Clark Kent’s Glasses Aren’t Dumb

Superman Lego - Illustration for Clark Kent's glasses humor article

Whenever Superman comes up in conversation, people always mention one of three things:

  1. They think Superman is a boring character.
  2. The latest movie wasn’t that great.
  3. What’s the deal with Clark Kent’s glasses?

People love to make fun of Superman for having a bad disguise. “When he becomes Clark Kent, he just puts on a pair of dork goggles? That’s all? Everyone would know Clark is Supes! Lois must be an idiot! She must have brain damage from constant exposure to x-ray vision.”

But no, that’s not the case at all.

First of all, even if people did recognize that Clark Kent looks like Superman, that’s about as far as it would go. People would think “Hey, that guy looks like Superman. Huh. Neat.” And then they would go on with their day.

Superman is basically a god. Why would The God of Punches pretend to be some random guy? There’s absolutely nothing to indicate that he might have a secret identity. As far as anyone knows, he’s Superman 24/7, and those blue pajamas are his only outfit.

Think about it. If you called for an Uber, and the driver looked like Barack Obama, you wouldn’t think it was actually him. “Oh, clearly being an ex-president doesn’t pay as much as I thought and Forty-Four was forced to get a side hustle. I should tip extra. He’s got a lot of Secret Service agents to support.” You’d just think it was a weird coincidence, and that the driver should totally start an Obama impersonator business, or at least a YouTube channel.

Secondly, let’s say some Metropolis bad guys do figure it out. So what? Unless you’re Lex Luthor or Doomsday, what the hell are you going to do about it? We’re not talking about some Robin that you could take out with a crowbar. This is a god. Even if you do have super powers, he’s got more than you, plus a couple the writers made up just for this issue.

In “The Dark Knight,” there is a fantastically funny scene where a Wayne Enterprises employee figures out that Bruce Wayne is Batman and tries to blackmail him. Bruce’s right hand man Lucius Fox implies that Bruce would just crush him financially or put on his bat onesie and beat him to death his with bare hands. The would-be blackmailer realizes it’s a monumentally stupid plan and just gives up. Going up against Supes would be even dumber.

Let’s say you’re a criminal, and you’re not fooled by Clark Kent’s glasses. You know who he really is. Are you going to go mess with Superman just because he’s wearing his nerd costume that day? He can still pick you up and hurl you into the sun. Sure, people say he’s a good guy, but everyone has a bad day now and again, especially when a super villain is trying to punch them in their face. Better not risk it. Go after a Robin instead.

Finally, the glasses aren’t even the worst disguise in DC Comics. There are dozens of other characters who wear little domino masks that do virtually nothing to conceal your identity. As Blake Lively pointed out in the godawful Green Lantern movie, people can still recognize you even when they can’t see your cheekbones. Unless you’re Green Arrow. Oliver Queen somehow became mayor without anyone noticing that both he and the Robin Hood Rip-off had the same stupid beard.

And then there’s Jay Garrick. When he dresses up in his Flash costume, he doesn’t even wear a mask. He just puts a hubcap on his head. Why not wear a lampshade? That would at least cover his face.

If you really want to hide your identity, wear a whole head mask like Spidey, or at least some KISS makeup.

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