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Some years ago an article appeared in Wizard Magazine, asking/showing how certain comic artists would have done Superman's costume differently. One of them said he'd give Superman gloves because without them anybody could learn his other identity by getting a hold of his fingerprints (or so the artist thought).

As far as I know, nobody has deduced Superman is Clark Kent this way. Does he not have any such incriminating prints or has nobody in-universe thought of this?

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    Clark Kent's fingerprints have little glasses-shaped swirls that defy identification.
    – chepner
    Jul 12, 2023 at 13:44
  • @chepner- And your source for this?
    – Nu'Daq
    Jul 12, 2023 at 23:20
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    @Nu'Daq It's a joke. Superman wears glasses to hide his identity, so his fingerprints must have glasses as well
    – Alarion
    Jul 13, 2023 at 1:56

1 Answer 1

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At least some versions of Superman do have fingerprints

In the Pre-Crisis/Earth-One continuity, Superman observed his own fingerprints on a salt shaker he'd previously handled as Clark Kent. It was suggested in the same scene that he purposefully avoided leaving fingerprints as Clark, at least around Lois Lane, so that if she ever bothered to obtain Superman's fingerprints, she'd have nothing to match them to.

SUPERMAN: Here's the reason I had to rush back! Clark's fingerprints were left on the salt-shaker! That carelessness could cost me my secret identity if Lois found them and compared them with mine! Lois would notice me rubbing the fingerprints off and remember that Clark last used it, so I'll cover up another way...

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #1, page 21.

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #1 (April, 1958)

In the Post-Crisis/New Earth continuity, Superman snuck into Metropolis Police Headquarters to remove his fingerprints from a piece of evidence he'd touched, and noted that he had to remember to vibrate his fingers when touching things, so as not to leave fingerprints in future.

SUPERMAN: Have to remember to vibrate my fingers from now on when I touch something. Can't leave fingerprints.

Man and Superman 100-Page Super Spectacular #1, page 23.

Man and Superman 100-Page Super Spectacular #1 (April, 2019)

In 2003, the Superman comics editor at the time, Eddie Berganza, was asked whether Superman has fingerprints, and answered in the positive, but added that he's "perfected the ability" of not leaving any behind as Superman. He presumably would've been referring to the New Earth Superman, who was the current version at the time.

Dan Kitlak ([email protected]) asks:
I've been a Superman fan all my life, though I am only 17. A question has been stuck in my head for a while. I know that physically Superman "looks" human but genetically he is nothing like a human, but does Superman have fingerprints?
Eddie: Yes, although he's perfected the ability to not leave any as Superman.

"Ask Eddie" Fan Forum Archives

In the DCEU, Lex Luthor obtained the corpse of General Zod, then used a kryptonite-tipped scalpel to slice off his fingerprints so that he could use them to gain access to the Kryptonian scout ship.

Image of General Zod's fingerprints being sliced off, from "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" (2016).

Image of Lex Luthor wearing General Zod's fingerprints, from "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" (2016).

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)


As regards the question of why no one has deduced Superman's secret identity by matching his fingerprints to Clark Kent's, some of the evidence cited above indicates that Superman tries not to leave fingerprints on things he touches.

Aside from that, there are a few other things to consider.

Firstly, since Superman doesn't wear a mask when in costume, it isn't as obvious to most people on DC Earth that he actually has a secret identity, as it is in the case of masked heroes such as Batman and the Flash. Batman himself has noted this.

BATMAN: By going maskless as Superman, you divert most people from thinking you might spend part of your time as someone else. After all, it's not likely you'd wear a mask in civilian life.

Adventures of Superman Vol. 1 #440, page 10.

Adventures of Superman Vol. 1 #440 (May, 1988)

Secondly, even if you obtained Superman's fingerprints and compared them against a fingerprint database, you'd be unlikely to find a record of Clark Kent's fingerprints on existing databases, since he doesn't have a criminal record.

In the same issue cited just above, Batman deduced that Superman was Clark Kent by examining a scrapbook filled with news clippings of Superman's exploits. The book was put together by Martha Kent, but neither Batman nor Superman knew that at the time, and Batman failed to match the fingerprints he found all over the book to Martha, because they didn't belong to anyone with a criminal record.

BATMAN: This scrapbook you asked me to examine is a veritable treasure trove of information. Whoever owned it certainly wasn't trying to hide anything.

SUPERMAN: I sense a "but" in this...

BATMAN: Perceptive. Yes, there's all kinds of information to be obtained from the paper stock, the make of the scrapbook, dust particles, things like that. I could tell you everywhere it's been since it was bought. Plus there are fingerprints all over it. Unfortunately, none of them belong to anyone with a criminal record. At least none I could find.

Adventures of Superman Vol. 1 #440 (May, 1988)

Thirdly, the New Earth version of Lex Luthor was disinclined to believe that Superman had a secret identity, because it seemed wholly implausible to him that someone with Superman's abilities would wish to pose as a powerless human. So convinced of this was he that he refused to accept that Superman was Clark Kent even when he was directly told this by a computer which had analysed all known data on Superman and Clark.

LEX LUTHOR: I know that no man with the power of Superman would ever pretend to be a mere human! Such power is to be constantly exploited. Such power is to be used!!

Superman Vol. 2 #2, page 21.

Superman Vol. 2 #2, page 22.

Superman Vol. 2 #2 (February, 1987)

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  • It looks to me like the issue was not that he doesn't have fingerprint but the fact he didn't want to take the chance of leaving any behind.
    – Clockwork
    Jul 12, 2023 at 5:20
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    As for matching Superman's and Clark Kent's fingerprint: I remember an old (pre-crisis) story where Clark, when ordered to give his fingerprints, presses the ink all the way through the paper so that his prints appear mirror-imaged on the other side, hence not a match with Superman. Jul 12, 2023 at 14:23
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    Just because Clark isn't a criminal doesn't mean he wouldn't be printed. Jul 13, 2023 at 1:35
  • @Xavon_Wrentaile - It doesn't guarantee that he wouldn't be printed, but the quote I posted from Batman indicated that he couldn't match Martha Kent's prints due to her not having a criminal record. This suggests that if you don't have a criminal record, you wouldn't normally be found on any of the fingerprint databases that someone like Batman has access to, and that there'd have to be some special circumstance to explain why Clark Kent specifically would have his fingerprints on record when most people without a criminal record don't. Jul 13, 2023 at 1:55
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    @Xavon_Wrentaile Alas I can upvote logicdictates only once. I recall during my childhood in the milk cartoon kidnapping 1980s that we were fingerprinted in elementary school just in case. So I'm extra careful despite having no criminal record - I assume the record from my childhood still exists. I agree Clark is unlikely to be in a database to compare Superman to. Jul 13, 2023 at 3:44

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