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John Kent (Earth-2)

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The original All-American elderly farmer, who was the foster father of Clark Kent.

The character went unnamed until his death. It was only on his tombstone in the August 1948 issue of Superman that we saw his name, John, for the first time. In these earliest Superman stories, though, the Kents of what would come to be named Earth 2 played a minor role in comparison with their Earth 1 and post-Crisis counterparts. Indeed, John Kent's early death meant that there was less time to explore his character.

Very little is actually known about this version of the elder Kent, although his look, at least, informs the Glenn Ford interpretation of Jonathan Kent much more so than Jonathan Kent. Ironically the best-known feature of this character, aside from his basic morality, is that he dies after his wife, Mary. This death is what spurs Clark Kent of Earth 2 into using his powers as the costumed Superman.

In Action 132 from May of 1949, Superman travels back in time to 1878. There, he meets his grandfather, Hiram, who introduces Superman to his son, "Silas". Superman assumes this is his future foster father. It's such a brief encounter, there are any number of ways to retcon it into line with other Earth 2 appearances. Maybe Silas is actually John's brother. Maybe Silas is John's middle name. Maybe Superman's actually travelled not just back in time but extra-dimensionally as well. Or maybe, given the characterization of Hiram as an absentminded professor type, along with the ellipses before Hiram says the name ("My name is Hiram Kent! This is my boy . . . Silas!"), Hiram's actually forgotten his boy's name! Who knows, really?

First Appearance: Superman (1939) #1

View a chronological listing of this character's appearances

Issue Appearances:
Action Comics (1938)
Adventure Comics (1938)
Blackest Night: Black Lantern Corps (2010)
Blackest Night: JSA (2010)
Famous 1st Edition (1974)
Secret Origins (1986)
Superman (1939)
Superman (1987)
Superman 3-D (1997)
Superman In The Forties (2005)
The New Adventures of Superboy (1980)

Group Affiliation(s):

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