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02.11.2014
And what's more, it didn't happen at the hands of Norman Osborn, Venom (Brock or Gargan), or the Chameleon - supervillains who already knew the secret.
The death of Gwen Stacy - this was not only a defining moment for the character from which he has never recovered more than 30 years later - it's a defining moment in the history of comics as well. The marriage to Mary Jane - one of the core fundamentals of the character from the beginning was his hard luck with women. Maybe the Clone Saga - this is debatable, particularly since Marvel seems to have an unwritten law about re-visiting any portion of this tale, although both Mark Millar and more recently, Peter David have slipped in references to poor old Ben Reilly.
Is this just a stunt - or a logical direction for the character to go at this time in his history? Or perhaps we should be call it The Event That Ate Marvel, because virtually the entire line has been held hostage to this event, not just to the story elements, but also the back stage bungling that has resulted in chronically late shipments of not just the lead title, but of several other titles, including such flagships as Fantastic Four and Amazing Spider-Man.
In response to public outcry, Congress draws up the Superhero Registration Act, which will require superheroes to register their identities with the government, and essentially go onto the government payroll (I'm oversimplifying, but bear with me).
In Amazing Spider-Man #529 (April 2006), Tony Stark asks to meet with Peter and Mary Jane over a private dinner, where Tony begins to articulate his fears that a crisis is coming, a crisis so problematic that he does not believe that he can even trust Captain America to do the right thing - but he does think he can trust Peter. And then Stark promptly rewards this vow by going off by himself to a secret cabal meeting of the Illuminati (New Avengers: Illuminati). The situation continues to deteriorate as public and congressional fervor for passage of the bill grows, and Stark tells Peter that due to his high profile in taking the lead for the registration act, that he will unmask as Iron Man - but that if Peter wants to continue to work with him - he will have to unmask as Spider-Man.
Tony tells him that if he doesn't unmask, then he will be a criminal, and Mary Jane and Aunt May would be considered accomplices, and arrested as well. The issue ends with the tease - will he or won't he - but the outcome - which was completely BLOWN by Marvel on two occasions (1) by showing an unmasked Peter Parker at a media conference discussing his decision in Thunderbolts #103, which was released the week before Civil War #2 came out, and then (2) revealing the spoiler to the friggin' media that Wednesday morning before the faithful even had a chance to get to their local comic shops and read the story for their bloody selves. As I mentioned earlier, Spidey revealing his identity to the public isn't just the end of an era in his own titles, but it's virtually the abandonment of one of the most cherished facets of the whole superhero gig, the "secret identity." This is such a core part of the superhero mythology that it’s hard to let it go as a matter of principle. And yes, for those who are counting, that was another one of my irritating references to Star Trek. And although we don't wear literally wear masks in our daily lives, we all have secret identities. And then there are people with addiction problems desperately trying to keep the rest of the world in the dark about them, homosexuals who maintain a public personna of heterosexuality so that their true orientation will not be discovered, men and women hiding affairs from their spouses, the list goes on and on.
But if we look at it under a microscope (literally and figuratively), the concept of the superhero secret identity doesn't hold up.
No less an authority than Stan Lee himself once expressed a certain amount of ambivalence with the secret identity concept. Marvel's Ultimate Universe has always been much more realistic about the "secret identity" concept and government control of super powered people.
First of all, contrary to what many may think - I wasn't against the unmasking of Spider-Man on principle.
However, the way it has shaken out so far - it does seem like a stunt - and one that has not particularly paid off very well in the form of increased interest in Spider-Man and sales of the monthly comics (while Amazing is doing quite well due to the fact that the Civil War wraparound has been gracing every issue lately, Sensational and Friendly Neighborhood are struggling, which is unfair because I think both are good books right now. Unfortunately, the staggering import and result of Tony's request and Peter's response is poorly handled.
For one, unless I missed something - the law didn't require heroes to publicly disclose - that was solely Tony's request of Peter.


Demonstrating that everyone at Marvel seems to have short memories, wasn't it discussed just a while ago in that debacle The Other about the need to keep Spider-Man's identity secret - even in death? Plus, there just isn't the shared history between Spidey and Iron Man that there has been between he and some other heroes. First of all - Gwen Stacy died because Norman Osborn knew that Peter Parker was Spider-Man.
Think about how much other misery has been caused by men who knew that Peter was Spider-Man.
Matt Murdock - when Murdock was outed as Daredevil in the press, Peter saw first hand just how much more difficult Matt's life became - with the throng of crowds hanging outside his apartment, supervillains coming into his home (as Hyde did spoiling for a fight) and office (as Stilt Man did when he turned over his equipment). I have a hard time reconciling the Peter Parker who was so irresponsible that he didn't tell the people he loved, the people who would be most affected by and had the most to lose by his costumed heroics, the truth, while within a very short period of time (relative to comics), he pronounces Tony Stark as his father figure and is willing to compromise his entire life for him.
The knock about being "out of character," is an all too often used fanboy response to something we don't like. We can't underestimate how influenced that Peter would have been, to have spent so many years as an outsider, to now be considered one of the "good guys." For all of these years he has been desperate for security and acceptance, but it has always eluded him. Another reason would be to end the hold and the fear that Norman Osborn (and for a time, Harry) and Venom, for example, have long held over him. Spidey’s membership in the New Avengers may very well have removed some of the queasy feelings about his i.d. As far as May's and MJ's safety - they couldn't be any safer than living in a tower where other superheroes lived! After all, say while Spidey was a New Avenger (pre-Civil War), someone like Electro or the Vulture harms MJ or May.
It isn’t like Peter Parker (or even Mary Jane) hasn’t considered this course of action before. In Spectacular Spider-Man #189 (June 1992), as Harry was being led away by the police and threatened to let the world know what he knew about Spider-Man - Spidey said "go ahead - tell them what you know about me. During the Clone Saga's “The Trial of Peter Parker,” as Ben Reilly (who was posing as Peter Parker) was on trial for the murder of a police detective (it’s a long story and a very flimsy case), Spider-Man told Kaine (who was the real killer) that he was going to go into the courtroom and reveal who he was and spill everything to keep Ben from going to jail.
And then sometimes there is just the very human temptation to get everything out in the open and just live with the consequences instead of the fear. So, I think it is just as easy to argue that Peter had reasons enough to reveal his identity, just as he would have had reasons to continue to keep it secret.
Or join me on the to talk about this article with me and the other inhabitants of the Crawlspace.
Superman: Secret Identity is a comic book miniseries, taking place in an alternate reality in which all the familiar DC comics superheroes are just comic book characters, much like on Earth-Prime. According to Kurt Busiek, the writer, the inspiration for the main character came from Superboy of Earth-Prime. They might say you don’t pee on Superman’s cape, but as far as his secret identity?
Filed Under: Articles, Features Tagged With: Secret Identities, Top 5 Related PostsGreen Hornet’s Secret Identity is… Peter David?RED HULK identity REVEALED! Well being mutants, it’s who they really are (most of them) so why would they hide that?


Who expects the man who does nothing to hide his face, and tells people that he is an alien from the planet Krypton named Kal-El to be also masquerading around as anyone else? One boy, whose name is Clark Kent, discovers that he has Superman's superpowers, for some unknown reason.
Back in the Silver Age Garrick attempted to disguise his identity by constantly vibrating using his super speed, but even he later said it was foolish after his girlfriend figured it out. Magneto, in X-Men First Class (the movie) made a good argument about it with Mystique constantly trying to look normal and hide her true self. There’s such a change in posture and character between Clark and Superman in All-Star that you can actually see how someone might be thrown by it. In 20+ years of reading comics, All-Star is the only time I’ve ever believed the disguise. It’s classic comic book science, but it still is more of an explanation than the rest of the list.
But that didn’t help keep the secret, as numerous people from ex girlfriends to intrepid reporters all put the pieces together over the years.
Using glasses and sometimes a slight hairstyle change to cover up your identity as the world’s most popular superhero (and one who does so completely unmasked) is laughable.
Much like the X-Men, villains don’t really have a reason to to keep their identities hidden, just their actions. In it, Luthor is obsessed with finding out more about Superman and inputs all known knowledge on the hero into a computer, who immediately realizes that Clark Kent is Superman.
But Harley Quinn’s never quite been all there in the brains category, so she might have an excuse for it all. Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev outed Matt Murdock as Daredevil once and for all, and now subsequent writers like Ed Brubaker, Andy Diggle and Mark Waid have turned it into a staple of the series of Murdock’s attempts to un-break that window. In some cases, creators and actors have tried to make more of it by having Kal-El play up frailness and bumbling in order to differentiate himself more from the proud and heroic Superman, but really it seems like a flaw that others are trying to cover up with subterfuge. Luthor rejects that answer, saying that no man with Superman’s abilities would pretend to be a normal human 90% of the time. Seifert’s American Studies class during freshman year in college – knows how special I really am. Villains would soon realize that by attacking someone's family, they would face the wrath of not just one hero - but a slew of them. It’s a humorous little story that actually got revisited a few years later in a longer followup.
Spock, one of pop culture’s icons of the alienated tried to keep “secret” from all of those pesky, illogical, irrational humans on the starship Enterprise his own flawed humanity. And while Spider-Man may have a code against killing, a teammate such as Wolverine would have no such qualms about exacting final justice for an ally.



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