Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Skipper, Mar 26, 2021.
Well, the whole debacle with Amber, for example? For decades superhero comics have made us believe that we are morally justified in lying to the people we are romantically interested in. Like Superman who regularly gaslighted Lois Lane and made her doubt about her mental sanity, when in reality she was right all along that he and Clark Kent were the same person.
That makes it problematic, but I'd hardly call it idiotic.
While I can accept that someone can hide his/her superhero alter ego from the general public (exactly as a secret agent or similar would do), I refer as "idiotic" the classic superhero trope where someone close to our hero (a friend, a relative, a romantic partner) knows him/her in both his/her identities. But the above hero spends time and energy to maintain the facade, even if this person suspects the truth. It's idiotic because:
s/he wasting time and energy which could be used to, I don't know, actually help people? I'm sure that at least in one story on 3 during the Silver Age was about Superman elaborating some complicated scheme to deceive Lois Lane. Then probably 1 on 5 during the Bronze Age, but he was still doing it.
It's hypocritical on many, many, many level. You pretend to be a paragon of virtue and morality, and the you are actually lying to friend and beloved people. You are gaslighting them when they are actually right.
You, arrogantly, decide for others what is best for them, in matters that concern them directly.
You make other people accomplice in your deception: "Of course Clark, I'm leaving Gotham for Metropolis right away so I can impersonate you once again making you able to continue with your cruel mind games with Lois. And that's exactly what my parents' death taught me."
And often your reasons are obviously absurd: "I can't tell them the truth so as not to put them in danger." The problem is, as in Superman's case, his friends are both Superman's and Clark's. I don't know how many times they have been kidnapped by his enemies for this reason.
He (in the case of Superman, but it happens with other "heroes") actually hurts people for this. For example here he needed somewhere else as Superman, but unfortunately he's doing gym with his coworker Steve Lombard.:
"I'm needed somewhere else as Superman! Let's give Lombard a concussion!"
Or he does things that if someone else had done it he would have called them criminals. For example
Here he actually brainwashed someone without his consent.
And you are hurting people on an emotional level, hiding them the truth (i.e. Spider-man and Aunt May)
And then, really, I could go on forever but I think that's enough for the moment
By the way, while I was searching material, I found this article.
Superheroes are scrapping their secret identities, and it’s for the best
It's really a case by case thing. On the one end of the spectrum you have the classic "if everyone knew knew who they were, every villain on the planet would be going after their family", and on the other you have the equally classic but rather less focused on "if everyone knew knew who they were, every law enforcement agency on the planet would be trying to arrest them".
It all really comes down to a question of whether it's selfish for a superhero to try and live a normal life, away from all of the exploding robotic alien dinosaur wizards, or whether they should dedicate their every waking moment to the service of others...or just keep their heads down and not help anyone ever.
Personally if I were inventing a world with an abundance of classical superheroes in it, I'd probably have a thing where the families of said heroes are permanently in a WITSEC like program. Moved around the country/world and given new identities every 2 or so years, maybe even some secure community in a remote location for the ones with very young children and the retirees.
I would agree there are a *lot* of superhero stories that have used secret identities in an incredibly crappy way, and as such there are a lot of superheroes whose stories would (or already do) highly benefit from doing away with them. However, that doesn't mean that secret identities should be done away with entirely or can't be done well.
I think it's perfectly reasonable - and anything but simple - for a hero to need to find some sort of balance. If there's a genuine reason for your identity not to be public knowledge, then there's a genuine reason not to tell your secret to someone you've been dating for a month. It's easy, and totally true, to say that your spouse shouldn't have to find something like that out after your 20th anniversay, but it's a lot harder to say exactly what the line should have been. Six months dating? Before the proposal? It's really entirely dependent on the individual circumstances, which means every hero will have to muddle through it themselves (which also means most of them will make at least a few mistakes).
Having said that, the whole trope of gaslighting people who find out your identity on their own probably should just go away. If you've been careless enough with your secret identity for them to figure it out themselves, the damage is already done. No genuinely good person can really respond to that with anything other than a genuine plea to keep the secret a secret.
And don't forget he used to regularly mindwipe those who had learned of his secret.
This is a really good question. But I have to say, if you spend a sizable portion of your time and your resources to hide who you are from your friends who suspect something, you are doing it wrong.
Invincible, the series, is interesting. It isn't really a parody, deconstruction, or subversion of super-heroes but it is meant to be a different take on the standards tropes of four-colour comics. The whole secret identity business was part of that.
I really liked what they've done with Robot in the most recent episode--that wasn't in the comics I don't think.
Well (spoiler?), this particular plot point was present in the comic, but it happened chronologically after the public revelation of the truth about Omni-Man
Been a long time since I've read that so my memories a little fuzzy.
This is an interesting series. It's definitely leaning into what it wants to be. It's wacky, yet serious, it mocks it's own tropes in a real world manner. To me it's a really well made 90s superhero animation. I almost gave up on it during the first episode until the big twist which really sets the tone for what comes after.
I binged it over 2 days and stupidly now need to wait 3 days for episode 8. I planned that poorly.
Yep, I can't believe the season is over already. I have to go back and read the first couple of years of the comic again. One thing the comics did really well was to keeping upping the stakes every time you thought they couldn't go any higher. I envy people who aren't familiar with the property because there are so many twists and turns coming up.
Season 2 and 3 confirmed
The final episode was a little less on the action side compared to the last one but heavy on the emotional trauma of Mark and his mother discovering the truth and the hole that has been left in their lives. For an animated show the characters are really fleshed out and real. I'm looking forward to where the show goes next.
For me, this was the first truly brilliant moment of the comic series and this show delivered in spades. As a child of an abusive father, Mark's disillusionment with his father truly hits home for me. Also, my father was not abusive because he was "evil" but because he was mentally unwell--and that is the theme that is addressed by this story line. How do you love or care about a parent or a child when they have done horrible things. In a world where the mother of a school shooter published an emotional memoir--the world of Invincible starts hitting home.
What I love about Kirkman's writing here and in TWD is that he does what the original Star Trek did that made it such a classic. He uses fantastic circumstances as allegories or stand ins for real world issues and problems.
During the fight between Mark and his father, I realized how this was different from Man of Steel and what Snyder's movie was missing. It was the direct emotional connection to the spectacle of destruction.
I am absorbed in how this series has interpreted the comics and reproduced the emotional impact and themes of that series.
So literally true about this show.
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