With the news that long time genre favorite, Adrian Pasdar (of Heroes and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fame), is joining Supergirl in Season 3 to play the villainous media mogul, Morgan Edge, we just had to fill you all in on one of the more surprisingly complicated comic book character histories that you'll see.
In 1970, DC was braced to take a bold new leap forward with the Superman titles, with editor Julius Schwartz taking control of the titles, while at the same time, DC had also brought over superstar artist Jack Kirby from Marvel Comics. Kirby took over the art duties on Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen.
In Kirby's first issue, he introduced Morgan Edge, the head of Galaxy Broadcasting and the new owner of the Daily Planet!
Kirby's Morgan Edge was a bold commentary on the traditional capitalist ideals of the era, which were naturally a common bone of contention leading into the 1970s, with the conflict between the establishment and youth culture had become so magnified that it was even worked into Kirby's work on Jimmy Olsen (plus, in his Fourth World Saga, the Forever People similarly represented the spirit of the youth culture, as the New Gods known as the Forever People were basically just a bunch of hippies). However, Edge was more than just an over-the-top representation of the worst parts of capitalism, he was just flat out evil! He was secretly a big wig in Intergang, and a servant of Darkseid himself!
That, though, proved to be a bit of a sticking point with the other Superman titles. You see, Morgan Edge's introduction into the main Superman title in the classic Superman #233 had the Galaxy Broadcasting owner throw the whole Clark Kent status quo for a loop when he announced that Clark would now no longer be working for the Daily Planet, but rather he would be an anchor for WGBS-TV!
The problem with that is, of course, if Morgan Edge was now going to be a regular part of the series as Clark's new TV boss, it really did not necessarily work to have Edge as an outright crime boss, as well (although, honestly, it would not have been a terrible set-up, but perhaps a bit too out there for the early 1970s). So it was quickly established that the evil Morgan Edge in Jimmy Olsen was a clone of the real Morgan Edge created by Darkseid. The clone was then destroyed and the real Morgan Edge took over his own life.
Edge then continued to be a regular feature in the pages of Superman and Action Comics. He was a strong foil for Clark Kent and Superman, as he obviously had a much different view towards the news than the almost saintly Perry White, and it was good to see Clark have to deal with the mercurial whims of a boss like Edge, who was constantly looking for an angle that he could exploit. Like when Clark wrote a book about Kryptonian history, Edge was already planning on turning it into a TV miniseries a la Roots. Clark's morality stood out greater when contrasted with Edge's outlook on life (the same, of course, went for Clark's TV co-worker, sports reporter, Steve Lombard).
However, while Edge was not always exactly a boy scout, nor was he necessarily a bad person, either. He was basically just your stereotypical sitcom boss. A bit of a pain to deal with, but in the end, he clearly did care about his employees. In one memorable story in Action Comics #468, we learned a bit more about the history of Morgan Edge, including the fact that he was trying to hide his real name (the story is not explicit in saying that Edge was Jewish and trying to cover up his heritage, but that's obviously what the story was about).
Edge remained a prominent member of the Superman supporting cast throughout the 1970s and well into the 1980s. Then Crisis on Infinite Earths happened, and the Superman titles were rebooted. Clark had already gone back to the Daily Planet before Crisis, but now his TV career was completely erased from history. When Morgan Edge was then introduced into the comics after Crisis on Infinite Earths, he was now back to his original form as intended by Jack Kirby. He was a media mogul but also part of the Apokoliptian criminal organization known as Intergang.
While evil, Edge still maintained some of the charms that he had in the Pre-Crisis stories, as he was always a smooth talker. Edge dated Daily Planet reporter Cat Grant for quite a while, and after he was exposed as a criminal and went to prison, he wrote a bestselling autobiography, On the Edge, that dragged Grant's name through the mud. By the time that the New 52 came around, Edge had been relegated to the backburner for many years, but had recently gotten a bit of a boost by being shown as an Anti-Kryptonian pundit during the New Krypton storyline.
In the New 52 relaunch of the Superman titles, perhaps in an homage to his role in the 1970s Superman soft reboot, Morgan Edge is once again causing chaos in the lives of the Daily Planet staff, as he bought the Daily Planet in Superman (Vol.3) #1. Here, Edge is depicted as African-American...
In a twist on the 1970s set-up, this time it was Lois Lane that was hired by Edge's TV division. This version of Edge did not play a major role in the overall series and during DC Rebirth, he sold the Daily Planet to Lex Luthor.
The original Jack Kirby version of Morgan Edge, as an over-the-top capitalist who was secretly an evil criminal mastermind, is a great character setup for a recurring TV villain, and the Post-Crisis history between Edge and Cat Grant could only serve to tie in even better with Supergirl in Season 3.