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Where Did Superboy’s Human DNA REALLY Come From?

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comics, Comic News Comment
Where Did Superboy’s Human DNA REALLY Come From?

In Abandoned an’ Forsaked, we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent).

Today, we look at how Superboy thought his human DNA came from one place when it really came from somewhere else entirely…

“Adventures of Superman” #500 (by Karl Kesel, Tom Grummett and Doug Hazlewood) had the first appearance of Superb…

Geez, calm down, guy. I’m sorry, but I’m GOING to keep referring to you as Superboy. You’ll just have to deal with it. Anyhow, the Newsboy Legion breaks him out of Project: Cadmus…

(the next page is him freaking out about being called “Superboy”).

We learned that Project: Cadmus, led by Executive Direct Paul Westfield, had made a sort of clone of Superman, where they approximated Superman by using Kryptonian DNA merged with human DNA. Superboy, though, didn’t know WHO the human donor was for his DNA.

That changed in 1995, as part of DC’s “Year One” series of Annuals. They would tell “Year One” style tales for their older heroes while for their younger heroes, they would be major events in the lives of the young characters. For “Superboy Annual” #2 (by Karl and Barbara Kesel, David Brewer and 596 inkers), that major event was Superboy finding out who the human side of his DNA came from. And it was disappointing for him, as it was, in fact, Westfield, who was an evil dude who had just been killed in a crossover the previous year…

They probably did miss an opportunity by having the DNA come from a guy who had already been killed. Anyhow, Superman shows up to console Superboy…

So that was the set-up for the rest of the 1990s. However, Geoff Johns, before he was a comic book writer, actually wrote in to suggest that someone ELSE be the donor of Superboy’s human DNA, and in “Teen Titans” #1 (by Johns, Mike McKone and Marlo Alquiza), he made his earlier fan suggestion become a reality…

And in “Teen Titans” #25, Superboy’s greatest fear of being controlled by his evil human donor came true, as we also learned why Luthor did the whole thing in the first place…

(Pretty ballsy plan, since Luthor thought Superman was dead when Superboy was created, but hey, Luthor is a clever guy). Luckily, Superboy broke free of his programming and continued to be a hero until the New 52 sort of eliminated him from continuity.

If anyone else has a suggestion for a notable comic book retcon that they’d like to see featured, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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