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Author Topic: Is it common knowledge that Clark Kent is an orphan?  (Read 6061 times)
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JulianPerez
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« on: August 22, 2006, 11:17:01 AM »

I can recall a few early sixties Superboy stories, notably SUPERBOY #78 (1960) "Super-Sister" where Clark Kent gives the excuse that "he's visiting relatives from out of town." This excuse would certainly raise a few eyebrows if it was common knowledge that Clark Kent was an orphan that was adopted.

Is it known that Clark Kent is an orphan at the Daily Planet offices? Some of the "Clark Kent" backup stories seem to imply this; he's so dismissable and ignorable that it's very likely that nobody really knows (or cares to know) much about his private life.
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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2006, 12:01:22 PM »

I've wondered that myself; surely Jimmy, Perry and Lois know, and it would probably have been common knowledge in a closed community like Smallville that the Kent boy was a foundling, so Lana presumably knows. The FBI know, because wasn't there some story where Clark was suspected of spying, but it turns out that the FBI agent who is assigned to his case was also fostered by the Kents and therefore knew he couldn't be a bad guy?

Nevertheless, his friends do sometimes seem a bit insensitive to this, as when they hold a surprise birthday party for him - as a foundling, he is unlikely to know when his birthday is, and it might be a sore point. They also seem unfazed by his ability to conjure up cousins and the like, but I suppose they might think he actually means relatives of his adopted parents rather than actual blood relatives.

In the Byrne revamp, the Kents actually just pretend Martha gave birth to him while they were cut off because of a snowstorm. That actually made sense, because it certainly got rid of a lot of questions easily enough. Then Byrne spoiled it all by coming up with that silly "Clark and Superman grew up as brothers" cover story.

Idea for Silver Age story: Lois tries to encourage Clark to track down his birth parents because she thinks it would make a good feature story. Perry concurs: "Get cracking, Kent!" Lois suspects that Clark's reluctance to track down his real parents may be due to the fact that he is in fact Superman. Clark gets out of the dilemma by getting Batman to disguise himself as a drunken, wife-beating cuss who he claims is his father. "Actually, I tracked him down years ago," he explains to Lois, "But you can probably see why I am so reluctant to acknowledge him as my own father." Cue Lois slapping her forehead and cursing herself for thinking that Milksop Kent could actually be Superman.
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TELLE
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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2006, 12:23:11 PM »

While not known as a foundling per se, O'm pretty sure Clark's status as orphan comes up in stories about orphans, charity drives, and Smallville/Midvale orphanage reunions.
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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2006, 01:55:57 AM »

Yes, it was not really a secret that Clark was an orphan, but it wasn't really something he brought up a lot.  Maggin noted in the MIRACLE MONDAY novel that those who did know tended to quickly forget since Clark took after Jonathan Kent so much. Luthor was hurt to realize that his own, biological parents loved him less than Clark's adoptive parents loved Clark.

"Visiting relatives" was not a problem, since Jonathan Kent did have many living relatives who turned up in Superboy stories, most notably his wealthy brother, Kendall Kent.

Clark celebrated the day the rocket landed on Earth as his birthday, or "Earthday":

http://www.geocities.com/the_time_trust_2000/calendar.htm

One thing that seemed strange to me was that Clark Kent and Linda Danvers sometimes introduced themselves as cousins too. Anyone who wanted to do the least little bit of research could have quickly found out that both were adopted... that the Kent and Danvers families were not related... that Clark was often accused of being Superman, and Linda was often accused of being his COUSIN, Supergirl... hmm, seems like they got a bit sloppy protecting the secret identities there. But I like the idea of Clark and Linda being cousins, so I just try to overlook that.

The birthday topic was discussed here:

http://superman.nu/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=729&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

By the way, in one of the very last pre-Byrne issues of ACTION COMICS, Superman is briefly tricked into thinking that the spirits of Jor-El and Lara somehow survived the destruction of Krypton, and he uses the Fortress technology to create cloned bodies for them. They decide to use secret identities of their own on Earth while Superman trains them to use their powers properly, and Clark then visits the Daily Planet with them in their Earth guises, introducing the couple as Clark's recently-rediscovered biological parents! The whole thing of course turns out to be a cruel hoax on Superman, but since the Earth-One continuity was wiped out after this story, we never learned how Clark explained the situation to his friends afterwards.
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Johnny Nevada
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2006, 04:34:02 AM »

>>In the Byrne revamp, the Kents actually just pretend Martha gave birth to him while they were cut off because of a snowstorm. That actually made sense, because it certainly got rid of a lot of questions easily enough. Then Byrne spoiled it all by coming up with that silly "Clark and Superman grew up as brothers" cover story.


I thought this bit was pretty dumb, and just convolutes the simpler they-adopted-him bit---for starters, the snowstorm in question was supposedly five months long, with the Kents supposedly having been cut off from all outside contact during the time (uh-huh... apparently the Kents and/or Smallville's county doesn't have snowplows or telephone lines/radio/TV...). And passing him off as their naturally-born kid doesn't jibe much with me either (with the months-long snowstorm/Clark not looking like a newborn after that length of time). All in all, what's wrong with being adopted?
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Genis Vell
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« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2006, 08:32:15 AM »

Clark is a very private man, so I think that he talked about this only with his friends (especially Lana, who knew the Kents).
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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2006, 08:49:15 AM »

Quote from: "Johnny Nevada"
I thought this bit was pretty dumb, and just convolutes the simpler they-adopted-him bit---for starters, the snowstorm in question was supposedly five months long, with the Kents supposedly having been cut off from all outside contact during the time (uh-huh... apparently the Kents and/or Smallville's county doesn't have snowplows or telephone lines/radio/TV...). And passing him off as their naturally-born kid doesn't jibe much with me either (with the months-long snowstorm/Clark not looking like a newborn after that length of time). All in all, what's wrong with being adopted?

Oh, nothing wrong with being adopted; I just thought it made sense that the Kents should wish to pass him off as their natural son rather than face embarrassing questions that might lead to the discovery of the spaceship. I do admit it's a bit far-fetched, though.
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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2006, 12:57:13 PM »

I -think- in Lois & Clark, the explanation given was along the lines of Clark being the child of a fictitious distant relative (from the Dakotas?) who passed away in childbirth, or something like that.  I'm wracking my brain trying to remember the specifics.  Mostly I remember thinking at the time "ahh, a Spider-Man explanation".
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