Calvin Ellis, the President Superman of Earth-23, conceals his identity in many of the same crazy ways his Prime Earth counterpart does, and readers see how in the DC Digital First Infinite Frontier: Secret Files #1, available now.
Superman laid the foundation for superhero comics in many ways, a foundation that introduced to readers the concept of secret identities - Clark Kent in his case, obviously. It was a way for heroes like Superman to better function in society. Some heroes, such as Batman and Spider-Man, go to great lengths to hide their secret identities, but it seems as if Superman gives very little effort to conceal his, simply hiding behind a pair of glasses. He has used other methods over the years, but the glasses work well and readers can see that President Superman has taken a few pages out of Clark Kent’s playbook on how to keep one's alter-ego a secret.
The story, titled “Make Time,” written by Brandon Thomas and Joshau Willamson with art by Valentine De Landro and colors by Marissa Louise and Triona Farrell, opens with President Superman - in his secret identity as Calvin Ellis - meeting with his aides to discuss an alien invasion heading to Earth. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear very few of Ellis’ associates know he is Superman, and he is able to go through his day juggling both his responsibilities as President while also being this earth's Man of Steel. He mentions at one point he had an army of androids made in his likeness that he used to also help maintain his identity until the AI in them went rogue.
The idea that Ellis, as President of the United States and someone with such a high public profile, would be able to have a career as Superman with no one the wiser is amazing, and fans may recognize it as a shout out to the Prime Superman being able to hide behind a pair of glasses. Much like President Superman, the Prime Superman has also used life-like robots to convince people he and Clark Kent are different, although usually with disastrous results. Yet, it always comes back to the fact that most of the time, a pair of glasses and a hat are all it takes for Superman to go unnoticed.
President Superman has been the subject of much fascination since his first appearance in Final Crisis over a decade ago, and now fans are finally getting their first glimpse at him and seeing he shares much in common with the Prime Superman, especially when it comes to concealing his secret identity.
It's safe to say Superman relies on one of the most unconvincing disguises in comics. Amounting to a change of behavior and a pair of glasses (and a hair change, if the artist decides). But the truth of the Man of Steel's disguise has been revealed now that he's gone public with his dual identity. And in Superman: Heroes, it's confirmed that one of Clark's best pals was never fooled at all.
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