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  1. Decades of comics, movies, and radio and TV shows have persuaded us that if Lois Lane could ever catch Clark Kent without his glasses the jig would be up, his true identity as Superman would be revealed. The spectacles must be magic or something. However, I’ve been reading an omnibus of Forties Superman stories. In the August 1942 tale “Muscles for Sale” the unthinkable happens. As part of investigating a crime spree, Kent joins a gymnasium and has a boxing lesson with the brawny proprietor. He’s sans suit and glasses, boxing trunks only. Lois is surprised at how buff he is but still doesn’t recognize the hero she has the hots for even when he’s standing two yards away. As Kent easily dodges the instructor’s blows, she sniffs at what a chicken he is and walks away. Wait, it gets better. The crooks, believing they have their latest customer hypnotized, dress Kent in a Superman costume and send him to help rob a fancy dress ball Lois Lane is covering. Lane doesn’t gasp that Superman has turned to crime; she wonders why her co- worker is in costume and with the bad guys. It isn’t until Kent falls (apparently to his death) out a window then returns through the same window as his alter ego (still wearing the substitute costume) that she identifies him as Superman. And she buys the explanation that Clark was made-up to look like Superman and was rescued by the real thing seconds before Superman bounded in to save the day. It isn’t just Lois. None of the other characters in the story, having met Clark Kent, Kent in costume, and Superman scratch their heads and say, “Hey, wait a minute!” Yeah, yeah. Comic book logic. But still, really?
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