Bizarro Superman

Cidu Bill on Oct 3rd 2017

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Filed in Bill Bickel, Bizarro, CIDU, Superman, comic strips, comics, comics books, humor | 30 responses so far

30 Responses to “Bizarro Superman”

  1. James Pollock Oct 3rd 2017 at 12:30 am 1

    One of the eternal questions… is Clark Kent the secret identity of Superman, or is Superman the secret identity of Clark Kent?
    (If the world suddenly no longer needed Superman, could he go back to just being Clark Kent full-time? This was a major theme of the Incredibles, although, of course, not actually with CK/Supes. In comparison, Batman is Batman, and he sometimes plays at being just Bruce Wayne. This is the fundamental point Mr. Nolan failed to grasp, and the reason, ultimately, his Dark Knight trilogy fails for me.)

    But what if Superman doesn’t actually know he’s Clark? Or what if, for all these years, we’ve had a misunderstanding, and he is NOT Clark? In that case, he’d probably need therapy…

  2. fleabane Oct 3rd 2017 at 02:23 am 2

    Um… I think it’s straightforward and nothing more to it than meets the eyes. The only question is how the cartoonist could think this so very minimal joke is worthy of any telling.

    The joke is that Superman is treating his Clark Kent identity as if it were someone else.

    That’s it.

  3. billybob Oct 3rd 2017 at 02:34 am 3

    Best friend? They’ve never met.

  4. James Pollock Oct 3rd 2017 at 02:39 am 4

    “Best friend? They’ve never met.”

    They’ve shared a phone booth hundreds of times. Sounds pretty friendly to me…

  5. Carl Oct 3rd 2017 at 06:23 am 5

    billybob@5: In at least some variations on the Superman story Superman and Clark are considered foster brothers. (John Byrne came up with that idea, IIRC.) They are often seen together, too–remember the Superman robots? Clark would talk to one in public regularly.

  6. Seth Oct 3rd 2017 at 07:38 am 6

    billybob - They’ve met frequently, for various lengths of time. Clark has interviewed Superman on many occasions, and often has personal quotes from Superman in his reporting about events in which Superman has been involved. Clark’s too mild-mannered to call himself Superman’s best friend (that arrogant Jimmy Olsen does it though). But it’s clear from all those interviews and quotes that Superman has a great deal of respect for him as a journalist. And it’s evident that when Superman has a story he wants in the press, Clark is often the go-to writer for it. That by itself is reason enough for a stand-up guy like Superman not to undercut Clark’s interest in Lois.

  7. Divad Oct 3rd 2017 at 07:52 am 7

    What if Superman and Clark Kent really are different people, and all the stories we’ve heard are based on the conspiracy theories of Lois Lane and Lana Lang?

  8. padraig Oct 3rd 2017 at 09:20 am 8

    Meanwhile Lois Lane is on Maury Povich saying, “I’m in love with this guy who insists on dressing up in weird outfits and calling himself by different names. I play along because he’s so hunky, but..”

  9. James Pollock Oct 3rd 2017 at 10:54 am 9

    Here’s a different tack:

    Man, Superman really goes to great lengths to protect his secret identity, doesn’t he? He won’t tell ANYONE who he really is…

  10. Terrence Feenstra Oct 3rd 2017 at 11:07 am 10

    So, in the process of changing from Clark Kent to Superman, is there a Schrodinger moment when he is both Clark and Superman, or neither? Do we have to collapse the wave function?

  11. Brian Oct 3rd 2017 at 11:45 am 11

    Maybe the cartoonist was going for the idea that Clark Kent/Superman are alternate personalities that are not aware of each other?

  12. Robert Warden Oct 3rd 2017 at 11:46 am 12

    Secret identity crisis

  13. Olivier Oct 3rd 2017 at 11:48 am 13

    He’s seeing a shrink so either the collapse has already occurred or he’s trying to prevent it…

  14. Bill A Oct 3rd 2017 at 01:11 pm 14

    I think it’s a recurring theme of both the animated Superman series and “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.” Clark Kent is who he is, Superman is what he does. Of course that theme was blown to heck in Kill Bill vol 2 where David Carradine informs us that Clark Kent is Superman’s view of us humans.

  15. Kamino Neko Oct 3rd 2017 at 01:52 pm 15

    Bill of Kill Bill understands Superman about as well as a microcephalic mouse understands anything.

  16. Seth Oct 3rd 2017 at 02:55 pm 16

    Prior to the 1980’s revamp, Superman was the real person, Clark Kent was an act (mostly - a few times he was Superman chilling out and enjoying some downtime out of the spotlight). After those revamps, the idea was to humanize him, so Clark Kent was the real person, Superman was the act. The switch was whether or not he grew up having his powers.

  17. Boise Ed Oct 3rd 2017 at 02:57 pm 17

    Fie on all these reboots, reimaginings, retcons, etc. Ma and Pa Kent found the superkid, concealed and raised him, and made his first supersuit.

  18. James Pollock Oct 3rd 2017 at 03:23 pm 18

    “Fie on all these reboots, reimaginings, retcons, etc.”

    Difficult to see, the timestream is. Always in motion, the picture is. Trust your feelings.

  19. Minor Annoyance Oct 4th 2017 at 04:37 am 19

    Bill A: If you go back to Jules Feiffer’s book “The Great Comic Book Heroes” (1965), Feiffer puts forth the idea that Clark Kent was a super-advanced being’s satire of a typical earthling. He also throws out a few other notions, like Superman being some kind of masochist who craved Lois Lane’s contempt. The original book included then hard-to-find old comic book stories; it was later reprinted as a paperback with just Feiffer’s text. Very worth reading.

    I recall one old 50s comic where Clark Kent was seemingly killed in an accident and Superman decided to try living without a secret identity. It got to be a hassle and dangerous besides, so he figured out a way for Clark to have survived. The same basic story made for an impressive episode of “Superman: The Animated Series”. A key element was that Clark Kent, not using superpowers, was about to clear an unjustly convicted man from the gas chamber. Superman was part of Clark Kent, but only part.

    From the 50s on, the Superboy stories established the idea that Clark Kent was raised as an all-American boy by the Kents (the 30s radio show had him reach earth as an adult). Eventually it was settled that Clark grew up aware he had powers, but the space thing was revealed later.

    By the time of the 1977 movie, Superman’s story had him shaped by positive parental figures; he’s raised to keep his powers hidden until he understands his purpose (almost a mock life of Christ). “Lois and Clark” followed the Spider-Man model in having Clark stumble towards superherodom and endure a learning curve (in the movie, he simply retreats into his ice palace and emerges fully trained and ready).

    “Smallville” made the learning curve the whole series. Clark Kent has been the real identity for decades by this point, although usually Clark exaggerates his unsuperness to hide his secret (and usually for comic effect). The secret identity thing is justified by Clark Kent’s desire to keep his established life as Clark Kent.

    I haven’t followed any of the incarnations since the end of “Justice League Unlimited”. That show and its direct predecessors were the DC shows I wanted but never got as a kid (good animation! good writing! implied sex!); I choose to let them be the last word.

  20. padraig Oct 4th 2017 at 08:57 am 20

    @Boise Ed, I remember when Ma and Pa Kent had to stop baby Supes from lifting the car to get his bouncy ball back.

  21. Vulcan with a Mullet Oct 4th 2017 at 12:36 pm 21

    The joke is that Superman has dissociative identity disorder.
    Pretty terrifying idea, actually, and not at all humorous unless you laugh at the idea of an mentally unbalanced and invulnerable alien who lives among us. (For the record, I do)

  22. James Pollock Oct 4th 2017 at 01:24 pm 22

    We don’t have to worry about a mentally unbalanced and invulnerable alien living among us.

    Batman has a contingency plan.

  23. Divad Oct 4th 2017 at 02:26 pm 23

    Regarding Batman’s contingency plan, I don’t know how they’ve screwed with the continuity of it, but Batman having a plan is Superman’s contingency plan. Superman trusted Batman to have the judgement and ability to stop him, if needed.

  24. James Pollock Oct 4th 2017 at 03:45 pm 24

    “Regarding Batman’s contingency plan, I don’t know how they’ve screwed with the continuity of it, but Batman having a plan is Superman’s contingency plan.”

    Not in Superman IV, it wasn’t. Nor in season 2 of Supergirl.

    Batman has contingency plans for stopping ALL of the Justice League members. This is a plot point in a Justice League Action episode.

    Batman is a superb physical athlete, the world’s greatest detective, and those are good things to be, if you’re going to do what he does. But the reason he is able to keep doing it is, he plans ahead and makes sure he has whatever he’ll need, when and if he needs it. (This was overused in the 1966 TV show, because not only did he plan ahead, but he always had a miniaturized version of whatever he was going to need, in his utility belt. If 1966 TV Batman had come up against Superman, it would have turned out that one of those utility belt compartments had a complete array of Kryptonite samples.) That’s not to say he couldn’t improvise… he was good at that, too… but if he was raiding the Joker’s hangout, he’d make sure he had a gas mask tucked away somewhere. Compare and contrast with another TV show from the 1960’s, Gilligan’s Island. The Professor could improvise a nuclear reactor out of three coconut shells and some palm fronds. Batman would have had Alfred show up in the bat-boat about halfway through episode 1, because he’d figured out, in advance, where a boat caught in a storm would wash ashore, and given Alfred instructions on what to do if Bruce wasn’t back from his three-hour tour on time.

  25. Cidu Bill Oct 4th 2017 at 04:23 pm 25

    Carl (5), as I recall they were never foster brothers: that’s just something he briefly told Lois when the whole secret identity thing was unraveling, but it seemed like a desperation move.

  26. Boise Ed Oct 4th 2017 at 07:15 pm 26

    That’s odd; two posts appear to have gone into the bit bucket, without any autocensor message.

  27. Boise Ed Oct 4th 2017 at 07:30 pm 27

    I’ll try once more, this time through a different browser:

    Thanks, MA [19], for the summary. In Superman #1, in 1939, I see “Just before the doomed planet, Krypton, exploded to fragments, a scientist placed his infant son within an experimental rocket-ship, launching it toward Earth.”

    What I don’t remember seeing before, though, is that the Kents took the foundling to “an orphan asylum,” then went back to take him home.

  28. Mark in Boston Oct 4th 2017 at 08:13 pm 28

    In the 1930’s, radio shows and their associated comics didn’t have to agree.

    Spinach didn’t start out as a big thing in the Popeye comic strip. He got his great strength from a magical chicken. In the Fleisher animated cartoons he got his strength from spinach.

    But on the Popeye radio show he got is strength from eating Wheatena.

  29. Bob in Nashville Oct 10th 2017 at 08:22 pm 29

    In the Philip K. Dick novel, “A Scanner Darkly” the protagonist with a secret identity loses the knowledge in one persona that he is the other. Is Kryptonian substance D a thing?

  30. Meryl A Oct 11th 2017 at 01:59 am 30

    What I find interesting is that Lana Lang likes Clark and Lois Lane likes Superman.

    Lois likes him for his super abilities, while almost ignoring Clark. Lana likes Clark for his personality - which, yes is a cover personality, but seems to be how Superman really is other than being “super”. If you understand what I mean. If Lana found out he was Superman, she would probably still like him If he lost his super abilities, I am not sure that Lois would like him at all.

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