Karen: Let's talk about one of the staples of super-hero comics: the secret identity. How necessary is it? For some characters, that civilian ID is completely necessary, as important as their hero ID. This is certainly true for characters like Spider-Man, whose life as Peter Parker was in many ways even more involving than his heroic exploits. Certainly you could not disengage the two identities. Peter IS Peter; even when wearing that red and blue (or black!) costume, he remains Peter. It's pretty much impossible to conceive of one without the other.
Karen: On the other hand, I think a character like Thor has no need of a secret ID. The Don Blake character was ultimately revealed to be a false person, a mortal cloak to throw over Thor. While the book might have started out with a premise similar to the original Captain Marvel, with a weak mortal transformed into a powerful, god-like hero, Thor steered away from Don Blake so much by the early 70s that he was no longer important to the title. Karen: There are some characters who have secret IDs but one wonders, why? I'd throw Captain America into this category. Since Cap has only rarely developed a life outside of super-heroing, hiding his Steve Rogers ID seems unnecessary. What about Iron Man? The Iron Man movie makes a pretty good case for discarding the whole secret ID thing.
Doug: How about the Fantastic Four? Talk about no need for a secret ID. And when you think about them, they are synonymous with their "code names". And really -- after awhile is there really any drama in stories where some girlfriend or boyfriend is constantly trying to uncover their love's alter ego? How dense must Lois Lane have been??
Karen: Sometimes we wonder which identity is the 'true' identity. You could debate the Superman/Clark Kent question til the cows come home. Personally, I think he's like Spider-Man -he's always Clark, just not a stumbling, fumbling Clark. He's always the small town boy with a strong sense of right and wrong.
Karen: Batman's a whole different proposition. He needs his Bruce Wayne identity to fund his activities, but who is the real person? I tend to think his Batman persona dominates.
Karen: So let's talk secret identities - who needs one, who doesn't, and who is the real person?
Karen has joined the ranks of podcasters along with her friends Larry and Bob on the Planet 8 podcast. Click on the image to hear them explore all things geek!
Patronize our Staff Writers
Our collaborators, Martinex1 and Redartz, now manage their own space. If you have liked the sorts of topics seen here on Bronze Age Babies, then you are going to feel right at home at Back in the Bronze Age... Give them a visit!
Karen and Doug
Bronze Age Babies, Unite!
On Sunday, 4/23/17, Martinex1, Doug, and Redartz gathered for a day of fun at C2E2 in Chicago. It was great to finally meet in person after years of online cameraderie.
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Karen and Doug met on the Avengers Assemble! message board back in September 2006. On June 16 2009 they went live with the Bronze Age Babies blog, sharing their love for 1970s and '80s pop culture with readers who happen by each day. You'll find conversations on comics, TV, music, movies, toys, food... just about anything that evokes memories of our beloved pasts!
Doug is a high school social science teacher and department chairman living south of Chicago; he also does contract work for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is married with two adult sons, also both married.
Karen originally hails from California and now works in scientific research/writing in the Phoenix area. She often contributes articles to Back Issue magazine. She is married. She hangs out with Joe Biden occasionally.
Believe it or not, the Bronze Age Babies have never spoken to each other...
We don't own property rights for any of the images we show on Bronze Age Babies -- those copyrights are retained by their respective owners. Most images are from books, etc. that we have individually purchased, while others have been copied from the Internet. All images are displayed here for the purpose of education and review within the "fair use" terms of U.S. Code: Title 17, Sec. 107. If we've used something we shouldn't have, please ask and we'll take it down. Thank you -- Doug and Karen
Dig Karen's Work Here? Then You Should Check Her Out in Back Issue!
BI #44 is available for digital download and in print. I've read Karen's article on reader reaction to Gerry Conway's ASM #121-122, and it's excellent. This entire magazine was fun! -- Doug
Back Issue #45
As if Karen's work on Spidey in the Bronze Age wasn't awesome enough, she's at it again with a look at the romance of the Vision and the Scarlet Witch in Back Issue's "Odd Couples" issue -- from TwoMorrows!
Karen's talking the Mighty Thor in the Bronze Age!
Click the cover to order a print or digital copy of Back Issue! #53