|[encyclopædia] [all entries] A B C D F J K L M P PROFESSOR R S SUPER T U V W|
The chief protagonist of the Superman chronicles is in one sense really
two men. He is, of course, Superman, the
world's mightiest hero, but he is also Clark Kent, mild-mannered journalist,
for more than thirty years the star reporter of the Daily Planet, more
recently a full-time newscaster for Metropolis television station WGBS-TV.
Clark Kent has black hair and blue eyes. He is 6'2" tall, with a chest measurement of 44" and a waist measurement of 34".
The identity of Clark Kent was conferred upon the infant Superman by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who adopted the orphan from the doomed planet Krypton soon after the rocket that had brought him safely to Earth had landed in an open field on the outskirts of Smallville. The proud foster parents named their new son Clark, which was Martha Kent's maiden name.
Clark Kent's early childhood years were spent on his foster parents' farm outside of Smallville. By the time Clark was old enough to attend elementary school, the Kents had sold their farm and moved to Smallville, where Jonathan Kent opened up a general store.
According to Superman #46, Clark Kent attended high school at Metropolis High, where he was nicknamed "Specs" and became known as his class's quietest boy. However, numerous other texts assert, far more plausibly, that Clark Kent grew up in Smallville, attending Smallville High School and working afternoons after school in his foster father's general store. His high school principal thought of him as the shyest boy in his graduating class, but his senior class yearbook describes him this way: "highest grades - boy most likely to become famous"
Following his graduation from Smallville High School, Clark Kent attended college at Metropolis University. He lived in a dormitory, joined a fraternity, and yelled his heart out as a cheerleader for the college football team.
He had already decided upon a career in journalism. Nevertheless, he studied advanced science under Professor Thaddeus V. Maxwell and took courses in biology, astronomy, art, music, and other subjects. In his senior year he had a bittersweet romance with Lori Lemaris.
Following his college graduation, Clark Kent returned to Smallville. Not long afterward, both his foster parents passed away. It was a bereaved Clark Kent who departed Smallville to embark on his chosen career as a newspaper reporter in Metropolis.
Working as a reporter for a major newspaper enables Clark Kent to investigate criminals without their suspecting that he's really Superman and provides him with the best opportunity for being free to help people as Superman without having to explain his frequent absences from his place of employment. "As a reporter," notes Kent in December, 1949, "I have a hundred underworld and police contacts that make it easier for Superman to fight crime!"
Over and above his usefulness to him in his career as Superman, it is clear that Clark Kent values his career in journalism purely for its own sake. "Just remember," he exclaims in 1945, "a good reporter gets the news - and gets it first! But there's more to being a reporter than that!
"He lives by the deadline! The thunder of the presses is the pounding of his heart! And most important - all his personal feelings remain in the background! It's his story that counts! Always remember that!"
Clark Kent is the Daily Planet's star reporter. Renowned for his ability to root out local news, particularly stories dealing with crime and corruption, he has performed in numerous other capacities for the Daily Planet, including that of war correspondent, lovelorn editor, editor of the Daily Planet's Bombay edition, and editor of the entire newspaper in the absence of editor Perry White.
In pursuit of a news story, Clark Kent has worked as a private detective, a fireman, and a policeman; he has joined the Marines; and he has become a skid row bum. He has been a police commissioner, a department store clerk, a sheriff, a vacuum cleaner salesman, and a disc jockey. He has even gone to prison voluntarily in order to investigate a series of prison riots and to learn where a hardened convict hid his $1,000,000 in stolen loot.
To the readers of the Daily Planet, the name of Clark Kent signed over a story means integrity and honesty. His newspaper reporting on crime has won him countless awards.
In addition to wearing ordinary street clothes and slightly altering his facial appearance with eye-glasses to conceal the fact that he is secretly Superman, Clark Kent exhibits qualities of personality far removed from the ones he displays as Superman. The chronicles repeatedly describe Clark Kent as meek, mild-mannered, sickly, weak, submissive, and even spineless.
Clark Kent is afraid of dogs, afraid of heights, and willing to let almost anyone push him around.
In his own words, "My meek behavior is the perfect disguise for my real identity as Superman!"
Clark Kent lives in apartment 3-B at 344 Clinton Street, a high-rise apartment building in the midtown area. A fake wall in the apartment, which slides open at the touch of a secret button mounted on the apartment wall, conceals a secret closet housing a number of Superman's sophisticated robots, several numbered boxes of Superman trophies and samples of kryptonite, and various other Superman mementos. When he is not wearing his Superman costume, Clark Kent sometimes hangs it in this secret closet.
Clark Kent's closest friends are Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Perry White.
Because Clark Kent is widely known as Superman's best friend, people often contact Kent, usually at the Daily Planet, as the most reliable means of getting in touch with Superman.
In January 1971, the president of the Galaxy Broadcasting System, which owns the Daily Planet, removed Clark Kent from the Planet staff and installed him as a full-time newscaster on another Galaxy property, Metropolis television station WGBS-TV.
Text on this page taken from The Great Superman Book © 1978 by Michael L. Fleisher.