Comic literature has recurrently harped on masked identities recalling Carl Jung’s famous classification of an individual’s progression through four stages of development. The first stage is known as persona which revolves around the concept of pretending who we are till we encounter the shadow or the darker sides of our personalities till we reach a reconciliation which leads us to a more sharper and insightful perception of our own selves thereby accomplishing the stage of wise old man. However, the metro hero especially hailing from the Golden Age predominantly focuses on two kinds of masks. One is a social facet performing the roles of an ordinary man and the other is a hidden mask of that of a superhero who is talented, endowed with supernatural powers, courageous and selfless. The heroic side is deliberately shrouded with anonymity so that they can avoid being unveiled by their enemies and also in order to live a normal life when they are not fighting crime. This obscurity also helps them to gain information from his friends and surroundings without raising a hue and cry about it.
Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker are few of the famed masquerades of Superman, Batman and Spiderman respectively who have resorted to secret identities for being able to balance both the lives for their advantage. Both the sides of their persona are opposites as well as complementary to one another. The aggressive, courageous and introvert side of their ego is inevitably paired by mild and submissive temperament which help them to façade their heroic personas from public exposure and scrutiny. The constant tug of war between these two alter egos enhances the drama of the comic books and keeps the audience hooked for the hope of discovering the prevailing persona. It is ironical that in the real world we invert this rule of the superheroes and prefer to hide our darker and weaker side while preserving the superior and the tougher side for public representation. We gladly accept this inversion since we realize that the heroes are extraordinary beings and definitely different from us. The comic book art beautifully highlights this transcendental quality in the heroes to inspire and awaken the hidden heroes within us.