Clark Kent - Wikipedia
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As an added precaution, Superman would vibrate his face slightly like Jay Garrick, the Golden-Age Flashso that photographs would only show his features as a blur, thus preventing the danger of photographs of both identities being reliably compared.
The series Superman: A subsequent explanation is the fact that most people only know of Clark as a name in a byline and only see Superman from a distance, if they see him at all.
As most people do not spend much time with both Clark Kent and Superman, the similar appearances are not considered. A variation of this idea was seen when Lex Luthor had a massive investigation carried out to determine the connection between Clark Kent and Superman; while the resulting data gathered allowed a computer to deduce that Clark Kent was Superman, Luthor dismissed that theory as he is psychologically incapable of understanding why Superman would want to be someone like Clark, believing that Superman would constantly revel in his power just because that is what Luthor would do.
The idea of Superman's identity being secret as the idea never occurs to others has been further explored in other continuities. In the Elseworlds story JLA: Another Nail —a sequel to JLA: The Nailwhere Kal-El was discovered by and raised in an Amish community when the Kents' truck had a nail in the tyre on the day they would have gone out and seen his ship crash— while trying to establish a civilian identity to give new hero Superman a chance to feel human, the Kents initially heavily disguised him with a thick fake beard and large dark glasses.
Arriving as they put this disguise together, Lois Lane suggests the alternative of regular glasses and casual hair, on the grounds that the original look gave the impression that he had something to hide, while nobody would particularly pay attention to Kal-El when he looked like this. Various stories over the decades often show Superman relying upon an imitator on occasions when Clark and Superman are required to appear together.
The most prominent such means include: Superman robotsandroids that physically resemble Superman in powers and appearance. This was most often seen in Silver Age stories.
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For example, after the "Return of Superman" storyline in the s, "Clark" in reality the Supergirl at the time, also known as Matrixwho was capable of shape shifting was photographed besides Superman after Superman had returned from the dead, Matrix using her shape-shifting abilities to create the impression that Clark Kent had been trapped in an underground bunker during Doomsday's rampage to account for Clark and Superman's mutual absences.
In other occasions, Clark's comrade in the Justice Leaguethe Martian Manhunterhas provided similar assistance.
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Identity change[ edit ] An apparently ordinary Clark Kent, transforming into Superman. Artwork for the cover of Superman Forever vol. Originally during his appearances in Action Comics and later in his own magazine, the Man of Steel would strip to his costume and stand revealed as Superman, often with the transformation having already been completed. But within a short time, Joe Shuster and his ghost artists began depicting Clark Kent ripping open his shirt to reveal the "S" insignia on his chest—an image that became so iconic that other superheroes, during the Golden Age and later periods, would copy the same type of change during transformations.
In the Fleischer theatrical cartoons released by Paramount, the mild-mannered reporter often ducked into a telephone booth or stockroom to make the transformation. Since the shorts were produced during the rise of film noir in cinema, the change was usually represented as a stylized sequence: Clark Kent's silhouette is clearly seen behind a closed door's pebble glass window or a shadow thrown across a wall as he strips to his Superman costume.
Then, the superhero emerges having transformed from his meek disguise to his true self.
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In the comic books and in the George Reeves television series, he favors the Daily Planet's storeroom for his changes of identities the heroic change between identities within the storeroom is almost always seen in the comics, but never viewed in the Reeves series. The CBS Saturday morning series The New Adventures of Superman produced by Filmation Studios—as well as The Adventures of Superboy from the same animation house—featured the iconic "shirt rip" to reveal the "S" or Clark Kent removing his unbuttoned white dress shirt in a secluded spot, usually thanks to stock animation which was reused over dozens of episodes, to reveal his costume underneath while uttering his famed line "This is a job for Superman!
For example, in SupermanClark, unable to use a newer, open-kiosk pay phone and getting a nice laugh from the theater audienceruns down the street and rips open his shirt to reveal his costume underneath. He quickly enters a revolving door, spinning through it at incredible speed while changing clothes. Thus made invisible, he appears to have entered the building as Clark Kent and exited seconds later as Superman. Later in the film, when the need to change is more urgent as he believes the city is about to be poisoned by Lex Luthorhe simply jumps out a window of the Daily Planet offices, changing at super-speed as he falls the film merely shows the falling Kent blurring into a falling Superman and flies off.
Further films in the series continued this tradition, with Clark blurring into Superman, changing at super-speed while he runs. The change would then frequently occur off-screen, although the shirt-rip reveal was a prominently used move well-associated with the show. Clark also developed a method of rapidly spinning into his costume at super speed which became a trademark change, especially during the third and fourth seasons of the series, and extremely popular with the show's fans.
An alternate universe Clark who lost his adoptive parents as a child and only adopted the Superman persona at the urging of Lois from the main timeline was shown to enter an empty room and emerge as Superman a moment later, although he did adopt the spinning move eventually at Lois' advice.
In one scene of Batman: The Dark Knight ReturnsClark becomes aware of an emergency while talking with Bruce Wayne and, in the next panelhe has flown out of his Kent clothing and glasses so quickly that they have had no time to fall. In Season 8 of Smallville, Clark begins to show a bit more of his double identity.
He starts slowing down his superspeed enough for surveillance cameras to see his iconic red and blue streak. This reveals to the citizens of Metropolis that a superhero is among them and the name "The Red-Blue Blur" is coined. When Jimmy Olsen becomes suspicious, Clark decides to reserve his usual red-and-blue for saving people. He carries a backpack with him to work every day, containing his change of clothes. He begins to practice his speed change at home and at the Daily Planet.
He changes in a superspeed spin in the Daily Planet's phone booth and once even in his office chair. The last minute of the last episode of Smallville had Clark responding to an emergency, rushing to the top of the Daily Planet building, and then using the familiar shirt-rip while the camera zoomed in on the familiar S-logo to the original John Williams fanfare. Debate over true identity[ edit ] Clark Kent and Superman, from Superman vol. Art by Bob Oksner. Fans and Superman scholars follow one of three interpretations: Superman is real, Clark Kent the mask: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
In one s comic, when Kent finds himself at a loose end when staff at the Daily Planet go on strike, he seriously considers it a chance to try out a new identity in case he has "to abandon [his] Clark Kent role permanently". His options include becoming a full-time policeman or even a mere tramp "whom no one would ever suspect of being the Man of Steel". Volume 2with the character of Bill noting that Superman was not born into his alter ego Spider-Man was "Peter Parker" first, Batman was born "Bruce Wayne"using the blanket he was wrapped in as his costume, and Clark Kent is a collage of mankind's less impressive traits meant to blend in with other humans as well as a device to pursue Lois Lane's affectionsusing this analogy to demonstrate how the character of the Bride could never abandon the killer she is even if she pretended to be something else, though as Bill is the villain of the movie, whether or not audiences are meant to empathize with anything he says is debatable.
Richard Donnerthe director of the first Reeve movie, stated that he believes Clark Kent to be the disguise this is never made clear in the film. Clark Kent is real, Superman the mask: With John Byrne's more assertive revamp of Clark Kent as well as Superman's greater grounding in Earth culture and humanity as opposed to the everpresent Kryptonian heritage of the Pre-Crisis versionSuperman is considered the "mask" and Clark the person.
This is made explicit by Clark himself in Superman vol. Although the morals instilled in him by the Kents have motivated Kal-El to use his abilities to help others, he developed the Superman persona to protect his Clark Kent identity. Kent", wherein Clark Kent is presumed dead, Superman expresses frustration at the idea of not being Clark and having to be someone else instead "I am Clark. I need to be Clark. I'd go crazy if I had to be Superman all the time!
In a previous episode, the third part of the "Last Son of Krypton" arc, Jonathan "Pa" Kent assures his adoptive son that he will "always be Clark Kent" and that "Superman just helps out every now and then. Clark is who I am.
Some versions of Superman explain that the Clark Kent and Superman identities are different facets of the same person. It has been implied, especially in the 'alternate future' story Kingdom Comethat the Clark Kent persona represents the values taught to him by his Midwestern parents. These values are what he holds most dear, giving him an instinctive knowledge of right and wrong that allows him to adopt his Superman persona without being consumed by the moral implications of his actions.
Superman is the means through which he can bring this example to the world at large. At the story's climax, when Superman stands poised to destroy the United Nations, Norman McCay makes him realise that, when he abandoned Clark Kent fifteen years prior after the murder of Lois Lane by the Joker and retreated into his Superman self, he lost his instinctive morality, and thus the ability to be a heroic Superman.
With this knowledge and a pair of glasses given to him as a gift by Wonder Woman, "Clark" regains his humanity and sets out to become a hero again by re-fertilizing the formerly-irradiated fields of Kansas. Clark Kent has also been depicted without the Superman alter ego. In the Elseworlds stories starting with Superman: Last Son of Earthhe is the son of Jonathan Kent, who saves his son from the destruction of the Earth. In other media[ edit ] The Adventures of Superman radio series — [ edit ] In the early Adventures of Superman radio episodes, Kal-El landed on Earth as an adult.
He saved a man and his son and they gave him the idea of living as a normal person. They gave him the name of Clark Kent, and he later got a job as a newspaper reporter under that name. Later episodes shifted to the usual origin story, in which Kal-El landed on Earth as a baby and was raised by the Kent family. SupermanKirk Alyn portrays Clark as a mild-mannered reporter who comes to Metropolis and secures a job at the Daily Planetfollowing the death of his foster parents. While he quickly gains the respect of Planet editor Perry White, he is forced to contend with rival reporter Lois Lane, who often uses trickery to prevent Clark from pursuing a lead giving her the chance to scoop him.
Nevertheless, his journalistic skills are useful as he pursues stories on the crime boss known as the Spider Lady, and the criminal scientist Luthor who had yet to receive his first name, Lex. Adventures of Superman TV series — [ edit ] In the s George Reeves series, Clark Kent is portrayed as a cerebral character who is the crime reporter for the Daily Planet and who as Kent uses his intelligence and powers of deduction to solve crimes often before Inspector Henderson does before catching the villain as Superman.
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Although Kent is described in the show introduction as "mild-mannered", he can be very assertive, often giving orders to people and taking authoritative command of situations, though, as in the Pre-Crisis Superman stories at that time, Clark is still considered the secret identity. He gets people to trust his judgment very easily and has a good, often wisecracking, sense of humor. Reeves, who first appeared as the character in the film Superman and the Mole Menwas older than subsequent Superman actors.
Christopher Reeve Superman films — and Superman Returns [ edit ] Inthe first of four Superman films was made in which Clark Kent and Superman were portrayed by Christopher Reeve with teenage Kent played by Jeff East in the first film. This was followed nearly two decades later by a fifth film called Superman Returns with Brandon Routh giving a performance very similar to Reeve's.
In contrast to George Reeves' intellectual Clark Kent, Reeve's version is much more of an awkward fumbler and bungler, although Reeve is also an especially athletic, dashing and debonair Superman.
Clark Kent's hair is always absolutely flat, while Superman's hair has a slight wave and is parted on the opposite side as Kent's. These films leave the impression that Clark Kent is really a secret identity that is used to enable Superman to serve humanity better, rather than just a role to help him assimilate into the human community. A great deal of emphasis is placed on his origins on the planet Krypton with exotic crystalline sets designed by John Barryeffectively giving Superman a third persona as Kal-El.
The first film is in three sections: In earlier sections of the film, Reeve's Kent interacts with both his earthly parents and the spirit of his Kryptonian father through a special crystal, in a way George Reeves never did. The film has a fair amount of quasi-Biblical imagery suggestive of Superman as a sort of Christ-figure sent by Jor-El "to show humans the way". In Superman II Reeve's Superman has to sacrifice his powers effectively becoming just Clark Kent in order to have a love relationship with Lois Lane, a choice he eventually abrogates to protect the world.
Superman is given a piece of manufactured Kryptonitebut instead of weakening or killing him it drives him crazy, depressed, angry, and casually destructive, committing crimes which range from petty acts of vandalism to environmental disasters, like causing an oil spillage in order to bed a lusty woman by the name of Lorelei in league with the villains.
Driven alcoholicSuperman, his outfit dirty and neglected, eventually goes to a car wrecking yard where Kent, in a proper business suit and glasses, suddenly emerges from within him.
A fight ensues in which the "evil" Superman tries to dispose of the "good" Kent using various pieces of junkyard machinery he drops an electromagnet on Kent, tries to crush him inside a car baling press and then finally puts him through a scrap shredderbut Kent fights back stronger after every failed attempt, and eventually "kills" the evil side to his nature and, reclaiming the Superman mantle, sets off to repair the damage and capture the villains.
Les Daniels comments in his book, DC Comics: A Celebration of the World's Favourite Comic Book Heroes, "The 'good' Superman, ultimately triumphant, is dressed as Clark, thus implying that he is the more valid personality as well as the one Lana loves " and expresses annoyance that "Something could have been made of this, but sadly nothing was".
How Jewish History, Culture and Values Shaped the Comic Book Superhero says that Superman is both a pillar of society and one whose cape conceals a "nebbish", saying, "He's a bumbling, nebbish Jewish stereotype. This same theme is pursued about '40s superheroes generally in Disguised as Clark Kent: The New Adventures of Superman.
It is made very clear during the series, even discussed directly by the characters, that Clark Kent is who he really is, rather than his superheroic alter-ego. In Lois and Clark, Kent Dean Cain is a stereotypical wide-eyed farm kid from Kansas with the charm, grace and humor of George Reeves, but without the awkward geekiness of Christopher Reeve.
Emphasis is laid on the comic elements of his dual relationship with Lois Lane Teri Hatcher. The ban on Christopher Reeve's Superman having a relationship with a human while retaining his superpowers is entirely absent in the world of Lois and Clark. In the final season, Clark Kent marries Lois Lane a few years after her almost-marriage to his arch-enemy Lex Luthorwhom she refused at the altarfinding love, happiness, and completeness in this relationship which does not jeopardize his Superman persona.
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Superman's secret identity was discovered by a number of villains during the series. In some cases, like that of Lex Luthorthe villain died before he could share the discovery. In two cases, the claim was discredited by having Superman and Clark appear together in public, using a hologram in the first case and a Clark Kent from a parallel universe in the second in the first case, there was also footage filmed of Superman uniforms in Kent's closet, but that was explained by stating Superman simply needs a place to store them.
In one case, Superman destroyed the evidence a time traveler's journaland stated that the villain's unsupported words will be ignored. Smallville TV series — [ edit ] Further information: Clark Kent is played by Tom Wellingwith others portraying Clark as an infant. Throughout the series, Clark never officially adopted a costume until around the eighth season, but prior to this was seen wearing Superman's traditional colors of red and blue, more often as the series progresses more commonly a blue shirt underneath a red jacket, reflecting Superman's uniform and cape colors.
He is going through a process of character formation, making many mistakes in his youth, over time forming better and better judgment, while always self-consciously aware of his status as an alien from another planet who is different from other people.
In season eight, he begins a fight against evil, hoping to be a source of inspiration and hope to others. A modest amount of religious imagery is seen occasionally in the series, but to a lesser degree than in the Christopher Reeve series.
Smallville 's Kent is particularly inwardly conflicted as he attempts to live the life of a normal human being, while keeping the secret of his alien heritage from his friends. Clark's powers appear over time. He is not aware of all of his powers at the start of the show; for instance, his heat vision and super breath do not develop until seasons two and sixrespectively,   and his power of flight did not emerge until the series finale, up until that point the power appeared only in a few rare cases, such as when he was temporarily 're-programmed' to assume a Kryptonian persona or when he was trapped in a virtual reality.
Clark Kent starts out best friends with Lex Luthor, whom he meets after saving the latter's life. Lex Luthor's father, Lionel Luthoris an unscrupulous industrialist with whom Lex has a troubled relationship. Lex would like to transcend his family background and be a better person than his father, but after multiple setbacks he slowly slips into evil, becoming convinced that only way he can "protect" the world from the perceived alien threats is by taking control of it, regardless of the cost to others.
In turn, Clark Kent has a slightly dark side with which he comes to grips over time, made even worse by his experiences with Red Kryptonite, which causes him to lose his morals and act solely on impulse while under its influence.
In different ways to Luthor, at times Clark also does not have a fully ideal relationship either with his adoptive father, Jonathan, nor with an A.
The younger Luthor slightly envies Clark's "clean-cut" and wholesome parents who disapprove of Clark's friendship with Luthorwhile Clark is impressed with Luthor's wealth while failing to understand some of the manipulations he carries out in his interactions with others.