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Top 11 Times Superman's Secret Identity Was Exposed In Comic Book History

Find out all the greatest comics where Superman's secret identity as Clark Kent was exposed. Recently news broke that this December and January next year his secret will be exposed. In Lois Lane #7 and Superman #18 the world will find out that Clark Kent is really Superman.

Series writer Brian Michael Bendis defends the reveal. "I don't do fake-out stories," Bendis told the New York Times. " I did a story where Daredevil was outed — a different kind of outing — but that was his reality for 15 years" and that Bendis will bring Superman closer to being “the best version of himself.

"Everybody who's ever been in contact with him is going to have a completely different perspective and reaction to this… Some heroes are going to be thrilled, some heroes are going to be livid, some villains are going to change their ways."

Superman's secret identity has always been a cornerstone of the character and the idea that the world will know the truth is shocking. But Superman's given away his double-life as a superhero many times. Lots of people know the truth from Batman to Lana Lang. Most of the time things go back to normal and the secret gets hidden again, but sometimes not.

Here are the craziest, shocking and most emotional times Superman revealed his most cherished secret: that Clark Kent is really the Man of Steel.

11. Action Comics #662 (1991)

By Roger Stern & Bob McLeod

After John Byrne rebooted Superman in 1986 Lois Lane and Clark Kent start dating. They fall in love and are engaged. He's planning to tell her the truth before he's kidnapped by his supernatural foes Blaze and Silver Banshee. They almost kill him.

When he comes back to her he decides to tell her the truth. This causes some problems for them since it’s terrifying whenever Superman gets in trouble. But they work it out.

The two married and this is still true today.  After the 2011 relaunch known as "New 52" the couple returned to the current continuity along with their son Jon Lane Kent.

10. Action Comics #305 (1963)

By Jerry Siegel & Paul Cassidy

There are three imaginary stories that show what would happen if Superman revealed his secret identity.  In the first, at the urging of his adopted parents, Superboy reveals his identity to the world. After Superboy has a gang arrested the ringleader tracks down his parents and shoots them.

A second imaginary story tells of Superman's first day in Metropolis without his secret identity. He's overwhelmed by fans. They pester him for pictures and ask him to save their pets. Lex Luthor uses Kryptonite shells to weaken Superman so he can pull off a jewel heist. The governor tells him he's a fool for revealing his identity. The only place he can live is in the fortress of solitude paying chess with his robot duplicates.

The third imaginary story tells what would happen if Jimmy Olsen figured out Superman's secret identity is someone who works at the Daily Planet. Gangsters figure out where he changes into his costume and install a two-way mirror. Then they use Gold Kryptonite to permanently take away his powers. In the end, he says "no one in the world" could keep a secret like that!

All three stories are fun and make a good case for keeping his secret identity from villains. But it's not real.

9. Action Comics #269 (1960)

By Jerry Siegel & Curt Swan

Superman saves a truck with faulty brakes from hitting a train. The train car has an old mirror from Merlin that reveals "the truth about people". It reveals that an escaped convict is pretending through a fake charity. Then it reveals a friend of hers who won a beauty contest wears a wig.

After that, it reveals Perry White is a gruff guy but "has a heart of gold". A literal glowing one beating him his chest for effect. Finally, the mirror reveals that a boy who asks for water is really an evil little person (the comic offensively calls him a "midget") in disguise.

Lois tricks Superman into standing in front of the mirror and it reveals that Clark Kent is Superman. He races to a train and takes bomb hidden in a man's watch and lets it explode in his mouth. To throw Lois of the scent he disguises some of his robots as Superman and Lois Lane. Then he swaps the mirror for glass and has them stand behind it. It's an incredibly complicated plan but it tricks her into thinking she's wrong again.

This is a good example of the 1960s obsession with showing Lois as nothing but an annoyance to Superman. The whole thing is silly but fun.

8. Action Comics #457 (1976)

By Gerry Conway & Curt Swan

Clark Kent's old friend Pete has a son named Jonathon that's dying. Jon has one last wish. He wants to know Superman's secret identity. While the boy is sick in reality he could recover. But he's lost the will to live. Pete hopes he can save Jon if he knows the truth.

Clark goes to Jon and tells him he's really Superman but the boy doesn't believe it. He insists Clark is lying even when he takes off his disguise and flies him to Galaxy Broadcasting Building to prove that people there wouldn't think he's Superman. An anchor named Steve Lombard thinks it's a practical joke and reveals his Superman costume to everyone.

Meanwhile the villain Whirlicane is robbing a plane and Superman takes Jon along to stop him. He easily defeats the crooks while keeping Jon safe. Finally, in a last desperate attempt, Superman takes Jon to Clark Kent's apartment where he's finally convinced.  Turns out Superman doesn't use toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, shaving cream or any other toiletries. I'm not sure if this means Superman has super-bad breath or Kryptonians never have tooth decay

Thanks to the revelation Jon's pulls through but he swears to keep the secret even from his dad. There are a handful of people that know Superman's secret identity and this is probably the most heart-warming.

7. Action Comics #484 (1978)

By Cary Bates & Curt Swan

In an alternate reality of Earth known as "Earth-2" Superman foils the plans of a crime boss named Colonel Future who vows revenge. When Clark gets back to the "Daily Star", the alternate reality of the Daily Planet he uses a utility closet to change back to Clark. Turns out Lois noticed Clark's love of spending time in the closet. She set up a hidden camera to record his goings-on. But someone erased the film using x-rays. Who could it be? Superman. Or at least that's what crack reporter Lois Lane suspects.

Meanwhile Colonel Future and his "C-F" gang hire a down-on-his-luck magician known as The Wizard. Wizard says his "magic" is just science mankind doesn't understand but agrees to "eliminate" Superman.

Clark and Lois are walking down the street when he violently shoved her down. Turns out he heard the incoming blast from the C-F gang's guns and pushed her out of the way. He changes into Superman and fights the gang. Suddenly he's pulled from the fight into a symbol that the Wizard has drawn. When he comes out he's Clark Kent and has no memory of his alter-ego. But he still has his powers.

Without his Superman persona, he's become a fierce and intrepid reporter fighting for truth, justice, and the American way. But Superman has disappeared. After several months of dating, Clark proposes to Lois and the two get married.

But Lois realizes something is wrong when Colonel Future's gang shoots Clark and it doesn't hurt him. She confirms her suspicions by trying to cut his hair while he sleeps. Lois tracks down the Wizard and convinces him to reverse the "spell" and bring back Superman.

Superman isn't grateful though and unceremoniously smacks Wizard unconscious and sends him to jail. Then he heads home to discover Lois is packing her bags. She figures now that he has his memory back he won't want to stay married. But Superman is a man of his word and renews his proposal to her. She accepts and they have a Kryptonian wedding in the Fortress of Solitude.

While this didn't affect the main continuity it had a huge impact later on. After he was brought into the prime continuity he was renamed Kal-L and helped the prime Superman on various adventures. That is until Lois died and he turned into a psychopath. This is one of the more impactful reveals in Superman's history and has long-reaching consequences.

6. Action Comics #345 (1967)

By Leo Dorfman & Al Plastino

The story starts out with Perry White watching the long-running popular hidden-camera show Candid Camera. The show has a goofy practical joke of tricking a man into thinking the guy in the gorilla cage is a gorilla. White says he'd never fall for one of "those Candid Camera gags". With suspiciously accurate timing he gets a phone call that there's been a hold-up at the Daily Planet. The editor races to the scene to see the building was being lifted up by Superman. Just then, "Smile!" he turns to see Allen Funt. Yes, Superman doesn't have anything better to do than help a nationally televised show prank his boss.

Funt and his team plan to switch the gag and prank Clark Kent in a live show. The Candid Camera host calls White to tell him to cover the event at the fair. The "Gay Nineties Exhibit". Not that there's anything wrong with that. Meanwhile, the comic shows a bunch of random Candid Camera pranks like a car flying at a gas station and a snow sculpture coming to life.

Back at the fair Clark Kent has a laugh watching kids play with Batman and Superman toys. Turns out the cameras are following him around the fair watching reenactments of famous fights and mobsters eating dinner. Just then the actors from the exhibit try to hold the team up for the museum exhibits. The plan is for Clark to go into a phone booth to call the Daily Planet about the story. When they open the door it's Kent changing into Superman! Lois thinks she was proven right. Jimmy Olsen thinks Kent's identity is ruined. The Candid Camera host apologizes for outing Superman, but Clark says, "what makes you think I'm Superman?" Then he reveals he's wearing Batman's pants under his clothes.

Clark said he figured out he was on the show because of the miniature television set in his pocket and was listening. Turns out Superman had punk'd Candid Camera. In reality, Superman picked up Allen Funt blabbing to the audience with his super hearing, bored through the floor, flew to Jimmy Olsen's apartment. Then Superman borrowed some clothing and came back in time to be there when the door opened. Or he could have just let them open the door and see him as Clark Kent on the phone. Welcome to 1960s coming books folks.

This is the first time that Superman's identity would get national attention, but it's not the last.

5. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #132 (1970)

By Leo Dorfman & Murphy Anderson

Jimmy Olsen is investigating a series of robberies by the "Mod Mob" when he gets captured. Of course. They stomp on his watch to stop him from calling Superman. Then the crooks take him up in an airplane and threaten to throw him out if he doesn't talk. Then, if certain death isn't enough motivation, promise him $50,000. Jimmy says it's Perry White the Daily Planet editor-in-chief.

The crooks box up some synthetic Kryptonite they have on hand for special occasions. They disguise themselves as a delivery service and go to the Daily Planet. White gets the gag and punches the guy but Superman is paralyzed by the Kryptonite and can't save them. The Mod Mob discover Clark on the ground and, for some reason, open his shirt to reveal he's Superman. The story takes a biblical slant when the criminals give Jimmy the money and compare him to Judas Iscariot who betrayed Christ.

The intrepid criminals hack the TV networks and broadcast a live reveal that Clark Kent is Superman and the "Secret Syndicate" leaders are trying to figure out what to do with him. They add his friend sold him out for 50 grand. Superman's fan club searches the mountains for a log cabin that the gang is holding the Man of Steel in. The fan club camp out and Jimmy has a nightmare that Superman is accusing him. Then he freaks out over a statue while holding a handkerchief with the fifty thousand in cash. Jimmy never was big on banks. There's a handy arrow pointing to the money.

The club sees the money and freaks out throwing him "thirty pieces of silver" coins. Back to the Bible reference. Suddenly Jimmy gets an idea from one of the quarters. He heads to the CIA and tells them to check the replica of Fort Washington at the abandoned fair.

Jimmy launches himself from a cannon to surprise the Mod Mob with smoke grenades. He uses the CIA's "master key" to take off the Kryptonite handcuffs and frees Superman. This was back when an intelligence agency could have a key that unlocks private citizen’s security stuff. No big deal.

The crooks say they outed Superman but wait! Turns out Superman figured out their plans and substituted a Superman robot decoy in his place. But wait! Turns out they really had captured Superman and he did a quick change with his robot hidden in the smoke. Superman explains the whole thing to the Superman fan Club and all is forgiven. Thankfully, unlike Judas, he didn't kill himself. But Superman was willing to take that chance.

4. Superman #20 (1943)

By Jerry Siegel & John Sikela

Cark comes into the office and people start calling him Superman. It turns Lois ran an article with the title "Clark Kent Really Superman" as a joke. She intended it as a harmless prank by running off a few copies of the paper. But unfortunately the pressman has to go to the hospital and they inadvertently run several hundred thousand copies of the paper. It gets picked up by other papers and the radio and the world knows Clark Kent is Superman.

Kent gets pestered by kids kicking him and asking him to jump out windows. Perry White is furious and says Lois ruined the reputation of the paper. Clark wants to save Lois' job. So he suggests playing it out as a hoax like Edgar Allen Poe's New York City Balloon prank of 1844.

They decide to do it and tell Clark to pretend to be Superman. He says he feels silly in the costume and Lois says there's a "vague resemblance". Superman and Perry go out on a ledge and trick a reporter but Clark pretends to fall out a window. The two go out the Daily Planet and someone tries to shoot Clark. After that, he decides to move to a new apartment.

Perry is anxious to milk the story and sets up a fake bank robbery. But Superman realizes real crooks have come into the bank and are having a real holdup. Clark jumps through the skylight and the Ironjaw and his gang move the couch he was supposed to land on. They assume the fall killed Clark only to have Superman take them down. Everyone is easily fooled into thinking the real Superman would be foiling a bank robbery at the exact moment Clark is pretending to be Superman. Clark pretends he was hiding and comes out. But in a final twist in the story, Ironjaw shoots Clark who's pretending he's pretending to be Superman. It's complicated.

Anyway, Clark says he was wearing a bulletproof vest and survived the shootout. Daily Planet runs a headline that the whole thing was a hoax and everything goes back to normal.

3. Adventure Comics #235 (1957)

By Otto Binder & John Sikela

The comic starts with Superboy helping the government make "Gas Z". Clark Kent goes back to his class at Smallville High. The teacher asks them to make up a story called "Why I'm Proud That Superboy lives in Smallville". His friend Lana Lang goes up first and says how amazing he is. This embarrasses Clark and he asks the teacher to excuse him from the assignment. When she asks why he admits it's because he is superboy. The class laughs at him. So he does a number of feats to prove he's the boy of steel like writing at superspeed and using his x-ray vision to read the upcoming exam questions in the teacher's desk.

When a nearby fire alarm goes off Clark flies off to help without wearing his costume. Despite surviving the fire unharmed people still don't believe Clark Kent is Superman. Probably because of the glasses. Anyway, he finally asked his parents to back him up. His mom shows diaries and scrapbooks from her time raising the super-powered baby. Martha breaks down in tears that he revealed his secret without talking to them. Clark says its worth it and goes outside to talk to his friend Lana. Saying he doesn't need his clothes anymore he burns them. I'm assuming this means he's going to get more suits or start washing his costume every day. Otherwise...ew.

Lana too breaks down in tears since she says she's "lost" her friend Clark. Soon a crowd flocks to the Kent home asking for autographs. he adds loss of privacy to his mental list of bad things that happen when he reveals his identity. Crooks decide knowing where Superboy is giving them an advantage. When bank robbers threaten to blow up the innocent bystanders he flies away and thinks he could have snuck back in as Superboy.

So he borrows through the ground at super-speed to follow the getaway car and catches them. Superboy adds it to his list.
So he goes back to class and delivers his talk on Superboy. Turns out Gas X wipes memories from the last hour. The entire town breathed in the gas and forgot he was Superboy. It also meant that everyone forgot what happened in the last hour. Hopefully, no one was doing anything time-sensitive or important. Like emergency surgery or banking. Not even his parents remember Clark revealed his secret so all's well that ends well.

While there are bigger reveals this is the most ingenious and bizarre way of resolving the issue.

2. Action Comics #313 (1964)

By George Klein & Al Plastino

Superman comes back from patrol. He's tired because he's been covering for Linda Dee Danvers aka Supergirl, who's supposed to be away "on another planet". He's changing in a closet of the Daily Planet when Supergirl comes in and exposes Clark Kent's secret to Perry White. White promises his secret is safe with him. Superman is shocked by the betrayal and privately demands to know why. Danvers can only say she "blacked out" and can't explain it.

He flies off and finds batman sitting in an armored car guarding it. Superman steps in to help and Batman exposes him to Lois Lane by showing the Clark Kent disguise hidden in his cape. I always find that idea ludicrous. There's no way a cape could hide clothes. But Flash can hide his suit in a ring so there you go. Anyway, Superman is shocked again, but Batman says it was an "uncontrollable impulse". Lois promises to keep the secret and Superman gets choked up again how loyal his friends are.

There's a gang of pirates using a submarine to hijack ships. Perry sends Jimmy Olsen and Clark to investigate. To throw Jimmy off the trail he builds a snowman to replace him. Then he flies off, ambushes the crooks and hands them over to the Coast Guard. As he returns to Jimmy he sees his old mermaid friend Lori off-shore. Suddenly she slashes him with a knife. Not only is the knife bent but it exposes Superman's costume. Again, Clark can't believe his old sweetheart would betray him but she can't explain it. Jimmy promises to keep the secret and this chokes Clark up again.

The next day Superman calls Perry, Jimmy, and Lois to an isolated lab with a "brain-washing machine" that erases memories. But it doesn't work and everyone still remembers. Meanwhile, a spaceship with members of the Superman Revenge Squad reveals they created androids of all of them and make them demand ridiculous things to blackmail Superman. Things like being "king of Booronia" and abandoning Lana Lang on a deserted planet.

He accidentally knocks a bottle of tear gas on the floor and he sucks it up to save them. Next, he grabs them and throws Perry, Jimmy, and Lois into the sea. When the shocked Revenge Squad collects them from the sea Superman uses his super-ventriloquism to say he knew they were androids because they didn't act human. Using his x-ray vision he finds his real friends and has Batman wake them when he's back as Clark Kent. In the end, he apologizes for thinking his friends would every violate his trust and alls well.

This story isn't as expansive as the others but makes a great point about how his friends would react if they learned his true secret.

1. Superman #43 (2015)

By Gene Luen Yang & John Romita Jr.

Superman faces a new supervillain named HORDR (get it, hoarder?) who collects data. He attacks HORDR's compound and it's revealed that the villain has photos and video of Clark Kent changing into Superman. Lois and Jimmy already know and help him escape. Later the data villain blackmails Superman by threatening to reveal his secret. The Man of Steel feels obligated to help him to protect his friends. He agrees to release all his energy into a Super-Flare that will power up HORDR's robots. Lois tags along.

Just when Superman is ready to release his energy Lois sends the photos of Kent changing to the world. Thanks to the Internet the whole world now knows Kent is Superman. She tells him "they don't have anything on you anymore". He breaks free but is furious with her for exposing him. Unlike other times things don't go back to normal. He doesn't talk his way out of it. The world knows Clark Kent is Superman and things get a lot harder for him.

That is until he sacrifices his life from Kryptonite radiation poisoning the next year. Then he truly died and another alternate universe version of Superman took over. Until he came back in 2018 after surviving in a pocket universe. DC comics are wacky.

Superman's biggest secret has been given away many times and the secret has been restored many times. We'll see what Bendis has planned and if DC will let it stick.

What do you think about Superman Revealing his secret identity? Which is your favorite reveal in the comics? Let us know in the comments below!

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