Clark Kent. He’s the quiet, unassuming, and inexplicably muscle-bound reporter for the Daily Planet in Metropolis, USA. He also wears glasses to help conceal his secret identity…
SUPERMAN! Clark Kent is actually Kal-El from the planet Krypton, known to citizens as Superman.
Seeing as Clark Kent’s glasses is the defining piece of Superman’s disguise, it raises the question:
Does Clark Kent wear prescription glasses or are they just for fashion?
Disclaimer: if you have 100 free hours, there are thousands and thousands of theories, canon-and-non that attempt to explain why no one can recognize that Clark Kent is Superman (seeing as the disguise is a dress shirt and frames). There are also hundreds of articles on Clark Kent’s glasses and their backstory (they apparently change the color of his eyes and the lenses are actually glass from the ship that brought him to Earth). This article is ignoring the comics completely (sorry!). They span decades and it takes away from the central question: does it *make sense* for Clark Kent’s glasses to be prescription or non-prescription? That’s what we’re presenting here.
THE CASE FOR PRESCRIPTION GLASSES
If Clark Kent works as a secret identity, it stands to reason that “Clark” needs to appear as authentic as possible. One strong way to accomplish that would be to see doctors in town and become involved in the community in some capacity. Getting blood drawn or x-rays taken would be too dangerous (it could raise flags about “Clark’s” genetics). But, a quick eye exam (like a Snellen Chart) wouldn’t be as invasive and Superman may be able to conceal his Kryptonian identity while being prescribed glasses. Even though, certain highly-certified optometrists would likely find him out anyway during a comprehensive exam. By visiting an eye doctor, Clark Kent would appear more convincing as a person (as opposed to a superpowered alien). The jury is out on whether an eye exam would reveal his ability to shoot heat beams out of his eyes. It’s a decidedly rare attribute.
THE CASE AGAINST PRESCRIPTION GLASSES
Even though Superman wouldn’t need (or even understand) prescription glasses for humans, there would be value in it to preserve a secret identity. But, maybe not enough value. Eye exams are critical for people to get at least once a year. But for Superman, it might take him away from battling the Lex Luthors of the world. Plus, Superman might have picked designer frames for his Clark Kent alias because they look good! While glasses are obviously designed first and foremost to improve vision, they have always been a symbol of fashion and good taste. Clark Kent, as a reporter, can afford to be more style-conscious than Superman (who, to be fair, does manage to pull off the blue-and-red-spandex-and-cape outfit that would doom anyone else). Having Clark appear fashionable could be another way to throw citizens off the trail.
What do you think? Does it make more sense for Clark Kent’s glasses to be prescription or non-prescription? Let us know in the comments!