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When Did Smallville Become Located in Kansas in the Comics?

In "When We First Met", we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore, like the first time someone said, "Avengers Assemble!" or the first appearance of Batman's giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man's face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter. Stuff like that.

My friend Loren suggested that I write about this back in 2017, but then reader David P. tweeted the question to me earlier and I figure, hey, sure, why not address it now?

In the early days, Superman's origin was super vague, as seen in the first extended origin he received in Superman #1...

(As an aside, check out how little detail Joe Shuster puts into the Kents' faces when they adopt baby Clark. Mrs. Kent looks like an Abe Vigoda).

Eventually, Superman's past was expanded when DC revealed that he had adventures as Superboy when he was younger. However, when Superboy made his debut in More Fun Comics #101, the town that Superboy lived in was not revealed...

It would not be until FOUR YEARS LATER, in the second issue of Superboy's ongoing series that they even named the town that Superboy lived in, and they leaned into the new town name in a big way as it was featured on the cover of the issue, as well...

Okay, so now we know the name of Superboy's town, the only question is where Smallville was located.

Amusingly enough, The Adventures of Superman radio series had actually come up with Iowa as the place where Clark Kent grew up. That actually predated the Smallville name, as well!

DC finally got around to saying where Smallville was located in a roundabout way. In 1977, DC's official fanzine, The Amazing World of DC Comics, listed Smallville as being in Maryland...

You might recall that a certain movie came out a year later. In 1978's Superman the Movie, Smallville was located in Kansas for the first time...

(Here's a snippet from the script, "EXT. KANSAS WHEAT FIELD - DAY

Miles and miles of golden wheat wave under a cloudless sky. CAMERA PANS: A dilapidated farm pick-up truck comes chugging down a long flat dirt road.")

Elliot S! Maggin followed the lead of the movie in his novel, The Last Son of Krypton, and had Smallville be in Kansas, as well....

However, in 1981, DC decided to follow their fanzine over one of the greatest superhero movies of all-time and so in 1981, they published a map of Smallville that had it situated across a bay from Gotham City and certainly made it look like it was in Maryland...

Wherever it was, it was clearly on the East Coast either way, and certainly not in Kansas.

Things changed, though, when Crisis on Infinite Earths led to a reboot of the Superman titles, with John Byrne coming on board and making it so that Superman was never Superboy when he was a teen. He did not become a superhero until he was an adult.

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