Have any major heroes ever had their secret identies completely blown and had them STAY blown? I’ve read tons of stories where their secret is revealed… but then it’s all a dream, or retconed away, and so on. It seems like it would be a pretty interesting development, however, for Superman or Batman or someone else to lose their normal lives for good. Yet I can’t think of a single major hero to whom it’s happened. Even Spiderman, whom is well known by way too many people, still has his secret mostly intact at least from the general public, doesn’t he? And of course, some heroes, like Jack/Starman, were never in the closet to begin with.
Iron Man’s identity’s been public knowledge for about…a year or so, I think. I’m not sure about the exact details.
I seem to remember that Daredevil’s identity might be semi-public, or something.
I’m pretty sure that the Punisher’s identity is known, but he’s not exactly a mainstream “hero.”
Quite a few heroes in Marvel’s Ultimates line have their identities public, I think.
And if AU stories count, most of the LSW in DC’s Age of Wonder didn’t have their identies secret, even from the start. And I think that a quite a few heroes in Marvel’s Earth X series had gone public.
Until a few issues ago, Wally West’s identity as the Flash was public. He was secret as Kid Flash, so I think he counts. And Barry Allen was also revealed as the Flash, albeit posthumously.
I’m rather unhappy with the current secret ID for Wally, largely because it requires a large deus ex machina and makes Barry’s heroism as the Flash (saving the universe in the Crisis) more hidden.
I don’t know if you consider her “major” but in her graphic novel Alison Blair, aka Dazzler, went public with her identity and mutant powers to promote her film. The strategy backfired amid anti-mutant hysteria and her career was destroyed.
The X-Men type mutants in the Marvel universe are generally less interesting for the secret identity side of things, because they aren’t the traditional super-heroes that DC favors: many of them have no real secret identities and couldn’t live as normal people even if they wanted to. The Avengers and so on are more the superhero side of the Marvel universe.
I was interested in the recent Batman: Fugitive stories by the idea that Batman was just going to give up on being Bruce Wanye permanently: while not the same thing as having your cover blown, the idea that a hero that had had a secret “normal” life would have to live 24/7 as that hero was sort of intriguing. Of course, for Batman, this is a bit different than a traditional hero, since, as Bats says: Bruce Wayne is more the disguise that Batman wears rather than the other way around. I liked how in the Batman Beyond series they had an episode where Bruce knows that the voices in his head aren’t really coming from him or any true insanity (a villian is trying to make the aged hero and others think that he is insane), because the voices refer to him as “Bruce.” But that’s not what he, in his own head, reffers to himself as.
I don’t follow the title, but Daredevil’s identity was previously discovered by the Kingpin (in Frank Miller’s brilliant “Born again” story arc). More recently, I heard his secret identity was revealed on nationwide television.
If we’re counting alternate-universe stories, all the DC heroes who made it through Kingdom Come revealed their identities at the end.
Something that I find mildly troubling is that Hush knows that Bruce Wayne spends his nights running around in tights fighting crime.
I wonder how much of a threat Batman considers the fact that at least one of his major arch-enemies knows his secret identity.
Pre-Crisis Superman himself was outted by the Toyman and the Prankster in Alan Moore’s classic story, “Whatever Happened To The Man of Tomorrrow?”
Batman’s secret identity as Bruce Wayne was discovered by the authorities post-mortem in DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.
It’s implied that Superman’s childhood identity was made public in Soviet Russia after he became President of the Soviet Union in the mini-series, RED SON.
Those three don’t count of course, since they’re all “imaginary” or “elseworlds.”
In ASTRO CITY, the hero Atomicus got so fed up by his snoopy reporter girlfriend Irene when she outted him in a roomful of reporters, that he blew up at her, and left Earth forever. Also, Crackerack’s secret ID was discovered after a fire burned down his rooming house, but its likely that ID wasn’t his real one.
Rorschach’s arrest made his secret ID as Kovacs a matter of public record. A policeman – acting on a hunch – discovered that Dan Driegberg and (very likely)
Laurel Jane Juspesk’s identities were NITE OWL and SILK SPECTRE in the closing chapters of WATCHMEN – (although they simply switched to emergency fake identities)
Although he initially kept it secret, the Hulk’s alter ego as Bruce Banner has been known for some time now – but unlike the other heroes I’ve mentioned, I don’t know if he outted himself or if someone did it for him. Probably the biggest outted hero of the bunch… unless you prefer DAREDEVIL. His ID was discovered first by Ben Urich. His girlfriend Karen Page revealed it to get some Mexican heroin, and it ended up in the hands of the Kingpin, who sold it to Mysterio. Independently Daredevil’s been outted by a newspaper. Don’t know how - I somehow skipped buying that trade.
You know me. If I remember any more, I’ll be back.
P.S. Asbestos Mango. Don’t forget – Ra’s Al Ghul, Kobra and Deathstroke the Terminator must surely know Batman’s secret ID.
Daredevil was “outed” in the Brian Michael Bendis story arc “Out,” available as a TPB. It had to do with a criminal coming forward and spilling his secret identity to some FBI agents, and one of them squealed to the Daily Bugle. Since then, he (as Matt Murdock) has vehemently denied being Daredevil, and was even ready to sue the paper over it for defamation.
Well, we already know from the end of “Hush” that he has nothing to worry about from the Riddler in that department. And Ra’s Al Ghul has known for a long time.
As for Hush himself, well, I think the logic is that if Hush spilled the beans, he’d have to compete with every other Batman villain and thug in Gotham in the race to kill him, and he doesn’t want that.
Ant-Man had a secret identity once, but it got blown away, I believe when he switched to the ID Yellowjacket.
Not classic superheros or anything, but part of Watchmen was that when costumed crimefighting went illegal some of the superheros came out of the closet (Ozymandias had toys, a cartoon, etc) and there was a certain amount of sneering at the sellout.
There was a running joke in Green Arrow (during the Mike Grell period I believe) that Oliver Queen’s attempts at disguising himself were so weak that everyone knew his “secret” identity.
Did Ralph Dibney ever even use a secret identity as Elongated Man? Considering that he wore no mask and hung out with his non-costumed wife most of the time, I kind of doubt it.
Yes, when he first started, Ralph used a small mask and kept his identity secret. It didn’t last too long though. The Atom had his blown by his ex-wife in a book. I don’t know if it is still in the open.
Darn, Nrmo beat me to it. That’s exactly what I was going to say.
I remember that people used to say to him “It was supposed to be a secret?”
Daredevil was identified as Matt Murdock by the Daily Globe, not the Bugle. He sued the paper and, after scaring off the FBI agent who sold the information, eventually won an enormous damages settlement and a retraction of the story. While Daredevil’s identity is not “officially” public knowledge, many in the underworld and the law enforcement community know the truth, and much of the general public believes it as well.
Yep, there was one time a cop came by the florist’s shop/castle thingy to ask Green Arrow some questions, and Oliver asked him how he figured out who he was. The cop said something like, “Oh, I’m sorry; are those green eye-socket things supposed to be a disguise?”
No one seems to have explicitly mentioned it, but The Fantastic Four never had “secret identities”, and operated from the highly visible Baxter Building in New York.
For that matter, the PowerPuff Girls don’t seem to have secret identitues, either.
There are plenty of mutants who are physically indistinguishable from non-mutants. All of the original X-men except Angel and all of the second team except Nightcrawler could “pass” with little effort and Angel wore harnesses to hold his wings down in public. Angel later revealed his identity publicly (which made his funding of the ostensibly anti-mutant X-Factor rather problematic IMHO although it didn’t seem to twig with anyone within the book that it was odd that a known mutant was funding them) and Beast’s identity became publicly known sometime after his further mutation. IIRC Jean Grey at some point went public, in part to protest the Mutant Registration Act and anti-mutant hysteria in general and in part because she had been impersonated and misidentified so often.