fat Aquaman tried to finger his blowhole. He's so fat Batman's contingency plan against him became "distraction pizza."
Only Lois Lane could sneak up on a fat man smashing a building and imagine it was some kind of scheme to trick her. AND ALSO BE RIGHT.
Obviously, Clark Kent will be exposed when everyone sees him fat. I guess he could super-compress gravy into the Metropolis food supply to make everyone fa- crap, I'm starting to think like Superman. Maybe he could start a corn empire that marketed candy to children for decades while blackmailing organizations and paying off governments to hide the dangers of fructose until the entire country was obes- shit, now I'm thinking like Lex Luthor. First thing's first -- Clark needs to convince Lois Lane he's not fat.
That makes no sense at all! Classic you, Superman.
He, of course, used "super ventriloquism," knitted a giant robe, built a giant chair, and invented a distorted projection system. "With great power comes great responsibility" is someone else's motto. Superman's motto is closer to "I will revolutionize every industry you puny Earthlings have for my own private use: psychologically torturing your worst female."
And speaking of revolutionizing industries, Superman came up with an amazing weight-loss technique -- he flew into space and just started cannon-balling into meteors.
I take back some of the bad things I said, Superman. This is the perfectly awesome kind of crazy.
Superman has been making everything way too complicated since he was a kid. In one "thrilling" Superboy adventure, some crooks kidnapped a boy named Horace Holly who they thought was Superboy. They threatened to kill Clark Kent if Horace didn't build them an airport. So Clark Kent had to pretend to be Horace pretending to be Superboy, and he built them a completely real airport.
Quick, punch them all when no one's looking! Or ... OK, build them an airport when no one's looking.
If all of this seems way too complicated and confusing, don't worry ...
... sometimes Clark Kent couldn't even keep it straight.
He Honors Each And Every Bizarre Court Order
Everyone knows Superman's weakness is kryptonite. And magic. Oh, and the way he spends six months per suspicious person to prove he's not Clark Kent. But his real weakness is that he must compulsively obey every court order, authority figure, and county statute. And there is no limit to what Clark will do. If a county judge says, "Superboy, you're an orphan," he has shown that he'll leave his fucking parents.
"Look on the bright side, mothe- I mean, Martha. We can bang now."
Superboy honors this ridiculous ruling, effectively "killing" Clark Kent forever, and is given to a family who immediately enslaves him. All to protect an identity that no longer exists. It's like John Travolta trying to convince a hole in a men's room wall he's Michael Clarke Duncan.
"Shut up and spin this SALE sign, fantastic boy from the stars who could kill us all!"
Is there a limit to what Clark Kent will do to keep this pointless secret? Was there ever an "adventure" that put a dollar value on it.?
Never doubt my Superman research skills.
In "The Town That Stole Superboy," a neighboring town sued Smallville for the rights to call themselves "the home of Superboy." Superboy refused to tell the courts where he lived, so his hometown was forced to pay $1 million (about $9.4 million in today's money). This destroyed the local economy and they enforced a "SUPERBOY TAX" to help pay it off.
Holy shit, I wasn't kidding about that?
Superboy's family and every single person he knew went broke to protect his flimsy, widely known, and pointless secret. I don't even have a John Travolta joke for that -- it's that fucked up. Unless ... unless John Travolta could somehow charge us money every time he mistook his masseur's hand for underwear? No ... no! It's too awful to think about!
He Will Convince You You've Gone Mad
Clark Kent has dedicated his life to proving Lois Lane she's wrong, but with Lana Lang, he's dedicated his life to proving she's insane. Let's imagine for a second Clark gets shot in front of Lana while wearing her antique helmet. Actually don't imagine it, since Superman comics were written entirely in misheard ape sign language:
You know, Lana may have been a little insane before Superboy got there.
Superboy now has an important decision to make: admit he's Superboy or convince this girl her hat truly makes a person invincible. So Superboy begins stalking Lana to convince the poor idiot she has unkillable hat powers. It works easily. She's been deceived and "super hypnotized" so many times, most of her thoughts are just fleeting images of dark, unknown locations and Superboy smirks.
My special-needs counselor thought this helmet would keep me safe! Giggle! She was wrong!
Clark tells her the hat is magic, and he's only lied to her hundreds of times every day, so she believes him so hard she goes on a suicidal rampage. She jumps off buildings, dives into traffic, and chases armed criminals. She has absolute confidence in her magic hat, and why shouldn't she? Look at the lengths Superboy goes in order to convince her of its majesty:
I guess I'd think I was wearing a magic hat too.
Superboy, after manipulating the events of her life for weeks, finally gets rid of the hat by creating millions of copies of it and throwing them all into a junkyard. As far as Lana knows, she had superpowers and they're somewhere in a suspiciously identical pile of antique hats. But would anyone really abandon a pile of hats if one of them granted the powers of a god? That poor girl is still in that dump rubbing trash against her head and waiting for it to make her fly.
Enjoy a life of torment, Earth girl!
So yes, Lana is probably quivering in a mental hospital screaming about Clark Kent being Superboy and hats being magic. The real victim was Lana's little brother, Ronald. If Lana Lang's mind was abused by Clark Kent, Ronald's mind was irreparably torn apart by clown dildos. Let me show you what happened when this poor little kid set out to prove Clark Kent was Superboy.
"Expose me as Clark Kent? Not if your mind is shattered, you little bitch."
The first thing Superboy did was yank the road under Ronald into the sky where his ludicrous arsenal of superpowers animated a scarecrow and a tin man. They squawked words of madness from their unliving mouths, and Ronald ran. But you can't outrun fear, and you can't outrun Superboy.
"Let this be my message to all Smallville's children: NO ONE WILL BELIEVE YOU!"
Yanked into the sky to be shrieked at by robots? The boy would never be the same. But Superboy wasn't done with this child's mind. He was only getting started. He knocked Ronald into a cave, where a giant playing card and bunny greeted him in the now familiar language of Chaos.
Jesus FUCK, Superboy. Too far.
Superboy yanked Ronald out of the cave at super speed and set him loose in a world that no longer made sense. By this point, his thoughts were nothing more than nightmare stew. Ronald should have been prepared for a dragon attack, but he was not.
"Now to use my heat vision to etch images of the devil onto his retina!"
In the end, Ronald decided he was wrong about Superboy and was convinced the rest of his afternoon was a hallucination brought on by storybooks. He took this as a sign he should read more storybooks. I guess that logic makes sense to a brain after it's been psychologically destroyed by some dick alien's machinations. Superboy ended the story by taking credit for Ronald's newfound love of reading. What? Maybe I've gone crazy, but that's like a Catholic priest taking credit for inspiring a kid to eat more hot dogs.
"With my super ventriloquism, Ronald's storybooks can threaten to impregnate his pig face while he sleeps!
And they shall! This night and every night to come! "
He Will Destroy Pat Boone's Life
Pat Boone was such a popular singer in the late '50s he made it into a Superman comic. I hope I've demonstrated during this article that Superman scripts are filled with more dark insanity than the dream journals of Josh Duggar's sisters, so it's no small thing when I say this Pat Boone comic is the batshit-craziest Superman story of all time.
I won't bother you with the details that led to a newspaper reporter getting hired to write Pat Boone a song about Superman.
Clark Kent writes a song about Superman for Pat, realizing too late the first letter in each line spells out "Clark Kent." Incidentally, this is the same way police discovered Bon Jovi was secretly Star-Guardian Ieaiii Wstsba.
Clark Kent, the credited songwriter for this song about Superman, can't let this "secret" get out or people might associate Clark Kent with Superman and decide they share more than the same face, build, hometown, and girlfriend. So he flies into a lightning storm, absorbs billions of volts of electricity, and wrecks The Pat Boone Show's broadcast towers.
It's what the charred corpses of Pat Boone's sound technicians might call "an overreaction."
When Pat tries to perform the song again, Superman bursts into the concert and SEALS HIM IN A FUCKING TUBE.
"A sudden and unexplainable tube? This is sure going to be a confusing way to die, Miss Lane!"
When Pat tries to perform the song again, Superman has run out of weird ideas and simply drops dynamite on the concert hall.
"Oh, for fu- Don't you have anything better to do, Superman!?"
Here's where the story takes a twist. Superman has lost the envelope containing his original lyrics! The stakes in Superman stories are so low you'd swear you were reading Gwyneth Paltrow's blog.
Superman needs to get the envelope back, but refuses to fly around looking for it like some kind of asshole. Instead, he asks Pat Boone to find it ... after admitting to destroying Pat's broadcast towers, trapping him in a tube, and carpet-bombing his concert. Pat agrees and sends all the children of America out to find the envelope.
"Hundreds of us were lost to exposure, wolves, or worse in this unsupervised envelope hunt! Must have been important!"
It started as a destructive rampage to ruin Pat Boone and ended up as a nationwide envelope hunt organized by children. And remember, it was all to hide a non-secret songwriter's name from Pat Boone fans who were also codebreakers. There's only one way to describe that -- it's like blowing up Santa Monica because John Travolta Can't Overlook Cracked's Kidding.
Seanbaby is an Internet treasure and game designer. Geniuses play his critically acclaimed Calculords on their mobile devices. You can follow him on Twitter.
For more of his comic jokes, see 8 Bizarre Horrors Found in the Squarest Comic Book Ever or The 6 Most Half-Assed Superhero Origins.
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