Whether you are an avid comic book reader or not, many people know the general mythos of Superman: Superman, aka Kal-El (birth name), aka Clark Kent (adoptive name), is an alien being sent to our earth to either protect or rule over mankind.
We know that he was raised by the loving Kent family on their small farm on the outskirts of a small village called Smallville and that he has a somewhat complicated relationship with news reporter, Louis Lane.
As well as all this, there is often one other thing that most general fans know to be true of Superman. When Clark Kent wears his glasses, nobody recognizes him to be the World Famous Super Hero.
But why can’t people tell that Superman is just Clark Kent without his glasses?
Well… it’s kind of complicated. As many people will tell you, Clark Kent’s most notable disguise is his glasses. But do they serve another purpose?
Well, yes actually they do.
You see, in the early days of the comic’s run, Superman’s glasses were made of Kryptonian materials, which enabled him to still use his heat-vision powers without melting his regular (human) glasses.It was also noted in earlier issues that Superman’s eyes have a hypnotic effect on those around him, giving Superman a natural ability to hypnotize people and put them at ease when they look into his eyes.
His Kryptonian-made glasses heightened this ability and thus make Clark Kent look more docile and harmless to those around him.
In fact, ironically, in one story arc. Superman did actually once use his hypnosis to hypnotize people into not being hypnotized again. This, of course, was a huge problem for him, as when he donned his disguise once more everyone simply saw Superman in glasses and not Clark Kent at all!
So why do the people of Metropolis not realize that Clark Kent is Superman? After all, it seems so obvious to us, readers/viewers.
I believe this answer lies purely with us (the audience) knowing more than the average civilian living in that world of the DC universe.
Let me explain: We, the audience, know that Clark Kent is Superman. But more than that, we also know that Superman has a secret identity. He isn’t just Superman all the time. The people of Metropolis (and the world within that universe) don’t know this. Putting the two things together and connecting the dots is never really a puzzle needing to be solved.To the people living their lives within that universe, this is a world where superheroes exist. Many of those heroes wear masks to hide who they are. However, Superman does not. Superman is on display for the world to see! And so, to the citizens of that world, at least Superman is a godlike being who has no reason to hide and pretend to be anything less than he is.
This lack of a mask massively aids Superman and his ability to exist among the people. Without a mask and without a secret, he comes off as being more trustworthy to those around him. His face is on show with nothing to hide.
If Superman can’t wear a mask, then Clark Kent must!
So are the people of Metropolis stupid for not realizing this? Remember, it’s not JUST THE GLASSES! Clark Kent is SO different from Superman: He slouches, he wears ill-fitted clothing, and he talks with little to no authority to those around him.