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Anticlimactic Superhero Identity Reveals

In Drawing Crazy Patterns, I spotlight at least five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics). Note that these lists are inherently not exhaustive. They are a list of five examples (occasionally I'll be nice and toss in a sixth). So no instance is "missing" if it is not listed. It's just not one of the five examples that I chose.

Today, we look at examples of anticlimactic superhero identity reveals. You know, times that a superhero reveals his or her identity to someone only to have them tell him or her that they knew the secret already!

The first example is a bit tricky, since the reveal (and the discovery that everyone knew already) was an accident. Still, it's so humorous that I'm still including it. You see, after the Fantastic Four was a huge success, there was a debate over whether to spin off the individual heroes into their own feature and Stan Lee ultimately decided to give Human Torch his own comic book series. Torch took over as the regular lead feature on Strange Tales (pretty much all of the pre-superhero anthology titles gained superhero features in them at more or less the same time - Kirby and Lee were all in this expansion) and Lee decided that the hook will be Torch moving to a small town in Long Island and becoming the resident superhero there. The problem was that Lee wanted to tell traditional superhero stories with the character and since his identity had clearly been public during the early issues of the Fantastic Four, Lee had to come up with a retcon, of sorts, to reveal that his identity was a secret again.

That didn't really make a whole lot of sense, though, and so sure enough, in Strange Tales #106 (by Lee and Dick Ayers), Johnny learns that everyone was pretending not to know his secret identity...

Next up is Batman and the Outsiders #13 (by Mike W. Barr, Dan Day and Pablo Marcos), where Batman is hit by a poisonous blowdart and the only way to cure him is to keep him active, as the dart is affecting his very will to live...

The Outsiders need to find something that could stimulate Batman's mind and so they go to visit Bruce Wayne, as he is close with Batman. Once at Wayne Manor, though, Alfred reveals that Batman IS Bruce Wayne...

Alfred, though, gives them enough information that they can formulate a scenario that will stimulate Batman's mind (with the team essentially recreating the death of Batman's parents, which drives Batman to move past his fevered mind and out into the world and forces him to work the poison out of his system)...

At the end of the issue, the recovered Batman decides it is time to reveal his identity to his Outsiders teammates and they fake surprise over it...

In Amazing Spider-Man #400 (by J.M. DeMatteis, Mark Bagley and Larry Mahlstedt), we learn that Aunt May has always known that Peter Parker is Spider-Man...right before she dies...

The same thing happened back right before Captain George Stacy died in Amazing Spider-Man #90 (by Stan Lee, Gil Kane and John Romita)...

(Note that the featured image is Spider-Man revealing his secret identity during Civil War. It has nothing to do with these reveals, I just liked the way that that image looks)

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