A superhero’s costume isn’t just a suit of clothes. It’s an identifier, a symbol of what that hero represents, a marker of his or her place in the world. It’s a brand, if you will. But some superheroes have opted to change their brand, adopting not just new costumes, but new names and new personas as well.
Some have done this because of personal growth, deciding that the old name and costume doesn’t suit their current viewpoint on life. Some made the move because of personal tragedy, unwilling or unable to carry on as who they once were. Others have adopted new identities to be able to hide in plain sight and continue their work. And some have changed their names to serve their better angels — or move closer to the dark side. Here are 15 examples of comic book characters who have taken on more than one superhero identity over their careers.
Robin’s introduction in “Detective Comics” #38 (April 1940), was the beginning of a seven-decade run as a popular character. He was created by writer Bill Finger and artist Jerry Robinson. His partnership with Batman lightened the tone of the series, and led to his own headline spot in “Star Spangled Comics” in the 1940s, as well as a long-running solo title in the 1990s. Robin also was a founder and the leader of the Teen Titans. But as the character matured, the Batman/Robin team changed. Dick Grayson went off to college in “Batman” #219 (December 1969) and Robin worked with Batman sporadically in the following years, spending more of his time with the Titans.
In “The New Teen Titans,” writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez further developed Robin’s character, making him more of a leader and less of Batman’s sidekick. This led Grayson to quit the Robin role in “The New Teen Titans” #39 (February 1984). He returned as Nightwing in “Tales of the Teen Titans” #44 (July 1984).