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All the Myriad Identities:

I need a drink
The Secret Identity is something of a staple in the Superhero genre and, as a result, every costumed adventurer worth their salt has run into problems keeping up with this masquerade leading to tropes like Bruce Wayne Held Hostage, Loves My Alter Ego and the patented Secret Identity Change Trick.

Similarly, the whole notion of the Secret Identity has been played with, leading to subversions such as the Secret Public Identity and deconstructions like Secret Identity Identity. What I am wondering though is this; has their ever been a case where an individual has made no effort in concealing his identity (doing away with the all-important mask) and yet, still leaves people wondering who they are?

edited 9th Oct '11 6:45:59 PM by AtomJames

Theres sex and death and human grime in monochrome for one thin dime and at least the trains all run on time but they dont go anywhere.
 2 Redneck Rocker, Sun, 9th Oct '11 6:57:18 PM from None Of Your Business
First Loyalty: Yourself
I once created a brother-sister twin duo for a Mutants & Masterminds setting. They didn't go around publicly shouting their real names, but at the same time, they weren't constantly talking about watering their mailbox (and so forth). Plus, they didn't wear masks.

As a result, some people might've recognized them, others not so much (after all, there are plenty of long-haired blond males and redheads with pigtails running around a huge city).

In fact, it's one of the things that annoys me about the whole Clark Kent thing. Nobody ever said, "Let Me Get This Straight: In a city of millions, there's only one possible suspect? Clark's the only tall guy with black hair in Metropolis?"
Embroiled in slave rebellion, I escaped crucifixion simply by declaring 'I am Vito', everyone else apparently being called 'Spartacus'.
 3 Ronka 87, Sun, 9th Oct '11 7:04:56 PM from the mouth of madness.
Maid of Win
I think one of the (many) takes on the "Why don't people notice Clark Kent is Superman?" question is that most people in Metropolis assume that, being an alien, Superman doesn't have a secret identity, so they don't both looking for one. While it's not the most reasonable justification, I like it because it gives the people of Metropolis some credit— they're thinking, they're just not thinking in the right way.

I like plays on the secret identity thing— some of my favs are when the core elements are changed to throw the searchers for a loop. Like Captain Marvel's Transformation Sequence, which ages 11-year-old Billy Batson up about twenty years. Or the Golden Age Red Tornado— everyone thinks it's a man in a costume, but it's actually a stout mother of two (I particularly like that one, because it's an assumption that other characters make— Ma Hunkle never pretends to be a man, they all just figure a superhero has to be). Similarly, there's Cybersix, whose secret identity is a man. I love those little extreme twists.

One last interesting take on secret identities: The Penguin. Not the Batman villain, the 1940s Canadian superhero. He wasn't a great character, but the neat thing about him is the audience never sees his secret identity. Villains frequently got the upper hand and unmasked him, but we never see his face— just the mooks' reactions. I can see why the character fell out of print, since a lot of story and personality potential is lost when you never seen your hero during his off-hours, but I maintain that this is a neat concept that would be cool for a series of shorts or a mini-series.

edited 9th Oct '11 7:06:31 PM by Ronka87

Thanks for the all fish!
 4 feotakahari, Sun, 9th Oct '11 7:05:45 PM from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
^^ If I recall correctly, there was one issue that had a lineup of everyone who'd ever been suspected to be Superman. (A similar thing has been done with Batman, and probably with many other heroes.)

edited 9th Oct '11 7:05:56 PM by feotakahari

That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
 5 jagillette, Sun, 9th Oct '11 7:07:41 PM from the middle of nowhere
Wimpy Mc Squishy
Iron Man didn't conceal his identity. The whole world knows he's Tony Stark. Also, the villain in Watchmen. In the case of the former, he couldn't bring himself to lie about his status as a superhero, and he's always well enough prepared against a villainous assault. In the case of the latter, he's a smug snake who pretty much knows that there's nothing on this Earth that can outmatch or outsmart him.
 6 jagillette, Sun, 9th Oct '11 7:10:17 PM from the middle of nowhere
Wimpy Mc Squishy
Oops, I misread the question. Silly me.
 7 Ronka 87, Sun, 9th Oct '11 7:11:36 PM from the mouth of madness.
Maid of Win
Adrian Veidt made his identity public as a marketing scheme— after his stint as a superhero, he used his popularity and influence to become a millionaire businessman.
Thanks for the all fish!
 8 Night, Sun, 9th Oct '11 7:19:58 PM from PSNS Intrepid Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Who you are does not matter.
It's a sort of a mental block. Superhero stories are larger than life stuff; sort of like celebrities. They're about the dropping names and faces. They also tend to have small casts. (And realistically with modern visual recognition software and the like, if you ever had a driver's license or work ID or something they'd find you eventually if it was worth it to someone.)

There are plenty of times where somebody doesn't wear a mask and does stuff and nobody knows who they are. They're all over in the war stories though. The anonymous soldier who accomplished something incredible and then got killed some stupid or unlucky way three days later, and nobody ever found out his name, nobody can remember his face save how it looked at the end beyond any recognition, is a staple of the genre.
"Remember that you are fighting the machine and the pilot both, but you only have to beat one of them."
The system doesn't know you right now, so no post button for you.
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Total posts: 8
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