Monday, November 9, 2009

Episode #99: Superman: Secret Identity

The four issue mini-series Superman: Secret Identity was originally published in a collected edition on November 3, 2004. The issues themselves were publsihed from January to April of that year. It was written by Kurt Busiek, art and covers by Stuart Immonen and lettered by Todd Klein. Kurt worte in an introduction that he was inspired by DC Comics Presents #87, November 1985, and the story The Origin Of Superboy Prime. He was born on "our" Earth (during the era of DC Coics of the multiverse) where the DC heroes were fictional characters in comic books and super heroes did not exist.

Kurt fashioned his own story that was not a sequel or adaption of that earlier story. Clark was born to David and Laura Kent in Picketsville, Kansas, who thought it would be fun to name their son after the fictional character. Of couse, the humor of the situation escaped their son, as is usually the case. His birthdays are always filled with unwanted Superman themed gifts, but he is a good sport about it. There is no Lana Lang or Pete Ross in Clark's high school life. The closest friend he has is a girl named Cassie. He discovers he has super powers in a unique way and eventually decides to take up the mantle of his fictional namesake.

He does become a writer, but he avoids newspaper journalism, becoming a magazine writer and then a book author instead. So there are no Perry or Jimmy, but there is a Lois. She is not a Lane, and is not a reporter. They eventually marry and have twin daughters.

Clark does not operate openly, even though he does wear a traditional Superman costume. It is a good thing too. Unknown men in black investigate sightings and unusual rescues. Clark is eventually captured and finds a morgue filled with the bodies of about twelve other people similar to himself, including a few infants. He is able to eventually get the government off his back in return for his services, with a few caveats.

Like his original creators, this Clark Kent/Superman was a trailblazer, with all of the trials and troubles that come with it. But Clark gets to see things change. Governments don't fear super powered beings eventually. They begin to operate openly and even work with the government. And the Superman Family grows, as his twin girls inherit his powers, along with grandsons Perry, Clark and Jimmy. That Kent sense of humor got passed down too.

Secret Identity was the most real look at super heroes I've read. It probably wouldn't be all praise and glory between bouts with a super villain. With great powers would come great fear. It would make sense to operate secretly, colorful costume or not. the best part of the story was the development of Clark and his own Lois, who is very different from her comic book namesake. the story of their life is what is most interesting, super powers or not. Any Superman fan , or comic book reader in gerneral, would enjoy this story. I would even venture to say that people who would not normally read comic books would find this story interesting.

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Thanks for listening to the Superman Fan Podcast and, as always, thanks to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

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