12 comic book covers featuring super heroes and their secret identities

I was perusing one of my favorite sites, Cover Browser, the other day. It’s great. It has hundreds of galleries of comic book covers. Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age as well as more modern comics, you can see it all. Some of the images are of great quality and some are blurry scans that look like they threw the comic book into the air and tried to take a picture with a cell phone from 2001. But it’s great fun to look at old issues of Superman, Batman, Hulk and Iron Man. You can find some real gems.

Looking through you can see all types of trends and gimmicks companies used when creating their covers. Anything to capture the public’s eye. One of the more prevalent gimmicks is to have the superhero appear on the cover alongside their secret identity. I’ve gathered 12 such examples of superhero and secret identity co-existing harmoniously on a comic book cover. Not only that, I’ve split the list into two sections. In the first section are 5 comic book covers featuring super heroes fighting their secret identities. The second section will feature the superhero interacting with their secret identity.

So here are the first 5 covers featuring superheroes fighting their secret identities.  Thanks to Cover Browser for the majority of these images.

Action Comics 341
Action Comics #341 – Battle of the Alter Egos.  Turns out the “extra” Clark Kent is another survivor of Krypton that DC loved to throw out in the ’60s and ’70s. He took over Clark’s identity and Supes had to straighten things out.

The Flash #15
Flash vol 2 #15 – Wally West trashed by The Flash.  This is the second Flash series.  Wally West had taken over the Flash costume.  There was a drug called Velocity-9 that gave the users temporary super speed.  A junkie got a fake suit and totally sucker punched the living sh*t out of Wally.

Web of Spiderman #117
Web of Spider-man #117 – Spider-man vs Peter Parker. This is the beginning of one of the most controversial Spidey storylines ever – the Clone Saga. A clone of Peter reveals himself.  He’s this homeless vagrant who then names himself Ben Reilly.  Arguments develop over who is the clone and who is the real Peter.  Peter is discovered to be the actual clone and Ben the “true” Peter.  Clone Peter becomes so outraged he “accidentally” hits Mary Jane in the face. It’s pretty much insanity incarnate and due to high sales Marvel’s upper management kept the creative teams churning out the story for much longer than was originally planned.

Hulk #130
Incredible Hulk #130 – Hulk vs Bruce Banner.  This is an interesting story which has Banner going to a colleague of his to cure him of his Hulk persona.  The experiment they attempt actually splits the Hulk and Banner into two separate beings.  Finally free of Banner’s influence, The Hulk goes on a rampage.  Despite being cured, Banner realizes he must recombine with Hulk in order to stop people from being hurt.  Actually a really good story from 1970.

Iron Man #17
Iron Man #17 – Iron Man vs Tony Stark.  Tony Stark being Tony Stark he has several LMDs (Life Model Decoys) he utilizes to fool his enemies.  Well, Stark has his identity stolen by one of these LMDs.  It believes it can make not only a better Iron Man, but a better Tony Stark than Tony Stark.  The LMD nearly succeeds.

Now, here are 7 comic book covers featuring super heroes alongside their secret identities.

Batman #233
Batman #233 – An entire issue of Batman revolving around Bruce Wayne.  One of the stories (lower left of the cover) features Batman finding someone who looks like and believes they are Bruce Wayne.

Marvel Two-in-One #100
Marvel Two-in-One #100 – The Thing and Ben Grimm.  This issue is written by one of my favorite comic book writers/artists; John Byrne.  It is a direct followup to Marvel Two-in-One #50 (also written by Byrne) and it is the final issue of the series.  The Thing travels to an alternate universe he visited back in issue #50 where that universe’s Ben Grimm had been cured of being The Thing.  The Thing discovers that universe’s Earth had been ravaged by Galactus and left an empty husk with people trying to survive I Am Legend style. The Thing is captured by Red Skull and Ben has to rally survivors to rescue him.

DC Comics Presents 50 DC Comics Presents 79
DC Comics Presents #50 and #79 – Superman and Clark Kent.  DC Comics Presents was like Superman’s Brave and the Bold.  It was a team up book and sort of a “try out” book to showcase tier 2 heroes and villains.  It featured appearances by regular heroes The Flash and Wonder Woman as well as Shazam, Masters of the Universe, Forgotten Villains, Challengers of the Unknown and Santa Claus.  And, because DC loved to do it so much, Clark Kent made not one, but two appearances.

Superman 268 Superman 296 Superman 297
Superman #268, #296 and #297 – Superman and Clark Kent.  Like I said, DC loved this Clark Kent/Superman gimmick cover.  Here are three Superman covers featuring Superman alongside Clark Kent.  In one cover Supes is bidding farewell to Clark Kent saying he doesn’t need him anymore and in another he’s watching thugs beat the ever lovin’ crap out of Clark.  Supes is kind of a dick.

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2 Responses to “12 comic book covers featuring super heroes and their secret identities”

  1. That last cover is hilarious, and yup, Sups is a dick. I’m surprised that so many of these aren’t just artistic license gimmicks for aesthetic purposes, but actually feature clones, characters being slit in half, etc…

  2. Gives new meaning to “kicking your own ass.” Yes, if I dressed like this, I’d certainly need to kick my own ass occasionally.

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