Posted on September 30, 2012 AT 08:43pm
It’s time once again for the Comic Countdown, where comic book topics are listed in numerical order. This week is going to be a bit off topic, with not as much to really be done with what’s currently going on in the comics world. Instead, a look will be taken into the icon of many comics of the past: the alter-ego. These mild-mannered citizens did their regular jobs by day, and saved the world from destruction at night, often going absent at key moments in crime, only to return and pretend to have no idea what had just happened (allegedly). Many of these characters hid behind thin veils of jobs that in a normal life would have left them unemployed in a matter of weeks, but for most, they were essential. Some were important jobs that took up time both as a person and a hero, others were simple jobs that helped make ends meet. With that, it’s time for the Countdown!
Peter Parker is the best known hero to take on this job, making use of his powers to help perpetuate the negative campaign against his alter-ego, Spider-Man, to make a bit of money. While not the most glamorous job, Parker used it to gain recognition of his alter-ego and make a few extra bucks at the Daily Bugle. He only had to beat up a few criminals and snap some photos while he was there to get the job done. Not bad for a night of work cleaning up the streets of New York.
Charles Xavier and many others have taken the role of teacher to new heights in comic books, using the ability to have insight on a particular subject to hide the fact that they are part of the entire culture of that very topic. Xavier was a professor and well-known expert on Mutants, all the while hiding the fact that he was one, even running his own team of mutants while under the ruse of a private school. While this didn’t hold up as well in the future, when the X-Men gained a bit more fame, it was a good start, and a clever way of keeping the big secret safe.
Speaking of schooling, Parker, the X-Men, and countless others have used the guise of being a regular student to hide their powers from others. From the gifted youngsters of Xavier’s school to the newest Spidey, Miles Morales, student has been an easy cover up for any young hero. Mostly because while they used it to hide their second life, it was also true, with homework coming along with the duties of saving the world. ‘
Made famous by Clark Kent, who was the first true superhero as Superman, the reporter has always had a place in the second lives of many heroes. It’s a pretty easy job to do, considering that many stories could come from first-hand experience, covering the stories the hero was there for during the battles, and playing them off as being a bystander to the action.
Daredevil by night, lawyer Matt Murdock by day is how one hero lived his life. While this job may be a bit more draining than others, as lawyers have a lot of work to do on a constant basis, heroes like Murdock have made it look easy. Taking less cases would likely help, but Murdock has never been one to stray from a fight, be it physical or verbal.
#5: Secret Agent
While not a whole lot of heroes have this profession, many of them have used it as a way to use their powers for the good of the world, going undercover and using their abilities to help fight against those who would do the world harm. Wolverine, prior to his stint with the X-Men, did work as a government agent in Canada, so the ability to make it work is there, but it’s usually used as more of an augment than a cover-up.
Most crime fighters have some detective skills, having to use their minds as well as their bodies to get the job done, but very few have made a career such as detective their choice as a way to keep their true skills under wraps. Heroes such as Sara Pezzini, the bearer of the Witchblade as well as many others have taken on this task and put it to use, and Bruce Wayne is also known for his investigative skills.
Tony Stark. Bruce Wayne. Oliver Queen. The list goes on and on for this choice. Most of these heroes used their great wealth from their billion dollar industries to support their heroic trades, making technology their greatest ally. This is a common way to make it so these great people can use anything they need and make it believable, with money being the easiest reason to explain having anything. While not the most creative of jobs for a hero, it always works exceptionally well.
The list of names of those who are well versed in science that also work as a hero is very, very long. members of the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the Justice League and countless others have used their scientific acumen to their advantage. These skills are occasionally even the cause of their powers in the first place (see: Richards, Reed and Banner, Bruce), making it a great way to explain some of the “accidents” that could easily give someone super-human abilities. Another easy explanation that always works wonders, especially in the earlier days of comics.
#1: World Leader
What’s cooler than ruling an entire nation? Being the ruler of an entire nation and being the savior of it at the same time. King T’Challa of Wakanda, who is known by many as the Black Panther and Princess Diana of Themyscira, the well-known Wonder Woman are two of the most easily referenced of leaders of an entire nation or race, though there are many others (Aquaman and Namor, for example). Not always the most explicable job to have when you’re a superhero, but it is pretty awesome to be able to pull off.
That’s it for the countdown this week, be sure to check back every Sunday for another Countdown!
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