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Superman: Secret Identity

(Superman by Kurt Busiek #Secret Identity, #1-4)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  6,862 ratings  ·  371 reviews
What's in a name? Everything, if you share it with the Man of Steel! 

SUPERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY is a 208-page trade paperback collecting the critically lauded 4-issue miniseries written by Kurt Busiek (JLA/AVENGERS, ASTRO CITY) with art by Stuart Immonen (SUPERMAN: END OF THE CENTURY, THOR).

Set in the real world, SECRET IDENTITY examines the life of a young Kansas man wit
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 9th 2013 by DC Comics (first published 2004)
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Average rating 4.25  · 
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 ·  6,862 ratings  ·  371 reviews

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May 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone Who Thinks Superman Is Dumb
Re-read 2015
Ok, so I used to hate Superman, too. Like most of you out there, I thought he was just a boring do-gooder who had too many powers to make him an interesting character.


But over the years, my opinion has changed.
As opinions do...
And when I look back, I think it all started with this book.
It's just a lovely story.


Ok, in order to explain why I think this is a great story, and why I think you should read it, I'm going to talk about things that happen in it. I will try not to spoil detai
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An incredible read!

This was an exceptional book to read. It explores the life of a person who `unfortunately` happened to be named Clark Kent, after the `fictional` and famous Clark "Superman" Kent [Papa and Mama might have been huge Superman fans].

What`s in a name?

yes, seriously? What`s in a name?

In most of the cases the name of a person may not mean anything, but at least in some it can either be a heavy burden to carry or a huge responsibility and shoes to fill.

Kurt Busiek understands e
Wow. Wow, wow, wow! Easily on the BEST graphic novels I've ever read, 10 out of 10 wouldn't be enough, this should be a clear 11 out of 10! The characters, the plot, the prose, the storytelling, the philosophy... each and every component was absolute pitch perfect. I've been on a Superman ride for the last week. I'm a big Batman fan forever (both in comics and screen) and while I always greatly enjoyed Superman on screen from Christopher Reeve's movies to Smallville to Man of Steel, I almost nev ...more
Paz R.M.
Re-read: This is my favorite graphic novel. It still makes me smile and tear up and admire this beautiful tale of a man, an extraordinary man trying to belong in this world.
The artwork is more beautiful than I remembered. Sometimes there's this beautiful line and then you turn the page and there's this gorgeous double page spread that, honest to god, makes me wanna cry. I just adore this book.

Original review:

5 Stars
This may be my favorite superhero book read this year.
Superman: Secret identit
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ronyell by: Mike
Secret Identity

5.5 stars!


Now, I have just recently gotten into the “Superman” comics, starting with Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? and after enjoying that comic, I decided to check out more “Superman” comics! So, I finally managed to stumbled upon a “Superman” comic that my friends have strongly recommended to me and it was called “Superman: Secret Identity,” which was written by Kurt Busiek along with artwork by Stuart Immonen and I have to tell you that this is cl
Sam Quixote
Apr 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What if you grew up in a world like ours where everyone knows who Superman is, from comics, films, toys, etc? And then what if you were also named Clark Kent and lived in a small town in Kansas? It’d be a bit crappy wouldn’t it? Being teased for being so similar but clearly not having such incredible, fantastical powers? And then, what if - one day you got those powers? This is the story of another Clark Kent who becomes a Superman and navigates the choppy waters of being a superhero in a world ...more
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a great change from the typical superhero novel. It begins with a boy who unfortunately shares the name Clark Kent with a superhero comic character. He is bullied and picked on for this reason. However, during his teen years he develops supermans abilities. From here he deals with growing up, life stresses and personal demons, in a story which may not have all the action and explosions and excitement as other superman stories but it does pack a heavy emotional punch. The artwork is amaz ...more
Jesse A
May 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the top 5 Superman books ever. So well done!
Apr 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Superman: Secret Identity

First chapter, as he becomes Superboy, feels a little odd to me. Pleasant and non-threatening, like a stitch out of Andy Griffith (with a little more mayhem). Makes CK seem pretty mild and a little too controlled for a teenager with all these powers and feelings and confusion.

It actually creeped me out - like that feeling you get watching the Talented Mr. Ripley, where you just know there's something sinister under the surface of everything going so smoothly. Honestly,
Randy Lander
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Every time that Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen have worked together, they've done something I've really enjoyed, and Superman: Secret Identity is no exception. It sounds at first like a high concept story, where a weird coincidence sees a small town boy named Clark Kent actually realizing he does have super-powers, but in reading the whole story, it becomes clear that it's as much about the central notion of Superman and the common life cycle we'll all live through as it is about a neat gimmick ...more
James DeSantis
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If I didn't read American Alien earlier this year I would say this is the greatest Superman story of all time. I still enjoyed American Alien a bit more, but this story...goddamn was this a great story. So many good things about it, where the hell do I start?

So the story is about Clark Kent, but not the same one we all know from the comics. In this real world setting this boy, named after Clark Kent from the comics, begins his life as a regular kid. Then his powers form and he learns to use the
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes. This is everything that a Superman miniseries should be. New, inventive, keeping you interested, tweaking the old familiar into something new yet respective of the original. This book breathes more life into Superman than a heck of a lot of the other stuff I've read. When they keep doing origin stories and changing one or two little things, I wonder what the point is? Here, Busiek takes an idea (from Superboy Prime as he full well admits in the intro) and fleshes it out ...more
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dc

Once Upon a Time in Kansas

Such an amazing reading experience, more than anything for Father's Day as themes of family, mortality and legacy give an unexpected heft to the later chapters.

Up, up and away...

This is a big recommendation, if not a must-read, for anyone who liked Superman for All Seasons, Absolute All-Star Superman, and similar material. It may be light on the superheroics, but it more than makes up for it by means of its (super)humanity.

Oct 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Book Info: This collection contains Superman: Secret Identity issues #1-4.

ABSOLUTE RATING: {3/5 stars}



15-year-old Clark Kent is just an ordinary kid from Picketsville, Kansas. Thanks to his parents' "Great Plains sense of humor," Clark gets smothered in Superman paraphernalia every year for his birthday, and puts up with incessant mocking from peers at school. He's an introvert who much prefers spending his time alone jotting down thoughts on an old typewriter
"A story that takes the concept of the secret identity and uses it as a metaphor for our own inner selves, the part of us that most of the world doesn't get to see, that we share with few others across a lifetime." - Kurt Busiek's own description from the forward.

Superman was never a character that really called out to me. For "normal" superhero adventures a neigh-invulnerable man never interested me much. But the potential for more was always there, and when creators really embrace the problem
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've never been much of a fan of Superman, but had to pick up this book for Immonen's art (which is superb as ever - the man is an inspiration for being a wizardly chameleon when in comes to mastering different styles best suited for the tone of various projects). And am ever glad I did!

This is not your ordinary Superman story, but something much more intimate, humane, mundane, touching and relatable. Year after year after reading this I've occasionally found myself reminiscing to the warmth of
'kris Pung
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book was just amazing right up there with Red Son as far as best Superman books I've read. ...more
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've had Secret Identity sitting here for years in one of the stacks on unread graphic novels and collections. I didn't know what it was when I bought it, and I didn't know much about author Kurt Busiek. All I knew was that Stuart Immonen's art was amazing. The cover had caught my eye, so I bought the book. And now, over a decade later, I finally read it.

It is nothing short of brilliant. If you haven't read it, you should. It's about what it might be like to develop superpowers in the real world
Kyle Berk
I love Superman. My personal favorite Superman story is Superman for all seasons.

And this might be a runner up. I’ve read a healthy helping of Superman, and this isn’t an in continuity Superman. And that’s one of the best things about comics, seeing different takes and ideas on beloved characters.

This isn’t the Superman you know, it’s the Superman that you’re only going to find in this story. A Superman written and drawn by only Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen. What I mean here is that this is un
Jedi JC Daquis
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Secret Identity is the most feel-good Superman story I have ever read. It has that uplifting story that could have made Superman: Birthright definitive and a heart that could have made All-Star Superman a timeless classic.

Take note that the one in Secret Identity is technically not the Earth-1 Superman. Clark Kent here is the "average guy"-turned Man of Steel in our very own world, a world where superheroes are just mere comic creations.

Busiek doesn't go into details, he just makes Superman soar
Nov 30, 2015 rated it liked it
What the heck was this all about?

It's superman, but it's not, and i hate these types of stories when batsy does this so how does superman compare?
It's only four issues long but they're quite lengthy and it spans across Kent's life which was a nice touch it was cool to see his entire life story and how his lil family grew. However it tries to pack too much in and the answers you need, never really get answered it's just yeah there was a meteor and the water was meteoried up, just deal with it!
Stewart Tame
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the best things Kurt Busiek has written. Set in the real world, a young boy named Clark Kent endures constant jokes about his name. Until one day, when he discovers that he actually has Superman's powers. The four chapters of the book examine Clark at four different ages, looking at the choices he makes and how he deals with his powers. Busiek brings an emotional weight and a sense of reality to the writing. Clark doesn't feel like a comic book character but a human being. His choices are ...more
Dave Schaafsma
I asked Gian Pagnucci what was the best superhero book he had read last year and he said this one. It's terrific. great concept, great execution from the story to the art, to the tone, the humanity of it, the way we get to know this new Superman, born in Kansas Clark Kent, ha ha, butt of jokes growing up, then discovers he actually HAS the powers,,, but this isn't about saving the world so much as what it would be like to have the powers and how he deals with it emotionally, through the years, t ...more
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
THIS! This is what a Superman: Earth One story should be.
Busiek explores the Superman from his Superboy days all the way to his Super-Pappy days!
My only regret is that this book has yet to be released as a DC Deluxe Hardcover... my trade paperback is getting kinda used up from the multiple re-reads!
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For some reason, Superman has inspired some of the best stand-alone stories and this one is one of the best. Inspired by the Earth-Prime Superboy (who ironically is now one of the DC Universe’s greatest villains), writer Kurt Busiek crafts a tale that takes place in our real world where comic books tell the fictional tale of Superman, and a young boy in small-town Kansas is given the name Clark Kent as a joke. But when he develops powers similar to the famous superhero, he must learn to live wit ...more
Nov 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
I'd heard high praise for this book and was finally able to read it, unfortunately, my expectations were a little too high. It's an excellent book mind you, but I thought it was going to be about Superman, when to me, this is really an Elseworlds book where someone in the "real" world gets Superman's powers. Having read all of Busiek's Astro City, the "feeling" of this book is nothing new: it's the whole perspective of superheroes as if they were real thing, which I love. Did this give a differe ...more
Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Terence by: Saugata Mukherjee
David and Laura Kent are a couple from Kansas with a poor sense of humor. The proof of that poor sense of humor is the fact that they named their son Clark. He's Clark Kent from a small Kansas town and the Superman jokes never end. One night he stopped caring as the impossible happened, he flew. Not in a plane or a hang glider instead he flew into the air in a sleeping bag.
It turns out this Clark Kent is a Superman and he has all of Superman's powers as well. Welcome to the life of a Kansas boy
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dc
One of the best Superman stories I've read. Busiek hits this one out of the park and the art is solid with some excellent moments.

Superman can be hard to write. He is so powerful it can be hard to write him so you can really identify with the character. Busiek writes him here with the story framed in such a way that his goodness and power remains intact while at the same time you identify with many of the fears he has that we often have to deal with as we move through different phases of life.
Jim Ef
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Goodreads. This is why you need goodreads, i didn't knew about this book and only found it from the reviews by some friends( thank you guys ).
A unique Superman story by Kurt Busiek.
This reminds me "Marvels" also by Busiek and it gave me the same feeling. Its one of those books that makes you wanna get to the end fast, but then its over and you are sad ( sad for a good reason ).
So the story is about a boy named Clark Kent (he's parents thought it would be funny name him like that). Cla
May 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Sorry to everyone who loved this, but it just didn't sit well with me, which I kind of knew before I bought it.

I love Superman, but this to me was just another avenue of telling Superman's origin story and I'm so bored of that story whether it's different or not I don't care. Instead I want something that explores what Superman is capable of. I like that he's powerful and I like that he's intelligent. I loved what Morrison did with Allstar Superman and I wish more would follow suit.

This had gr
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Comic books/Graph...: September: Superman: Secret Identity 6 9 Sep 29, 2013 02:53PM  

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Kurt Busiek is an American comic book writer notable for his work on the Marvels limited series, his own title Astro City, and his four-year run on Avengers.

Busiek did not read comics as a youngster, as his parents disapproved of them. He began to read them regularly around the age of 14, when he picked up a copy of Daredevil #120. This was the first part of a continuity-heavy four-part story arc;

Other books in the series

Superman by Kurt Busiek (9 books)
  • Superman: Up, Up, and Away!
  • Superman: Back in Action
  • Superman: Camelot Falls, Vol. 1
  • Superman: Camelot Falls, Vol. 2: The Weight of the World
  • Superman: The Third Kryptonian
  • Superman: Redemption
  • Superman: 3-2-1 Action!
  • Superman: Shadows Linger

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“Maybe I had a "secret identity", but then when you think about it, don't we all? A part of ourselves very few people ever get to see. The part we think of as "me". The part that deals with the big stuff. Makes the real choices. The part everything else is a reflection of.” 28 likes
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