TNB Night Owl – Worst Superhero Disguises

Harlem Globetrotters with spectator, photo by MatthiasKabel

There are superhero disguises which are dumb, and there are superhero disguises which are catastrophically stupid.

In many early cases, the use of a simple domino mask was used to “hide” the hero’s identity. In some rare cases it could be argued to have worked; The Spirit, for example, was a man who had supposedly been killed, so even if he was positively identified the notion that he was wreaking vengeance from beyond the grave would have made a certain level of comic-book sense.

Then there were Clark Kent’s glasses, which were so poor a disguise that DC comics explained the inability of close friends to recognize him via a retcon (retroactive continuity) that said Superman kept in constant vibrating motion when around cameras or his friends, so as to render his face blurry enough to be indistinct.

As bad as the domino mask or the glasses were, there were worse.

The claim of “second worst” could be made for The Impossibles, a super-hero team created by Hanna-Barbera in the 1960s. They consisted of Coil-Man, who could change his arms and legs into powerful metal springs; Fluid-Man, who could change his body in part or whole into some undetermined fluid and somehow still control his movement; and Multi-Man, who could replicate himself.

To be fair, of the three, only one failed to wear any mask at all. No, their problem came in the choice of their super-team name. Because the secret identity of the Impossibles was… the international rock star group, The Impossibles. Who just happened to be playing in the cities where the crime-fighting trio would defeat their villains.

In a cartoon where basic physics was regularly ignored and rational plots took too much time to write, the least believable thing remained their identities somehow remaining secret.

There’s one superteam which beats them, though. From the same cartoon company a decade later came The Super Globetrotters. This time, it was the Harlem Globetrotters who just happened to change and defeat evildoers. The irrational physics (such as the character who could pull anything from their afro) were just as bad, and the creators even recycled the “Multi-Man” name for one of the characters and changed “Fluid-Man” into “Liquid Man”. This time, rather than the rock stars disappearing from their concert venue, the Harlem Globetrotters left their court and the Super Globetrotters happened to appear.

In case that’s not obvious enough, one of the characters turned into a giant basketball.

In case that’s not enough, the way they typically defeat the villain is by playing a basketball game… usually after the villain’s team was beating the normal Globetrotters in the first part of the cartoon.

And in case THAT’S not enough, the team was often informed of the need for their services in the middle of a basketball game in front of hundreds of fans.

It’s impossible to rank which childrens’ cartoons which were the most astonishingly stupid; there are far too many viable contenders. Worst secret identities, though? It’d be difficult to beat the Super Globetrotters.

Question of the night: If you were to develop one superpower, what would you want it to be?

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.