Known to the DC Comics universe as the parents of Superman's parents, here are 10 things you didn't know about Jonathan and Martha Kent, nicknamed lovingly as "Ma and Pa Kent." In 1950, Pa Kent was introduced as Jonathan in Adventure Comics #149 and Ma Kent was named Martha a year later in Superboy #12. Inseparable as husband and wife, Jonathan and Martha have struggled to raise Clark Kent in a normal lifestyle, but they knew deep down inside he was meant for a bigger destiny. Everything these parents taught him as a young boy helped him grow up to become the popular hero, Superman.
As part of Superman's origin story, Martha and Jonathan were simple but hard-working farmers living in Smallville, Kansas. While they were enjoying a night out and driving across an empty stretch of road, a flying spaceship suddenly crashed into the ground. The married couple immediately jumped into action, rescuing the crying baby inside from the burning wreckage. They then decided to raise the orphaned baby as if he were their own and named him Clark. They didn't care that their son was from another planet, they just loved him with all their hearts.
10 Various Names
Interestingly, Superman's parents weren't always known as Jonathan and Martha. In Superman #1, the mother was the only one referred to by her name, "Mary," back in 1939. Now imagine Batman (Ben Affleck) screaming "Why did you say that name?" when Superman (Henry Cavill) pleads, "Save Mary," in Dawn of Justice.
Doesn't have the ring as "Save Martha." Also, there was a novel back in 1942, author George Lowther referred to them as "Eben and Sarah Kent," in The Adventures of Superman. Sorry but "Save Sarah" still doesn't have exactly the same ring.
In writer Mark Waid and artist Leinil Francis Yu's Superman: Birthright, Clark has strained issues with his father, Jonathan. Because Smallville aired in 2001, Yu drew Superman's parents to look older than their television counterparts, Annette O'Toole and John Schneider.
Because she's younger-looking, Martha stands up to her husband and argues with his treatment over their son. Jonathan is withdrawn and struggles to be a good parent because he was abused by his father, Matthew Kent. More tech-savvy, Martha uses encrypted emails to talk to her son while he flies off to his missions.
8 Death of Superman
In the aftermath of "The Death of Superman," Jonathan Kent struggled with his son being dead. Haunted by memories of Clark's childhood, Jonathan has a heart attack and collapses out in the field of his farm.
In writer Jerry Ordway and artist Tom Grummett's Adventures of Superman #500, Jonathan suddenly finds himself being sent to Hell to save Clark's soul, which has been trapped by demons. He refused to give up and let his son enter the afterlife. Waking up on the operating table, Jonathan said to Martha that he brought Clark back from the dead.
7 Death of Clark Kent
Superman knew one of his enemies would discover his secret identity, but he never expected his high school rival, Kenneth Braverman, would hurt him so deeply. Ever since high school, Kenneth hated that Clark was better than him in grades, school, and stole Lana Lang's affection from him.
As the super-villain Conduit, Braverman used his Kryptonite powers to destroy the Kents' household in Superman #100. Though they managed to escape the explosion, Jonathan and Martha had to fake their own deaths. Because Clark has to fake his death too, the entire family was on the run from Conduit.
Introduced in Superman #16, Matrix was from an alternate Earth and took over the mantle of Supergirl. Because she was an orphan and needed a home, Jonathan and Martha welcomed supergirl into the family as one of their own. Martha raised and treated Matrix like the daughter she never had.
Martha and Jonathan were even vocal as concerned parents because they did not approve of who Supergirl was dating. Even though Lex Luthor was not evil in Supergirl's alternate earth, the Kent parents warned her that this did not mean they were the same person.
Even though she pretends to be strong, Martha suffers from depression after Jonathan's heart attack at the conclusion of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's Brainiac. Loneliness and depression are a returning theme in Johns and Frank's Superman: New Krypton with Martha, who's now a widow, as Superman has to bring a dog, Krypto, to keep her company.
In the aftermath of Final Crisis, Connor Kent, aka Superboy, returns to the Smallville farm and lives with Martha after his resurrection. Martha mentions to Connor that she was feeling lonely being in the house all by herself.
4 Blackest Night
In writer James Robinson and artist Eddy Barrows' three-parter, Superman: Blackest Night, the Black Lantern Corps attempt to eliminate the Man of Steel. While Superman and Connor Kent are kept busy elsewhere, Black Lantern Lois, a reanimated revenant of Clark's true love, has been ordered to kill Ma Kent.
After Jonathan's grave has been vandalized and Black Lantern Lois has badly hurt Krypto, Martha realizes she doesn't need superpowers to defend herself. Using the cornstalks to her advantage, Martha screams, "It's on!" before memorably attacking Black Lantern Lois.
Jonathan and Martha Kent have their own evil version of themselves on Earth-3. Making an appearance in the Forever Evil storyline, Jonathan and Martha are part of Ultraman's abusive childhood. Disappointed in themselves and unhappily married, Jonathan and Martha have to resort to drugs to make it through another day in their lifeless marriage.
Not only have the two become junkies on Earth-3, they have been physically hitting each other from time to time. Ready to kill Martha, Jonathan had a knife in his hand when Ultraman's space pod crashes onto their run-down farm.
2 Doomsday Clock
In the New 52 era, Martha and Jonathan Kent died together when a drunk driver crashed into their vehicle. Rebirth though has been hinting that something sinister has been brewing that Superman didn't even realize. In Johns and Franks' Doomsday Clock #10, Doctor Manhattan time-traveled through the major events of Superman's life.
While rearranging events and messing up with timeline, Dr. Manhattan manages to kill Alan Scott, the Green Lantern, and removes the Justice Society of America from existence. Because Dr. Manhattan is responsible for the death of his parents, Superman wants a final confrontation with him.
1 Of Tomorrow
Writer Tom King and artist Clay Mann has put together a wonderful tribute to Superman's parents in Action Comics #1000. Because they loved each other so much, Clark decided to bury them together, side by side at the cemetery.
As years have passed on and the world has been decayed by time, their graves are still standing at the end of the world. Before the sun is about to destroy Earth, the Man of Steel decides to pay his parents one last visit. Before he leaves, Superman thanks his mother for giving him hope.