History ObfuscatingStupidity / Comics

7th Aug '16 11:04:01 AM narm00
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** Superman is the ''{{Trope Codifier}}'', for DC comics. The fact that he can disguise himself with a pair of glasses and this, and nobody ever figures it out themselves, is a testament either to human stupidity or his awesome Obfuscating Stupidity. Oh, and the hair curl. This is even ''{{lampshaded}}'' in ''Lois and Clark: the New Adventures of Superman'', where Lois is told point blank, "Hello! Duh! Clark Kent is Superman!"

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** Superman is the ''{{Trope Codifier}}'', for DC comics.Comics. The fact that he can disguise himself with a pair of glasses and this, and nobody ever figures it out themselves, is a testament either to human stupidity or his awesome Obfuscating Stupidity. Oh, and the hair curl. This is even ''{{lampshaded}}'' in ''Lois and Clark: ''Series/LoisAndClark: the New Adventures of Superman'', where Lois is told point blank, "Hello! Duh! Clark Kent is Superman!"



** Modern versions of the character go back and forth with this trope though, since while Clark Kent ''sometimes'' acts clumsy and dumb, he is also prize-winning investigative journalist for a major metropolitan newspaper and it's a little difficulty to believe that he could hold such a position and reputation and have too many people think he is an idiot. Of course, obfuscating stupidity comes in handy for a job like that as well...
* Franchise/{{Batman}} relies quite strongly on his public persona of "Bruce Wayne, [[RichIdiotWithNoDayJob idjit]]." Averted in the [[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries animated series]], where he's portrayed as the head of the Wayne Enterprises and a shrewd businessperson, [[BunnyEarsLawyer but still having a rather...enthusiastic attitude towards social activities]].

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** Modern versions of the character go back and forth with this trope though, since while Clark Kent ''sometimes'' acts clumsy and dumb, he is also a prize-winning investigative journalist for a major metropolitan newspaper and it's a little difficulty to believe that he could hold such a position and reputation and have too many people think he is an idiot. Of course, obfuscating stupidity comes in handy for a job like that as well...
* Franchise/{{Batman}} relies quite strongly on his public persona of "Bruce Wayne, [[RichIdiotWithNoDayJob idjit]]." Averted in the [[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries animated series]], where he's portrayed as the head of the Wayne Enterprises and a shrewd businessperson, [[BunnyEarsLawyer but still having a rather...enthusiastic attitude towards social activities]].



** ComicBook/TheJoker. He looks and acts like a clown and often comes up with ridiculous schemes that seem to genuinely make no sense (the most infamous example being the time he tried to patent his brand of poisoned fish). He can also be suicidally reckless and he frequently resorts to petty pranks even when he has Batman firmly at his mercy. But beneath his foolish facade lurks one of the most diabolically brilliant psychopathic minds Batman ever faces, and he regularly proves himself capable of not only keeping pace with, but actually frequently outsmarting, both the Dark Knight and a host of other extremely intelligent heroes and villains, with even Lex Luthor thinking he is one of the few minds who can actually keep up with him. The Joker is a brilliant chemist who invented his own lethal laughing gas and various other concoctions, has proven himself to be an expert in a range of fields ranging from engineering to psychology and even to meteorology, is a masterful escape artist and magician easily on par with his nemesis, and regularly organises and executes acts of robbery and terrorism of such sophistication that they have been compared to military operations. It is very often implied that he is more than capable of killing Batman and everyone else if he really put his mind to it (and that he has intentionally passed up opportunities to do just that), and that he only reason he doesn't is that he thinks [[VictoryIsBoring actually winning would be boring]].

to:

** ComicBook/TheJoker. He looks and acts like a clown and often comes up with ridiculous schemes that seem to genuinely make no sense (the most infamous example being the time he tried to patent his brand of poisoned fish). He can also be suicidally reckless and he frequently resorts to petty pranks even when he has Batman firmly at his mercy. But beneath his foolish facade lurks one of the most diabolically brilliant psychopathic minds Batman ever faces, and he regularly proves himself capable of not only keeping pace with, but actually frequently outsmarting, both the Dark Knight and a host of other extremely intelligent heroes and villains, with even Lex Luthor thinking he is one of the few minds who can actually keep up with him. The Joker is a brilliant chemist who invented his own lethal laughing gas and various other concoctions, has proven himself to be an expert in a range of fields ranging from engineering to psychology and even to meteorology, is a masterful escape artist and magician easily on par with his nemesis, and regularly organises and executes acts of robbery and terrorism of such sophistication that they have been compared to military operations. It is very often implied that he is more than capable of killing Batman and everyone else if he really put his mind to it (and that he has intentionally passed up opportunities to do just that), and that he the only reason he doesn't is that he thinks [[VictoryIsBoring actually winning would be boring]].



** This is one of the few cases where the "stupid" act is part of the actual superhero persona more often than the civilian/secret identity. Peter Parker is well-known as a bright if not brilliant and educated man who avoids physical work whenever possible, where Spider-man is a dumb jock who solves problems by punching them in the face and taunting them, kind of like a kid. All of the technical and scientific aspects of the hero-persona's work are only revealed to other heroes if then. An example would be explaining a complex network of bugs, tracers, and detectors used to track targets intentionally allowed to escape a fight in a marked vehicle as "spider sense" and getting lucky.
* Grunge of ''ComicBook/{{Gen 13}}'', both pre and post-Worldstorm. The post-Worldstorm versions works very hard to give the impression that he's a stupid slacker, due to bad experiences when he was younger and still extremely nerdy. Pre-worldstorm, he takes the same advanced biology classes as the team's resident genius, Fairchild.

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** This is one of the few cases where the "stupid" act is part of the actual superhero persona more often than the civilian/secret identity. Peter Parker is well-known as a bright if not brilliant and educated man who avoids physical work whenever possible, where Spider-man Spider-Man is a dumb jock who solves problems by punching them in the face and taunting them, kind of like a kid. All of the technical and scientific aspects of the hero-persona's work are only revealed to other heroes if then. An example would be explaining a complex network of bugs, tracers, and detectors used to track targets intentionally allowed to escape a fight in a marked vehicle as "spider sense" and getting lucky.
* Grunge of ''ComicBook/{{Gen 13}}'', both pre and post-Worldstorm. The post-Worldstorm versions version works very hard to give the impression that he's a stupid slacker, due to bad experiences when he was younger and still extremely nerdy. Pre-worldstorm, Pre-Worldstorm, he takes the same advanced biology classes as the team's resident genius, Fairchild.



** Deadpool also says to Cable in the Cable and Deadpool comic something along the lines of " It's fun playing the fool, but do you know when it's stops being fun? When you actually start to believe it."

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** Deadpool also says to Cable in the Cable and Deadpool comic something along the lines of " It's "It's fun playing the fool, but do you know when it's stops being fun? When you actually start to believe it."



** This is deliberately shown in one strip, when Odie watches Jon, then Garfield exit the house with a wicked smile...only to settle down in a smoking-jacket, pipe, in a plush recliner, watching a show on Classical music with a copy of ''War & Peace'' nearby.

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** This is deliberately shown in one strip, when Odie watches Jon, then Garfield Garfield, exit the house with a wicked smile...only to settle down in a smoking-jacket, pipe, in a plush recliner, watching a show on Classical music with a copy of ''War & Peace'' nearby.



** Another strip has Jon struggling to solve a Sudoku puzzle and giving up, Odie examines it and solves it very quickly to Jon's surprise.

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** Another strip has Jon struggling to solve a Sudoku puzzle and giving up, then Odie examines it and solves it very quickly quickly, to Jon's surprise.



* In "I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League" Elongated Man tells Booster Gold that "the difference between you and me is that I only ''act'' like an idiot".

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* In "I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League" Elongated Man ComicBook/ElongatedMan tells Booster Gold that "the difference between you and me is that I only ''act'' like an idiot".
13th Jul '16 6:14:08 AM Quanyails
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** Attempted by a soldier who wants to get discharged by passing himself as crazy, so he can ask a discharge for medical reasons. It backfires horribly: First he has to convince the sergeant, who promptly decreed that he's just stupid, so he's fit to be a soldier. To try and convince the sergeant he's crazy, he ''strips naked''. Next strip, the sergeant has blackened his eye. When the sergeant asks for volunteers for disposing of avariated ''nytroglicerin'' (more prone to explode than normal nitroglycerin) he volunteers, finally convincing the sergeant he is in fact stupid and asking to be discharged... Only for the battalion doctor to point out the ([[LampshadeHanging literal]]) Catch22Dilemma: if you ask to be discharged on the grounds of insanity you're not crazy. And as he ''did'' volunteer, he ''still'' has to dispose of the explosive. The stress of the disposing ends up driving him ''genuinely'' crazy... And as he's carried to the insane asylum, the sergeant gives the nurses the document stating he's being discharged on grounds of insanity.

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** Attempted by a soldier who wants to get discharged by passing himself as crazy, so he can ask a discharge for medical reasons. It backfires horribly: First he has to convince the sergeant, who promptly decreed that he's just stupid, so he's fit to be a soldier. To try and convince the sergeant he's crazy, he ''strips naked''. Next strip, the sergeant has blackened his eye. When the sergeant asks for volunteers for disposing of avariated ''nytroglicerin'' ''nitroglycerin'' (more prone to explode than normal nitroglycerin) he volunteers, finally convincing the sergeant he is in fact stupid and asking to be discharged... Only for the battalion doctor to point out the ([[LampshadeHanging literal]]) Catch22Dilemma: if you ask to be discharged on the grounds of insanity you're not crazy. And as he ''did'' volunteer, he ''still'' has to dispose of the explosive. The stress of the disposing ends up driving him ''genuinely'' crazy... And as he's carried to the insane asylum, the sergeant gives the nurses the document stating he's being discharged on grounds of insanity.
14th Jun '16 4:05:38 AM rafi
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** Almost identical to another moment in "I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League" where Dibny tells Booster Gold that "the difference between you and me is that I only ''act'' like an idiot".


Added DiffLines:

* In "I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League" Elongated Man tells Booster Gold that "the difference between you and me is that I only ''act'' like an idiot".
10th Jun '16 2:23:16 PM Dragon101
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** ComicBook/TheJoker. He looks and acts like a clown and often comes up with ridiculous schemes that seem to genuinely make no sense (the most infamous example being the time he tried to patent his brand of poisoned fish). He can also be suicidally reckless and he frequently resorts to petty pranks even when he has Batman firmly at his mercy. But beneath his foolish facade lurks one of the most diabolically brilliant psychopathic minds Batman ever faces, and he regularly proves himself capable of not only keeping pace with, but actually frequently outsmarting, both the Dark Knight and a host of other extremely intelligent heroes and villains, with even Lex Luthor one of the few minds who can actually keep up with him. The Joker is a brilliant chemist who invented his own lethal laughing gas and various other concoctions, has proven himself to be an expert in a range of fields ranging from engineering to psychology and even to meteorology, is a masterful escape artist and magician easily on par with his nemesis, and regularly organises and executes acts of robbery and terrorism of such sophistication that they have been compared to military operations. It is very often implied that he is more than capable of killing Batman and everyone else if he really put his mind to it (and that he has intentionally passed up opportunities to do just that), and that he only reason he doesn't is that he thinks [[VictoryIsBoring actually winning would be boring]].

to:

** ComicBook/TheJoker. He looks and acts like a clown and often comes up with ridiculous schemes that seem to genuinely make no sense (the most infamous example being the time he tried to patent his brand of poisoned fish). He can also be suicidally reckless and he frequently resorts to petty pranks even when he has Batman firmly at his mercy. But beneath his foolish facade lurks one of the most diabolically brilliant psychopathic minds Batman ever faces, and he regularly proves himself capable of not only keeping pace with, but actually frequently outsmarting, both the Dark Knight and a host of other extremely intelligent heroes and villains, with even Lex Luthor thinking he is one of the few minds who can actually keep up with him. The Joker is a brilliant chemist who invented his own lethal laughing gas and various other concoctions, has proven himself to be an expert in a range of fields ranging from engineering to psychology and even to meteorology, is a masterful escape artist and magician easily on par with his nemesis, and regularly organises and executes acts of robbery and terrorism of such sophistication that they have been compared to military operations. It is very often implied that he is more than capable of killing Batman and everyone else if he really put his mind to it (and that he has intentionally passed up opportunities to do just that), and that he only reason he doesn't is that he thinks [[VictoryIsBoring actually winning would be boring]].
10th Jun '16 2:22:15 PM Dragon101
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** ComicBook/TheJoker. He looks and acts like a clown and often comes up with ridiculous schemes that seem to genuinely make no sense (the most infamous example being the time he tried to patent his brand of poisoned fish). He can also be suicidally reckless and he frequently resorts to petty pranks even when he has Batman firmly at his mercy. But beneath his foolish facade lurks one of the most diabolical brilliant psychopathic minds Batman ever faces, and he regularly proves himself capable of not only keeping pace with, but actually frequently outsmarting, both the Dark Knight and a host of other extremely intelligent heroes and villains, with even Lex Luthor one of the few minds who can actually keep up with him. The Joker is a brilliant chemist who invented his own lethal laughing gas and various other concoctions, has proven himself to be an expert in a range of fields ranging from engineering to psychology and even to meteorology, is a masterful escape artist and magician easily on par with his nemesis, and regularly organises and executes acts of robbery and terrorism of such sophistication that they have been compared to military operations. It is very often implied that he is more than capable of killing Batman and everyone else if he really put his mind to it (and that he has intentionally passed up opportunities to do just that), and that he only reason he doesn't is that he thinks [[VictoryIsBoring actually winning would be boring]].

to:

** ComicBook/TheJoker. He looks and acts like a clown and often comes up with ridiculous schemes that seem to genuinely make no sense (the most infamous example being the time he tried to patent his brand of poisoned fish). He can also be suicidally reckless and he frequently resorts to petty pranks even when he has Batman firmly at his mercy. But beneath his foolish facade lurks one of the most diabolical diabolically brilliant psychopathic minds Batman ever faces, and he regularly proves himself capable of not only keeping pace with, but actually frequently outsmarting, both the Dark Knight and a host of other extremely intelligent heroes and villains, with even Lex Luthor one of the few minds who can actually keep up with him. The Joker is a brilliant chemist who invented his own lethal laughing gas and various other concoctions, has proven himself to be an expert in a range of fields ranging from engineering to psychology and even to meteorology, is a masterful escape artist and magician easily on par with his nemesis, and regularly organises and executes acts of robbery and terrorism of such sophistication that they have been compared to military operations. It is very often implied that he is more than capable of killing Batman and everyone else if he really put his mind to it (and that he has intentionally passed up opportunities to do just that), and that he only reason he doesn't is that he thinks [[VictoryIsBoring actually winning would be boring]].
10th Jun '16 2:20:30 PM Dragon101
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* The Penguin. So good it even fools some writers. Penguin was the first villain to actually escape from Batman and outsmart him, and it was a running theme in all of Penguin's first stories that he always somehow managed find a way to escape. Truth is, people too often forget that the Penguin's shtick is that you're SUPPOSED to underestimate him. You're SUPPOSED to be so underwhelmed by his ridiculous mannerisms that you never see the scheme coming before you've fallen victim to it. There is a reason the umbrella was chosen as his weapon. It serves as a metaphor for the Penguin's character and nature. Like his umbrellas, the Penguin appears completely harmless perhaps even mundane, but also like his umbrellas he conceals a darker nature.
** Quote from Bruce/Batman to Tim Drake in 'Penguin Triumphant': "Everyone seems to consistently underestimate the Penguin myself included. In point of fact, Cobblepot is ruthless, vindictive, calculating, inventive and perhaps the most brilliant man I've ever fought."

to:

* ** The Penguin. So good it even fools some writers. Penguin was the first villain to actually escape from Batman and outsmart him, and it was a running theme in all of Penguin's first stories that he always somehow managed find a way to escape. Truth is, people too often forget that the Penguin's shtick is that you're SUPPOSED to underestimate him. You're SUPPOSED to be so underwhelmed by his ridiculous mannerisms that you never see the scheme coming before you've fallen victim to it. There is a reason the umbrella was chosen as his weapon. It serves as a metaphor for the Penguin's character and nature. Like his umbrellas, the Penguin appears completely harmless perhaps even mundane, but also like his umbrellas he conceals a darker nature.
** *** Quote from Bruce/Batman to Tim Drake in 'Penguin Triumphant': "Everyone seems to consistently underestimate the Penguin myself included. In point of fact, Cobblepot is ruthless, vindictive, calculating, inventive and perhaps the most brilliant man I've ever fought.""
** ComicBook/TheJoker. He looks and acts like a clown and often comes up with ridiculous schemes that seem to genuinely make no sense (the most infamous example being the time he tried to patent his brand of poisoned fish). He can also be suicidally reckless and he frequently resorts to petty pranks even when he has Batman firmly at his mercy. But beneath his foolish facade lurks one of the most diabolical brilliant psychopathic minds Batman ever faces, and he regularly proves himself capable of not only keeping pace with, but actually frequently outsmarting, both the Dark Knight and a host of other extremely intelligent heroes and villains, with even Lex Luthor one of the few minds who can actually keep up with him. The Joker is a brilliant chemist who invented his own lethal laughing gas and various other concoctions, has proven himself to be an expert in a range of fields ranging from engineering to psychology and even to meteorology, is a masterful escape artist and magician easily on par with his nemesis, and regularly organises and executes acts of robbery and terrorism of such sophistication that they have been compared to military operations. It is very often implied that he is more than capable of killing Batman and everyone else if he really put his mind to it (and that he has intentionally passed up opportunities to do just that), and that he only reason he doesn't is that he thinks [[VictoryIsBoring actually winning would be boring]].
10th Jun '16 2:04:27 PM Dragon101
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Added DiffLines:

** Modern versions of the character go back and forth with this trope though, since while Clark Kent ''sometimes'' acts clumsy and dumb, he is also prize-winning investigative journalist for a major metropolitan newspaper and it's a little difficulty to believe that he could hold such a position and reputation and have too many people think he is an idiot. Of course, obfuscating stupidity comes in handy for a job like that as well...
6th Jun '16 1:29:38 AM WillBGood
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* It's also true of Comics/SpiderMan. In the early days, no one would have suspected bookish, shy Peter Parker of being the web-slinging, wise-cracking Spider-Man. This remained true as he ended up a science teacher.

to:

* It's also true of Comics/SpiderMan.Franchise/SpiderMan. In the early days, no one would have suspected bookish, shy Peter Parker of being the web-slinging, wise-cracking Spider-Man. This remained true as he ended up a science teacher.



* From ''{{Garfield}}'': Odie, probably. Or he might be GeniusDitz.

to:

* From ''{{Garfield}}'': ''ComicBook/{{Garfield}}'': Odie, probably. Or he might be GeniusDitz.



** In [[http://garfield.com/comic/1999-02-02 another]] strip, Odie frames Garfield for hiding all of Jon's shirts, then, when Garfield is thrown out, Odie looks on while wqearing one of Jon's shirts with an evil grin on his face.

to:

** In [[http://garfield.com/comic/1999-02-02 another]] strip, Odie frames Garfield for hiding all of Jon's shirts, then, when Garfield is thrown out, Odie looks on while wqearing wearing one of Jon's shirts with an evil grin on his face.



* ComicBook/BoosterGold acts like a publicity-seeking fool to cover up the fact that he's been tasked with protecting the timestream, since this would bring about KillHimInHisCrib. Although he's not exactly a genius, he is a much more competent superhero than he seems to be. Booster's mentor [[spoiler: and [[KidFromTheFuture future son]]]] Rip Hunter made it clear how important this was, since it was too late to just make Booster's entire identity disappear like Rip had done with himself.

to:

* ComicBook/BoosterGold acts like a publicity-seeking fool to cover up the fact that he's been tasked with protecting the timestream, since this would bring about KillHimInHisCrib.[[RetGone Kill Him In His Crib]]. Although he's not exactly a genius, he is a much more competent superhero than he seems to be. Booster's mentor [[spoiler: and [[KidFromTheFuture future son]]]] Rip Hunter made it clear how important this was, since it was too late to just make Booster's entire identity disappear like Rip had done with himself.
6th Jun '16 1:27:01 AM WillBGood
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* It's also true of {{Spider-Man}}. In the early days, no one would have suspected bookish, shy Peter Parker of being the web-slinging, wise-cracking Spider-Man. This remained true as he ended up a science teacher.

to:

\n\n* It's also true of {{Spider-Man}}.Comics/SpiderMan. In the early days, no one would have suspected bookish, shy Peter Parker of being the web-slinging, wise-cracking Spider-Man. This remained true as he ended up a science teacher.
2nd May '16 2:20:14 PM maxwellsilver
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** Calvin is apparently a user of this trope, as he once told Susie that it's far easier to keep people's expectations low, and wow them every now and again, then to keep them high and wind up disappointing at some point.
** A cloning storyline in which Calvin (supposedly) creates a personification of his "good half" to take his classes for him proves this: if the clone is real, than it demonstrates that Calvin could do well in school if he bothered to try; if it's an extended game of make-believe than Calvin really is doing well for a change (if only for the sake of keeping the game going.) Then again, ''any'' of Calvin's musings to Hobbes on the nature of existence and reality during any given 'sledding' strip should tip even the most casual reader off that the kid's a freaking genius, it's just that school bores him senseless.

to:

** Calvin is apparently a user of this trope, as he once told Susie that it's far easier to keep people's expectations low, and wow them every now and again, then than to keep them high and wind up disappointing at some point.
** A cloning storyline in which Calvin (supposedly) creates a personification of his "good half" to take his classes for him proves this: if the clone is real, than then it demonstrates that Calvin could do well in school if he bothered to try; if it's an extended game of make-believe than then Calvin really is doing well for a change (if only for the sake of keeping the game going.) Then again, ''any'' of Calvin's musings to Hobbes on the nature of existence and reality during any given 'sledding' strip should tip even the most casual reader off that the kid's a freaking genius, it's just that school bores him senseless.
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