LinkExchange FORWARD

with the
By Mark "The Shark" Gillins
The Top 12
Secret Identities
Well, I better introduce myself first. The name's Mark "the Shark" Gillins. Some of you may remember me from that Bob Rozakis interview I did a few months ago. As you may know, "Gillin' With The Homeboys" was originally going to be an interview column, but plans have changed. "Baker's Dozen" has long been on hiatus, and after realizing this I asked for permission to take the reigns of this fantastic column. So here I am! I will be trying, as I have this month, to correspond the subject of the column with the theme of the issue, but that's not always possible, so every once in a while you'll see something that doesn't really have anything to do with the rest of Fanzing. So let's get started with the Top 12 Secret Identities of the DCU…. 
Robin/Tim Drake - Tim Drake is one of the few teenage heroes who can manage to keep his secret from the ever-curious public.  In fact, it's GOOD he's this way, because with two identities he can be quite the lady's man.  While Tim has a civilian girlfriend, Robin's girlfriend is the Spoiler!  Go Robin! 
Nightwing/Dick Grayson - Yes, another Gothamite.  What cracks me up about Dick Grayson is found in a recent issue of The Flash where Wally gets married to Linda.  Dick is the best man, and he's so worried about staying undercover that he's keeps his civilian identity a secret!  So his secret identity has a secret identity.  Confusing?  Just a little! 
Flash/Wally West- Wally's a really neat guy with an awesome wife.  The reason he didn't make the Top 12, however, is because his identity is known to the entire world.  But that's not all - unlike Jade (or many other heroes whose identities are publicly known), Wally's public knowledge of his identity has brought him and his friends a lot of trouble and grief, such as the time Mirror Master attacked Linda, making her go back through time until eventually she would turn into an infant and then disappear (the plan was foiled). 
Green Lantern/Hal Jordan- Hal, prior to becoming Parallax, was so good at keeping his identity secret that when Kyle took over people assumed he was the same guy.  Well, there were a few people who stumbled onto Hal's secret. 
Jesse Quick- If anything, this girl's life is ALWAYS more of a personal life than a super one.  She's managed to take care of her father's business she inherited after he became one with the speed force, and now she keeps it running while literally running alongside the Titans and other speedsters. 
Green Arrow/Connor Hawke- His secret identity is great because he's a monk!  He was raised a monk, and once he became a super hero he was able to establish a new life AND establish a name for himself among heroes.  While this isn't particularly easy to do, it's also convenient.  Now that he's back to being a monk again, he really has no worries about others discovering who he is because the people he's surrounded by have been isolated from the rest of the world for the longest time. 
Bloodwynd- This mysterious, mystic, currently- in-limbo hero has baffled the Justice League ever since he became a member.  He's left them totally clueless as to who his alter-ego is, except during the Death of Superman story, where apparently Blue Beetle realizes Bloodwynd's secret identity but is smashed by Doomsday before he has the chance to utter the name.  D'oh!
The Top Twelve 
12  Max Mercury - Not only does the Zen Guru of Speed have to keep his OWN secret identity under wraps, but he also has to keep Impulse's alter-ego (Bart Allen) a secret as well!  Without Max, Bart would be long revealed to the world.  But this isn't the only thing that makes Max such a cool guy.  Max has lived in several periods of time, and has lived several different lives.  Long ago, when he first gained his super speed, Max used it to almost terminal velocity and sent himself shooting through time to the future.  He's done this many times and has had to regain a lifestyle after each escapade. 
11  Wonder Woman/Queen Hippolyta - This ol' lady is the current Wonder Woman's mother, which is reason enough to be on this list!  If you think about it, how many super-powered characters in the DCU have birth parents that are still alive, have super-powers themselves, and would fill in for their children while they're dead and trying to get out of being a goddess?  Not very many!  While Diana's all back and healthy again, Hippolyta filled in for Wonder Woman for a short time until Diana returned.  She's been a pretty cool mother, having attempted to help give Diana her rightful place among the Amazons then later fighting Neron for Diana's sake. 
10  Flash/Barry Allen - This war-hero has kept his secret from the entire world, having nobody to share his secret with until he decided his wife was trustworthy enough to bear the truth on their wedding night!  Not even his fiancé could tell the Flash was truly Barry Allen, despite her interest in him as a reporter.  And even though Wally West (then Kid Flash) fought alongside Barry, he had no clue who his identity was until Barry revealed it to him!  It's simply amazing to see that Barry was one of few heroes who could actually KEEP his identity a secret while maintaining a somewhat normal life. 
9  Wonder Woman/Diana Prince (pre-Crisis) - Although post-Crisis Wonder Woman is now much different than her former self, who can forget Diana Prince of the pre-Crisis world(s)?  Diana Prince did an excellent job as Wonder Woman.  Even when she lost her powers at some point in the 60's for a couple of years, she showed her determination and devotion to fight for mankind by taking up martial arts (too bad not many people appreciated this change). 
8  Flash/Jay Garrick - While you could walk down the street and recognize this oldie while he's in civilian attire, his life is still a pretty neat one.  The first of the Flashes is in semi-hero- retirement, only coming out of it in emergencies or when replacing Wally while he's out of town.  He lives a perfectly happy life with his wife, and enjoys watching Wally grow up and change from a Kid Flash to more of the Flash. 
7  Green Lantern/Jade Scott - Although her identity isn't that secret at all (some people DO still freak out when they see her green skin), her personal life away from super hero life is pretty interesting.  As a little girl she was an orphan in a place where the janitor took advantage of her peers.  On Christmas Eve one year, the drunken janitor appeared at her bedside, and that's when Jade showed her first signs of superpowers: she managed to shoot something green at the schmuck and none of the girls were bothered by him again.  Now an adult, Jade has gone through a short period of time without any powers at all but proved valuable as a comforter/good friend to Kyle Rayner, the "main" Green Lantern.  Now she is his girlfriend, and because she's missed the super-life so much she has become the first of a new corps of Green Lanterns. 
6  Supergirl/Linda Danvers - At first Supergirl existed with pretty much no secret identity at all, but I guess getting her own on-going title convinced her to fall upon a dying teen aged girl and meld her shape-shifting body with hers to create one body with two different personalities.  Now Supergirl has two different lives, a grown super-woman's and a teenager's.  Her shape-shifting/voice-changing ability keeps her in hiding and allows her to continue living the way she is. 
5  Oracle/Barbara Gordon - Even as Batgirl she baffled everyone -- even her own FATHER, Commissioner Gordon!  Since the Joker got to her, though, she's been bound to a wheel chair in front of several computer screens and one big keyboard.  She operates as a hacker/info source for several heroes and, get this, is a member of the JLA -- while only Batman knows her true identity!  She has a computer-produced image that appears at meetings and on screen whenever she is talking with the JLA, and several safety measures have been taken to ensure that nobody discovers who she is. 
4  Captain Marvel/Billy Batson - Captain Marvel: a super-powered adult.  Billy Batson: a short little kid.  What's that again?  That's right, Marvel and Billy are two different people… sorta.  Billy IS just a kid, but whenever he utters the word "shazam" he turns into the adult Captain Marvel.  Billy acts like a kid, talks like a kid, and even smiles like a kid.  Marvel doesn't.  Marvel's a grown-up.  Weird, huh?  The neat part of it is, Billy has never met his father, and Captain Marvel is supposed to look the same way Billy envisions him to be. 
3  Batman/Bruce Wayne - If you don't realize why Bruce Wayne is even MENTIONED in this article, you seriously need to a) pick up pretty much any Batman comic book or b) watch any Batman movie (other than the poorly-made Batman and Robin).  Batman and Wayne are seriously two completely separate beings.  While they share the same body, mind, etc., their personalities are in no way similar and they think in totally different ways.  While Batman is a dark, brooding, technical detective, Wayne is an economic, somewhat up-beat, suavy, rich lady's man.  Sometimes it seems that Wayne exists merely to pay for Batman's highly expensive toys he uses to fight crime! 
2  Superman/Clark Kent - Of COURSE we had to include Superman!  But what makes Clark Kent so special?  All he does is put a pair of glasses on and combs his hair different than Supes, right?  Wrong!  While the differences between the two egos aren't always properly portrayed on TV and in the movies, Clark Kent is actually quite different from Superman.  Aside from glasses and hair, Clark Kent speaks in not such a deep tone as Supes, he has a different posture, way of walking, facial expressions, personality, mannerisms, and vocabulary.  It's actually quite difficult to keep this kind of thing up, so don't go around saying that the Daily Planet is full of blind idiots! 
1 Martian Manhunter/John Jones, etc. - The thing that makes this guy the number one secret identity is that he isn't the ONLY current secret life that Martian Manhunter lives.  How many heroes can YOU count that have lives in every part of the world?  J'onn has so many identities that his WRITERS don't even know them all!  John Jones is J'onn's main secret identity, which he adopted after years of observing humans in secrecy.  The real Detective John Jones was killed in front of J'onn's eyes, so our good ol' Martian buddy stepped in and is living the rest of the life that Jones didn't get to live while he fights alongside the JLA, keeps the entire Southern Hemisphere secure, and maintains lives in various other parts of our planet.
Runner Ups: 
Plastic Man/Eel O'brien - The trouble here is that Plastic Man really HAS no personal life.  Plas is Eel and Eel is Plas.  If it weren't for his strange personality, however, Plas could pull it off rather well.  We've seen his disguise ability in the "Rock of Ages" storyline in JLA, and he managed to trick the entire Injustice Gang into thinking he was the Joker (hyper personality?  No problem here!). 

Green Lantern/Kyle Rayner - While Kyle DOES have a secret identity, he's not the best at keeping it secret.  Pretty much the entire JLA knows who he is, as well as many other people on the planet.  To tell the truth, I wonder how he keeps his identity secret at all.  There isn't really a difference, it seems, between his regular life and his super-life, except that his regular identity is a regularly unemployed freelance artist. 

Elongated Man/Ralph Dibny- Good ol' Ralph at least is married, so he goes home to a wife and probably lives a somewhat normal life away from super-biz.  However, his identity is publicly known and he's probably not that hard to spot on the street ("Hey!  That guy can walk across the street in one big step!"). 

Impulse/Bart Allen - "Hey, aren't you Impulse?"  "Uh… er.. um… Uncle Max!  Come over here for a second, will ya?"  It's kind of sad when you need your guardian to make sure you don't give your secret away.  But at least there are differences between Bart and Impulse: Bart is extremely popular at school and has a ton of friends, while Impulse isn't that well-known and his only friends include Superboy, Robin, Arrowette, Wonder Girl, and the Secret.

Low on the Totem Pole: 
Aquaman/Arthur- Same problem here as Plastic Man's.  Aquaman is King Arthur and vice versa.  His personal life is ruling the oceans and keeping peace there, which is pretty much his job above ground and with the JLA.  He's had girlfriends and all, but who hasn't?  Once he raises a family and spends more time away from being a grouchy villain-chaser, maybe he'll move up in status. 

Red Tornado- Supposedly this sad hero has no "soul" or personal life anymore.  Unfortunately, just by crying because he has no emotions shows that he has SOME kind of feelings, so he's really just in some kind of big denial about it all.  C'mon, man!  Snap out of it and get back to your wife and daughter. 

Superboy- Blech.  Don't even TRY to get a secret identity, Superboy, because I don't think you'll EVER pull it off!  Either way he's just a hormone-raged teenager looking for hot babes and popularity.

Hourman- He's an android from the future!  He HAS no personal life whatsoever!  Well, I suppose if he really wanted one he COULD go back in time and snag some soulless body and take it over (like Godfreid from Justice League International! he he). 

Zauriel- Do you think you'd be able to pull of a secret identity very well if you had gigantic wings protruding from your back?  I didn't think so.