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Secret Public Identity

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Watch: And here's your temporary Guild ID. We'll issue your permanent one once you've decided on a villain name.
St. Cloud: Augustus St. Cloud.
Watch: Ahh, going with the real name then. Very Lex Luthor of you.

A Super Hero who does not actually have a hero name, despite maintaining a generally low-profile Secret Identity. These heroes are simply called by their "real" names in the heat of battle.


This is not a character using a family or given name that is snazzy (or not) as his or her heroic name (for example, former surgeon Stephen Strange continuing to go by "Doctor Strange"). Compare Steven Ulysses Perhero, where the Meaningful Name has something to do with the character's powers.

Normally justified with their real name being common and their civilian identity being fairly nondescript, but not always.

Compare Overt Operative, a secret agent who never bothers keeping low. Contrast Real Name as an Alias.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Barnaby Brooks Jr. from Tiger & Bunny. He constantly expresses disdain whenever he gets called "Bunny", as the public quickly latched onto his partnership with Tiger as the titular "Tiger & Bunny" duo.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Both Todoroki and Iida decided to go with their given names (Shoto and Tenya, respectively) as their hero names. Todoroki for showing his individuality and to distance from his father Endeavor, while Iida thinks he is not worthy enough to take over his crippled brother's role.
    • Tomura Shigaraki doesn't hide himself under an alias. Subverted later when it is shown that his real name is Tenko Shimura.

    Comic Books 


  • Batman has several foes who, despite their gimmicks, choose to go by their real names. Hugo Strange, Cornelius Stirk, Victor Zsasz, Philo Zeiss, David Cain and James Gordon Jr. Mister Freeze might also count, since his legal name is Victor Fries (pronounced exactly like "freeze"), so spoken out loud, his code name is just his real one.
  • Discussed in an issue of Superman that opens with Superman fighting a guy in a power suit who identifies himself as "Gabriel Van Daniken." Superman tells him that it's the worst name for a super villain and he's ever heard, and Gabriel's reply is "You mean just because I build a containment suit and try to poison the water supply I have to give myself a stupid alias? Get a grip, Superman. I'm thirty-five years old!" A bystander watching the battle remarks that he has a point. After all, Bonnie and Clyde never had code names, and they were criminals anyway. He says it's actually kind of cool for villains to introduce themselves by their real name, instead of calling themselves "Toxic-man" or "Pollutus".
  • Doom Patrol has Scott Fischer. Apparently, they gave him the codename Blaze but he never got around to actually using it.
  • During the Mike Grell run, Green Arrow and Black Canary largely dropped the costumes and codenames. Later, Canary would all but abandon a civilian life, and Green Arrow's status would change Depending on the Writer.
  • Mary Marvel is a borderline case, as Mary is her real first name.
    • Because Captain Marvel is now called Shazam!, Mary no longer has a codename.
  • The New Titans (formerly the Teen Titans) had:
    • Mal Duncan, who later went through an ever changing series of codenames: Guardian, Hornblower, Herald, and now Vox.
    • Danny Chase did not have a codename, nor any form of costume. He temporarily came up with the "Phantasm" identity while pretending he was dead shortly before being written out of the series.
    • Raven, who's from a magical other dimension, operates by her (singular) real name. As of late she's used the civilian identity "Rachel Roth" , but that name is the made up one.
    • Starfire's identity is public knowledge, although she has taken on "Kory Anders" as a legal name.
  • In Young Justice (2019) Tim Drake came across an evil alternate that had given up his ties to the Robin name and was just going by his own name in costume. Tim, who has a long history of trouble coming up with aliases for himself, decided that if his elder alternate couldn't come up with a name he probably wouldn't either and started going by Drake.
  • After the various Crisis Crossover-induced Continuity Snarls in her back-story, the first Wonder Girl called herself Troia for a time, but eventually settled on just using her civilian name of Donna Troy.
  • Wonder Woman's identity as Diana the Amazon princess has been public knowledge since at least the '80s. Many of her villains operate without code names even if they do use gimmicks, including Mona Menise, Circe, Veronica Cale, Paula von Gunther (who has spent more time as a reformed villain and loyal ally to Diana than she has as her opponent), and Zara.


  • Bucky, Captain America's Golden Age sidekick and later Captain America, was actually called Bucky Barnes, as a nickname based on his middle name, Buchanan. What's different, and very odd, about this is that "Bucky" was treated as a code name, and nobody knew that Bucky Barnes was the same person as Cap's sidekick Bucky.
    • This sort of thing happened a lot during The Golden Age of Comic Books. This includes sidekicks Roy the Super-Boy [who worked with The Wizard], Mickey Mathews [The Deacon], Tommy the Amazing Kid [Amazing Man], Rusty [Flagman], Sandy the Golden Boy [Sandman] and Mickey [American Crusader].
      • Speaking of Roy the Super-Boy, his Secret Public Identity was lampshaded in one story, where, when calling his friend's mother, he identified himself as Roy. When she asked him whether he was her son's friend, he insisted that no, he's Roy the Super-Boy. For some reason, she buys it without question.
      • Black Terror's sidekick, Tim Ronald, is something of a twist on this trope. He was initially known as Tim in his superhero identity, but around the late 1940s, he became known as Kid Terror, amending the problem somewhat.
    • General Glory, DC's parody of Captain America, of course had a sidekick called Ernest E. Ernest, aka Ernie the Battling Boy.
      • Subverted with the revelation that there have been more than one "Ernie".
  • In Captain America #289, Cap's girlfriend at the time, Bernie Rosenthal, spends a backup story daydreaming about being a superhero called "Bernie America", leading to this exchange when she meets her reinterpretation of Steve:
    Steve: Uh, B-B-Bernie? I have to t-talk to you...
    Bernie: Please, Steve—call me Bernie America! You wouldn't want to jeopardize my double identity, would you?
    Steve: No, ma'am.
  • Doctor Doom. Everyone knows who he is (what with him being European royalty and all), and considering his status as an Omnidisciplinary Scientist, he lives up to his self-appointed title as "doctor" even if he was expelled from college.
  • While the Fantastic Four have code names, they've never had secret identities, and are frequently called by name. In particular, Mr. Fantastic is universally known as "Reed" or "Dr. Richards".
  • Luke Cage hasn't been called "Power Man" in years. But then, he doesn't have a secret identity, either— even calling himself Power Man was just for publicity purposes. Granted, "Luke Cage" isn't his birth name. He got his name changed after breaking out of prison.
  • Supervillain example: Moses Magnum. A Name to Run Away From Really Fast, but not a terribly Meaningful Name relative to his powers.
  • The Punisher is often recognized by friend and foe alike as Frank Castle, which he does nothing to dispel...well, except with bullets on occasion.
  • The Runaways tried giving themselves cool codenames when they started out, but everyone pretty much stopped using them as soon as the first volume finished, with the exception of the Cute Bruiser, who insists on calling herself "Princess Powerful."
  • X-Men:
    • Jean Grey went without a codename for some time in comics, and has been codenameless in most screen adaptations (1990s series, X-Men: Evolution, movies). This is because, by the time she came Back from the Dead in The Bronze Age of Comic Books, code names for adult characters ending in "Girl" had gone out of style, so she couldn't use "Marvel Girl" anymore, and "Phoenix" was attached to a different concept. ("Marvel Woman" was tried out for a while, as did continuing to call her "Phoenix" even when the actual Cosmic Entity wasn't around. Neither stuck.)
    • Similarly, it turns out Zaladane's name is Zala Dane. (We think. At one point. Maybe.) It was intended that Zaladane have powers because she is related to Lorna Dane. Claremont forgot, however, that Lorna is adopted. (Source:X-Men danglers list)
      • And the name Polaris was first given to her by a mind-controlling villain after a long run being just "Lorna Dane," then retiring, then being dragged back in by this incident (although Classic X-Men incorrectly had her using it before this.)
    • This was also lampshaded in a commercial for X-Men: Evolution, where the other members were introduced by their names and code names (for example, "Scott Summers is Cyclops"), but hers was simply, "Jean Grey is... Jean Grey".
      • Discussed in the tie-in comic. "How come everyone has a codename but Rogue is just Rogue?" "Same way Jean is just Jean." "But why is-" [alarm sounds, everyone runs off, subject is never brought up again]
    • Emma Frost, since joining the X-Men, dropped her codename "White Queen". Justified in that "White Queen" isn't just a name, it's a rank in the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club, which she left to join the X-Men. Also, considering her past non-supervillain criminal activity, it's not like the name "Emma Frost" is associated with an innocent civilian Secret Identity she wants to protect. It's probably better to have people know that Emma Frost is both on the side of the angels now and not to be messed with.
      • Like Jean, Emma also started using her name again in Jonathan Hickman's X-Men. She's actually back in the Hellfire Club again, but this time the organisation is allied to the X-Men.
    • The whole Hellfire Club falls under this, especially because the members change, and many have operated independently before/after their time in the Club. It's just easier on the characters and the reader to say "Oh, Crap!, it's Sebastian Shaw!" instead of "Oh, Crap!, it's the Black King! Uh... the first one. Wait, who's Ned Buckman? I mean the other first one... Quentin who? What do you mean there's a London branch?..." and so on.
    • Cecilia Reyes never chose a codename because she didn't want to be a superhero. But she had the X-Men Bumblebee Suit and she was considered one of them after she was outed as a mutant.
    • Dani Moonstar, formerly Mirage and Psyche, eventually dropped her codename and just went by "Moonstar". Admittedly, people who don't know her secret identity might well assume that Moonstar is her codename. Also, her "civilian" identity is an agent of SHIELD, rendering the "secret identity" somewhat moot.
    • X-Women tend to lose or not have code names (or have code names that are for all intents and purposes their real name, like Rogue and X-23), possibly because their creators really like the real names (Pryde, Frost, Grey) or introduced them as civilians who eventually chose half-hearted codenames that never really stick. Storm may be the only major female X-Man who hasn't operated for a significant length of time without using her codename (Psylocke has used hers pretty consistently since she got it, but started out as "Captain Britain's sister Betsy" and briefly "Captain Britain." Jubilee is a borderline case - it's short for her real name, Jubilation Lee, but it sounds like a codename).


  • Another Golden Age example, Doctor Hugo Strange [the heroic Nedor Comics version] was known as Doc Strange while adventuring. His costume was basically the 1940s version of Civvie Spandex and he had no secret identity. This was preserved when Alan Moore revived him in his America's Best Comics universe as Tom Strange.
  • Madman goes by his real name, Frank Einstein. He was called "a madman" during his first appearance but no one actually calls him that as a codename or otherwise.
  • Dragon is the real legal name of the eponymous character in The Savage Dragon.
  • The Justice Force's Ananda (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) goes by her real name; her mother Bernice, also a super-hero, went by "Battling Bernice".
  • In the first-published issue of the X-Wing Rogue Squadron comics, the pilot Tycho Celchu goes to an Imperial-held planet, puts on a captain's uniform, and reports for duty at pilot barracks in one of the cities, all in order to get intel and be in place to betray them. He does this, however, under his real name and homeplanet. Tycho Celchu, of Alderaan, who defected to the Rebellion after his planet was destroyed, helped keep TIEs off Wedge during the run on the second Death Star, and became part of the core of Rogue Squadron. What's worse is that it worked completely.

    Film - Animated 
  • The Incredibles had a DVD extra feature with background information about the other supers who didn't get much screen time. One of these is Universal Man, who approaches this trope from the opposite direction and has no civilian identity. He wears his crime-fighting costume at all times, he insists that Universal Man is his legal name, and he gets offended when people ask him to take his mask off.


    Live Action TV 
  • El Chapulín Colorado: His real name really is Chapulín Colorado, and he is never seen without his superhero clothes, he has no civilian identity.
  • In the TV series My Secret Identity, the lead character doesn't actually have a secret identity.

  • In practically all versions of The Green Hornet, Britt Reed's Japanese/Filipino houseboy, Kato, goes into action with his boss as Kato.

  • Alex Rayne of the webcomic Wright as Rayne is public about his identity as a hero, and is a minor celebrity in his hometown of Atlanta.

    Western Animation 
  • Launchpad McQuack is often seen with Darkwing Duck as his sidekick ... yet none of the myriad villains, criminals, police officers or autograph hounds seem to care enough to look him up in the Saint Canard phone book. Except one time, when Launchpad was mistakenly reported to be Darkwing himself. Similarly, no one seems to pay attention to Gosalyn or Honker; neither of them uses a code name often.
    • Justified as one villain referred to them as Darkwing's Fan Club, so people think they just follow him around. Considering that DW's a bit of a glory hound, this is not surprising.
    • Played with in the new comic series. Negaduck finally figured it out, but only after he saw Launchpad leaving the dry cleaners with Darkwing's costume and Drake Mallard's usual outfit.
  • On Justice League, Wonder Woman is never "officially" given the name Wonder Woman. She is addressed as such on only extremely rare occasions and only by people who are not very close with her (e.g., a bouncer at a nightclub, the obnoxious host of a talk show actively slandering the League, and Lex Luthor in the midst of battle); in every other situation she is simply "Diana". J'onn J'onzz is addressed as the Martian Manhunter only once in the entire series, in the briefing for Task Force X in the second season of Unlimited. These two characters do not have a Secret Identity or any life outside heroics, so they have no need for code names or hiding. Wonder Woman was shown to be an ambassador in one episode, so a secret identity would be all kinds of impossible.
  • The eponymous crime fighter of The Dragon Queen doesn't bother with a secret identity. Rather, the Dragon Queen acquired a private investigator license and turns over all criminals to the police for the arrest.
  • In Young Justice, Artemis Crock uses the superhero name of...Artemis. Somewhat Justified because her work on the Team is covert ops, so she's not well-known publicly, and because her name fits her gimmick rather well, assuming that you're familiar with Classical Mythology.
    • This leads to an important bit of foreshadowing in "Targets" when Cheshire refers to her as "Ar—chery girl." This hints at the fact that Cheshire knows Artemis's real name, but not her codename. The reason, of course, being that they are sisters.
  • In Super Chicken, Henry Cabot Henhouse III drinks his supersauce to become Super Chicken, while Henry's faithful sidekick, Fred, doesn't drink anything and becomes SC's faithful sidekick, Fred. But then, he knew the job was dangerous when he took it.
  • Played with in Super President, where his super name is his real job, but he still manages to preserve a secret ID, somehow...
  • The Powerpuff Girls have no secret identities. A few times, villains came straight to their house to attack.
  • Manny in El Tigre. Granpapi also doesn't bother hiding the fact that he is Puma Loco. Played with his father White Pantera. He actually hides his identity, with glasses, over his mask.
  • Kim Possible is quite obviously this. Not only is she a Badass Normal who can hold her own against a superpowered villainess Shego, but everyone knows it. They are all so calm about it too.
  • Phineas and Ferb has Perry the Platypus/Agent P, who lives a double life as a secret agent for OWCA while also having a cover as the Flynn-Fletcher family's pet. His arch nemesis, Dr. Doofenshmirtz, knows that Agent P also goes by Perry the Platypus, but never does anything about it because he's not THAT evil. In The Movie, when Perry shows up in his civilian cover with Phineas and Ferb, Dr. Doof does get suspicious about meeting another platypus named Perry, but doesn't put 2 and 2 together until he wears his signature hat later.


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