We know that there are schizophrenic villains who do not know what they are doing. I immediately think of two villains from spiderman: Norman Osborne or Doctor Octopus who just get overwhelmed by their alter egos and turn into villains.

Now, are there any superhero analogies?

I am thinking something like Batman, who has a personal life in day hours and he is Batman at night hours. Batman is completely aware of this. But what if he was doing all this while sleepwalking? When he wakes up the next day he may be surprised about a few new scars, but does not know that the saved the world once more (for the sake of it: please ignore that most of his technology come from being Bruce Wayne with all his money).

I am looking for answers of any universe (marvel, DC, ...) and any source (tv, comic, ...)

  • 1
    A bunch of different examples here; io9.gizmodo.com/5228906/…. Go crazy with the cut/paste and self-answer.
    – Valorum
    Feb 13, 2017 at 10:03
  • 2
    IIRC, Darkhawk was unaware of his superhero identity, at least at first. He thought he was dreaming it until he began to see news stories about this mysterious new vigilante. It wasn't a permanent state though - he did eventually figure out it was real.
    – Steve-O
    Feb 13, 2017 at 14:38
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    Unbreakable may fit the bill, at least for the first part of the movie. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unbreakable_(film)
    – Bookeater
    Feb 13, 2017 at 20:47
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    Note: In the comics, I don't believe Otto Octavius has been shown to be unaware of his villainous identity of Dr. Octopus. Norman Osborne was indeed unaware of his alternate identity as the Green Goblin when sane, in the 1960s and early 1970s.
    – RDFozz
    Aug 7, 2018 at 18:46
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    @RDFozz - A small list, if open-ended, is still a list question. Also, given that OP hasn't specified a source, there's no reason for me not to write a short fanfic and claim that as an answer.
    – Valorum
    Aug 7, 2018 at 19:16

5 Answers 5


Four examples I could think of, off the top of my head:

  1. As noted in the comments, DC has a character named the Thorn. Her alter-ego is Rose Forrest.

    The Thorn is portrayed as either a full-fledged case of dissociative identity disorder, or something akin to that. Originally, when Rose went to sleep, the Thorn identity would take control of her and hunt for criminals. I don't think multiple personality disorder (as it was known at the time) was explicitly referenced, but it was certainly implied.

  2. There have been times when Marvel's Sentry, in his Robert Reynolds identity, has been unaware of his super-hero identity. However, in this case, he was not acting as the Sentry during this time (as the Sentry was too dangerous to exist, but none of those responsible were willing (or able?) to kill him). The processing of making him (and everyone else on Earth) forget his being the Sentry appears to have involved both magic and science (Dr. Strange and Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four were definitely involved).

  3. Roberta Mendez, the Captain America of 2099 shown in the 2015-2017 Spider-Man 2099 run, has no idea she's Captain America. It appears that she underwent some sort of mental conditioning (done by Alchemax, if done) that allows her persona to switch between Roberta and Cap. I believe Captain America has at least some knowledge of her Roberta identity, but I'm not certain. For that matter, as there may be some degree of physical transformation as well (change in height or musculature).

  4. DC's Firestorm had another take on this. Firestorm was formed by the fusion of two characters - Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein. When the nuclear accident that transformed them into Firestorm happened, Stein was unconscious. Thus, when they formed Firestorm, Ronnie basically was Firestorm's personality and basic knowledge base - but, Martin was present in Ronnie's mind, and could communicate with him and advise him (useful - a high school student with average grades wouldn't always make the best choices when transforming matter at an atomic level).

    However, when the two separated, Martin originally had no memory or knowledge of what had transpired; as far as he could tell, he was having blackouts. After this issue came close to destroying his life, Ronnie was able to convince him of what was going on, and he eventually would retain at least some memory of what they did as Firestorm. So, this was a temporary situation - but one that lasted well over a decade, in terms of the character's published adventures.

Interestingly, each of the above examples has a somewhat unique rationale for the separation of identities. I'm sure there are other examples. Some may echo one or more of the explanations above; some may introduce yet other methods to explain the situation.

  • What about the original Johnny Thunder?
    – user14111
    Aug 7, 2018 at 23:22
  • @user14111 - Outside of his very earliest adventures, Johnny was generally aware that the Thunderbolt was around. He wasn't always clear on what made the Thunderbolt show up (and, in some cases, the Thunderbolt wouldn't make his presence known), but Johnny wasn't unaware of the results of what the Thunderbolt did. Johnny generally had issues knowing how his "power" worked, and sometimes how best to use it.
    – RDFozz
    Aug 8, 2018 at 15:07

Captain Underpants. Captain Underpants is a superhero that is hypnotised while being Captain Underpants, and is shown to be out of his own control, and unaware, because when he comes in contact with water, he's back to being a grumpy old principal that is unaware of what he did, and is not afraid of being near the children who caused him to be Captain Underpants.


The Black Bomber was almost DC's first Black superhero but not only did his alter ego not know he was a hero, he didn't know he was black.

He was a racist white man who turned into a black hero under stress a la the Hulk.

Tony Isabella thankfully shut this down. He also said "In each of the two completed Black Bomber scripts, the white bigot risks his own life to save another person whom he can’t see clearly (in one case, a baby in a stroller) and then reacts in racial slur disgust when he discovers that he risked his life to save a black person. He wasn’t aware that he had two identities, but each identity had a girlfriend and the ladies were aware of the change. To add final insult, the Bomber’s costume was little more than a glorified basketball uniform."


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    Interesting - but, of course, unpublished.
    – RDFozz
    Aug 8, 2018 at 14:51

But what if he was doing all this while sleepwalking?

This is pretty similar to the backstory of a superhero appropriately named Sleepwalker.


From Comic Vine:

All that changed when an eerie creature began appearing, first in his dreams... and then later in the real world. Every-time Rick woke up, he saw television footage of a strange creature roaming the streets at night. It was the same creature from his dreams! Now, his life in shambles, Rick is afraid to sleep... afraid he'll release the mysterious being known as Sleepwalker.

  • As best I recall, Rick and Sleepwalker were separate beings; Rick was basically Sleepwalker's portal to Earth, or some such. Plus, rick quickly became aware of Sleepwalker.
    – RDFozz
    Aug 8, 2018 at 14:50

Yes. Several. One that hasn't been mentioned is Carol Danvers who like Darkhawk started out unaware that she was having blackouts in which she fought crime.

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